Board of Visitors hold quarterly meeting on campus

Radford University Board of Visitors join President Brian O. Hemphill at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building.

The Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV) held its quarterly meeting Sept. 15-16 at Radford University.

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

In its chief action, the BOV approved the university’s 2016-17 operating budget of $211 million. The BOV also approved the 2016 Radford University Six-Year Plan to reflect the current status of existing strategies based on institutional priorities and legislative action during the 2016 General Assembly session. 

At this meeting, the board heard updates from Faculty Representative to the BOV Carter Turner and Student Representative to the BOV Kevon Dupree.

In his inaugural report to the BOV, Radford University's seventh president Brian O. Hemphill reflected on several outreach initiatives in which he has participated since assuming the presidency on July 1. These engagement efforts include:

  • Radford University's Alumni Relations hosted more than 1,200 alumni during July and August at receptions in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Virginia Beach, Roanoke, Christiansburg and Abingdon. Similar receptions are planned for Raleigh, Charlotte and Atlanta.
  • President Hemphill hosted six open forums for administrative and professional (A/P) faculty, classified staff, faculty and students during which he shared his vision and focus areas for the university and heard feedback and questions related to the university.
  • President Hemphill received orientation briefings from each of the university's seven colleges. The presentations covered the mission, organization, enrollment, programs, faculty and staff, challenges and opportunities within each college.
  • President Hemphill hosted a Business Leaders Breakfast on Aug. 2 at which more than 110 representatives from throughout the region attended.
  • Katherine “Kitty” McCarthy was appointed the university's first vice president for enrollment and management. McCarthy brings three decades of experience in higher education admissions and enrollment, at both public and private institutions.
  • Radford University hosted its inaugural Budget Planning Summit on Sept. 9. The summit invited 132 students, faculty and staff who brainstormed and engaged in discussion regarding a variety of recommendations related to revenue generation, efficiencies, innovation and economic development.

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

The Advancement/Alumni Relations and Communications/Marketing Committee (AACMC) received an update regarding last year’s marketing and branding campaign and this year’s marketing planning. Last year’s marketing campaign produced a 71 percent increase in website traffic to the undergraduate admissions website September 2015-July 2016, compared to the previous year.

The committee received an update about fiscal year 2016 fundraising and alumni relations activities. A total $7,996,999 in gifts and pledges was made in fiscal year 2016, an increase of more than $3.8 million from the previous year.

The committee was introduced to the new vice president for Enrollment Management, Kitty McCarthy, and updated on enrollment trends and plans for the future. It was reported that the entering new freshman class reflected an increase in the first-generation college student population from 38 percent in fall 2015 to 41 percent in fall 2016. The university welcomed 1,751 new freshmen and 719 new transfer students this fall.

The Business Affairs and Audit Committee (BAAC) was briefed on the university’s Financial Performance Report for fiscal year 2015-16, which ended June 30, 2016. The BAAC received reports from the Auditor of Public Accounts, including the audit of 2014-15 financial statements and the University Auditor. The committee was also updated on the University’s actions toward addressing eight Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission (JLARC) recommendations adopted by the General Assembly. The recommendations related to areas such as publications of athletic fees, raising additional revenue through campus recreation and fitness enterprises, revising organizational structure and human resource policies, standardization of institutional purchasing policies and participation in recommended academic workload methodology measurement.

The BAAC also was updated on the campus’ current capital projects, including:

  • The $9 million renovation of Whitt Hall, which began this summer.
  • The restoration of Reed-Curie Hall, which was included in Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s preliminary state budget, but is awaiting final authorization and sequencing.

The Academic Affairs Committee (AAC) engaged in an on-going strategic discussion concerning academic excellence and quality at Radford University. The committee began the conversation to better understand how students, faculty and staff think about academic excellence and examples of student and alumni success.

The committee also received reports that highlighted undergraduate research, the Makers community, sustainability and the new College of Business and Economics’ Fellows program.

The Governance, Administration and Athletics Committee (GAAC) received a report on the Division of Information Technology’s achievements since May, including technology installations in the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building.

The GAAC was also briefed about Athletics fundraising and budget projections, the department’s goals for the student-athlete experience, upcoming events and athletics branding.

The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) heard from the Student Government Association (SGA) president on the organization's strategic plan for the 2016-17 academic year. Among the SGA's student-centered agenda are programs and workshops designed to enhance Highlander pride, campus safety, civic engagement, sexual assault awareness, strategic enrollment, student retention, diversity awareness, community service and school unity. New projects planned this year include an SGA graduate school tour, a Campus Unity event and a large-scale Career Fair -  scheduled for spring 2017 - with increased alumni participation.

The committee also received an overview presentation from Student Affairs about the Radford University student experience, highlighting several social, service, diversity and wellness initiatives the division is implementing. Upcoming events include Fear2Freedom, the Highlander Helpers Food Drive, Fill the Truck Holiday Drive and Healthy Minds/Healthy Bodies.

The committee was informed that Radford University's retention efforts have transferred to the Student Affairs division under the newly named Department of Student Success. A key focus of the division and the new department is student retention through intentional programming and will include several targeted retention initiatives, including an early alert system for students who may be at risk of exiting the institution, a telephone calling campaign and the creation of a comprehensive retention plan.

During the Sept. 16 meeting, Board of Visitors Rector Christopher Wade announced Gov. McAuliffe’s appointment of Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham to the BOV. Snyder-Falkinham, of Blacksburg, previously served on the BOV from July 2012 to June 2016, including as vice chair of the Student Affairs Committee from 2015-2016 and as BOV liaison to the Radford University Foundation Board from 2012-15. Snyder-Falkinham will serve the unexpired term of Anne Segaloff ’67.

Following the meeting, several board members participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences building at which Board member Krisha Chachra spoke on behalf of the BOV.

The next BOV meeting is scheduled for Nov. 10-11 at Radford University.

Sep 20, 2016
Mary Hardbarger