Tag Archives: University of Memphis

Winfield Dunn busted at UT Memphis

A bronze bust of former Gov. Winfield Dunn, a dentist who served as Tennessee’s governor from 1971-75, was unveiled Tuesday in the lobby of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry building that bears his name, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Dunn, 89, graduated from the college in 1955 and served as honorary chairman of a capital campaign that once raised $19 million for the college. He was instrumental in winning the first donation from the state of Tennessee in the history of the college, said its dean, Timothy Hottel.

Uses of the funds include renovations to the Dunn Dental Building, which opened in 1977 at 875 Union.

Dunn, a Republican governor, attended with his son, Chuck. He took a photograph of the bust with his smart phone to send to his wife, Betty, who could not attend, he said.

The bust was made by an anplastologist at the college, Maddie Singer. Singer said she visited the Dunns and worked from photographs while checking with the family to ensure the likeness. Anaplastologists, using art and science, provide patients with custom-designed prosthetics for the face, eyes or body.

Haslam lobbies sports league for Memphis

Gov. Bill Haslam said Friday he contacted Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby and several university presidents in the Power 5 league to speak on behalf of the University of Memphis and its campaign to become an expansion member, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Memphis is among several top candidates seeking one of two – and possibly four – invitations to the league, which is considering adding to its 10-team conference.

U of M president M. David Rudd has been leading the Memphis drive and enlisted Haslam’s help. Haslam said he spoke to presidents on the Big 12’s composition, or expansion, committee.

“Dr. Rudd had called and said we would really like to make this happen, can you help?” Haslam told a reporter from The Tennessean. “I doubt I was a persuasive factor in it, but I tried to help any way I could.”

Haslam briefly discussed his involvement with the Memphis bid following an education event in Nashville. He said if the U of M were to receive an invitation, it would be a “step up.”

Haslam’s comments came on a day an ESPN report revealed the Big 12 will conduct video conferences with representatives from 17 schools that have contacted the league regarding expansion. The U of M is one of the 17 schools that reportedly will be contacted by Bowlsby, who was given instructions last month by the league’s board of directors to “actively evaluate” expansion.

Memphis, BYU, Cincinnati and Houston have emerged as top candidates to join the more lucrative Power 5 league, but South Florida, Central Florida, UConn, Colorado State and Boise State also are campaigning

Gibbons to lead new Public Safety Institute at University of Memphis

Soon-to-be-former Tennessee Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons will lead the new Public Safety Institute at the University of Memphis, reports the Commercial Appeal.

Gibbons will also serve as president of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, effective Sept. 1. Gibbons is leaving the state post on Aug. 31.

The Public Safety Institute is a joint venture of the Crime Commission and the U of M. It will be housed in the university’s School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy, and will draw on researchers from across the university, officials said.

Gibbons said he hopes to focus on “best practices in fighting crime” as well as evaluating current methods of combating crime.

“It is a challenge, but I do not accept the notion that our current crime rate is inevitable, that it’s something we have to live with. I reject that notion,” Gibbons said.

TN public universities spent $50M on coach salaries in 2015

Public universities in Tennessee spent $50.7 million on coaches’ salaries in 2015 with the University of Tennessee and the University of Memphis leading the way, according to data compiled through a USA TODAY national investigation.

Further, as reported by the Commercial Appeal:

The University of Tennessee, with an operating budget of $126.6 million, spent $18.2 million on salaries, or 14.3 percent of its budget. The University of Memphis, with an operating budget of $43.4 million, spent $11.2 million on salaries, or 25.8 percent of its budget.

Only one of the other seven public universities in the state — Middle Tennessee State — spent more than $5 million on coaching salaries. Middle Tennessee paid its coaches $5.3 million, or 16.8 percent of its budget.

At Tennessee, the athletic program’s spending on coaches salaries hasn’t increased as quickly as it has at Memphis, but the $18,160,180 the Vols spent in 2015 is almost $7 million more than the Tigers’ $11,191,649 and the highest total in the state.

The gap between Tennessee and the other schools in the state is much larger in support staff and administrative compensation. Tennessee spent $20,470,689 in that category in 2015. No other state school spent more than $6,075,765.

Tennessee has been able to spend more in compensation in part because it has had to pay less money in severance packages. Tennessee has spent a total of $21,087,757 on severance pay since 2005 including $7,969,849 in 2013 when football coach Derek Dooley and his staff were fired. Tennessee also spent $3,719,285 in severance in 2011 when basketball coach Bruce Pearl, baseball coach Todd Raleigh and athletic director Mike Hamilton were fired and $6,953,625 in 2009 after football coach Phillip Fulmer was fired.

UofM faculty complains of ‘secretive’ move to bring ‘direct competitor’ onto campus

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Faculty members at the University of Memphis say they have concerns about a new teacher training program under consideration.

The Commercial Appeal reports the newspaper and faculty obtained Relay Graduate School of Education’s 448-page application last month through the Freedom of Information Act. The university has offered Relay free classroom and office space for the program that it proposes to start next summer.

According to the newspaper (http://bit.ly/13gQ6jP), faculty in the college of education sent a letter on Wednesday to President David Rudd.

“This decision is literally bringing a direct competitor onto our campus and promoting them as an option for our undergraduates to move into Relay’s Graduate School of Education MAT (master’s of arts in teaching) degree,” according to the letter from faculty in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership.

“Of perhaps even greater concern and cause for alarm is the secretive manner in which the University’s administration has undertaken this endeavor, after indicating that we would be informed as details were put into writing earlier this academic year,” the letter says.

Rudd said on Thursday that he plans to forward the final agreement to faculty, but the current documents are preliminary.

“I am happy to forward whatever anyone wants to see, but I would put a sticky note on it saying, ‘This is just the starting point and not the ending point.’ You have to start somewhere in the negotiations. For the record, I look forward to meeting and discussing their concerns in detail and understanding their position.”

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission is scheduled to decide next month whether Relay will be allowed to operate in the state.

University of Memphis eyes raising minimum wage for workers to $10.10 per hour

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The University of Memphis is considering paying a minimum wage of $10.10 an hour and stepping into a national debate over how much workers should make for their efforts.

University President M. David Rudd told employees in an email last week that he’s asked the state Board of Regents to raise base pay for the school’s workers up from $8.75 an hour.

For more than three years, unions and social activists have called for sharply higher minimum pay at U of M and other employers throughout the city. But wages have only slowly climbed.

U of M went ahead with a request for higher pay after paring spending in its tight budget.

Memphis labor leader Tom Smith told The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/1t8MH0N ) the 15.4-percent increase would apply to about 125 employees at the city’s largest university.

“This is an extremely welcome move,” said Smith, lead organizer in Memphis for United Campus Workers-Communication Workers of America Local 3865.

Rudd’s email singled out efficiencies in the university for opening way for the raises. Higher wages could cost U of M about $350,000 next year, according to one estimate.

“For the past several months, we have been evaluating employee salaries and looking for ways to create an affordable living wage for our lowest paid employees,” Rudd’s email says. “While we can all agree that we have experienced challenging times, thanks to your hard work and dedication we have made great progress in creating efficiencies and positioning the University for continued growth.”

In 2011, Local 3865 and the Memphis religious group Workers Interfaith Network began urging then-U of M president Shirley Raines to increase the college’s minimum wage. Raines retired in 2013. By then the university was embroiled in budget issues Rudd inherited when he took over this year. A steep drop in enrollment had created a $20 million gap in U of M’s $478 million annual budget

In February, Rudd announced plans to trim costs in academic affairs by $10.6 million. Another $4.5 million in planned cuts are due this budget year.

In raising their minimum wage, public schools like U of M have no official guidelines. In 2013, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis raised its base wage to $10 per hour.

While many employers rely on the federal $7.25 standard, Tennessee has no state-mandated minimum wage.

Rudd’s email came on the heels of Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery’s call in September to raise the minimum wage in the city of Memphis. He has not specified an amount.

The U.S. Congress enacted the minimum wage in 1938 after decades of debate and opposition from business groups. President Barack Obama backed a bill to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, but Congress hasn’t approved the measure. Obama has raised minimum hourly wages for federal contract workers to $10.10.

Senate confirms appointment of University of Memphis administrator as federal judge in West TN

Nine months after she was nominated, University of Memphis administrator Sheryl H. Lipman has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the newest federal judge for West Tennessee, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The Senate voted 95 to 0 on Wednesday to confirm Lipman, who President Obama nominated for the judgeship last August upon the recommendation of U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. She replaces Jon McCalla, who announced last year that he was going on senior status.

“I’m humbled by the confidence of Congressman Cohen, of the community members he involved in the selection process, and of the president,” Lipman said. “I’m looking forward to really continuing in public service – going from my position here to a different sort of public service. I certainly view becoming a federal judge as continuing in public service.”

Lipman, 51, said she expects to be sworn in during a private ceremony at the end of May. A ceremonial, public swearing-in will be held sometime this summer.

University of Memphis provost to be named as president

University of Memphis provost M. David Rudd will be the university’s next president, reports the Commercial Appeal. The decision won’t be official until Thursday.

Tennessee Board of Regents chancellor John Morgan recommended Rudd on Friday over three other finalists, but the regents still need to approve the hire, which they are expected to do May 1. Historically, the TBR has approved the chancellor’s recommendation for president.

Rudd, 53, became provost at the U of M in March 2013, replacing longtime provost Ralph Faudree. Before that, he served as dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science and scientific director of the National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah.

“Dr. Rudd is committed to the university and has a strong vision for its future that is supported by the community and business leaders in the region,” chancellor John Morgan said. “He has worked closely with the interim president over the past year, and the work they’ve done in a short period of time has been notable. I expect Dr. Rudd will maintain that momentum.”

Rudd replaces R. Brad Martin, retired chairman and CEO of retailer Saks Inc., who agreed to serve as interim U of M president without a salary after the June 30, 2013 retirement of Shirley Raines, who served as president for 12 years.

A $20 million ‘Gap’ Appears at the University of Memphis

The University of Memphis has a $20 million “gap” in its finances due mainly to declining enrollment and reduced state revenue, reports the Memphis Flyer.

“We don’t have a deficit,” said David Zettergren, vice-president for business and finance. “We are not allowed to have a deficit. We had a balanced budget in the spring and we will have a balanced budget in the fall.”

He described the situation as a “gap” instead and said the university is doing several things to “shore it up” including restructuring workloads, voluntary buyouts, and “efficiencies” on the administrative side.

“We have done voluntary buyouts in the past, but we need to do more,” he said.

University faculty and staff were made aware of “the gap” this summer. On Tuesday, an email from interim president Brad Martin went out.

“A reconfiguration is required to address the funding gap and meet community work force demands, while also ensuring that tuition remains as low as possible,” it said.

“Beginning immediately, all vacant positions (including faculty, staff, part-time instructors and temporary appointments) will be subject to a strategic hiring review process. This review will evaluate whether to move forward with filling positions based on the implications for enrollment growth, productivity and overall institutional efficiency . . . Some vacant positions will be filled, but many others will be eliminated or combined in conjunction with reconfigurations of the work within some areas.”

Might the State Merge Methodist College with University of Memphis?

The future of Lambuth University has been cloudy since the private Methodist college lost accreditation in December, reports the Commercial Appeal, and there’s at least some talk about the state taking it over.
When Gov. Bill Haslam visited Jackson recently, (Jackson Mayor Jerry) Gist talked to him about Lambuth’s woes. According to Gist, Haslam said he would be meeting with Shirley Raines, the University of Memphis president, and would mention the prospect of U of M taking over the campus as some kind of satellite or extension.
“The governor is currently gathering information about the situation in Lambuth,” said David Smith, Haslam’s press secretary.
State Senate majority leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville, said he’s aware of talks about the possibility of U of M acquiring Lambuth, but doesn’t know details.
“There is no such association being discussed by the U of M with anybody,” said Curt Guenther, a U of M spokesman. “There has been a rumor that the mayor of Jackson and the governor, or somebody from his office, or somebody from the state government in Nashville, may have been discussing such an association, but the U of M is not part of any such discussions, even if they have been taking place.”