Archive for September, 2010
I am grateful to our campus community for the way it responded to the emergency that took place at Perry-Castañeda Library Tuesday morning. The University Police Department and the Austin Police Department responded quickly and professionally. Law enforcement teams from multiple agencies worked together to ensure that the entire campus was safe.
I want to thank our faculty, staff, and students for their cooperation and vigilance. Our emergency communications system reached thousands of members of the University community promptly and helped keep the campus informed.
I extend my sympathy to the family, friends, and classmates of the young student who took his life. In the days ahead we will attempt to understand his actions and to learn from this tragedy. We invite those who would like counseling services to contact the Counseling and Mental Health Center (for students) or the Employee Assistance Program (for staff and faculty).
I know that this has been a stressful experience for everyone on the campus. I appreciate the cooperation we received from students, faculty, staff, and their families in responding to this difficult situation.
September 28: I’ll comment on the emergency on our campus today in the next Tower Talk.
I recently attended an open house for the new UT Center for Students in Recovery. The Center fosters a supportive community for students who have battled any type of addiction and chosen to lead sober lives. The Center provides meeting space, counseling services, and social and academic support programs for these students.
I’m happy to lend my support to the Center, and its energetic director, Ivana Grahovac. UT Regent Steve Hicks joined us for the open house, and I’m grateful for his interest and support. Red McCombs has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Center, which is located in the School of Social Work Building, Room 1.108.
The Center for Students in Recovery coordinates many activities and opportunities where students learn about addiction, recovery, and leadership. It also sponsors a lively support group for students and members of the campus community who are recovering from all forms of addiction that meets Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. at the Center.
The Center is part of the Health Promotion Resources Center in University Health Services, which offers students a broad range of educational programs on nutrition, stress management, alcohol and drugs, and other health issues.
At UT, we frequently praise the discipline, focus, and hard work that our students devote to academic achievement, student government, the arts, and athletics. But I know that overcoming addiction requires its own form of discipline and stamina. The stakes are high—it’s a battle that must be fought each day and the outcome can mean the difference between life and death.
I’m proud of our students who have faced these challenges and made positive changes in their lives.
As I mentioned in the email, the University Budget Council reached the decision that UT cannot afford to commit to permanent salary increases for fiscal year 2010-11. However, we will implement a one-time, merit-based payment program for staff and faculty. The raise pool amounts to approximately 2% of total current compensation for staff and faculty.
These salary increases will be administered in the form of a single payment on December 7th of this year. Employees are eligible for consideration if they have been employed by the University for the six months immediately preceding November 1, 2010 and at least six months has elapsed since the employee’s last merit increase. Payments are based on performance, so some will receive more than 2%, some will receive less than 2%, and some will not receive a payment. Staff and faculty will be notified by their department in November of their recommended increases.
All one-time merit payments are subject to taxes and will be included in computations that determine retirement benefits in the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) and in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP).
I know this is not an ideal plan, but it is the best we can do in this environment of austerity and budget cuts.
I appreciate all of the dedicated work that our staff and faculty perform on this campus every day.
Thank you for everything you do to create an even better university.
Before this week’s State of the University Address, we presented an awards video honoring faculty, staff, and students. If you missed it, there’s a link below.
I’d also like to share the full text of the address for those of you who want to know more about UT’s current challenges and opportunities.
The video recognizes more than one hundred members of our campus community who received awards and distinctions during the past year. These are just a few of the people at UT whose work is making a difference.
I’m honored to work with these outstanding colleagues and students.
Today is the 127th anniversary of the opening of UT and this afternoon I’ll be speaking to students, faculty, and staff to update everyone on the state of the University. For those of you located off campus or unable to attend, streaming video of the address will be available online at: http://www.utexas.edu/events/sotu_address/2010/
I hope you’ll tune in.
Hook ’em, Horns!
I was very proud to learn that one of our physicists, George Sudarshan, was awarded the 2010 Dirac Medal and Prize (with Italian physicist Nicola Cabibbo). This international prize is awarded annually to scientists who have made significant contributions to theoretical physics.
Professor Sudarshan is an internationally acclaimed physicist who has made his reputation in quantum mechanics and particle theory. His work includes the V-A Theory of Weak Interactions and the Quantum Theory of Optical Coherence, which laid the basic foundations for these areas of physics. The Dirac Medal recognizes Sudarshan’s work on weak interactions, one of the four fundamental forces of nature crucial to the structure of our universe.
Professor Sudarshan has been on our faculty since 1969. He established and directed the Center for Particle Theory, which has helped to build the University’s world renowned reputation in physics.
Congratulations to George Sudarshan for winning the Dirac Medal. For more than 40 years he has been an outstanding member of our faculty.
What starts here changes the world.