Hammond praises faculty and announces award winners during FHSU Spring Convocation

05/04/12 ks

HAYS, Kan. -- Dr. Edward H. Hammond, president of Fort Hays State University, praised faculty for the university's growth and other successes over the past year during the annual Spring Convocation on Friday afternoon in the Memorial Union.

Speaking to assembled faculty and other guests in the Fort Hays Ballroom of the Memorial Union, President Hammond also recognized faculty award winners for the spring semester. Unlike most years, though, he was not able to provide details about next year's budget and salary adjustments because the Kansas Legislature has not completed the fiscal year 2013 budget.

He explained that because of redistricting and an aggressive agenda by Gov. Sam Brownback, almost nothing has been accomplished to date. The president said that the budget, tax decisions and what he described as "rats and cats" kind of measures would all be rolled into an omnibus bill that will be voted either up or down by the Legislature.

"I don't have, really, the foggiest idea how it is all going to come out," he said.

He praised faculty for the fact that FHSU is by far the fastest growing university in the Kansas Board of Regents system, and noted that it is serving ever more Kansans while some of the other universities are serving fewer Kansans.

He pledged that as growth continues, more faculty would be hired in order protect the quality of education at FHSU. He also called faculty the "driving force" in retention and asked for their help in finding ways to help students succeed in their studies and stay in school.

The Legislature has $650 million available, the president said, adding, "We have to convince them to invest some of it in higher education instead of putting it all into tax relief."

Finally, President Hammond assured the assembled faculty and staff that he would call a special meeting to detail the compensation package for FY 2013 after the Legislature completes its work.

The winners of the faculty awards were Dr. Robert Channell, professor of biological sciences, for teaching; Dr. Eric Leuschner, assistant professor of English, for scholarly activity; and Dr. Duane Shepherd, associate professor of health and human performance, for service. All three recipients received a $500 award for their accomplishments.

In addition to the president's State of the University address, Spring Convocation included an annual report from Dr. Chapman Rackaway, president of the Faculty Senate and associate professor of political science; the annual meeting of the Graduate Faculty; and an annual report from Dr. Tim Crowley, dean of the Graduate School.

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