Welcome to the Fall 2013 Semester

Aug. 27, 2013

Welcome to the Fall 2013 semester at UNLV. We hope faculty are excited to begin meeting our students, teaching classes and engaging in world class research!

UNLV’s past few years have tested us and found us worthy. For Fall 2013, I am looking forward to a productive semester, one that will be filled with challenges and changes. 

To the faculty and staff, I thank you for your participation in the inaugural UNLV Creates program. The turnout by the academic community was incredibly positive with over 300 UNLV faculty and staff participating in the event. As a first run, our event was very successful; however, we recognize there is room for improvement. There will be a debriefing session in the near future to gather feedback from faculty, staff and students. The program successfully injected an academic component into our student welcome. This year’s program consolidated three distinct events, leading to a lengthier program than we might want in the future. Next year, we are likely to expand and separate at least some points of the program. I am particularly hopeful that more faculty will participate in the academic message portion – please look forward to a call to participate in the future. In addition, we will work to address the many little issues such as the long wait in the tunnel. 

Other causes for celebration this Fall are the restoration of the 2.5% cut in base pay effective July 1; the restoration of merit pay for fiscal year 2015; an increase of 14.66% in incoming freshmen over last year; an increase in undergraduate student enrollment of more than 4% for 2014; an increase in total student enrollment of 4.63%; and the appointment of 86 new full-time faculty including 44 new tenure-track or tenured faculty. 

We will be continuing to work on various initiatives that were put on the table throughout this year: 

  • Reduce PTI reliance and expand instructional capacity of full-time faculty through appointment of more instruction-intensive faculty funded from the existing PTI budget
  • Begin to push for expansion of research capacity through enhancement of tenure-track and tenured positions with research-intensive instructional loads
  • Focus for the coming year on student progression, retention, completion
  • Focus for the coming year on improving our support for faculty -- the appointment of a new Coordinator of Instructional Support and Research; the continuation of the faculty mentoring program; the establishment of a campus-wide system for tracking faculty achievement; and the expansion of our annual spring academic recognition ceremony into a "showcase" event highlighting our faculty's achievements in Innovation, Collaboration and Community Impact.
  • Launching the Tier One initiative -- a renewed focus on academic strategic planning to advance our research activity towards designation as a Carnegie "Very High" research university 
  • CoRE - continuation of faculty driven process to identify key areas for advancing collaborative / team research and fostering culture of collaboration across disciplines and colleges
  • Completion of the IT Master Plan and implementation of its recommendations for enhancing our IT infrastructure and support
  • Focus on improved business practices in academic areas including better support for faculty, chairs and directors in complying with state and federal requirements.

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us this Fall and beyond. Many colleges and schools faculty meetings are already underway and I look forward to attending these meetings, if at all possible, and discussing these items with you, and answering any of your questions to the extent possible.

May I wish all of you an enjoyable semester, and I look forward to seeing many of you throughout the next few months.

John Valery White 
Executive Vice President and Provost