UCA President Tom Courtway opened the first Campus Talk of the academic year with an update on the university’s finances and fall enrollment. University officials have seen significant improvement in the university’s finances over the last fours years. The university had $12 million in unrestricted cash on July 31 compared with $5.4 million the same time last year. The increase in unrestricted cash position was due to savings in salaries, maintenance and operations and scholarship savings.
“We have restored most of our fund balances. Our cash balances are getting healthier every day,” said Courtway. “Our goal, and I think we can obtain it by next July, is to be at about $15 million, which would be two months operating money. So, our financial picture is much better.”
Freshman enrollment is up 10 percent compared to last year. Overall enrollment is 11,108, down 55 students from fall of 2011. The decreases were in the areas of graduate, international and high school concurrent enrollment.
The administration is developing a plan for a cost-of-living adjustment as well as building an equity pool, Courtway added.
As long as the university continues its tradition of teaching excellence and strong staff support, UCA will continue to move forward, he said.
“As long as we continue to do that, the money will take care of itself, the raises are going to come, the retention rate is going to go up and things are going to be much, much better,” Courtway said.
Representatives with Cranford, Johnson, Robinson and Woods presented two draft marketing campaigns during the Town Hall meeting. The campaigns were developed from feedback from the university’s Image Committee. The committee, which has met since June, consists of representatives from the Staff Senate, Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, Division of Advancement, Council of Deans, faculty members from the Communication and Marketing departments, Division of Enrollment Management and University and Government Relations.
The committee surveyed constituents about UCA’s strengthens, weaknesses and their general views about university. The information was used to develop concepts that would represent the institution internally and externally.
The two proposals – “Come to Life” and “Front and Center” — would allow the university to tell its story through testimonies by students, faculty and staff.
“Come to Life” looks at various areas including student engagement, educational opportunities, and community. The “Front and Center” proposal focuses on access to a world-class education close to home and the university’s position to be a leader in the region and beyond. It also looks at how the student can be “front and center” as an individual.
Cranford representatives shared a sample of a print advertisement and a television advertisement for both proposed campaigns. Individuals were given the opportunity to provide feedback about the concepts. The campaigns could be altered based upon the feedback from the UCA community.
The Image Committee plans to make a recommendation to President Courtway in early October.