Despite news of a “hiring slowdown” earlier this year, Union’s Board of Trustees approved a $1.5 million budget increase April 5.
The $93.5 million budget for 2013-2014, compared to last year’s $92 million budget, will enable the university to upgrade student services and contribute to Union’s faculty and staff, said University President David Dockery.
The budget is Union’s largest on record, and the administration plans to continue to steadily increase the budget in the future, Dockery said.
“While the increase for next year’s budget is a smaller one than in previous years, it still marks the 18th straight year that the university has been able to move forward with a budget increase, a marker of institutional health and growth, for which we thank God,” Dockery said.
He added that the funds from the budget increase come from five sources: undergraduate tuition, graduate student tuition, gifts, grants and auxiliary programs.
Funds cover utility increases, including property insurance, campus updates and expanded services for students, along with modest salary increases for faculty and staff and new positions in the fall.
Other projects include special building projects and endowed scholarships, which are separate from the normal budget, but the budget increase is not included in these funds, Dockery added.
Dockery termed the budget a “cautious proposal” because of the large 2013 graduating class, an unstable economy and the presidential transition.
The hiring slowdown was implemented to allow the upcoming president to have input on important matters that will be a part of shaping the new administration at Union, Dockery said.
He went on to say that implementing a hiring slowdown was not necessarily done to save money, although if savings is a byproduct, that is good.
“The primary purpose is to do the best we can to ensure that the new president will have a voice, if not the final decision,” he said.
In the past Dockery’s administration, Union received a little more than $3.5 million in gifts per year.
“For almost 17 years, we have been blessed of God to see about $11 mil- lion given each year to the university, which will be the case again in 2013,” Dockery said.
The plan is to continue to increase that amount in 2014 and into the future as well, Dockery said.
Carla Sanderson, executive vice president for strategic initiatives and provost, said the hiring slowdown was due to Dockery’s transition process from president to chancellor.
“[The hiring slowdown] is a commitment to conservative budgeting,” she said. “A new president needs the latitude to make personnel decisions according to the new administration’s needs and goals.”