As President Shirley Ann Jackson outlined during the Spring Town Meeting on March 17, the Rensselaer budget for Fiscal Year 2009 provides substantial funding to support the growth and progress of the faculty and faculty research, and for enhancements to the out-of-classroom experience for students.
Approved by the Board of Trustees March 1, the comprehensive budget includes significant funding to support and advance faculty development and faculty research at Rensselaer. In total, the $396.7 million budget will continue to advance Rensselaer research and education platforms, support the hiring of top faculty and the advancement of current faculty, foster student research, and enhance the lives and careers of students, faculty, and staff at the Institute.
The total investment in The Rensselaer Plan, from its beginning in 2000, will top $800 million by fiscal year end 2009, she said.
President Jackson remarked at the Town Meeting that the members of the faculty are a vital link in the success of all the initiatives outlined in the new budget. “A distinguished faculty that aspires to excellence in research, and in teaching, is the very foundation of our university,” she said. “Investment in our faculty is among our highest priorities, and we are proceeding to do that on an accelerated basis.” The budget supports continued investment in faculty research at Rensselaer to increase faculty research capabilities, results, and funding opportunities.
Funding was approved to accelerate the hiring of up to 41 non-constellation tenured or tenure track faculty members. In addition, nine or more constellation faculty are scheduled to be appointed in the coming year. Constellations are multidisciplinary teams of senior faculty, junior faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates focused on a particular research field.
In support of these efforts, the budget includes substantial investment in the three world-class research platforms at Rensselaer, with portions of the budget devoted to improving and creating research infrastructure in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI), and the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).
As President Jackson pointed out during the Town Meeting, investment in faculty researchers and research infrastructure already has shown remarkable results, with researchers’ federal funding levels outpacing the national average. A 5 percent increase in federal funding is projected for 2009. She also highlighted the fact that CBIS has generated $10 million in research expenditures in only three and a half years of operation.
In support of faculty efforts to enhance the education of Rensselaer students, the budget includes investments in undergraduate laboratory and classroom renovation, with the goal of giving young scientists, engineers, artists, architects, and scholars substantive research experiences early in their academic careers. The minimum graduate student academic year stipend also was increased.
In addition to faculty support, the new budget includes appropriations for innovative new student life initiatives including an investment in residence life programming with the appointment of deans for residential clusters, the addition of individual class year deans, the development of a new requirement for undergraduate international experience, residence and dining hall improvements and renovations, and a new program to foster student involvement in EMPAC and the arts on campus.
In total, the $396.7 million budget will continue to advance Rensselaer research and education platforms,
The budget includes a 5.9 percent increase in undergraduate and full-time graduate tuition. The increase keeps the cost of a Rensselaer education in line with the average cost of tuition at peer institutions. To offset these and other costs of education for families from a variety of financial circumstances, the president has expanded the financial aid program by $10 million, bringing the financial aid budget for undergraduate students to $80 million for 2009 a figure which exceeds financial aid expenditures at most peer institutions.
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