UT’s recent partnership with TARTA, program affordability and a tuition guarantee program were among the many points Sharon Gaber cited in her State of the University Address on April 18 as “successes” during her third year as UT’s president.
She also described how the university needs to grow in order to compete with other institutions.
“The strategic plan lays out five priorities, first improving student success, second reaching national prominence in research, scholarship and creative activities, third cultivating a culture of excellence, fourth building and maintaining a strong financial base,” Gaber said. “Fifth strengthening our reputation and community engagement.”
“Our primary goal is to help students succeed and that means for them to graduate and pursue meaningful lives and successful careers,” Gaber said. “While they’re here we owe them an excellent education, a supportive and inclusive environment, and opportunities for hands on learning through co-ops, internships, study abroad and other experiential learning activities.”
Gaber also announced two programs to make UT more affordable.
“Our tuition guaranteed program means they will pay the same tuition and general fees from their first day of school to graduation, four years later,” she said. “Our digital course content program provides students a digital version of their class materials at a significant cost-savings. This is to combat the high price of textbooks paying up to $300 less.”
With the $6 million renovation of Carlson Library completed, the library has seen a 40 percent increase in foot traffic.
“We estimate that three million people have come through the doors this year,” Gaber said.
Recently, UT and TARTA partnered to become the transportation provider in addition to the UT bus system.
Students and employees can show their Rocket IDs to use TARTA buses to go anywhere in the city for no charge.
Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell joined the student affairs division as the vice president, Gaber said.
“He set up a positive service, oriented and dedicated to serving our students, which includes snacks and popcorn in his office.”
To work more closely with counseling services and make student support services more available, the Title IX office was moved from Scott Park to the Main Campus in Snyder Memorial. She said this is to make these services more accessible, she said.
“We have received 233 research awards and $41 million in external research,” Gaber said. “I am energized by our researchers’ accomplishments, and the knowledge they are sharing with the world.”
A tight budget and tricky financial stability are not new to UT, but Gaber believes the university is in a better place.
“On our first Day of Giving we raised nearly $454,000 in 36 hours,” Gaber said. “For our largest gift to the university ever, Well Tower donated real estate valued at over $30 million.”
She also described the need to recruit qualified faculty and staff, a problem she said faces many universities.
“We need to recruit top faculty and staff to provide the excellent education our students deserve and we need to do that in modern facilities aided with the latest technology to attract the best students,” Gaber said.
As Gaber’s parting thoughts, she spoke about Rocket pride. “We are Toledo’s university, we need to stop apologizing for the fact that we are accessible to many students in Toledo who might not have an opportunity to attend college if we were not here,” said Gaber.