UCF President John C. Hitt welcomed faculty members back to campus today, sharing news of new hires and salary increases for the coming year.

The 100 new faculty hires to be added during the next year will be in addition to replacements for retiring and departing faculty members.

“These new colleagues will be hired across the colleges, and 90 percent of them will be tenure track faculty,” Hitt said. “My top priority remains to add as many new faculty members for the following year – and the years beyond – as our resources will allow, while also rewarding you for your talent and efforts.”

Speaking at the Student Union, the president said the raises are long overdue after seven years of state budget cutbacks.

“Starting in 2007, a wave of budget cuts slowed the momentum of this university, and they forced you to endure hardships and make sacrifices,” he said.

Hitt praised faculty members for maintaining their professional and personal values, and remaining focused on the success of students even while they had to teach more courses or manage larger classes.

The new budget calls for salary increases of up to 5 percent – 3 percent across the board and 2 percent merit increases. Members of the United Faculty of Florida will be asked to ratify the agreement, and the UCF Board of Trustees also must approve. Once those approvals are obtained, the raises would be put into place with an effective date beginning Aug. 8, Hitt said. These same raises are being provided to eligible staff members and administrators.

The president also provided some insight about the possible expansion of UCF in downtown Orlando.

“The interest in a greater downtown presence intensified in January when I joined Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and others on a trip to see the downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University,” the president said. “Folks, it’s impressive.”

That 22-acre campus in Phoenix serves 11,000 students and has a student union, offices, wellness facility and student residences.

UCF has received a $2 million appropriation by the state Legislature to look into the feasibility of expanding its presence downtown.

In other announcements, President Hitt said UCF will:

  • invest significant talent and resources to raise the first-to-second-year student retention rate from 87 percent to 90 percent and the six-year graduation rate from 67 percent to 70 percent — in the next three years.
  • strengthen the commitment to the newly formed University Innovation Alliance, a national partnership of 11 influential schools that seeks to refocus the national higher-education agenda from one that values privilege and prestige to one that values student success.
  • embark on an ambitious effort to attract outstanding students from around the world. In December, the university plans to break ground on a 50,000-square-foot building along Memory Mall dedicated to the initiative. “We believe Global UCF could attract hundreds of students annually, enhancing cultural exchanges on campus and generating much-needed revenue in these days of reduced state support,” the president said.
  • For the complete text of the president’s speech, go to president.ucf.edu/speeches/facultywelcome.asp.