USF President Judy Genshaft spoke about a lot of things during her annual fall address Thursday.
The case of controversial professor Sami Al-Arian was not one of them.
Despite reports that Genshaft spent nearly half her time on the Al-Arian situation, she only alluded to the difficulties of the past year.
“(I realized there) would be big challenges,” Genshaft said. ” I just didn’t expect them to come all at once.”
What Genshaft did say to nearly 200 USF faculty and staff was that the university is in the midst of implementing several new programs to improve life for faculty and students.
Among these programs is a movement to increase the power of the USF Board of Trustees.
Michael Reich, director for media relations, said the increased power would include spending, tuition and human-resource control. He said more would be known closer to the planned implementation date in January.
Genshaft said she would like to see higher acceptance standards and better quality students at USF. She said the current increased averages for new students are a 3.6 grade point average and an SAT score of 1,056.
Genshaft said the university lost money in the late 1990s after a few years of poor enrollment. She said, however, that enrollment is now at an all-time high, with 39,000 students and a record 7,000 graduate students.
In addition to increased enrollment, Genshaft said she hopes to improve student retention rates.
As for the faculty, Genshaft thanked researchers for the $207 million in research money made by the university in the past year. According to Genshaft’s slide presentation, that is up from $186.2 million from a year ago.
Genshaft said she wants to improve pay for faculty members, offering a new faculty award for excellence. She said faculty members who receive the award will earn salary increases of eight to 10 percent.
Genshaft’s address was titled “The Strategic Transformation of USF.” She spent a large amount of time discussing the growth of the university.
Genshaft said the university needs to be more accessible and recognizable by the public. She said for future growth to continue, the entire university must function as one.
“We have a whole greater than the sum of its parts,” Genshaft said.