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President Rudd wishes you a happy holiday season. Please click the link at the bottom of the image below to view the video card. (Be sure to turn up the volume!)

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Dear Campus Community:

As promised, I am providing another periodic update regarding admissions and fundraising efforts.  As of this week, we have a total of 12,562 first-time undergraduate applications (i.e. first-time freshman and transfers) for the main campus, representing an increase of 244% over last year.  This includes an increase in first-time freshman applications of 263% and transfer applications of 52% (despite the TN Promise).  Undergraduate applications to the Lambuth Campus total 418, a 260% increase over the prior year. Most of the gains have been within our 250-mile radius strategic target area, but we certainly have improved our regional and national footprint, with remarkable improvement in applications from east Tennessee.  In terms of admissions, we have a total of 4,770 to date for both campuses (79% increase over this time last year), with a first-time freshman increase of 83% and a transfer increase of 5%.  Now, we are working to actually get them to our campus and convince them to enroll at the University of Memphis!

Our fundraising efforts have had excellent returns in the first six months.  Here are the totals to date:

 

JUL 1 thru NOV 30, 2013

JUL 1 thru NOV 30, 2014

DIFFERENCE

Athletics

$1,500,570.19

$7,693,941.92

$6,193,371.73

Academics

$4,056,634.81

$7,206,291.46

$3,149,656.65

TOTAL

$5,557,205.00

$14,900,233.38

$9,343,028.38

As you can see, we have experienced significant increases, almost tripling our totals from last year.  We have made an effort to leverage our athletic visibility in order to achieve gains on the academic side, a strategy that appears to be working with over $7 million raised for academics. These totals do not include over $12 million in proposals that are actively under consideration.

I hope that you all are doing well.  Let me wish you and your families the best for the holiday season.  If you have not had a chance to view our holiday greeting card, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to do so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xuv6ay6LCM&feature=youtu.be

Warm Regards for 2015!

M. David Rudd | President

Dear Campus Community:

Early in my tenure at the University of Memphis the issue of healthcare services for our graduate assistants was raised as a critical issue. I certainly agree it is among our highest priorities to find a solution, one that works within the budget constraints and realities we currently face.  As you know, we have been exploring options and opportunities for the past year. I’m pleased to share that after discussions with Dr. Scott Morris,  CEO of the Church Health Center, we have worked out the elements for a solution that will provide healthcare services (medical and dental) for our graduate assistants. We are in the process of finalizing the details of the agreement and will have those to you as soon as they become available, but I wanted to get the word our as soon as possible because we are nearing (and in some cases in the middle of) graduate recruitment season.   Provost Weddle-West will be working with representatives from the Church Health Center and our general counsel’s office to complete the agreement. Please join me in thanking Dr. Morris for all he does for Memphis.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd | President

Earlier this year the University of Memphis announced a strategic shift to operate the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management (KWS) as an independent school within the University. Previously housed as a part of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics for a decade, it now has a unique opportunity to serve its students with a more industry-driven curriculum through a new merger with Sports and Leisure Commerce, pending TBR approval.  In a short time its growth has been dramatic.  In just two years the class has swelled from 120 to 200 students—a remarkable 67% growth!  The merger proposal has the unanimous support of the involved faculty and positions KWS for continued growth and strategic expansion.

“This merger should continue the outstanding growth of the School and take advantage of newly formed collaborations with local industry and community partners that will surely enhance the student experience at The University of Memphis,” says Interim Provost Karen Weddle-West.

“We are very excited for the new positioning of the Kemmons Wilson School,” said Kemmons Wilson, Jr. “We want to provide a real-world environment within an academic setting. For example, the school itself is housed in a full-service hotel and conference center.  By broadening our course curricula, students will be better prepared on a wide range of hospitality issues. Ultimately, it will allow us to improve our training in regards to first-hand service standards, business challenges and real-time operations.”

“When Dr. Rudd proposed the idea for the merger to create Sport and Leisure Commerce, I was very excited about the synergies between the programs and the additional opportunities for growth it offers,” adds Dr. Radesh Palakurthi, Professor and Director of the School “The model is not uncommon across other universities where hospitality and sport management programs are housed together.  There is immense scope for growth for both the programs with the potential for offering joint degree programs in PGA Golf Management, Events Management and specialized graduate programs.  Needless to say, we are looking forward to working with the great team of faculty in Sport and Leisure to bring all such ideas to fruition.”

It is a move that excites faculty in both programs.  Dr. Tim Ryan, Sport and Leisure Management comments, “When our faculty heard about the opportunity to join the KWS, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up. All the exploration that we have done has indicated that this will allow for increased opportunities for our students and faculty. It is hard to see any kind of downside to this move, especially for the students.”  KWS Assistant Professor Dr. Eun Kyong (Cindy) Choi explains: “By merging the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management with the Sport and Leisure Management department, it will effectively attract more students and significantly help both programs to become leading programs in their respective fields.  By coalescing resources, both programs can operate more effectively and allow students to take classes from both disciplines.  In addition, there will be opportunities for faculty collaboration, particularly with regard to research.”

I certainly agree with Dr. Brennan Berg, Sport and Leisure Management, when he predicts “The new school will dynamically benefit many stakeholders: students, faculty and staff, alumni, the Memphis community, and our industry partners. It is an exciting time to be at the University of Memphis, especially in the Kemmons Wilson School.”  I have great confidence that the school will quickly rise to be a national leader.

M. David Rudd | President

At my request, the Redefining the Library Committee was established to propose a plan for the future direction of the Libraries.  The committee has fulfilled their charge, developed a report with recommendations, and solicited response(s) to the report via a survey sent to Library faculty and staff and Information Technology Services (ITS) staff.  The Library Policies Committee of the Faculty Senate is currently reviewing this report and will present their feedback to Provost Weddle-West and me by the end of 2014 Fall Semester.  Let me express my gratitude to Dr. Green and the Faculty Senate committee for taking on this important task.  Let me assure all that we are committed to a strong, healthy and effective library, one that advances both our educational and research missions.

The feedback from the Faculty Senate committee will become part of the documentation that will be considered as we chart the future direction of the library and information services on campus.  It is anticipated that a decision will be communicated to the university community by mid-January, 2015. At that time, planning for implementation will begin.  Both faculty and staff will have significant engagement in both the planning and implementation processes as we move ahead.

I appreciate your patience throughout this process.  These are complex issues with significant impact for UofM, and we value the work done to assist in the understanding of our options and opportunities.  No changes have been implemented to date.  We will await direction from the committee first.

We look forward to charting a path that reflects the best practices for the libraries and information services.  I am very much committed to the library being the heart of intellectual activity and collaborative learning on campus and our future will certainly reflect that commitment in concrete fashion.

Regards,

M. David Rudd, President

SACS report filed

We are pleased to report that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) University of Memphis Reaffirmation of Accreditation compliance report has been completed and sent to the off-site reviewers. Reaffirmation of reaccreditation is required once every ten years.  Our SACSCOC project began more than 20 months ago when many people, from all divisions of the university, began the thoughtful work necessary to provide the supporting documentation for the Standards.

The more than 91 Standards, separated into three categories (Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements), address every aspect of the university and its functions. In our response, we needed to demonstrate that policies, functions, and decisions support the mission of the University of Memphis.

Off-site reviewers will determine if the U of M has satisfactorily responded to the more than 91 Standards of the Principles of Accreditation. Should the off-site reviewers conclude that additional information is required, focused reports will be prepared prior to the March 2015 on-campus site visit. The onsite reviewers will visit the campus, conduct meetings with various offices and employees, and advise us on the Quality Enhancement Plan.

The reaccreditation process is necessary for access to federal research and student funding, transfer capability of our students, and recognition of our peers.  However, the real value goes beyond these basics. This process causes us to look both inward and outward. We use SACSCOC accreditation to assess where we excel, determine what we do well, and ascertain how we need to improve.

I appreciate the thoughtful work and countless hours by the leadership of the SACSCOC team, particularly Interim Vice Provost of Academic Programs and Effectiveness and SACSCOC liaison Dr. Dan Poje; Director of Curriculum Planning Dr. Cathy Serex; Administrative Associate Kenya Sanders; Graduate Assistant Stephanie Zuckerman; the members of the various SACSCOC committees; and the many other individuals who have helped to get us this far. 

I encourage all University of Memphis faculty, staff and students to visit the University of Memphis SACSCOC website (http://memphis.edu/sacscoc2015).  Here you will see the result of the hard work and dedication that contributed to the completion of the compliance report. We look forward to the advancement of the University of Memphis through this careful study and the visible demonstration of our quality, breadth, and focus.

Filing this SACSOC report is a milestone to celebrate!

M. David Rudd, President

My home page on the University of Memphis website has a great new look, launched this week. You can find it at http://memphis.edu/presweb/.

I invite you to take a look at it. The focus on the web page is squarely on student success (recruitment, retention, completion), community engagement/partnerships, and advancement of our research mission.  Given the inaugural year, my welcome message emphasizes the upcoming “Year of Service” where students, faculty, staff and alums hope to donate at least 500,000 hours of service to their communities in Memphis, Jackson and beyond.

Users are now able to easily find the tools and information online that will move them forward in their college career from admission to graduation. A new Dashboard tab provides instant access to relevant data and supports the University’s determination to share the metrics that drive decision-making across all domains, divisions and units.

Prospective and current students, faculty and staff should find the site more seamless to navigate, thanks to the succinct menu bar across the center of the page. Frequently used pages are listed on the bottom portion of every web page. The prominently displayed Stay Connected window provides links to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the President’s Blog sites.

One noticeable difference happens when resizing the webpage’s window. As part of the University’s overall website redesign, the page utilizes responsive design. This means that navigation to the most used resources will be easier, and the website will automatically adjust to the screen size of most mobile devices.

“The goal is to make it easier for you to stay connected to the University of Memphis, and a comprehensive website redesign project will better reflect our engagement with and service to Memphis and the region,” explains Ellen Watson, vice provost for Information Technology and chief information officer.  Another example of the redesign can be found in a newly launched University Libraries’ homepage at http://www.memphis.edu/libraries/.

And there is much more ahead. The University has engaged Second to Nunn Design (S2N Design), which will oversee the creation of a comprehensive redesign project in the coming months, says Watson. “We expect the new University website to launch near the end of fall semester, but it will take time for all of the 16,000+ web pages to be converted to the new design.”

In the meantime, please look in at my website regularly to see how we are doing and to keep up with our progress. I think you will be impressed by it. It is one of the many ways to stay connected at U of M.

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

Dear Colleagues:

I was pleased to learn yesterday that our research expenditures for the past year (FY 2014) were $57.2M, up almost 10% from the previous year. Similarly, expenditures for FY 2015 are already $15.1M, up 5.7% over this time last year.  We have some incredibly exciting research news to share on Friday so please stay tuned.  This progress is consistent with our efforts to improve research support and infrastructure articulated in last year’s research capacity analysis.  I want to thank our VP for Research, Dr. Andy Meyers and his team for continued great work.  I also want to recognize the talented faculty driving a broad array of creative, impactful and cutting-edge projects that are helping make our community and world a better place.

It’s also a pleasure to share that student applications for this year are moving at a remarkable pace.  We have 7,045 applications to date, and have already admitted 1,522 students for the fall of 2015.  You might recall that prior to last year’s record numbers, we received in the ballpark of 7,500 applications for an entire year, something we’ve almost accomplished in the first quarter.  It’s good to be a Tiger.

Best Regards,

M. David Rudd, President

When the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine held their White Coat Ceremony last month nearly a dozen of the entering class of 165 students were recent graduates of the University of Memphis.  The third largest provider of students to UTHSC College of Medicine this year (behind only the University of Tennessee—Knoxville and Vanderbilt), U of M graduates once again demonstrated the strength of their academic preparedness and their continuing importance to professional schools such as UT College of Medicine. “In general, we are definitely a large feeder for UT and our students continue to be successful once in medical school,” reports Jessica Kelso, Pre-Professional Advisor to U of M students.

The white coat ceremony was one of the first established in U.S. and is the culmination of the orientation to medical school. UTHSC held its annual solemn ceremony for the Class of 2018 on August 15, 2014. It has been said that the white coat is a symbolic, nonverbal communication used to express and/or affirm a fundamental belief in a system that the society observes. The authority of dress is a guide to patient, and doctor, on how to react and to relate to one another.

“The life of a med student can be challenging, of course,” says U of M alumnus Omar Tamula, one of eleven in this year’s entering class. “Regardless of what one was doing before medical school, be it undergraduate studies, graduate studies, or work, nothing can quite prepare one for the pace of medical school. Though the pace is much faster than it had been during my undergraduate career, I will say that the courses that I took at the University of Memphis shaped me into a more analytical thinker, which has been critical to assimilating the information taught in medical school.”

Former Chair of Chemistry, now Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Abby Parrill-Baker notes one way in which U of M has worked with the UT College of Medicine to better prepare our students for success, “The innovative curriculum restructuring that Chemistry placed into practice in 2009 was certainly warmly received by the UT College of Medicine.  We replaced the traditional two-semester sequence of organic chemistry courses with one-semester courses in organic and bioorganic chemistry. That was seen as much more relevant preparation for the health sciences in my meetings with the UTHSC health professional program admissions directors.”

The significant number of our own students who regularly feed the incoming Med School class at UT reflects the strength of their preparation. Omar Tamula summed it up best when he said, “My journey in becoming a doctor is just starting, but I know that I only got to this point through the opportunities offered to me at the University of Memphis. I am indebted to the U of M and am proud to represent it at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.”

We celebrate the success of our graduates and the contribution they are making to the incoming class of future doctors at UTHSC.

Go Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

Parent and Family Weekend

Parent & Family Weekend returned to the University of Memphis with a roar on September 19-21, 2014. After a decade of absence, it was resumed because of a groundswell of interest from many supportive parents.   Almost 500 registrants were joined by 220 students for a weekend full of events. One measure of the enthusiasm for the weekend can be seen by the minimal number of "no shows"-97% of those registered came to campus to join in the fun.

The goal of the Weekend was to promote the feeling of being connected to the University, to feature both on and off campus events and, of course, to have a great time.  As Meta Laabs put it, "People want to feel special, included, valued and listened to - and that is something the U of M does especially well."

Many departments sponsored receptions across campus, including Recruitment and Orientation, College of Arts and Sciences, Herff College of Engineering, Veterans Resource Center, Honors Program and Disability Resources.  A welcome reception provided students and parents an opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Karen Weddle-West, Interim Provost; Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham, Vice President for Student Affairs; Ricky Kirby, President of the Student Government Association; and Dr. Loretta Rudd, Associate Professor of Childhood Development, who also represented her husband, President David Rudd. Other events included a scavenger hunt, a breakfast hosted by Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and, at the Liberty Bowl, a Tiger Walk, a True Blue Tailgate party and, of course, the Tiger Football game where the record breaking crowd watched our Tigers beat MTSU 36-17.   In addition, adult and commuter students sponsored a picnic that was enjoyed by 75 participants at the Lambuth campus.

Parent Kindle Willis commented, "I love this university more every time I get the honor of being part of these activities."  Dean of the Herff College of Engineering, Rick Sweigard, looked back on the weekend with praise for all involved. He stated, "We tell students if they enroll here they will not be a number but will be a person with a name and a face.  Thank you for making that happen!" The University of Memphis Parents Facebook page had many comments conveying the sense of fun had by all.  One posted, "Thank you for doing this.  We had a blast!"

No University funds are used to pay for the event.  We depend on modest registration fees and the assistance of sponsors like Eyewear Gallery, Pepsi, and Aramark.  The hard work of more than 100 staff and faculty, under the leadership of Vice President Rosie Phillips Bingham, Meta Laabs, and Lindsey Bray, personally supported the three-day event. We owe them our thanks.

Another reason we are proud to be Tigers!

M. David Rudd, President

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