Cutting administrative costs will allow UA administrators to give back to students, faculty and staff support programs, the UA chancellor said in his annual State of the University address.
Reducing the amount spent on supplies for the more than 4,000 printers on campus, as well as other administrative costs, would result in money that could better serve students and faculty and staff, Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz said.
“For every $2 we identify in cost savings, we will return $1 to student support and $1 to faculty support,” Steinmetz said.
Another example of cost-cutting that would provide money for student and faculty support services is searching for efficient test-taking services used in classes with hundreds of students, Steinmetz said.
Upgrading the wireless network in Hillside Auditorium
Upgrading the wireless network in Hillside Auditorium allowed a professor who was forced to use an exam-proctoring service that cost $90,000 each semester to provide test proctoring for five tests each semester to switch to a better in-class option that cost less, Steinmetz said.
“Frankly, that’s $90,000 I’m glad we’re not paying anymore,” Steinmetz said.
Steinmetz also stressed the importance of creating more campus jobs for students. He thinks it would be less expensive than outsourcing the work.
“I know our students would appreciate the chance to earn some extra income,” Steinmetz said.
The UofA also reached records in freshman retention and graduation rate, Steinmetz said. These are two areas he has tried to improve as during his nearly three years as chancellor.
The UofA retained just under 84 percent of freshmen students from last year and the six-year graduation rate reached 65.5 percent, Steinmetz said.
Steinmetz thinks that retaining freshman can raise the graduation rate, he said.
“There is a ripple effect we see in the junior, sophomore and senior years,” Steinmetz said.
Increasing freshman retention has been a part of Steinmetz’s plan to level out UA enrollment at 30,000 students on campus, he said.
UA administrators conducted a study of the campus and decided that 30,000 students is the ideal number for the UA campus at its current size, Steinmetz said.
In addition to increasing retention, the school has begun to intentionally limit the number of freshmen it enrolls each year, with just over 5,000 new freshman this year, Steinmetz said. This was an increase of approximately 250 students over last year’s enrollment.
UA administrators also try to balance 50 percent Arkansan students with 50 percent out-of-state students, Steinmetz said.
In the last year the UofA has been able to achieve that balance of in-state and out-of-state students within one percentage point, Steinmetz said.
To encourage Arkansan students to attend, 87 percent of scholarship money at the UofA is awarded to Arkansas students, Steinmetz said.
Steinmetz thinks that the mindset of UA students, faculty and staff, should be accepting to new ideas and willing to creatively tackle problems on campus, he said.
“When presented with a challenge or a new idea, let’s focus on saying ‘yes’ instead of defaulting to ‘no’,” Steinmetz said.