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Dear Colleagues:

Below is the summary of the presentations and activity that took place at the regularly scheduled Board of Regents meeting on September 12, 2018.

1.      The Board heard two presentations in the morning as a part of its joint policy and finance committee meeting.

  • Kentucky Retirement Systems Executive Director David Eager provided the Board of Regents with a comprehensive update on the system, and the impact on and implications for NKU.
  • Samantha Langley, Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Research and Outreach, introduced two important programs that help connect NKU students to the community: the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project and the Center for Environmental Restoration’s partnership with The Jubilee Project. The director of the Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, Mark Neikirk, joined associate professor Kajsa Larson and student Keshila Mann in describing the impact of the nationally recognized Mayerson project, which has invested $1.65 million in the community since its founding and involved 4,900 students in philanthropic causes. Scott Fennell, director of the Center for Environmental Restoration, then joined Hawkins Warner and Reverend Thomas Hargis of the Jubilee Project as they spoke of their partnership, providing active learning for NKU students and serving areas of the community with high levels of poverty.

2.      In the afternoon, the Board approved all of the recommended items. Of particular note was the granting of emeritus faculty status to Dr. Tripta Desai, professor in the Department of History and Geography, and to Gerry St. Amand, former interim president and professor of law in the Chase College of Law.

3.      The Board also welcomed Senator Wil Schroder, who presented citations to former Kentucky state legislators Ken Harper, Clyde Middleton, and the late Art Schmidt in recognition of their leadership in the founding of Northern Kentucky State College. These individuals were also presented with formal resolutions of recognition from the Board for their service.

The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be on November 14.



Presidential Comments
Board of Regents
September 2018

Thank you Chair Scheben and members of the Board.


Thank you again to Ken Harper, Clyde Middleton and their families. It means a lot to us that you were able to join us today to allow us to celebrate your leadership in the creation of Northern Kentucky State College 50 years ago. We definitely would not be here today were it not for each of you. 

Student Success & Enrollment Management

Our enrollment picture offers mixed results. We are experiencing a greater than expected enrollment decline. The budget that was approved in May was calculated with an expected 1.1% enrollment decline. This figure was determined by our historical retention and persistence rates as well as real-time enrollment tracking. Currently our projected enrollment decline for Fall 18 is approximately 4.0% when excluding our accelerated online students. This has an estimated shortfall to budget of approximately $2.7 million for Fall 18. While we don’t know exactly the reason for the decline, preliminary analysis seems to suggest that many of our students are returning to work or dropping down to part-time status in order to work.

If we do nothing, and given our historical fall to spring retention rates, we could expect a similar $2.7 million shortfall in spring 2019 as well. Based on the analysis from IR and EDM offices, if we retain 540 students over the course of the year, we will make up all of the loss we may incur through the enrollment decrease. I have asked the Cabinet to work collaboratively with our colleges and schools and across divisions to come up with tactics for retaining and/or recruiting these 540 students.

These 540 students though represent more than just tuition dollars and numbers on a spreadsheet. These are 540 individuals who chose to get their education at NKU. Now let’s spend the next few months reminding them why they made the right choice and that this is the university that will provide them with the future they have dreamed of.

I would also like to affirm that this projected budget shortfall will not affect the planned compensation increase set to take effect in January. This is true for two reasons. One is that I am confident that the campus community will work together to retain these additional students. And secondly, I am firmly committed to ensuring that our dedicated faculty and staff are fairly and adequately compensated for the hard work they do on behalf of our students.

It is because of this commitment that our singular purpose must remain on student success. The process by which we will establish the strategic framework that will guide not only the next three years but lay the foundation for several decades for NKU is well underway. I have received all nominations for individuals to serve on the core team. That group will be named very shortly, and they will actually begin their training this week. We will also be launching a strategic framework website, which will serve as the public face of our campaign for individuals to participate in and learn about the process. Stay tuned for more exciting updates.

Regional Engagement

As I mentioned at convocation, the focus of our strategic framework will be on student success that aligns with regional needs. An outstanding example of this is the newly launched Clinical Research Certificate in the Department of Allied Health in the College of Health Professions. This post-baccalaureate certificate is a partnership with the CTI company, and will educate employees to work as business/regulatory managers of clinical trials. There are currently 10 CTI employees enrolled in this program.

Over the past two months I have had numerous meetings with our community and business partners including St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Fifth Third Bank, Corporex, BB&T, Western & Southern, and Duke Energy as well as the Chambers of Commerce for Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. They say many great things about our students who they employ and continue to ask me how we can work together to meet the talent needs of the region.

New Appointments

I would like to recognize a couple of new campus leaders with us today. Dr. Valerie Hardcastle is the new St. Elizabeth Healthcare Executive Director for the Institute for Health Innovation and the Vice President for Health Innovation. Dr. Hardcastle comes to us from the University of Cincinnati where she mostly recently served as co-director of the Weaver Institute for Law and Psychiatry.

I would also like to welcome Dr. Jim Buss, inaugural dean of the NKU Honors College. Dr. Buss joins us NKU from Salisbury University in Maryland, where he served as Dean of their Honors College.

We are so glad the two of you are here and very much look forward to the exciting work that will happen in the HIC and Honors College.

Highlights & Accomplishments

Congratulations to Dr. Denice Robinson and Dr. Bethany Bowling on being awarded a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to provide STEM scholarships for students with financial need.

Over the summer, the Center for Applied Informatics was honored with the 2018 National Association of Colleges and Employers Chevron Award for outstanding achievement for innovative programs in college career services. Congratulations to all associated with this exemplary work. 

In August, we participated in the American Dreams Academy sponsored by the entertainment and lifestyle retailer HSN. The Dreams Academy was a two-day scholarship-based summit aimed at emerging entrepreneurs who were looking to launch their business. As hosts, many of our faculty staff, and even Regents participated in the event. Thanks to Jill Henry, Zac Strobel, Rebecca Volpe, Stephanie Hughes, and Regent Norm Desmarais for their role in making the Dreams Academy such a success.

Upcoming Events

The grand opening for our beautiful new Health Innovation Center will take place on Wednesday, October 17 at 1:30 pm. Final details are still being finalized, so stay tuned for more.

That concludes my comments for today’s Board meeting.


Ashish K. Vaidya, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
Nunn Drive
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Phone: 859-572-5123Fax: 859-572-6696