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Report says University of Kentucky president should give annual State of the University speech


LEXINGTON, Kentucky — A consultant has recommended that University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto give an annual State of the University address, part of a handful of proposals coming amid complaints that the school's administration isn't clear about its long-term vision for development.

Other recommendations included making Capilouto's inner circle more diverse and improving communication between the president and the school's board of trustees, the Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1LpNhg4 ) reported.

The recommendations to UK trustees were part of a yearly presidential performance review that surveyed faculty, students, donors and others.

The trustees voted Friday to accept the report and to consider the recommendations. Board of Trustees Chairman Oliver Keith Gannon said the report "will give us an opportunity to help the president ... and to help the university in the long run."

The report had surveyed campus leaders and others to talk about Capilouto's vision, his financial and management skills and his leadership characteristics.

Though largely positive, the report was sprinkled with mild criticism, namely that the administration's long-term vision for the university is not entirely clear.

Carol Cartwright with AGB Consulting, which created the review, said many people were impressed with developments around campus, but did not see any "holistic vision."

"A vision, holistic ideas ... that's what we've been doing," board member James Stuckert said. "I just find that amazing."

The State of the University address would be a way to keep campus in the loop and let students, staff and faculty understand why the widespread construction and other developments are happening, Cartwright said.

"Use the speech to celebrate accomplishments of the prior year and set forth the agenda for the new year in the context of the vision and strategic plan," Cartwright said.

Some of the people surveyed also said they wished Capilouto would take advice from a larger circle of people, and some criticized the university management in general.

"Overall UK management culture is described as 'clunky' and can hamper decision making," Cartwright said.

However, most people said Capilouto was a strong manager willing to make difficult decisions if it will benefit UK in the long run.

Meanwhile, the board did as expected and approved the $3.4 billion budget on Friday. Among the highlights:

—The starting salary for all staff increased to a $10 per hour minimum, and faculty and staff will see a 3.5 percent merit pool increase.

—The budget allows for a record $103 million for institutional scholarships and financial aid, almost double what UK gave in 2011. Most of this goes toward merit-based grants, rather than need-based grants, but 35 percent of the incoming in-state freshman class is eligible for federal Pell grants, which are need-based.

—The budget reflects the enormous growth of UK Healthcare, which is now a $1.3 billion enterprise, $200 million more than last year. UK Healthcare takes up 41 percent of the total budget.

—State funding continues to decrease. The state now provides just 8 percent of UK's budget. At $280 million a year, state funding has been cut $55 million since 2008.

Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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