Chancellor Hank Huckaby visited the VSU campus to meet with student leaders for his series of college tours of the 35 college institutions of Georgia at the University Center on Sept 16.
In his visit, Huckaby covered budget cuts, the discussion of the new Health Sciences and Business Administration building, and enrollment with student leaders. Twenty student leaders were chosen for the event including VSU ambassador Arin Patterson, Student Assistant for Student Life Quonita Booker, members of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) and members of The Spectator.
For the opening of the discussion, Huckaby discussed the need for a more proactive and effective plan for K-12 students as well as college students by next summer. According to an article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, in 2010, studies showed for every six students who attend college four students don’t see graduation.
“We want to work more closely with all students, especially with K-12,”said Huckaby.
“People believe that these days a college degree isn’t relevant anymore.” Huckaby also answered students’ questions about the recent budget cuts through the states university systems.
In a letter to students and faculty, Dr. Levy announced the budget cuts for the 2012-13 fiscal year.
“This summer, we were hopeful that we would not have additional budget cuts; however, we were notified that there will be a 2 percent budget cut for FY12 and FY13,” said Dr. Levy.
“We have weathered the storm for several years with continued reductions in our state allocations.”
The interim president noted that VSU has often risen to the occasion when it comes to budget cuts.
“The faculty, staff and students are resilient and we have managed more than $12 million in budget cuts during the past three years,” said Dr. Levy.
Enrollment was also a topic of discussion on Friday, although the official numbers of enrollment will not be revealed until mid-October. VSU has projected that the total number of students is at least over 13,000, including a 12 percent increase in the school’s graduate programs. According to the 2010-2011 Fact Book, the total number of students stood at 12,898, which was a 4.1 percent increase from 2009.
Students were satisfied with Huckaby’s visit and the informative discussion. SGA president Graham Davis was interested with the new plans for the systems efforts for enrollment.
“I couldn’t have been more thrilled with the turnout of student representation for his visit,” Davis said. “It was a diverse group, and I felt that everyone was able to get a feel for what Chancellor Huckaby is all about.”
“Obviously, some questions were posed to the Chancellor that could be qualified as “touchy” subjects in the University System, but it was good to have all of that information out on the table for our students. I am interested to see how the system plans to implement their new strategy of fund allocation based on an increase in standards across the board.”
Some of the “touchy” subjects included a potential increase in tuition and the possibility of consolidations between schools.
“I know this will raise some controversy,” Huckaby said. “There isn’t a list, or notions about who will be merged with whom.” It was not stated if there will be primary or secondary schools merging.
VSU Ambassador Arin Patterson was also thrilled about the discussion.
“This was a great experience and I learned some new things,” said Patterson. “I’m glad I was invited to the meeting.”
This was Huckaby’s ninth stop on his 35 college tour, and the Chancellor was impressed with VSU and its new plans for a Health Sciences and Education Building.
The new building will serve as an advanced academic facility for nursing majors and communication majors. The building was proposed in the school’s 2007 master plan.
VSU also received a total of $400,000 from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services for the plan and 2.8 million for the building’s design from the Georgia legislature in the fiscal year of 2011.
On Sept. 14 the USG Board of Regents included 32 million for the HSBA building in the FY12 project recommendations. For the fiscal year of 2014, the school is requesting 3.8 million dollars to complete the project.