UTM Advisory Board meeting covers FY ’23 budget, fundraising and master plan

Recommendations for no tuition or mandatory fee increases highlighted the University of Tennessee at Martin’s 2022-23 proposed budget that was presented and approved during the UT Martin Advisory Board summer meeting held May 20 in the Boling University Center. The proposed budget now goes to the UT Board of Trustees for consideration at the annual meeting June 23-24 in Knoxville. The advisory board meets three times annually and advises the university’s chancellor regarding operations and budget.

Petra McPhearson, senior vice chancellor for finance and administration, presented budget information that proposes $107.5 million in unrestricted budget funds and a total operating fund budget of $152.2 million. The funding includes a $4.6 million increase in state appropriations. This is the third year that no mandatory fee increases are recommended for UT Martin students.

“Our scholarship program is something that we need to ensure that we fund and continue to provide affordability for our students to be here at the university,” McPhearson said.

In addition to the state’s funding support, McPhearson said that the university’s scholarship program is another key to controlling costs for students attending UT Martin. “Our scholarship program is something that we need to ensure that we fund and continue to provide affordability for our students to be here at the university,” McPhearson said.

In other business, the 10-year UT Martin Campus Master Plan was presented by DLR Group, an architecture and engineering design firm. Appearing via Zoom, DLR representatives previewed the plan for board members that will next go to the UT Board of Trustees for final review and approval. The plan addresses space needs and future development on the Martin campus. The plan was created through engagement and visioning meetings with students, faculty and staff as well as using information gathered from a campus-wide survey.

Dr. Charley Deal, vice chancellor for university advancement, presented a fundraising report and recalled major accomplishments since his last presentation to the board in May 2021, which included acquisition of Wildwood Farm in Shelby County, the largest commitment in UT System history. He also noted the announcement of the university’s “RISE” capital fundraising campaign in September 2021 to raise $175 million. To date, the RISE Campaign has reached almost 92% of its goal through 12,832 donors with the campaign set to conclude June 30, 2023. “It’s been an exciting 26 months for me to be vice chancellor for university advancement, and we’re just getting started,” he said. “and you just saw the master plan that is going to be our foundation for the next 10 years as we are looking forward to our next campaign after ‘RISE.’”

“When we look at the future of UT Martin … and the outlook for West Tennessee – I just think it’s really bright when we think about all these new jobs and new people that are going to be coming into this area for those jobs,” Carver said.

Chancellor Keith Carver closed the meeting by reminding board members about the recent funding of UT Martin’s proposed TEST Hub by the Tennessee General Assembly, which he connected to the Blue Oval City development by Ford Motor Co. as a primary reason for legislative support of the project. The $18 million TEST Hub will be located on the west side of the main campus and combine educational facilities, entrepreneurial centers and manufacturing workshops surrounding a shared industrial maker space. “When we look at the future of UT Martin … and the outlook for West Tennessee – I just think it’s really bright when we think about all these new jobs and new people that are going to be coming into this area for those jobs,” Carver said.

Art Sparks, of Union City, chairs the seven-member board and was reelected during the meeting to his third term as chair. In other board-member updates, Dr. Anderson Starling will succeed Dr. Philip Smartt, professor of natural resources management, as faculty representative to the board. Starling is associate professor of political science and interim chair for the Department of Accounting, Finance, Economics, and Political Science.

Also, Iman Ahmed, a junior political science major from Cordova, will follow Kelsea Koonce as the UT Martin student representative to the board. Koonce is a senior in agriculture business major from Newbern. The remaining board members are Hal Bynum, Sharon; Monice Hagler, Memphis; Julia Wells, Jackson; and Johnny Woolfolk, Madison County.

Archived meeting agendas, minutes and meeting webcasts, including the May 20 meeting webcast, are found at www.utm.edu/advisoryboard. Select the “Agenda and Meeting Materials” menu link for archived content. Call the UT Martin Office of University Relations at 731-881-7615 for additional assistance or information.

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