A Letter from UNLV President Neal Smatresk
July 6, 2011
As we enter the summer, I want to take a moment to reflect on the challenges we have faced this past year. Despite a difficult beginning to the legislative session, our initial budget cuts were reduced by half. Your strong advocacy, along with that of our students, alumni, donors and regional friends, was critical to the process. Our Regents and Chancellor led our efforts and along with the Governor and our legislators deserve our thanks and respect for the role they played.
Reducing the cuts by half allowed our leadership team to avoid the drastic impacts we feared early in the session, but we have still suffered an unprecedented loss of faculty and staff from frozen positions, voluntary resignations and non-reappointments. The sacrifice made by tenured faculty accepting the TVSIP buyouts allowed us to save tenured and non-tenured positions and they deserve our thanks. We all share the burden of meeting our cuts as we endure salary reductions, furloughs, reductions in health care benefits, and increased workloads due to reduced staffing. Our students also bear a burden as they face tuition increases. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your sacrifices, your faith in our mission, and your commitment to UNLV. With your help, our critical capacities remain intact, and our commitment to excellence remains unwavering.
As we start our new fiscal year and implement the required cuts, I want to assure you that UNLV will emerge from this crisis stronger and more focused. There is no question that we will ultimately become a smaller, more selective and more entrepreneurial institution. We have all started thinking of what UNLV 2.0 will look like. We will be dedicated to strengthening our educational programs, building critically needed research capacities to serve our region, and reorganizing in all areas to better meet our needs and build a strong national reputation.
With the help of our leadership team and Faculty Senate, we will be taking time this summer and early fall to crystallize this vision by updating our strategic plan through a collaborative process involving all internal stakeholder groups. The Deans and Vice Presidents will work with their units to surface the best ideas for ways to change and adapt to achieve our goals. We will align new plans with current fiscal realities and be certain that planning and resource allocation go hand-in-hand. It will be an important and exciting year that will shape our future and I hope that you will all take ownership in building a stronger foundation for UNLV.
Your efforts and sacrifices this past year are characteristic of the unique spirit of the UNLV community, and I am fortunate to serve as your president.