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UofL’s Faculty Senate recently received updates on enrollment figures and departmental budgets for the next academic year. Faculty senators also voted to unanimously approve a new academic program housed in the department of philosophy, the master of arts in applied philosophy-health care ethics.

Interim Provost Gerry Bradley addressed the faculty senate with information on student enrollment and departmental budgets. Data collected through last fall semester revealed student enrollment was under projection for both undergraduate and professional students. For this reason, the university entered the spring 2022 semester with roughly $4 million less than anticipated. Although a similar budgetary loss was anticipated for this spring term, strong enrollment and retention rates mitigated this effect, leaving the spring semester budget at a deficit of $1.5 million.

“All in all, we were down about $5.5 million dollars. The budget teams, especially in the units that have been impacted by lower enrollment than expected, have carried a lot of weight trying to work through that. We also made adjustments centrally and allocated discretionary funds to support those units,” Bradley said. “Overall, we are confident we can go forward, finish out the budget year and break even as we do every year.”

Bradley attributed this confidence to an overall increase in first-year student applications and admits for next academic year. All budgets for the next academic year are currently being developed, and increases to employee pay have been identified as an institutional priority.

“As we are developing our budgets now, we certainly want to build in things we know are important. We need to build in a pay increase, and we are committed to that. That is certainly critical for us to recruit and retain our faculty and staff here in this institution, who we know have gone through a trying two years with COVID-19,” Bradley said.

Faculty members Lauren Freeman and Avery Kolers presented senators with the proposal for a new academic program, the master of arts in applied philosophy – health care ethics [PDF]. The proposal moved for transition of the current master of arts in interdisciplinary studies-health care ethics, which is housed in graduate school, to the department of philosophy under the rubric of applied philosophy. The 33-credit hour program offered through the College of Arts and Sciences was proposed for implementation during the fall 2022 semester. Senators unanimously approved the proposed academic program.

Committee reports and a video recording of the meeting can be accessed on the Faculty Senate meetings webpage. The next Faculty Senate meeting is scheduled for April 6 via a hybrid format with the option of remote attendance via Teams, or in-person attendance at Ekstrom Library’s Chao Auditorium.