June 9, 2003

This week:

* ASU Employee Picnic, sponsored by Staff Senate, Wednesday, June 11,
11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Pavilion

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Board of Trustees approves operating budgets
In a meeting by telephone conference call Friday, Arkansas State University's Board of Trustees approved the proposed operating budgets for ASU-Jonesboro, ASU-Beebe, ASU-Mountain Home, ASU-Newport, ASU-Marked Tree, and the ASU system office in Little Rock.  The ASU-Beebe budget reflects changes brought about by the merger with Foothills Technical Institute at Searcy, which becomes effective July 1. The total 2003-04 budget for the ASU system includes $129,519,046 for education and general (E&G) expenses, and $21,003,887 for auxiliary operations.

Priority areas for 2003-04 budget 
The budget approved by the Board of Trustees for ASU-Jonesboro was developed through the University Planning Committee process, which has been in use for several years.  Following several weeks of work amid various facets of an uncertain economic environment, participants reached the final spending plan based on these priorities:
* Provide funds for continued support of academic programs;
* Provide funds to support the continuing research efforts;
* Provide funds to accommodate inflationary costs to operate the university, such as health insurance and teachers retirement costs;
* Provide funds for faculty promotions;
* Provide funds for increased costs for scholarships; and
* Provide funds to support continuing diversity initiatives.
While recommending the tuition increase and the funding priorities, President Wyatt noted that a significant omission to this priority list was salary increases.  He said the administration was reluctant at this time to put a larger tuition increase on the "backs of our students" to fund salary increases. He also said that seeking additional funding for raises would be a top priority during a special session of the Legislature.

Resolutions adopted by Board, as recommended
Here's a summary of the resolutions passed during the Friday meeting:
* The Student Union fee was raised to $10 per credit hour, effective with the fall semester.  Student leaders expressed support for the plan.  The fee will be used to help finish the Student Union, which is nearing completion in the center of the campus. Fee proceeds will be used to pay for the fitness center, the plaza areas, finishing costs and audio-visual equipment for the auditorium, and future renovations and equipment replacement as the facility ages. The General Assembly also allocated about $729,000 toward this purpose, to be allocated over a period of two years.
*  A $3 per credit hour technology fee was added for students at the ASU-Technical Center, based at Marked Tree.  ASUTC will use to proceeds to assist in the maintenance and upkeep cost of information technology equipment.
* The "quality improvement" fee assessed at ASU-Beebe was increased to $5 per credit hour, effective with the fall semester.  The increase will align ASU-Beebe fees with the other two-year campuses in the ASU system.  Proceeds will be used for buying computers for classrooms and laboratories, thus improving the quality of instruction.
* The annual resolution authorizing expenditures for printed recruiting and promotion products in 2003-04 was approved, according to Act 823 of 1993.  The total, which remains the same as the current fiscal year, includes $100,000 for the Jonesboro campus, $30,000 for the ASU-Beebe campus, $25,000 for the ASU Technical Center, and $10,000 each for Mountain Home, Newport, Beebe/ASTI, and Heber Springs.
* The tuition increase at ASU-Jonesboro for undergraduate, resident students is 5 percent; for a graduate, resident student, the increase is 5.3 percent.  On a per credit hour basis, the tuition for an undergraduate, resident student will increase $6, from $119 to $125.  The change takes effect with the fall semester.
* The tuition increase for resident students at Beebe, Newport and Mountain Home campuses will be 7.1 percent.  The increase takes effect at Mountain Home in July, while the others take effect in the fall.
* The tuition per credit hour for programs at the ASU Technical Center will increase to $50, effective with the fall semester.

Four-year degree completion: guaranteed! 
While discussing the financial outlook for ASU during the Board meeting Friday, President Wyatt announced the "Finish in 4, Guaranteed!" plan (see Inside ASU, May 27 edition).  He pointed out how students who stick to the plan will benefit economically.  Not only will a "Finish in 4" participant avoid a fifth year of tuition and fees, he or she will be ready to enter the job market earlier and start earning an income. Most bachelor's degree programs at ASU can be completed within four years, but the new plan provides a mechanism for helping students stay on track. It guarantees that graduation will not be delayed because a course was not available. The student must sign an agreement that spells out the specifics of what must be done, and when, to take advantage of the guarantee.  Those attending New Student Orientation during the last week in May were the first to learn about this opportunity.  ASU is believed to be the first institution in Arkansas to develop such a program.

Dealing with those pesky computer viruses
As mentioned in an e-mail alert to the campus last week, ASU's computer network was victimized Wednesday by the "Bug Bear" virus.  What should we do to deal with these attacks?  Make sure you have Norton Anti-Virus software loaded on your computer; schedule a daily scan of your entire hard drive; get the latest virus file update from Symantec; and don't open file attachments from anyone you don't know, or file attachments which you are not expecting. Information and Technology Services has information on viruses, how to avoid them, and how to avoid the forwarded hoaxes that maliciously encourages message recipients to delete "virus" files which are actually required system files.  Another tip: disable the e-mail preview pane feature in Outlook and Outlook Express. See the ITS virus page for details.

Ideas and material are welcome
Repeated from last edition: We are reminding the campus community that Inside ASU includes news and information for all faculty and staff.  You may submit information for possible inclusion to Tom Moore, tmoore@astate.edu, in the University Communications office.

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