As we wind down the academic year, I want to thank our faculty and staff for serving as gracious hosts to the hundreds of prospective students who participated in our admission visit programs this past year. Last Friday, we hosted Preview TU, and our numbers were up significantly this year over last year: 21% more students and 18% more guests overall. We received 21% more deposits on Friday than during the previous year’s event, and the student and parent feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I applaud Casey Reed, our vice president of admission, and her entire team. They cannot do it alone, though, so I remind our faculty and staff how grateful I am for your support at these events.
Many TU students recently participated in the 22nd annual Student Research Colloquium and 17th annual OU-Tulsa Research Forum. These events allow our undergraduate, graduate and law students to showcase their research, gain presentation experience and take part in the judging process. Research is an important facet of academic life at TU, and this year, disciplines across the university were represented. The scholarship demonstrated at the colloquium reflects our faculty’s dedication to empowering students to explore their interests and expand their knowledge. Congratulations to the 28 TU students who received awards this year. Beyond the colloquium and forum, I also want to congratulate computer science senior Conner Bender, who was awarded a Truman Scholarship, as well as physics senior Jordan Sosa and computer science senior Benjamin James, who were awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.
The coming year will bring many changes. Provost Levit met with our deans this week to begin developing teach-out plans for the programs that will wind down over the next several years. These plans will ensure all TU students have the opportunity and support to finish their degrees as planned. Deans, department chairs and advisers will work with students to share those plans and to answer any questions. Students often look to faculty and staff for guidance, and I am glad so many of you have been there to assuage fears, model how to express concerns peacefully and answer questions. At great universities, passionate discussion and collegial debate are expected and encouraged. As we navigate the changes ahead, I know that we all will keep our focus on the students: acknowledging their concerns, providing reassurance and ensuring their success.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, I deeply appreciate the support faculty and staff provide day in and day out. Our Human Resources team has put together a week of activities to celebrate your service at TU, so you will soon receive information about Employee Appreciation Week. You can look forward to an extra day to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, as the university will close following the picnic on May 23. Also, in appreciation of faculty and staff, we begin Summer Fridays on June 7. All nonessential campus offices will close every Friday at noon through July 26. This allows employees to enjoy more time with their families and friends when campus activity is typically at a minimum. Finally, as a restart in investing in our talent, TU will implement a 2% raise that will take effect in January 2020. Thank you for all you do.