Board of Visitors reviews university progress and goals

The Radford University Board of Visitors held their quarterly meetings on March 23-23, 2023 and heard updates on university progress and goals. 

During the full board meeting on Friday, the board called for a special meeting on April 28, 2023 to consider tuition and mandatory fee rates for the 2023-2024 academic year. In preparation for the meeting, board members will host a budget overview and public comment session on April 14, 2023, from 1 - 2:30 p.m. in the Mary Ann Jennings Hovis Memorial Board Room in Martin Hall at 915 East Main Street, Radford. 

In other action on Friday, the Board of Visitors approved the university’s third quarter 2022-2023 operating budget adjustment, a recommendation to certify compliance with the university’s debt management policy, revisions to the teaching and research faculty handbook and faculty tenure recommendations for 2023-2024, and a resolution to change the name of Radford’s School of Nursing to the College of Nursing. The name change must now be approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).


Radford University President Bret Danilowicz provided the board with a series of updates and goals, including his commitment to stabilize university enrollment within three years. The desire, Danilowicz explained, is to grow enrollment by 8% each year. Retention is a key factor in enrollment stabilization and growth.

The president informed the board of three open positions in his cabinet, including the vice president for Enrollment Management and Strategic Communication. A search to fill that position has begun, the president noted. 

Two other positions, general counsel and vice president for University Advancement, remain open. The search continues for the general counsel position and should conclude in about a month, Danilowicz said. Meanwhile, A search for the vice president of Advancement will begin once a person has been named for the role of vice president for Enrollment Management and Strategic Communication.

The president said the university is focused on increasing students’ connectivity with jobs and graduate schools and improving rates of graduating within four years. This will reduce costs for students and get them started in careers sooner, which can also be an economic boost to communities. 

Representatives from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) visited campus in the days leading up to the board meeting late in the week and spoke with the president and other administrators about an array of topics, Danilowicz noted, including enrollment. The president also touched on other initiatives, including sustainability and Radford’s possible future involvement in the lab schools being developed throughout Virginia. 

Also, at the full meeting, board members heard from RUC interim Associate Provost Glen Mayhew, who said we will be exploring sites in the near future for a new facility in Roanoke, and the goal is for the building to be Radford University-owned and opened in the fall of 2028.

RUC provides real-world learning experiences to students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in the health sciences. It is currently located in downtown Roanoke within the Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital building, and its lease there, Mayhew said, expires in 6 1/2 years.

Mayhew was among many in the campus community who spoke about goals and initiatives for the university before the Board of Visitors during it quarterly meeting, held on campus in Kyle Hall.

Executive Director of State Government Relations Lisa Ghidotti provided board members with a report focused on the Virginia General Assembly’s actions relating to the commonwealth's university and higher education. 

Michaela Baker, the student representative to the Board of Visitors, updated board members on her efforts to further engage and unify student leaders on campus through a Student Leader Summit initiative. Baker also will attend the Board of Visitors Student Representatives Conference at Virginia Tech. 

Later in the meeting, Board Rector Debra K. McMahon announced that Troy Stallard will serve as student representative to the board in 2023-2024. Stallard is a junior biomedical science major from Roanoke, Virginia. 

Rachel D. Fowlkes, Ed.D., updated the board with a progress report on the Radford University Foundation, including The Highlander hotel, which is expected to open in early April.

Before the conclusion of Friday’s meeting, Danilowicz led board members through a tabletop exercise focused on freedom of expression on campus.

Before the board’s full meeting on Friday, members actively engaged in separate committees on Thursday, March 23, to receive in-depth reports from campus administrators. Committee chairs provided reports from those meetings in the full board meeting on Friday.

Highlights from those meetings include:

Enrollment Management and Brand Equity Committee

Chaired by Lisa Throckmorton ’94, the Enrollment Management and Brand Equity Committee heard two reports from Angela Joyner, who serves as interim vice president for Enrollment Management and vice president for Economic Development and Corporate Education. 

Joyner spoke about the enrollment landscape at Radford and highlighted enrollment-related events such as the Highlander Distinction Dinner, admitted-student receptions and Highlander Days. Joyner also spoke about trends impacting enrollment at colleges and universities throughout the United States. She discussed the role of marketing and communication in achieving enrollment goals.

Joyner provided an update on the university’s brand strategy timeline, which includes a redesign for to be ready in October 2023.

Business Affairs and Audit Committee

Led by chair Marquett Smith ’85, the Business Affairs and Audit Committee heard reports from University Auditor Margaret McManus and from Audit Director, Reporting and Standards, and Radford University Project Manager Zachary Borgerding. Associate Vice President for Finance and University Controller Stephanie Jennelle provided a goals update for Finance and Administration, including a potential overhaul to the room-and-board meal plan costs. Jennelle also gave an overview of campus safety and security, focusing on video surveillance. 

Rob Hoover, vice president for Finance and Administration and chief financial officer, provided a financial overview and outlook, including a capital projects update. The committee viewed photos showing the progress of the under-construction Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity.  

Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee

Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marten denBoer provided a goals update to the Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee, chaired by Fowlkes. DenBoer spoke to the committee about an ongoing initiative to optimize faculty workloads, seeking to better utilize faculty talents and expertise to enhance student recruiting and retention. 

Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Quality Improvement Jessica Stowell updated the committee on the SACSCOC reaffirmation process and gave an update on the university’s quality action plan. Faculty Senate President Kurt Gingrich spoke about faculty’s efforts toward retaining students and faculty and to lower course costs for students. 


Between committee meetings on Thursday, a group of Radford students spoke about their research and internship experiences with board members and President Danilowicz.

Student Affairs and Athletics Committee

The Student Affairs and Athletics Committee, chaired by David A. Smith ’85, M.S. ’87, received an update from Student Government Association President Justine McLaughlin, who spoke about the success of Advocacy Day at the state capitol in Richmond on Feb. 1 and highlighted upcoming student events such as Unity Fest.

Vice President for Student Affairs Susan Trageser updated the committee on student affairs goals while highlighting the Military Resource Center, opportunities at Selu Conservancy – including a wilderness orientation program – Greek life and student engagement. Trageser also highlighted student employment on campus. 

Director of Athletics Robert Lineburg highlighted student-athlete successes in the athletic arenas and in the classroom.  He updated the board on resource development, including the popularity of the Highlander Club Courtside Lounge at basketball games, and upcoming events such as the Red and White Gala in late April and the Highlander Golf Tournament in August.

External Engagement Committee

Chaired by Mark S. Lawrence, the External Engagement Committee received reports from the divisions of University Advancement and Economic Development and Corporate Communication. 

Interim Vice President for Advancement and University Relations Penny Helms White provided the committee with an update on the TOGETHER Campaign and goals for the office, which include completing the campaign, increasing alumni engagement and donor opportunities and improving donor relations and retention. The campaign, White noted, has reached $91.1 million of its $100 million goal.

White also provided an overview of the Alumni Association, its collaboration with Admissions and the importance of educating students about philanthropy. 

Vice President for Economic Development and Corporate Education Angela Joyner spoke to the committee about the business model and growth strategies for the IMPACT Lab, which include exploring enrollment and revenue performance. IMPACT currently offers 44 courses in cybersecurity, geospatial intelligence, data science and K-12 education. 

Following the first two committee meetings on Thursday, board members, Danilowicz and others spoke one-on-one with undergraduate and graduate student researchers who presented their work in a special session just outside the board's meeting room on the third floor of Kyle Hall.

The next Radford University Board of Visitors quarterly meeting is set for June 8-9, 2023.

Apr 5, 2023
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761