UTA to allocate $10M to emergency aid, pause presidential search due to COVID-19

The setting sun reflects off the UTA tower Jan. 19 on the corner of UTA Boulevard and Cooper Street.

An update on UTA’s presidential search, student coronavirus relief bill compensation and reopening campus were discussed at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting.

Presidential search

The presidential search has been paused, Senate Chairperson Bill Carroll said. After a meeting with UT System Chancellor James Milliken, Carroll said the decision was made to focus attention on responding to COVID-19.

An appointment for an interim president will be made, but no timeline has been set, Carroll said. A presidential search committee has not yet been made.

Coronavirus response

Under the coronavirus relief bill, UTA received $21,177,188 in federal stimulus aid from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

A minimum of $10,588,594 is to be allocated to emergency financial aid grants. This is in line with the bill's requirement to use no less than 50% of received funds to provide emergency financial aid grants to students.

Administrator-in-charge Teik Lim said as soon as a university plan is approved by the UT System Board of Regents, financial assistance funds to students can be dispersed.

Lim said a date to reopen the campus has not yet been established. The administration is currently monitoring the pandemic’s progress and following guidelines from the state to make the appropriate call.

When the campus does reopen, Lim said it would happen in phases.

Tier 1 status

UTA is on track to reaching Tier 1 ranking. Lim said that enrollment for the summer and fall are trending up. The incoming freshman class is expected to be one of the most academically prepared groups in recent years, he said.

Two metrics the university is focusing on is maintaining 200 Ph.D. graduates for the fiscal year and attain $45 million in research expenditures by Aug. 31. The university would then undergo an audit in the fall.

If UTA doesn’t meet Tier 1 criteria by Aug. 31, it would set the university back by two years, Lim said.

Faculty Senate chairperson

The Faculty Senate also voted for a new chair for the 2020-2021 academic year. Senate parliamentarian Jacqueline Fay has been named as the Chair-elect.

Fay has been at UTA for 18 years and is an associate professor in the department of English.

She said two years ago the Senate Chair ballot didn’t have women on it and she was encouraged to pursue consideration for the position.

“Right now as the university grapples through the changes it must make because of COVID-19 and also the presidential search, Faculty Senate is an ever more important body,” Fay said. “Our stability on the institution and on teaching can assist UTA to move forward.”

The Senate also passed a motion approving a university vision statement. This statement defines an outlook on the university and the kind of leadership they hope to see moving forward.

This vision statement will be sent to Milliken, the UT System Board of Regents, UTA faculty, alumni, will be posted on the Senate webpage and will be sent out as a press release.

@megancardona_

news-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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