Radford University Board of Visitors gathers virtually for fall quarterly meeting

The Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV) held its quarterly meeting on September 11, 2020, in a hybrid format to ensure proper public health protocols were maintained. Some attendees physically distanced and attended in person, while others engaged virtually across Zoom.

Led by Rector Robert A. Archer, BOV members applauded following a report provided by Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., on the measures that have been applied and the encouraging results the University is seeing through its diligent work to address the challenges presented by COVID-19.

In his report to the BOV, President Hemphill reviewed the University’s Campus Reopening Plan and how the institution is responding to emerging needs and individual situations and ways in which the University is sharing its campus-wide testing information on the University’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Noting their careful, attentive work, President Hemphill expressed appreciation to Radford’s “talented students, as well as our world-class faculty and dedicated staff, for their diligent efforts in wearing face coverings, exercising physical distancing and washing hands frequently.”

The President reported that a “number of recent actions” had been set in place to support students, including the establishment of a call center to provide increased staffing and expanded support to the Dean of Students Office.

Consistent with the University’s student-centered approach, “this change has allowed us to provide additional one-on-one assistance,” President Hemphill explained.

The Student Health Center, the President said, offers weekend hours to provide students with campus-based health services on Saturday and Sunday. Additionally, he noted that student health services are being offered at Radford University Carilion (RUC) through a partnership with Carilion Clinic.

To further ensure student, faculty and staff safety in University buildings, the President said classrooms and common areas are being disinfected twice each day, in addition to the requirement for wearing face coverings on campus and classroom reconfigurations to promote social distancing.

The University also offered a second round of on-campus surveillance testing for students, faculty and staff on September 11.

In addition, the President noted, “Our students, as well as our faculty, staff, and visitors, are completing daily health screenings and are being supported through campus services and individual requests. Our campus continues to be a safe learning and living environment,” he said.

While recognizing the extraordinary work of the University community, President Hemphill also acknowledged the “incredible leadership” of Noelle Bissell, M.D., director of the Virginia Department of Health’s New River Health District, and her staff.

“They have been true partners throughout our planning and response efforts during COVID-19,” the President said.

While the effective response of the University to the COVID-19 global pandemic was a major topic of the meeting, there were other important University matters to discuss and acknowledge.

President Hemphill asked the BOV to give a warm Highlander welcome to new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Lyn Lepre, Ph.D., who began her service to the University on July 1, 2020. “In just a few short months, she has learned Radford’s history and shown her Highlander spirit,” the President said. “I know that each of you will enjoy getting to know and work with her in the months and years to come.”

The Fall 2020 issue of The Magazine of Radford University was recently released and includes articles on BOV members Krisha Chachra and Georgia Anne Snyder-Falkinham. President Hemphill distributed copies of the magazine to members.

“The recent magazine from the Advancement and University Relations team highlights the lasting impact of the Radford journey and the powerful nature of the Highlander experience,” President Hemphill said.

The BOV, which comprises 15 voting members appointed by the governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, welcomed Samantha Powell as its non-voting student representative for the 2020-21 academic year. Powell is a senior biology and chemistry double major from Roanoke, Virginia. Outgoing student representative Breon Case heard words of appreciation at the meeting for his service to the BOV during the 2019-20 academic year.

Also honored at the meeting was Jake R. Fox, Ph.D., the outgoing faculty representative to the Board of Visitors, who served from 2017 until this year. He was succeeded by Katie Hilden, Ph.D., who began her term on July 1.

Vice President for Enrollment Management Craig Cornell briefed the BOV on the University’s Fall 2020 enrollment data and recruitment efforts. Cornell shared with the BOV the challenges and realities of current enrollment and the University’s response to those challenges, which includes more digitally based recruitment efforts. Other approaches include aligning recruitment efforts with University Relations and developing a full communication plan for college-specific recruiting, such as students and faculty video features and dissemination of student outcome data.

The BOV also heard reports from Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Chad A. Reed concerning the University’s 2019-2020 financial performance and received the Auditor’s Report from University Auditor Margaret McManus.

Voting on action items, the BOV approved the University’s 2020-21 operating budget and a list of resolutions that included an amendment to the Board of Visitors Bylaws Section 6, Committees; the University’s Gift Acceptance Policy, and a debt issuance plan.

The BOV’s next meeting is scheduled for December 3-4, 2020.

Sep 21, 2020
Chad Osborne