University of Utah President J. Bernard Machen has confidence the upcoming Legislature will consider giving his institution flexibility in funding allocation, he said Thursday.
His reasoning? The Utah Board of Regents is putting in place methods to measure accountability in the state's nine colleges and universities, including minimum faculty workloads. And Machen has discussed the matter with lawmakers."It's a concept business people have no problem with," said Machen, who will be installed as the U.'s 13th president next week. "I think it's at least going to get a fair hearing this year."
His comments came at a weekly meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Salt Lake City.
Machen last month boldly proposed to regents that he go to Capitol Hill to ask for a lump sum. Since institutions' greatest needs are not always popular with lawmakers holding higher education purse strings, Machen said he prefers to be allocated a lump sum and have U. officials determine spending.
He also has said institutions need freedom to establish different tuition structures for undergraduate and graduate programs. Such budgeting tactics were used at the University of Michigan, where he was provost before coming to Utah.
In other matters, Machen told Kiwanis that the U. falls short in its student recruitment. The comment came after a man asked why two students, who graduated at the top of their high school class, never received any information from the U., their school of choice.
"I don't think the University of Utah has done near as good of a job it can and should do in advertising its programs, recruiting the best and the brightest in the state and getting them to want to come to our university," he said, asking for the names of the aforementioned students.
A new video depicting life at the 25,000-student university was distributed to incoming freshman this year, a change in the right direction, Machen said. Also, guidance counselors at high schools will need to be contacted to help boost recruiting.