Radford University Board of Visitors holds quarterly meeting on campus

The Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV) held its quarterly meeting May 5-6 at Radford University.

The board was updated on the progress and status of campus divisions, projects and initiatives, including academics, business affairs, capital projects, student affairs, admissions, retention, governance, information technology, athletics, Title IX, fundraising and marketing.

In its chief action, the BOV approved tuition and fees for the 2016-17 academic year, resulting in a 2.77 percent increase in tuition and mandatory fees for in-state undergraduate students, the lowest percentage increase in 15 years.

A comparison of total price (tuition, mandatory fees, room and board) for the 2015-16 academic year shows Radford University to be 12.9 percent below the average cost for in-state undergraduate students and the third lowest among Virginia’s four-year public institutions of higher education.

The significant infusion of new general fund resources to education through this General Assembly session mitigated the necessary tuition increase. While the final state budget has not been officially adopted, Radford University is expected to receive nearly $1.5 million in new funding in the first year of the biennium to improve student access and affordability.

At this meeting, the board also approved:

  • the bestowal of the title President Emerita upon Penelope W. Kyle, J.D., Radford University’s sixth president, upon her retirement as president on June 30, 2016.
  • the university’s revised Emergency Operations Plan.
  • the granting of tenure to 13 faculty members.
  • a recommendation to change the name of the “Corporate and Professional Communication” graduate program to “Strategic Communication.”
  • revisions to the Teaching and Research Faculty Handbook sections that deal with special purpose faculty, or those faculty members who provide supervision or coordination of activities ancillary to classroom instruction.
  • the appointment of Kevon Dupree as the Non-Voting Advisory Student Representative to the Board of Visitors for Fiscal Year 2016-17. Dupree, of Chesapeake, Va., is a media studies – journalism major, minoring in history.
  • the appointment of Carter Turner, associate professor of philosophy and Religious Studies as the Non-Voting Advisory Faculty Representative to the Board of Visitors for Fiscal Year 2016-17. Turner, who has served as the vice president of the Faculty Senate, has been elected to serve as the Faculty Senate president for the 2016-17 academic year.

Following the appointments of Turner and Dupree, the board expressed its appreciation for the outgoing faculty representative to the Board, Jerry Kopf, professor of management, and outgoing student representative to the Board, Hannah Gullickson ‘16.

President Kyle made her report to the board, highlighting several campus successes since the last board meeting. Among those successes were:

  • Radford’s recognition of high voter registration and participation by Virginia21, an organization that encourages students to register to vote while on campus.
  • Hosting the 17th annual McGlothlin Celebration of Teaching. The event, sponsored by the McGlothlin Foundation, Blue Ridge PBS and the Radford College of Education and Human Development, featured keynote speaker Liz Murray, who went from living on the streets to attaining a Harvard degree, and honored the best teachers from the Blue Ridge region.
  • Praise from Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, who in a keynote address at the College of Business and Economics BB&T Global Capitalism Lecture Series called Radford “one of the flagships of the Commonwealth, [with] a business school that can compete with any in the country…”
  • “Sit With Me,” a national event where women in traditionally male-dominated STEM fields can share their experiences and support in their endeavors. President Kyle joined attendees and spoke with the young women in attendance about not being deterred in those situations where they may the first woman in a particular career field or their individual workplaces, and the important role they will play in preparing the way for the women who will follow them. The event was sponsored by the Radford University Women in Computing Club and the campus chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery.

President Kyle also shared with the board the campus reaction to the death of Wilson Herrarte ’19, of Fairfax, who died April 23 after an accident in Richmond. Kyle noted to the board that even in the face of the tragedy the campus immediately responded with tributes to Herrarte and offers of support to students and assistance for his family.

BOV committees met to discuss specific campus initiatives and issues germane to their mandate.

In addition to submitting the tuition increase and revised Emergency Operations Plan to the board, the Business Affairs and Audit Committee (BAAC) heard reports on the campus’ current and proposed capital projects, which include:

  • The $48 million dollar, 143,000-square foot College of Humanities and Behavioral Science building, targeted for occupancy later this summer and to host classes in Fall 2016.
  • The renovation of Draper Hall, set for completion this summer and occupancy in Fall 2016.
  • The renovation of Whitt Hall, set to begin this summer and reach completion by August 2017.
  • The restoration of Reed-Curie Hall, for which an estimated $33 million has been included in the preliminary state budget.

The Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) was also briefed on the six faculty members who have earned faculty emeriti status:

  • Bruce Blaylock, professor of management
  • Kathryn Kelly, professor of English
  • Bob Hendrickson, professor of social work – awarded posthumously
  • Joe King, professor of psychology
  • Hilary Lips, professor of psychology
  • Donald Samson, professor of English.

The AAC was briefed on the results of assessments efforts mandated by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, the university’s accrediting agency. Recent student evaluations of courses and faculty reflected a strong satisfaction with faculty and course presentation among students.

The AAC also reviewed results of cost-benefit analysis studies done on 33 university programs as well as enrollment trends influencing budgetary planning for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Advancement, Alumni Relations, Communication and Marketing Committee (AACMC) received updates on the university’s branding and marketing campaign, fund raising results for Fiscal Year 2015-16 and future alumni events.

The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) heard updates on student life from key members of the Student Affairs division. A key area of focus was service. The board heard about the successes of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Advocacy Day, as well as Student Affairs’ increased efforts to provide community service initiatives. Going forward, Student Affairs will now sponsor a series of five annual events in which students can participate.

The SAC also received updates on the comprehensive restructuring of the university's Housing and Residential Life Program and the successes and extension of the Learning Communities Collaborative Retention Effort, which increases offerings of several learning communities to students, including the newest additions, RU Makers and ECO Connections. Such communities allow students to live and learn together, and they have proved an important tool to increase academic and social integration and increase retention.

The Governance, Administration and Athletics Committee (GAAC) received an analysis about enterprise risk management and an update regarding Title IX training for Radford University faculty, staff and student employees.

The committee received a report about the Athletics Department’s fundraising and budget projections, as well as student-athlete successes, including an 89 percent student-athlete graduation rate and that 60 percent of RU student-athlete have a GPA of 3.0 or greater.

The GAAC committee learned that women’s basketball player Aisha Foy was selected by the NCAA to participate in the “So You Want to be a Coach” program at the NCAA Women’s Final Four and that lacrosse player Emily Hoke and baseball player Tyler Swarmer were each nominated for the Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence.

The Board also elected the rector and vice rector for Fiscal Year 2016-17. Christopher Wade, of Fairfax, Va., who currently serves as the BOV’s vice rector, was elected rector for next year. Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, of Midlothian, Va., who currently serves as chair of the Business Affairs and Audit Committee, was selected to serve as vice rector for next year.

The BOV will next meet at a board retreat, scheduled for July 24-26, in Williamsburg. The next quarterly BOV meeting will take place Sept. 15-16 at Radford University.

May 10, 2016