Board of Visitors hold Feb. 7-8 quarterly meeting

The Radford University Board of Visitors convened on Feb. 7-8 for its quarterly meeting in the Mary Ann Jennings Hovis Memorial Board Room.

At this meeting, the Board approved the following action items:

  • A resolution certifying compliance with the Radford University Debt Management Policy; and
  • A resolution to formally approve the Jefferson College of Health Sciences merger.

President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D. updated the Board on several initiatives, including:

  • The inaugural Retention Summit was held on Jan. 17. More than 300 faculty, staff and students attended the keynote address by Timothy P. Culver, Ph.D. of Ruffalo Noel Levitz. The summit generated more than 100 recommendations that will result in a forthcoming report.
  • Fifty Radford University students and administrators, including a record number of Board participants, attended Advocacy Day in Richmond on Jan. 28-29.
  • Legislation regarding the approval of the Radford University and Jefferson College merger is advancing in the General Assembly.
  • The upcoming Highlander Family Tour is being organized by Alumni Relations and University Advancement. Dates and locations were announced, including an event to be held in conjunction with the Board’s annual summer retreat.

Myriah Brooks, student representative to the Board, provided an update on the launch of a survey to better understand and gauge students’ knowledge of the Board and the student representative to the Board. Brooks also announced that she has organized a committee to implement a campus-wide Service Day on April 11 to be held in conjunction with Unity Fest.

Chief of Staff and Vice President for University Relations Ashley Schumaker, on behalf of Director of State Government Relations Lisa Ghidotti, provided an update on government relations. The federal government shutdown that lasted most of January had minimal impact to Radford University’s campus. In addition, Schumaker reported on several proposed Title IV regulations that university administrators are monitoring as they relate to campus policies and procedures.

Schumaker also provided an extensive update to the Board on the university’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, “Embracing the Tradition and Envisioning the Future.” Schumaker presented fall 2018 progress, explaining that spring 2019 progress will be available this summer. The entire report is available on the university’s Strategic Plan website.

In her presentation, Schumaker highlighted detailed progress in each of the plan’s focal areas: Academic Excellence and Research, Brand Identity, Economic Development and Community Partnerships, Philanthropic Giving and Alumni Engagement, Strategic Enrollment Growth and Student Success.

Among the many impressive highlights, Schumaker announced the completion of one of the plan’s many initiatives - the development of the “Discover, Experience and Thrive” customized career development plan.

In addition to the full Board meeting, a variety of committees met to discuss various initiatives, programs, and services.

At the Academic Excellence and Research Committee meeting, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kenna Colley provided updates on several academic accomplishments.

Colley and Brad Bizzell, an associate professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership, informed the Board that the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has unanimously approved the university’s plan to offer a doctorate of education degree. Plans for the program now will be sent for approval to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which is expected in June. 

The first cohort will be made up of about 18 students who will begin coursework in the spring 2020 semester. Because the anticipated program has received such enormous interest, cohorts for 2020 and 2021 will likely be selected simultaneously, Bizzell said.

Colley spoke about the university’s involvement with Transfer Virginia, a consortium of individuals who examine all aspects involved with students transferring from a two-year to a four-year institution. The university has received a grant to work with Wytheville and Virginia Western community colleges on guaranteed transfer pathways.

Colley also spoke about progress being made in the university’s open educational resources initiative, which was implemented in 2018 by the Virginia Department of Education for all state higher education institutions. Colley said a university committee is adopting guidelines to provide free or low-cost course materials for students.

Colley announced that Benjamin D. Caldwell has been selected as dean of the Radford University College of Graduate Studies and Research. He begins his new role on July 1. Colley thanked Laura Jacobson for her work as interim dean. Jacobson will return as a faculty member to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics this fall. Orion Rogers is serving as the College of Graduate Studies and Research interim dean for the spring semester. Rogers is also the dean of the Artis College of Science and Technology.

Heather Keith, Colley announced, will begin work July 1 as the new executive director of faculty development.

Colley spoke about goals for the merger with Jefferson College of Health Sciences in relation to the university’s strategic plan. They included garnering recognition for signature academic programs in health sciences, health care and human services, as well as promoting lifelong learning and an appreciation of what it means to be a service provider.

Faculty Senate President Jake Fox gave the committee a brief update about the student-centered general education committee, which promotes strong foundations for student learning and success on campus and beyond. Fox urged committee members to visit the committee’s web page for updates. 

Jessica Beckett gave a presentation to the committee about advancements in the Harvey Learning Center, including rebranding efforts and its new location in McConnell Library. Beckett was hired as the center’s director in September. She spoke about the center’s expanded services and new initiatives for contributing to and supporting a culture of student success. Joining Beckett was student Juliana Pasqualucci, who shared her testimonial about the center.

The Governance, Administration and Athletics Committee was briefed by Danny Kemp, vice president for the Division of Information Technology (DoIT) and chief information officer, who apprised the committee of DoIT’s activities in support of the pending merger with the Jefferson College of Health Sciences. 

Kemp said that five working groups comprise the Information Technology Committee that is leading the merger’s IT-related planning and implementation. The working groups are tasked with work in four key areas: data migration and system consolidation, network and infrastructure, user support and security and identity management.  Kemp said 350 tasks have been identified for completion by the July 2019 merger date.  The IT infrastructure to be developed in Roanoke will need to support 370 devices used by 260 full- and part-time faculty and staff and an estimated 1,100 students. Twenty-four other DoIT projects and activities were also reviewed by the committee, including the Duo Two-Factor Authentication program that enhances information security, which has more 15,000 active users, and ongoing DoIT support of McConnell Library, the IMPACT program and the renovation of Reed and Curie Halls, among others. 

Director for Intercollegiate Athletics Robert Lineburg reviewed recent data about Highlander student-athlete academic success. Highlights included:

  • Thirty-one percent of Radford University athletes have a 4.0 GPA.
  • Fifty-two percent of Radford University student-athletes earned Dean’s List honors.
  • Fifteen of Radford’s 16 intercollegiate teams had collective 3.0 GPA’s or above.
  • Women’s Soccer, winners of the 2018 Big South Championship, joined the women’s cross-country team to post 3.7 GPAs and lead the Highlander team GPA results. 

Lineburg outlined for the committee other data reflecting the university’s standing in the new NCAA Division I Academic Unit Graduation Success program, highlighting that Radford student-athletes posted a Graduation Success Rate of 94 percent, surpassing the mandated 90 percent requirement. 

To reflect the program’s competitive excellence, Lineburg shared the latest Big South Sasser Cup standings, which has Radford in third place, behind High Point and Campbell. Lineburg also recapped resource development results, reporting that there are more than 900 members in the Highlander Club who have contributed nearly $350,000 in new pledges and gifts.  

To cap the annual athletic season, Lineburg briefed the committee on the upcoming Highlander Pride Weekend, which includes a golf outing, a gala dinner at the Dedmon Center, a half marathon and 5K with a post-race festival, that is set for April 25-27. Lineburg also reviewed plans for the upcoming Winter Celebration, featuring a men’s and women’s basketball alumni gathering, on Feb. 23. 

The University Advancement, University Relations and Enrollment Management Committee was briefed by Vice President for Enrollment Management Kitty McCarthy on recruitment data as of Feb. 5.

Freshmen applications are at 14,307 and 8,749 have been admitted for the fall semester, increases of 1,692 and 892 compared to fall 2018. New freshmen deposits for fall 2019 slightly increased from the same time last year.

McCarthy also briefed the Board on graduate student recruitment and Jefferson College of Health Sciences recruitment efforts for fall 2019.

Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lowery reported the gift summary as of Feb. 5, alumni engagement and the upcoming Highlander Family Tour.

Schumaker reviewed the progress of this year’s marketing campaign and shared various collaborations across campus, which include mailing campaigns, the spring/summer 2019 Radford Magazine, the Foundation Annual Report and other projects.

The Student Affairs Committee was briefed by Vice President for Student Affairs  Susan Trageser on a variety of issues, including fall 2018 trends, campus programming, supporting Roanoke-based students, access to mental health resources and retention efforts.

Student Government Association (SGA) President Julianna Stanley outlined the upcoming celebration of Radford University’s tradition of diversity and inclusion, Unity Fest. The student-organized festival will feature a diverse mix of activities for all ages to appeal to the entire campus and surrounding community.

Stanley also provided an overview of the SGA’s ongoing efforts to engage students through activities, such as:

  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service;
  • A landlord luncheon and fair;
  • T-shirt Drive;
  • Ring Dance;
  • Feminine hygiene pilot program; and
  • Ways to rent cap and gowns for commencement.

The committee was also briefed by Jeanne Mekolichick, associate provost for Academic Programs; Tricia Smith, associate vice president for Student Life; and Angie Mitchell, associate vice president for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, on iGen, during which they discussed current student culture and how it has changed over the years. 

The Business Affairs and Audit Committee Meeting heard from the Auditor of Public Accounts Zachary Borgerding. He explained the audit objectives are to provide an opinion to the university’s financial statements that will be included with the financial statements that are distributed by the university. Borgerding and his staff will also issue a report on internal controls and compliance that will include any findings or recommendations that they may issue as a result of the audit. The audit period is July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

The committee also heard from University Auditor Margaret McManus, who reported that 100 percent of expenditures were reviewed and all were found in compliance with the Board’s guidelines.

Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Chad Reed updated the committee on the university’s two active capital projects in progress:

  • The nearly $34 million-project to renovate the existing Reed and Curie Halls to complement the Center for the Sciences, expected to be ready to host classes by spring 2020.
  • The Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity for which planning is ongoing. The $96 million, 215,000-square foot, multi-story building currently awaits final authorization from the General Assembly, though, Radford has received $4 million with which to begin planning.

Reed also presented on the Governor’s Executive Budget Summary and 2019-20 Budget update. The General Assembly convened on Jan. 9 and has begun the process of considering the governor’s budget proposals, Reed said. 

These proposals include:

  • Undergraduate student financial aid;
  • Faculty and staff salaries;
  • Health insurance premiums;
  • Jefferson College merger;
  • Acquire properties; and
  • Tuition predictability plans.

The next BOV meeting is scheduled for May 9-10 in the Mary Ann Jennings Hovis Memorial Board Room.

Feb 18, 2019
Mary Hardbarger
(540) 831-5150