Board of Regents November 2014 Meeting

Dear Colleagues:

The Board of Regents met on Wednesday as part of the Board’s regular meeting schedule.  In the morning, the Board heard four presentations. 

Ken Ramey, Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Russ Kerdolff, Comptroller, presented highlights from the University’s 2013-2014 Annual Financial Report, including a review of the University’s revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, and net position.  The Annual Financial Report is available online at FY13-14 Annual Report.  The University’s financial position continues to be sound, even in this challenging fiscal environment.

Cindy Foster, Assistant Professor in the Department of Advanced Nursing Studies, shared the important work of the Nurse Advocacy Center for the Underserved.  Her presentation outlined the many outreach efforts that NACU has undertaken to improve the health of our community.  Shawn Mock, a student in the RN to BSN program, shared her experience volunteering with NACU and her plans to help expand this important work after she graduates in December.

Brad McCombs, Associate Professor in Visual Arts, described the work of the Driftwood Institute.  He highlighted the efforts being made to beautify and sustain our riverbank through education and creativity.  NKU alumni, Caitlin Sparks and J. Gray, discussed the documentary that they produced to highlight riverbank erosion.  And Matthew Shackelford, a senior, discussed his work in sustainability and his role in a second documentary.

Finally, I gave the Board of Regents an update on the Health Innovations Center.  I have established two committees – an internal advisory committee led by the Provost, and an external advisory committee – to help with other program planning for the facility.  We have selected CO Architects, partnered locally with GBBN Architects, to lead the facility design.  I anticipate that the new building will be open in Fall 2017, and the renovated Founders Hall will open in Fall 2018.

In the afternoon, the Board of Regents approved several items including accepting major gifts to the University.  The Board also approved the creation of four new scholarships: (1) an undergraduate scholarship in support of incomings students from Seton High School named the “Lynn Brumback Scholarship,” (2) an undergraduate scholarship in support of incoming students from Norwood High School named the “Emerson Brumback Scholarship,” (3) the naming of an endowed undergraduate scholarship in support of students pursuing a degree in history the “Ed and Betty Foster Endowed Scholarship in History,” and (4) the naming of an endowed undergraduate scholarship in support of students pursuing a degree in social work the “Ed and Betty Foster Endowed Scholarship in Social Work.”

The next regularly scheduled Board of Regents meeting is on Wednesday, January 14, 2015.  The morning joint committee meeting starts at 9:00 am, and the afternoon business meeting starts at 1:00 pm.  Both meetings are in SU 104.

I remain very grateful for your dedication and support of our students and our University community. 




November 2014 Report to the Board

Thank you Mr. Chairman.  I am pleased to provide my regular report to the Board.

P&G Breakfast
Yesterday, I joined approximately 100 NKU alumni who work for Procter & Gamble for breakfast.  Our message, and our ask of these alumni, was simple.  We asked them to engage with NKU – our students and our programs.  We plan to continue these breakfast or lunch meetings with companies all over the region who employ a significant number of our graduates.    

AASCU Excellence in Innovation
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) recently announced the inaugural winners in a new awards program honoring member institutions for excellence and innovation in several major areas of campus life and leadership. Our University is one of seven institutions nationwide to receive an award.

AASCU honored the NKU Center for Applied Informatics Virtual Co-op Program for its success in adapting the traditional co-op education model into an initiative that provides almost all services virtually. The program now engages more than 120 students per year.  Students develop mobile apps, websites, and similar products for more than 200 companies and non-profits, as well as providing services to 50 start-ups.

Professional Grounds Maintenance Society
I am also very pleased that we recently received the Grand Award from the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society.  NKU received this award for the excellent maintenance and the beauty of our grounds.  NKU was one of just six winners nationally.  I believe that the grounds at NKU are well maintained and increasingly beautiful.  I am very grateful to the men and women of our facilities maintenance staff who care for our grounds, buildings, and other facilities.  Several members of our grounds crew are with us today.  Please stand and introduce yourself.  Please join me in thanking them, and all of our facilities maintenance staff, for their important work.

Military Friendly Schools
For the fifth consecutive year, our University has been recognized as a Military Friendly School.  This designation is given to the top 15% of all universities in the country.  We are very proud to serve our military members, veterans, and families.  More than 500 students are using military or veteran benefits to attend NKU. 

IPP Process
As I have mentioned in previous updates to the Board and to the campus, we are presently engaged in a year-long campus-wide study of our athletics program as part of our Division I reclassification. We have formed several subcommittees comprised of faculty, staff, student athletes, and athletics representatives. The IPP study looks at governance and commitment to rules; academic integrity; gender and diversity issues, and student-athlete well-being. The subcommittees are in the process of drafting sections of the comprehensive report, which we will share with the campus in the spring in order to gather broad feedback. An important part of the IPP is the involvement of the campus in the process. I first shared details about the process at my Fall Convocation and we have since kept the campus and our broader community informed through press releases, the NKU website, social media, emails, and a presentation at our Fuel the Flame retreat in September. I’ll have more to share on our progress at our next meeting.

JJ Webber
Two weeks ago, JJ Webber, a star cross country runner, defended his title and captured his second A-Sun individual championship and led our team to a second place finish.  As you may recall, JJ was the first Division I conference champion at our University.  We are very proud of JJ and the team for these accomplishments.

Postseason Play
As you may recall, NKU is able to compete in A-Sun postseason team tournaments for the first time this year.  This is very good news for our student-athletes and our University.  So far, two of our Fall sports teams, men’s and women’s soccer, have qualified for the postseason.  Women’s soccer won their first game – which was the first, of many, conference tournament wins for teams.  And if the volleyball team continues their excellent play, we are hopeful that they will also qualify for postseason play.  I am very proud of the excellent season our teams have had.

As you know, I am spending time visiting seven areas of the state meeting with high school students, legislators, community leaders, CPE board members, and alumni.  These visits have been very productive.  I have visited the Somerset, Pikeville, and Ashland areas, and spent four days visiting schools and communities in western and far western Kentucky.  I have especially enjoyed talking with the high school students and their teachers.  Their enthusiasm for education, and their interest in Northern Kentucky University has been strong.  I will give more details about my visits during the January Convocation.

Geoffrey S. Mearns
Northern Kentucky University
Nunn Drive
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Phone: 859-572-5123
Fax: 859-572-6696