BOV hears of university progress at February meeting

At its Feb. 11, 2022 meeting, the Radford University Board of Visitors recognized outgoing Vice President for Finance and Administration Chad A. Reed for his service to the university for more than a decade. From left are Board Rector Robert A. Archer, Reed, and interim President Carolyn Ringer Lepre, Ph.D.

At its quarterly meeting on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, Radford University’s Board of Visitors recognized a beloved employee, heard numerous reports concerning the university’s continued growth and received a presentation from a group of ambitious students who are making great strides on campus through research.

Meeting for the first time since Dec. 3, 2021, the board recognized outgoing Vice President for Finance and Administration Chad A. Reed for his service to the university for more than a decade. Reed is leaving Radford to take a position at Old Dominion University in March.

“This is one of those bittersweet situations when we are going to say goodbye to a true supporter and visionary for Radford University,” Board Rector Robert A. Archer said. “Ever since I’ve been on this board, Chad has been at the center of about every effort and initiative. His vision and guidance on financial issues and budgeting have been simply remarkable.”

The board additionally approved two resolutions, one certifying the university’s compliance with its debt management policy and the other concerning a third-quarter 2021-22 university operating budget adjustment.

Interim President Carolyn Ringer Lepre, Ph.D., highlighted a number of student, faculty and staff activities and initiatives that, she said, “demonstrates their commitment and the impact it has on our community.”

Lepre said that in January, the university began the spring semester by welcoming 30 new freshmen, 151 new transfer students, 40 new learners in the IMPACT programs, and 21 new students in the fast track programs. “It is wonderful to see the campus come to life when our students return and experience the energy and excitement at the beginning of each semester,” she said.

Following the most recent guidance from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Lepre said Radford University no longer requires COVID-19 vaccinations or booster shots for students as a general condition of enrollment or in-person attendance. Also, weekly testing for students who are not vaccinated is no longer required by the university. However, COVID-19 testing and booster clinics are still being offered on main campus and Radford University Carilion for all employees and students, Lepre said.

The interim president informed the board of the Radford University community’s volunteer events for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on Jan. 17. Students, faculty and staff participated virtually in events this year. “Although the activities may have looked different this year,” Lepre said, “our commitment to serving our community has not changed.”

Over the past two months, Lepre has been meeting with Virginia legislators to share with them Radford University’s priorities and advocate for expanded investments in Radford’s students, she said, specifically need-based financial aid and operating support.

Lepre isn’t the only one to go to Richmond on behalf of the university. A group of 19 students was selected to speak to lawmakers during the annual Advocacy Day in late January. “This annual event gives our students the opportunity to share their personal stories to advocate for the university and engage directly with state leaders,” Lepre said.

In closing her report, Lepre told the board that Jamie Lau, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biology, had been chosen as the 2022 Presidential Fellow.

Throughout the meeting, the board heard from others in the university community, including Faculty Senate President Katie Hilden, Ph.D., who addressed Faculty Senate resolutions and shared governance with the board. The student representative to the board, Grace Hurst, informed the board of ongoing SGA initiatives, including a mental health bill, trauma-informed training, a sexual assault awareness campaign and the Student Philanthropy Association.

Rachel D. Fowlkes, Ed.D., provided the board with a report on the Radford University Foundation, including the potential sale of the RU Corporate Park and progress on the hotel construction at the intersection of Tyler Avenue and Calhoun Street. Fowlkes said the hotel is on schedule to open in November.

Executive Director of Government Relations Lisa Ghidotti gave the board a brief update on the changes at the State Capitol since the November 2021 elections, activities within the General Assembly and bills that have implications for the university.

The board received an informational and inspirational presentation from Office of Undergraduate Research Director Joe Wirgau, Ph.D., and three students who are heavily involved with undergraduate research on campus. Seniors Skylar Roberson and Luc White and sophomore Sean Williams each spoke about the many research opportunities that have been available to them.

“This is everything we want to do at Radford University, and I am absolutely honored and proud to get to work with these students,” Wirgau said.

Before the board’s full meeting on Friday, members actively engaged in separate committees on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, to receive in-depth reports from campus administrators. Highlights from those reports were presented to the board in its Friday meeting.

From the Academic Excellence and Research Committee the board learned about the successful implementation of the REAL curriculum, the further development of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP); and successful submission of the Compliance Certification Report.

Names of the Dalton Eminent Scholars for 2021 were announced as well as the latest retired faculty members to receive emeritus status.

The Advancement, University Relations and Enrollment Management Committee heard a report explaining the positive enrollment trends as well as updates for University Relations, Alumni Relations, the TOGETHER Campaign and Donor Relations.

The Business Affairs and Audit Committee heard a review of University Discretionary Fund expenditures for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2022. It also heard an update for Information Technology Services operations as well as an update on the exciting capital projects currently in progress or in planning. These projects included the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, as well as projects included in the governor’s capital budget to include a campus infrastructure project, the Combined Heating and Power Cogeneration Facility and planning funds for the McConnell Library renovation.

In the Student Success Committee, members learned that for the first time in five years, the all-Greek GPA is higher than the non-Greek cumulative GPA. Chapters have reinstated study hours and are focusing on academic excellence and creating action plans for members that have low GPAs.

Student Counseling Services updated its protocols, the board learned, to ensure students are seen within 24 hours of making an appointment. Also, an associate director of Student Advocacy was hired to case-manage students who require support beyond traditional counseling.

Main campus fall-to-spring retention rates have show increases, the committee learned, and coming soon is a new Esports Arena in Cook Hall.

The Governance, Administration and Athletics Committee learned about the significant achievements in the Center for Career and Talent Development office. One of the highlights was the results of the First Destination Survey, which gives graduating students an opportunity to share their plans beyond graduation. It measures positive student outcomes, such as employment, continuing education, military service and volunteering.

The committee also learned of significant achievements from the university’s student-athletes, on and office the playing fields, as well as recent and upcoming events for Radford Athletics.

The Radford women’s basketball coach’s suite was dedicated to program legend and Board of Visitors member Charlene Curtis ’76 during a ceremony that was held Feb. 5, Lineburg reported. Charlene was one of the most successful coaches in the country while leading her alma mater. 

The next Radford University Board of Visitors meeting is set for April 28-29, 2022.

Feb 25, 2022
Chad Osborne
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