Todd addresses  University Senate

Stresses need for more research funding, space

UK President Lee Todd outlined both academic and financial goals for the upcoming school year as UK tries to compete with other universities for top-20 status at yesterday’s University Senate meeting.

“These are moving targets, and I try to tell the legislature and the leaders these folks are not going to come down,” Todd said.

Todd will address the state legislature in February to request funding for the next two years. Among Todd’s requests will be money to build more research facilities.

“If we can’t get more research space, that’s it,” Todd said. “Right now, we’re back against the wall.”

To free up space on Central Campus, the top of the Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library is being converted to classroom space, and UK’s data center may move out of McVey Hall, Todd said.

“That’s the best we can do in the short term,” Todd said.

Todd also discussed UK’s new admissions standards. Since 2000, UK has increased the incoming freshman class from about 3,000 to 4,000.

“We’ve been picking up a larger sample of lower ACT scores,” Todd said.

The average ACT score among incoming freshman fell 0.7 points between 2005 and 2006, from 24.6 to 23.9. The average SAT score of incoming freshman also dropped, and the student-faculty ratio rose.

New and more rigorous admissions standards, which will cap the number of freshmen admitted to UK, and additional faculty will help improve the university’s average scores, Todd said, as will community outreach.

“We are going to get our hands dirty, as I told our senators, to get those kids at K-12,” Todd said.

The University Studies Program, discussed at yesterday’s Senate meeting, will also be the focus of close analysis in the months to come.

The draft proposal for the new USP requirements has been submitted to the deans of colleges. The draft with the tentative new USP requirements will be released to the public Oct. 1.

“The proposal is quite a provocative one, not just in terms of content but in terms of curricula,” said Phil Kraemer, associate provost for undergraduate education.

Kraemer said that after the USP draft is approved, faculty members will be appointed to decide how to best implement changes to the program. The goal for enacting the new USP requirements is Fall 2009.

“It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of people,” Kraemer said.