Martha Pollack, University provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, made an appearance at the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs meeting Monday, discussing goals for recruitment, college affordability and funding allocations.
At the meeting, Pollack reflected on her first few months as provost and discussed upcoming initiatives to improve various aspects on campus, including improved education, a more diverse student culture, college affordability and research enterprise.
During the meeting, members also discussed changes in benefits and salaries and asked for more transparency from committees discussing these changes.
To improve campus inclusion, Pollack said she’s in the early stages of working on a new recruitment program for community-college students.
According to Pollack, the program would “strengthen (the University’s) ties to community colleges and expand student support services” and is a “really good way to try and tackle” what she says is a diversity problem.
SACUA also discussed ways to allocate resources, and how to keep college affordable for students while still ensuring departments receive their appropriate funds.
“We have a huge array of programs on campus that are intended to address diversity on campus,” Pollack said. “What we need to do is figure out which ones we want to put more resources into.”
According to Pollack, over the past year, average loans for in-state students decreased by $500, while the number of out-of-state students for whom the University met full financial need doubled. Additionally, in 2012 University had the lowest in-state tuition increase in the past 30 years.
“College affordability continues to be a top priority,” Pollack said. “We still have a lot farther to go, but if you look at socioeconomic diversity in-state we see continued steady progress over the past decade. It’s still not where we want it to be, but we’re definitely on the right track.”
Pollack also discussed potential ways of using technology to increase efficiency and use the savings to increase hands-on learning and integrated learning experiences.
Associate Prof. Sally Oey expressed concerns about allocated resources among research departments.
“The research quality is really what drives the quality of our teaching and everything else,” Oey said. “I feel like the IT support that we have right now is being physically removed from us and is reducing its efficiency. I am concerned when I looked at who was advising the faculty committees because there are few faculty directly on these committees.”
Correction Appended: A previous version of this article misstated Pollack’s summary of financial aid awards and decreasing student loan debt.