President Kyle updates RU community

In a May 15 letter to the campus community, President Penelope W. Kyle summarized and elaborated on recent actions by the RU Board of Visitors, including setting tuition and fees for 2013-14 and other recent campus activities. Following is the text of the letter.

Dear Members of the Radford University Community,

I am writing to update you on several actions taken by the Radford University Board of Visitors at its spring meeting on May 9th-10th. As is customary, the Board established the tuition and fees for the next academic year during this meeting.

As a result of a thorough discussion about RU's available resources and the university's commitment to be a student-focused institution, the board approved a 4.49 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students.

The board's decision continues to recognize and support our commitment to providing our students with a superior education that is also within reach financially. Additionally, ensuring the university's academic excellence and exceptional student services remain our highest priorities.

Many factors were considered in the BOV's decision, including legislative actions approved by the Virginia General Assembly, enrollment projections, unavoidable cost increases (including state-mandated salary and health insurance rate changes, contractual escalators, utilities, and safety and security programs), goals from the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011 (TJ21), critical programmatic needs and the economic outlook.

The rate increases were mitigated because of the additional general fund support of $716,453 approved by Gov. Bob McDonnell and the General Assembly, student enrollment growth and an annual review that strategically aligned the institution’s long-range goals with projected resources. The amended 2013-14 budget approved during the 2013 General Assembly session also includes an additional $401,689 in state general fund support for RU's in-state undergraduate need-based financial aid.

Total in-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees will increase $386 or 4.49 percent for the 2013-14 academic year while out-of-state undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees will increase $981 or 4.87 percent. Total annual tuition and mandatory fees for graduate students will increase $374 or 3.99 percent for in-state students and $616 for out-of-state students, a 3.35 percent increase. A copy of the schedule of all tuition and fees approved by the Board for 2013-14 is attached.

We are all very concerned about cost increases in higher education. Together, we have worked diligently to mitigate the impact on our students and their families, while addressing the increasing programmatic needs of our students. To proactively address the financial challenges facing the institution, we plan to continue partnering with the state to meet the goals outlined in TJ21, identifying efficiencies, and strengthening development efforts to encourage external support through sponsored programs and private fundraising activities.

Other action items approved by the Board include:

  • Approved the tenure of 28 faculty members.  In recognition, the names of each new tenured faculty member were read during the Board meeting. The list of all faculty awarded tenure by the Board is attached.
  • Approved faculty leave of absences for three faculty members, including Dr. Moira Baker who received a Fulbright Grant to spend the 2013-2014 academic year teaching in Croatia, and further, the Board approved a resolution that delegates the authority to the RU president to grant faculty leaves of absences, paid and unpaid.
  • Approved an amendment to the Teaching and Research Faculty Handbook concerning the oversight of merit pay appeals.
  • Approved the financing of the new Student Fitness and Wellness Center through the issuance of 9(d) bonds.
  • Approved the financing of the Renovated Residence Halls through the issuance of 9(c) bonds.
  • Elected Katrina Koussis, a business major from Fairfax, Va., and Honors Academy scholar, as the non-voting advisory student representative to the Radford University Board of Visitors, effective July 1, for the ensuing year.
  • Reelected Faculty Senate President Laura Jacobsen to serve as the non-voting advisory faculty representative to the Board.

Some of the reports presented to the Board included:

  • A report from Karen Helderman, information systems development specialty team director and Radford University audit project manager of the Auditor of Public Accounts. RU was given an unqualified opinion in all audited areas.
  • A report from Radford University Auditor Margaret McManus. The results of all audits were positive. An external Quality Assurance Review report made suggestions to both the Board of Visitors and the University Auditor that might improve future audits, including employing an additional auditor in the Audit Department and incorporating "Audit" into the name of the Board's Business Affairs and Marketing Committee.
  • A report from Robert G. Lineburg, RU director of intercollegiate athletics, on several athletic accomplishments, including: Women's Soccer player Megan Rhodes is a recipient of the George A. Christenberry Award for exemplary student-athletes in the Big South Conference; 60 percent of the student-athlete community achieved a 3.0 GPA or above; and Men's Soccer alumnus Ian Spooner was named to the Big South Conference Hall of Fame.
  • A report on the Greek Life Strategic Plan, which outlines best practices for fostering a better Greek community in a number of areas: membership; leadership and service; values, congruence and standards; and health and safety.
  • A report on student organizations, which now number 250. More than 50 organizations have been created at RU in the past three years.
  • A report on the Step Up Bystander Training Program, which is designed to teach students the strategies and techniques to intervene directly or indirectly in both emergency and non-emergency situations.
  • A report from the advancement consulting firm Marts and Lundy on the progress to date and on the types of information and recommendations that will be presented to the Board at its retreat in July.
  • A presentation to President Kyle by Senior Class President James S. Lawrence commemorating the Class of 2013 as the 100th graduating class at RU.
  • A presentation by Senior Class President James S. Lawrence to Rector Linda Whitley-Taylor of a Student Government Association resolution expressing a vote of confidence in the Board’s September 2012 decision to prohibit the concealed carry of firearms on campus.

The Board has scheduled a special retreat on July 17th-18th at the George Mason Inn on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The next regular quarterly board meeting will be Sept. 12th-13th at Radford University.

Because of the threat of inclement weather, we had a "condensed" Commencement ceremony Saturday. We were privileged to have Virginia Delegate Joseph Yost, an RU '06 and '08 alumnus, serve as our guest speaker. He addressed the nearly 1,300 graduates, encouraging them to embrace service to their communities as they embark on their careers after RU.

As many of you begin your summer activities, I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your hard work, dedication and service, which are the foundations for Radford University’s success.  Simply put, Radford University would not be the wonderful, special place that it is without your efforts.

If you have questions or would like further explanation regarding any of the information contained in this letter, please let me know.

With much appreciation,

Penny Kyle, President

May 20, 2013
Joe Carpenter
(540) 831-5182