Board of Visitors holds quarterly meeting

The Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV) held its quarterly meeting on Nov. 7-8 at Radford University.

The board heard updates that included the university's retention and internship development initiatives, strategic budgeting outlook and planning, intercollegiate athletics, Honors Academy, student affairs activities and marketing efforts.

Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle reported to the board on campus events and developments that have occurred since the board's meeting in September. She also highlighted the university's recent 2nd annual Diversity Reception, which celebrated the institution's increasing student diversity and continued efforts to promote inclusion within the campus community.

Upon recommendation of the Academic Affairs Committee, the board unanimously approved an addition to the Teaching and Research Faculty Handbook, amending the section addressing the tenure clock. The change implements a policy reflecting the university's commitment to providing flexibility during the probationary period for tenure-track faculty who are going through exceptional life circumstances, such as, but not limited to childbirth, child rearing or adoption. A faculty member's probationary period may now be extended for one year, pending approval by the dean of the faculty member's college and the provost.

Lisa Vassady, chair of the Honors Academy Implementation Plan Task Force and reference desk coordinator/instruction librarian in McConnell Library, briefed the board on the work of the task force's aspirations for the Honors Academy. She highlighted the academy's goals of inspiring intellectual curiosity and active engagement in the academic process.

The Academic Affairs Committee was briefed on the university's retention initiatives by Coordinator of Retention Steve Lerch and its internship development activities by Sarah Rogis, associate director of career services and internship development. Among several retention initiatives reviewed was the College Student Inventory. The tool was part of a 377-student pilot program implemented this summer to generate data and guide the university's efforts to engage students and match them with support areas to facilitate increased retention among incoming freshmen. As internships are known to contribute to a high-impact undergraduate experience, Rogis briefed the board on the university's efforts to create more such opportunities for student extracurricular growth and engagement by expanding connections with alumni and business leaders. Programming during the Maymester and Wintermester sessions is also being incorporated into the university's effort to create experiential learning and transformational off-campus opportunities for students.

Additional Academic Affairs matters included the introduction of Lisa Childress, the new director of the International Education Center and an update on the progress of the searches for deans of the College of Business and Economics and the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

The board's Academic Affairs Committee was also briefed by Faculty Senate President Laura Jacobsen, associate professor of teacher education and leadership, who reviewed Faculty Senate recommendations based on a recently completed national survey on faculty job satisfaction. Among the topics covered were efforts to raise faculty compensation to levels commensurate with recommended standards and adjusting staffing and work load levels to provide greater flexibility in scheduling. Jacobsen also briefed the board on the current composition of the RU faculty, which now numbers 433 full-time faculty members, the most in more than 20 years, and includes 51 new faculty members hired for the fall semester. Additional funded full-time faculty positions are currently vacant while searches continue. Joint opportunities for collaboration and improved dialogue between the board, senior leadership and faculty were also explored.

The Student Affairs Committee was briefed on a recent student leadership development initiative - the first-ever Greek Leadership and Training Program Executive Seminar Series, a six-week long initiative to develop student leadership and enhance the Greek experience at RU in which 19 students participated. The series is funded through the Phi Kappa Sigma Greek Leadership Training Fund, which was established by RU alumni of the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, Beta Omega chapter.

Family Weekend and Alumni Homecoming, which drew over 300 families, and the recently completed six-week "Be Seen" programming series were also reviewed as two of several Student Affairs' complements to the university's drive to encourage retention of new students and support enrollment management objectives. New Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Irvin Clark was introduced and Associate Dean of Students Susan Trageser was acknowledged for her service in the interim.

The Business Affairs and Audit Committee received an update on the university's strategic budget outlook and planning activities undertaken by the university's business units to establish priorities and analyze proposed initiatives. The Advancement/Alumni Relations and Communications/Marketing Committee was briefed on a proposed university marketing initiative that is in development.

The Governance, Administration and Athletics Committee received an overview of the department of Intercollegiate Athletics' 10-year strategic plan, "Moving Forward Together." The plan, predicated on core values of respect, excellence, focus, accountability and integrity, establishes departmental goals in terms of academic excellence, competitiveness and increasing resource development, among other criteria. Additionally, fall sports highlights, including the women's soccer team's Big South Conference regular-season championship, were detailed.

RU senior Katrina Koussis, the student representative to the BOV, briefed board members about two student-driven initiatives to complement RU's efforts in support of the university's retention and graduation goals – a study of the efficacy of regular mid-term grading and feedback on a student-proposed "Club Hub," a building or space to house all student organizations.

The date and location of the next meeting of the Radford University Board of Visitors will be announced at a later date.

Nov 15, 2013