Faculty and Staff:

As you know, one of the most significant challenges our students face is affordability. Over the last four years (i.e. including this upcoming academic year), we have been able to implement the lowest tuition increases in our history, an average of just over 2%. As indicated in the table below, this effort has enabled us to make up significant ground with other TN universities, essentially cutting the affordability gap in half.

With this coming academic year, the UofM will move from being on average 10.6% higher in tuition costs than our TN colleagues, to 5.8%. We will also make up considerable ground this coming year, but at this point we do not have all of the TN universities tuition rates. We currently have MTSU data and will gain another 11% this coming academic cycle.

What is particularly important to note is that we are the only Carnegie II institution in the state and arguably offer a distinctive educational experience. Regardless, we have heard our students' request to take affordability seriously, and we have done so over the past three years, with new ground to be gained this coming year.

Once all tuition increase decisions are available statewide, this information will be updated. I thought you would appreciate a quick summary of this critical issue, as I have also sent this information to the Board of Trustees and Board of Visitors.

UofM Affordability Gains

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor

Dear Faculty and Staff:

As you know, the University of Memphis held the Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting yesterday. A summary of the meeting highlights, including critical themes, initiatives and issues, will be routinely provided. It was a great discussion with lively conversations across all committees. One thing is abundantly clear, our new Board will help us to innovate, grow and expand our impact nationally. Among the central themes that emerged were the following:

  1. A commitment to continuing to strategically grow our campus, with an emphasis on creative use of scholarship funds to expand not just regionally, but nationally. It is important to mention the effort is focused on attracting the best and brightest students from around the country to Memphis.
  2. A commitment to containing costs and lowering student debt. The BOT approved a 2.6% tuition increase, the fourth consecutive year of the lowest increases in our history (an average of 2.1% over the past four years compared to an 8% average over the previous 15 years).
  3. Action targeting progress on faculty and staff salaries, with recognition of the need for a long-term plan, along with embracing creative alternatives, including a vision that looks at total compensation across multiple domains. Consistent with this discussion, the BOT approved development of a parental leave policy, with specific details pending clarification of the financial model.
  4. Recognition of the rapidly changing landscape in higher education content delivery and the need to invest in long-term technology upgrades, along with expansion of the highly successful UofM Global pilot project and to continue exploring innovation in content development and delivery.
  5. Discussion of innovation regarding approaches to cross-department and interdisciplinary work, particularly the idea of interdisciplinary institutes. We will be discussing in more depth the remarkable success of the Institute of Intelligent Systems and MD2K, both glowing examples of interdisciplinary success.
  6. A commitment to growing our research expenditures and impact, including achieving recognition as a national research university.
  7. Recognition of the need to explore external partnerships in the expansion of our on-campus housing options and efforts to expand the number of residential students at the UofM.
  8. A continued commitment to administrative and overall institutional efficiency and effectiveness.
  9. A commitment to empowering the UofM team to do everything necessary for student success and growth of our mission while adhering to our quality processes and best practices, with the goal of unleashing the capability of each and every member of our campus to be creative, innovative and impactful.
  10. Finally, there was discussion of our need to launch a new strategic planning effort, with a goal of moving forward in August.

As the above points evidence, our new Board of Trustees is a remarkable opportunity for the UofM. I look forward to working together to launch a new strategic plan and move the UofM firmly into the top tier of national research universities.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor

Dear Faculty and Staff:

At the heart of our mission is the success of our students. Three years ago the University of Memphis set ambitious goals targeting improved retention and completion rates. As you know, the state outcome formula tracks these numbers on three-year, rolling averages. Over the past three years (academic years 2015, 2016 and 2017), the average of our total degrees awarded moved to a new high of 4,314 - up 9.1% from six years ago (academic years 2010, 2011, 2013 average of 3,955), and up 14.8% from ten years ago (academic years 2007, 2008, 2009 average of 3,757). It is important to share that over the past ten years, the number of bachelor degrees awarded has increased a remarkable 26% from 2,442 in 2007-2008 academic year to 3,084 in the 2016-2017 academic year. During the same interval, doctoral degrees awarded increased from 107 to 161, a 50% increase.

It is great to see our retention initiatives proving their value and our students succeeding at unprecedented rates. This is only possible because of the hard work and dedication of so many on our campus. Thank you!

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor