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Faculty and Staff:

We have received our latest performance funding data from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), and we continue to make progress. With respect to outcomes, the most critical data points revolve around completion metrics, including the number of those graduating (both undergraduate and graduate), degrees per full time equivalent (FTE) and graduation rate. From 2012-13 to 2015-2016, total bachelor degrees awarded increased from 2,887 to 3,038 (5% increase). Our master and doctoral degrees have been fairly steady, fluctuating between 900-1000 master degrees per year and 260 doctoral degrees. Our degrees per FTE, which is an overall efficiency measure, increased from 20.0 to 22.8 (a 14% increase in efficiency). Over the last two years our graduation rate has hovered around 49%, but it has slipped slightly to 47.2% for the 2015-2016 six-year cohort, a trend that was consistent with all of our TBR university partners. Despite the increase in overall graduation numbers, this hints at an underlying retention problem that has persisted for decades and one that we are targeting with a clear and well-coordinated strategy. It also suggests that our efforts targeting completion for students previously disengaged (and well beyond the six-year graduation window) have been successful.

Similarly, our quality indicators were very positive for the past academic year. Our score summary is provided below. As you can see from the description of quality assurance funding, the assessment is geared toward incentivizing meritorious performance. Two years ago our score was 87, compared to 90 last year and this year's score of 92. As you know, we all strive for excellence, and this is evidence of significant and steady progress toward that goal. All indicators show that we are making progress across multiple fronts, and most importantly, we are providing a high quality and comprehensive educational experience for our students.

Thank you for your hard work, your commitment to our students and serving our community so well.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd
President | Distinguished University Professor

Press Release October 12, 2016 - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced the eight appointees to the newly created University of Memphis governing board, giving the University increased autonomy to support student success as the state continues its Drive to 55 initiative.

"This is a landmark day for the University of Memphis, our city and West Tennessee," said UofM President M. David Rudd. "The appointment of our new Board of Trustees and related change in our governance structure will better position the UofM to grow and compete at the national level, with an unparalleled commitment to innovation, efficiency and effectiveness. I would like to thank our new Trustees for their willingness to serve our University and broader Memphis community. We aspire to join the top tier of research universities nationally and look forward to working with this very talented group to realize that goal.

"We are grateful for Governor Haslam's vision for the future of higher education in Tennessee and the support of our state legislators. Without their commitment to excellence in higher education, this remarkable opportunity would not be possible."

The University of Memphis Board of Trustees is one of six to be appointed by Gov. Haslam, a result of his FOCUS Act passed by the General Assembly earlier this year.

The appointees to the UofM Board of Trustees are:

  • Douglas Edwards, senior advisor at BBH Capital Partners and former CEO of Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc.
  • Marvin Ellison, CEO and board chairman of JCPenney Company, Inc.
  • Alan Graf, executive vice president and chief financial officer for FedEx Corp.
  • Cato Johnson, senior vice president of public policy and regulatory affairs for Methodist Healthcare
  • Brad Martin, former interim president of the University of Memphis and retired chairman and CEO of Saks, Inc.
  • David North, president and CEO for Sedgwick Claims Management Services
  • Carol Roberts, senior vice president and chief financial officer for International Paper Co.
  • Susan Springfield, executive vice president and chief credit officer for First Horizon National Corporation

Subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, the Board of Trustees appointments are effective Jan. 16, 2017. If confirmed, Board members will undergo orientation and professional development coordinated by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The University of Memphis Board of Trustees will assume responsibility upon the first called meeting by Gov. Haslam.

Contact: Gabrielle Maxey

Dear Campus Community:

The University of Memphis is dedicated to helping students, faculty and staff create a vibrant, welcoming, inclusive and safe environment. As you may be aware, there was an incident last week in which a student found her car vandalized and a racist note was left on her windshield. We immediately reached out to the student involved, along with her family. The incident has been vigorously investigated, but we have been unable to identify the perpetrator. We will continue to investigate the incident and will respond accordingly. Racism, bigotry and hate speech, in any form or fashion, will not be tolerated on our campus.

This is an important moment in our nation’s history. Issues of race, free speech and social justice have been at the forefront. We were proud of our campus’ response to two visitors espousing controversial ideas and opinions a few weeks ago. There is a difference, though, between free speech and hate speech meant to demean and humiliate. As was noted in a communication last year, at the heart of our mission is a commitment to providing a high-quality comprehensive education for our students, and doing so in a safe environment but also an environment that challenges our students to explore a diverse range of ideas and beliefs, and to grow and develop as individuals. An exceptional educational experience is one that challenges ideas and encourages creativity, not one that insulates students from the diversity that is our city and nation. Diversity enriches all of our lives. Universities are about ideas, some of which will push traditional boundaries and challenge the status quo. A vibrant university community embraces this reality. It does not seek to silence debate and discussion; rather, it encourages and nurtures it. Similarly though, a vibrant university community does not tolerate racism, bigotry and hate speech meant to demean, humiliate and degrade. This most recent incident was intended to do just that. We will respond to incidents like the one last week in quick and decisive fashion, recognizing that we need to investigate and fully understand the situation first.

The last few weeks have raised important issues for our campus. One incident was clear in its intent and purpose, the other more nuanced and complex. Consistent with our mission, our next Critical Conversation campus-wide discussion will address this very issue, and we invite you to participate - details about this Critical Conversation event will follow. We also have a University Town Hall meeting scheduled for next week, Thursday, October 13 at 3:00 p.m. in the University Center Theatre. Please join us.

We will always strive to create a vibrant and safe environment for our entire campus community. Sometimes the issues raised will be clear, sometimes more subtle, provocative and difficult. As an engaged community, we will always be up to the challenge.

Warm Regards,

M. David Rudd, President|Distinguished University Professor

Karen Weddle-West, Provost|Director of Diversity Initiatives

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