May 5, 2023
Panhandle State’s final budget has been approved by the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents and Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education for the fiscal year 2022. The budget includes pay raises for all full-time faculty and staff, as well as adjunct faculty. Fifteen positions have been restored from the FY21 budget as well as twelve academic department and college leadership appointments as enrollment increased over the past year. Two new faculty positions will be added, and new funds dedicated to the Student Union Renovation Project will be implemented with no increase in student tuition.
University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn, commented, “This budget has set us up for success not only to return to more normal operations but to continue to grow. This budget with the pay raises and more positions will recognize the hard work of our people.”
OPSU received a 9.27% increase in state appropriations, including supplement appropriations directed toward teaching education, nursing, and STEM. These additional funds are performance-based in critical workforce areas. Faltyn commented, “Our performance has been recognized by the state with this increase.”
Associate Vice President of Fiscal Affairs, Elizabeth McMurphy, stated, “The FY22 budget will make way for the university to return to more restored operations and following the year we’ve all experienced with COVID it’s very positive to be able to make progress during this next budget year through a return to normal operation.”
Vice President of Operations, Dr. Ryan Blanton, noted, “The FY22 budget will allow us to put more money into vital infrastructure on campus, particularly the Student Union.”
As a part of this budget, there was a $4.50 per credit hour fee increase to provide dedicated revenue for the renovation of the Student Union. Renovating the Student Union is an update to campus that will benefit students, faculty, staff, and the campus community.
In the last fiscal year, several faculty and staff positions were restored over the course of the year after enrollment exceeded expectations. In this upcoming budget year, the university will add 2 new faculty positions and has restored 5 faculty positions.
In addition to restoring and adding new positions for FY22, the budget also includes a 3% base pay raise for all full-time faculty and staff. The raise program will be implemented in two phases. If the fall enrollment target is met the raise will be paid this year to all full-time faculty and staff. The raise will then be annualized for future years if the university meets the enrollment goal for spring. OPSU has also budgeted an increase in adjunct instructor pay.
The Panhandle State Diversity and Inclusion Council requested and received funds in support of its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. A new budgetary fund will be dedicated to professional development opportunities to enhance the student and community experience.
University Provost, Dr. Julie Dinger, stated, “I appreciate the collaborative way this budget was created. Academic leaders in every department provided feedback and insight that kept quality educational experiences the focus of our efforts.”
Dean of Online College, Tye Stephens, commented, “As our online programs grow, we are increasingly utilizing adjunct instructors to meet program-specific demands, especially in growing areas like nursing, business, and criminal justice. We have a diligent pool of adjunct instructors who are committed to supporting students, and it is important that all faculty, including our part-time instructors, are treated with equity and compensated appropriately for the work they do.”
As part of this budget, OPSU is able to reinstate the track program and restore athletic staff positions. The previous year, 7 FTE Athletic Assistant Coaches were restored, 5 of which were paid through athletics private fundraising. These will provide opportunities to bring new students to OPSU and help them participate at a competitive level.
Athletic Director, Victor Esparza, commented “I am extremely excited about the future of our university. Our ability to rehire positions that were frozen due to the pandemic as well as bringing on new positions will continue building on the foundation that has been set for us to be successful.”
Panhandle State’s budget reflects the commitment to continue to grow while staying affordable for students at a time when mandatory costs have increased. The approval of this budget has put OPSU on the path to another successful year.
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