By Jonathan Smith, Staff Writer
Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, urged a crowd of more than 200 faculty and staff members to continue striving for excellence in his annual State of the University Address Tuesday.
Money also indicated six challenges ACU will face in the coming year for the university to meet it what he called its common responsibility to be excellent.
“If we expect to stay unique, we should not expect the road to be easy,” Money said.
The most costly of the challenges was trying to fill the most critical of the urgent faculty and staff positions. Money cited a survey given to employees asking them to list their additional staffing needs into three levels of necessity. The survey showed an urgent need, the highest level, for 62 new faculty and staff positions. Filling the most critical of those 62 will cost the university between $1.8 and $2.7 million.
Impending Texas Grant and TEG funds cuts of 10-20 percent could result in an increase in scholarships to offset decrease, Money said.
Rounding out the list of challenges were a decrease in the university’s net worth of almost $25 million from 2002 to 2003, a slight decrease in enrollment over the past two years, and increases in medical, property and casualty insurance claims.
Money said meeting the challenges could cost the university between $3.9 and $6.3 million next year.
Money also gave four strategic focuses for the upcoming year. They include: securing and slightly building enrollment, positioning ACU for success in its Centennial campaign, dealing effectively and responsibly with the financial situation and encouraging greater involvement from faculty and staff.
Commending ACU’s uniqueness, Money said the university has become known not only in the religious world, but also the secular.
“We’ve established a secure place in the secular world of higher education,” Money said.
Money gave a list of ACU’s accomplishments over the past decade. Money said since 1993: operating revenues increased from $43 to $75 million, the university’s endowment increased $50 million to around $125 million and the net worth increased $50 million to $175 million.
Student and faculty diversity has also grown in that time to include a 10 percent increase in full-time women faculty as well as more than doubling both student and faculty ethnic diversity, Money said.
“We will protect the tremendous gains we’ve made,” Money said.