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Message from the Dean
March Madness is upon us. I should ramble on about our two UofL hoops teams, but alas, I was thinking of the budget process underway for next fiscal year that will begin July 1. The process should have been completed months ago, but this is a very different year.
As most of you know, the university is facing fiscally challenging times that are driven by some sloppy strategic efforts and 15 years of declining support for post-secondary education from Frankfort. All of this points toward a nasty 18 months—hopefully followed by a gradual but transformative growth curve and strengthening of support for our academic mission.
The crisis we face is indeed serious. But I personally agree with Interim President Postel’s and Interim Provost Billingsley’s position that it is manageable. If we take the facts seriously and make immediate adjustments, we should emerge in a better place. It will require some sacrifices – particularly next year. But once those changes are in place, new revenue streams can help fuel the growth we need.
The good news is, the School of Public Health and Information Sciences is currently growing at a rate faster than any other college on campus. Our faculty have brought in some exciting grants the past few years—many of which further our efforts to engage with our community. We also have several new instructional programs underway or soon to begin that will provide students with opportunities to: explore global health issues like never before; improve their health delivery management skills and marketability; take on major data analytic tasks with an eye toward policy change; and, develop the critical thinking skills needed for careers in public health.
All said and done, our strategic vision is sound, our foundation is structurally adequate to endure the coming hardships, and our faculty and staff are committed to success and bring all the right values to the table. But most importantly, our students are the best they have ever been—they continue to stimulate our thinking and our alumni will change the world.
Craig H. Blakely, PhD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health and Information Sciences