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CAN'T GET SPRING FAST ENOUGH: Shorts, skirts and flipflops: Students outside the TSC are eagerly awaiting the warmth that has been favoring Salt Lake City for weeks. / Photo by Josh Russell
today's word on

Thursday, March 10, 2005

From the High School Free Speech Front:

"If they feel an article isn't appropriate, they will pull it -- or ask the student to make changes to it. They said that isn't censorship. They said they're just approving or not approving what goes in. What's your definition of censorship?"

--Hawley Kunz, co-editor of the Warrior News, Weber High School, Pleasant View, Utah. The principal ordered prior review of the monthly newspaper after an editorial critical of the condition of the school's running track. (3/8/05)

Stan Albrecht veered from veterinary plans to role as Head Aggie

By Megan Roe

February 9, 2005 | Stan Albrecht never planned on becoming a university president. As a young boy, he wanted to become a veterinarian.

"I discovered somewhere along the way that I was really more interested in people than I was in animals," Albrecht said.

Albrecht said he loves teaching, working with students and research. These are the reasons he chose this profession -- not to become president.

Nevertheless, new position makes him one of the busiest people on campus. In fact, the new USU president has been so busy he hasn't had time to put together a detailed agenda or decide if he will follow in former President Kermit Hall's footsteps and put his inauguration money into a scholarship. He said he is not going to have an expensive inauguration, but he will have "some kind of celebration."

The new USU president said he needs to meet with potential donors, Congress and constituent groups around the state but he'd like to make the first 100 days of his presidency to be "campus focused."

"Over that 100 days, I'm going to meet with 100 students, 100 faculty, and 100 staff and just get a feel from those at our university as to how they feel about Utah State, what they're excited about and what things they'd like to see their new president do," Albrecht said.

NEW MAN AT THE HELM: Stan Albrecht in his office in Champ Hall,
Old Main. / Photo by Josh Russell

He hopes that an agenda for his presidency will "evolve" out of that period. He already has many ideas. Some of those ideas are to continue to focus on academics, retain freshmen, not deny students for financial reasons and retain and attract faculty.

Albrecht said USU faculty salaries are about 17 percent below those of its peer institutions. He said Logan's cost of housing is actually higher than many of the cities where those schools are located. He said the professors that are most successful are attractive to other institutions. That's why the other schools are constantly trying to "lure them away" from USU.

"After three years of no salary increases, that's not good enough and we're losing a lot of key people," Albrecht said. "We have to be in a competitive position. We're not right now."

USU faculty will probably get a 2.5 percent increase in pay from the Legislature, but that's not enough, Albrecht said. He said tuition dollars will probably need to be devoted to help with faculty salaries. The school is trying to increase salaries by 4 percent, along with better benefits, Albrecht said.

Also, USU has the lowest athletic budget of the nine Western Athletic Conference schools it will be competing with next year, when the Aggies switch to their new conference, Albrecht said. He said the school needs upgraded facilities in order to compete with these schools.

"We have a football stadium that's almost falling down, the press boxes are separating from the stadium, we don't have adequate restrooms and we have lot's of other problems," Albrecht said.

However, Albrecht said he does not plan on giving money, which would otherwise support academics, to the athletic department. He said academics will always come first.

USU also needs to expand budgets to allow new technologies in the classrooms, Albrecht said. Some funding would come from private donors, some from legislative support and some from tuition dollars.

Albrecht said he is looking "very carefully" at the proposed 43 percent tuition increase in the next three years. He will not know how much tuition will increase until he knows how much the legislature will give USU. This won't happen until the legislative session ends.

"If the stars align right and we get the help we hope to get, then obviously that will affect our ability to look differently at how we will do Tier II tuition," Albrecht said.

With all of these stresses, Albrecht also wants to team-teach classes.

Because he is so busy and would have to miss class frequently, Albrecht said he doesn't want to teach any classes by himself. But he still wants to be involved in the classroom -- where he began as an assistant professor at USU in 1970.

"My view is presidents of universities should do the kinds of things that we expect of our faculty, to teach and research and have success," Albrecht said.

"Then if administrative opportunities are presented to them and they enjoy them and do them well, other things will follow."

Photo by Josh Russell



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