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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 11, 2019.

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

  • College of Informatics Dean Kevin Kirby along with faculty and staff from COI provided an update on the progress of the college over the past 15 years. The presentation highlighted new programs and initiatives planned for the college and the informatics center and celebrated the success of the student cybersecurity team.

  • Campbell County Judge/Executive Steve Pendery provided an update on Campbell County and ways the county can partner with NKU for the success of our students and the region.

  • Finally, Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance and CFO Mike Hales joined Mayor Greg Meyers and representatives from Fairmount Properties to provide an update on the US 27 Project.

In the afternoon, the Board approved all of the recommended items including Academic Affairs and non-academic personnel actions, major gifts acceptance, and Staff Emeritus status for Lenore Chambers.

The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be on November 13, 2019.



Presidential Comments
Board of Regents
September 2019

Thank you, Chair Scheben and members of the Board.

Happy new academic year and welcome back, everyone. I hope that you all had a restful and enjoyable summer.

We were pleased to welcome 215 new faculty and staff this year. That includes 137 full-time and part-time faculty and 78 permanent and temporary staff members.

I want to welcome Bonita Brown, our new VP/CSO. She started on August 1 and has been busy working on Success by Design. In addition, Mike Hales has been appointed as the interim VPA&F and CFO effective August 1. Mike will oversee the areas of business operations and auxiliary services, budget and comptroller’s office, facilities, information technology and human resources. At this time, I would also like to acknowledge and thank Lori Southwood for her role this last year and a half as the Co-Interim Chief Administration Officer for the Division of Administration and Finance.

On August 12, we welcomed our faculty, staff and students back to campus at Fall Convocation. It was wonderful to reflect on our first year together, to celebrate all our accomplishments and to look forward to the implementation of Success by Design this year.

We also announced the LIFT Scholars Program, which was created from $2 million in gifts to support the university’s Further, Faster Campaign. Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky, through the support of Rich and Lisa Boehne and Bill and Sue Butler, has committed $1 million dollars each from the Rich and Lisa Boehne Fund and the Eagle One Fund to be used as a matching fund to establish LIFT. LIFT stands for Lifelong Investment and Future Transformation.

The program focuses on NKU students who have demonstrated academic potential but are at risk of not completing their degrees. The university will match the $2 million with other gifts from the community. Once realized, the program will have $4 million to support student success.

Success by Design

  • Over the summer, the Cabinet was busy reviewing the information received from the planning process from faculty, staff, students and the community.

  • From that effort came the first draft of the initiatives for SBD. If you recall, we had the pillars, we developed the objectives, but now we have added in actionable initiatives.

  • We spent the month meeting with various constituency groups to gather input on these draft initiatives.

  • We held open forums, focus groups and disseminated a survey.

  • During many of these meetings, we engaged the participants in activities that asked them to review the initiatives and help us identify what might be missing. We also asked them to prioritize what we should work on first and plot it on a chart that showed what is doable vs. how easy or hard it was.

  • And finally, we asked them to start drafting an action plan, what steps should be taken in the next 6-12 months and who should be involved.

  • We plan to use this information to develop a final version of the initiatives and begin assembling the implementation teams to begin this very important work.

  • For our Fall Leadership meeting this Friday, we have invited Dr. Ed Morrison from the Purdue Strategy Lab to come and work with about 80 campus leaders on Strategic Doing as a way to kick off the implementation phase of Success by Design. The participants will learn strategies for moving beyond the planning phase and how to engage and lead others in the process. We will also feature a presentation from a faculty member and staff members on innovative ideas that have been implemented to showcase the work already taking place on campus.

  • I am also happy to announce to the Board the creation of a one-time $2 million Strategic Investment and Innovation Fund (SIIF) to support the implementation of Success by Design, and Box 3 initiatives in particular. Thanks to our efforts in being good stewards of our funds in 2018-19, we have been able to set aside these non-recurring resources to support Success by Design.

If you recall, Box 3 will include the bold, new initiatives that we want to launch and implement to help us reach the goals set out in Success by Design.

In the coming weeks, we will form the implementation teams and determine the process and criteria for awarding funds from this $2 million SIIF. While we develop the criteria, it will be important that all funding requests are aligned with the framework initiatives, and include expected outcomes, progress milestones and measures for achievement.

CPE President Listening Tour

  • In late August, we hosted Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) President Dr. Aaron Thompson as part of his statewide listening tour. Dr. Thompson spent two days engaging students, university leadership and community members about issues impacting college access, student success, workforce quality and transitions to career in Kentucky.

The purpose of his listening tour across the Commonwealth is to gain a fresh perspective of how public higher education is serving Kentucky. Since February, Dr. Thompson continued to have face-to-face conversations with Kentuckians on how campuses can better serve students, the workforce and the economy.

Dr. Thompson’s priorities support our strategic framework’s focus on advancing student success that aligns with the needs of the region.

UK College of Medicine

  • In August, we welcomed the University Of Kentucky College Of Medicine’s inaugural class of medical students who will pursue education at the new Northern Kentucky Campus this fall, which is inside Albright Health Center.

Last week, we gathered with our partners from UK and St. Elizabeth for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate this important collaboration.

There are 35 students enrolled in the inaugural class, including two NKU alums.

Academic Affairs Update

  • The College of Health and Human Services’ Simulation Center is now playing a key role in education across the university and throughout the community. The SIM Center is now an official American Heart Association Training Site. Under the direction of St. Elizabeth, the SIM Center will offer CPR courses to students, faculty, staff and community stakeholders. Beginning with the fall 2019 semester, a new simulation program commenced with the Honors College, which brings HNR 101 students to the SIM where they will perform basic clinical techniques in a simulated environment. Finally, the college has formed a partnership with Gateway Community College, where students at Gateway pursuing an Associates of Nursing degree will utilize the College’s Simulation Center to perform simulation activities required for their degree.

  • NKU was renewed for another five years as an "NSA / Department of Homeland Security Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.” To earn this renewal, NKU needed to show that its cybersecurity curriculum covers the latest threats and innovations, that it has a critical mass of faculty with deep security expertise, and that its lab facilities were state-of-the-art.

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked NKU 40th in the country for the percentage of women earning degrees in Computer Science.  With 21% of its graduates as women, the program outranks programs at UK, UC and Miami University. NKU received a grant from the National Center for Women in Technology last year specifically to close the gender gap.

  • NKU was awarded two student success-centered programmatic NSF grants. The STEM Ready grant will help faculty study the impacts of two different math preparation bridge programs, residential and non-residential. The nearly $300,000 in grant money will allow student participants to each receive a $45 stipend to pay for access to the ALEKS program and two proctored tests.

  • In addition, we will be able to allocate $14,400 in housing costs and $10,000 in meal costs for 30 students for two weeks for each of the two summers for the residential program. Work has already begun to create the bridge program to allow us to welcome our first 60-student cohort in the summer of 2020.

The other NSF grant is for Sustainable, Scalable Scholarships, Opportunities, Achievements, and Results: a five-year, $1,068,593 grant for scholarships and a support system for high-achieving, low-income STEM students.

  • Our special education (learning and behavior disorders) programs have received national recognition by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). These NKU programs are the only nationally recognized learning and behavior disorders programs in Kentucky.

  • NKU’s online bachelor’s degree in Business Administration ranks second in the country by Bachelor’s Degree Center (BDC) and received rankings for affordable tuition, along with their accreditations and fully online and hybrid course offerings.

  • NKU's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program also received recognition. College Consensus, a new college ranking website, lists NKU sixth in the nation for both best online MBA program and best no-GMAT online MBA program. College Consensus ranks programs on affordability convenience and reputation.

  • The Chase College of Law was named a top law school for business law by the national Pre-Law Magazine.

  • New degrees for Fall 2019 include a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics

  • NKU is finalizing its response to SACSCOC and their request for more information in four key areas. We are conducting workshops and training to assist faculty in their assessment efforts, and we will use their data in the submission of our final response. The first year of our Quality Enhancement Plan is underway with 16 courses and 257 students actively participating in the GEARUP for Information Literacy initiative.

  • The NKU MPA program has been re-accredited through 2026 by the Network of School of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). NASPAA's Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation found NKU’s MPA program to be in "substantial conformity" on all seven standards, and we will not need to be monitored on any of them during the next seven years.

Enrollment Management Updates

  • Our eighth day preliminary enrollment of 15,036 this fall is an increase of 241 students, or 1.6% compared to the final fall 2018 enrollments. When the preliminary enrollments for the second five-week, second seven-week, and third five-week sessions are included, the total enrollment is projected to be 15,366, which is an increase from final fall 2018 of 571 students, or 3.9%.

  • Enrollment for underrepresented minorities increased by 116 students, or 6.0% as compared to the final census for fall 2018. Retention for the 2018 cohort is currently 71.9% compared to 68.5% last year. In addition, the continuation rate of all students increased from 78.9% to 79.8%.

  • Our undergraduate enrollment of 11,848 is a decrease of 310 students, or -2.5% compared to the final census for fall 2018. For first-time freshmen, inclusive of part-time enrollment, there was a decrease of 24 students or 1.2% compared to the final census for fall 2018.

  • Graduate enrollment of 2,786, however, is an increase of 576 students, or 26.1% compared to the final census for fall 2018. Law enrollment of 402 is a decrease of 25 students, or -5.9% compared to the final census of fall 2018.

  • The reorganization to establish the new College of Health and Human Services with four new schools and the new College of Education was successfully completed in record time due to the hard work and collaborative effort of more than 50 people from a dozen departments.  A 2008 NKU reorganization committee recommended 8 months be allocated for an academic reorganization and this team did it in 3 months during a challenging time of year which involved year end close, financial audits, and extra ECM processing for salary increases on top of summer vacations. 

This reorganization was a heavy lift, significantly impacting accounting, human resources, budgets, student records, admissions, advising, catalogs, websites, reporting and academic structure relationships for 930 courses.  Completing this effort successfully and in record time reflects the dedication and excellence of NKU employees.

  • NKU has been awarded two grants in CPE’s strategic initiative to help more students succeed in college. The CPE awarded each grant through a separate review process. Twenty colleges and universities submitted proposals for the funding, and six were approved. The $50,000 Stronger by Degrees Student Success grants are designed to support students as they progress toward completion, with a special emphasis on low-income and underrepresented minority students. The $25,000 Project Graduate returning adult program grants support former students who have 80 or more credit hours earn their degree.

  • NKU’s Success by Degrees funds will create a one-stop student support center with peer mentors who will provide consultation and coaching. It will also develop a series of first-year parent/family experience seminars to help families guide their students’ progress through college. The university’s Project Graduate grants will address financial barriers for 100 students through waiving orientation fees and offering book stipends, and will address completion barriers of 100 students through free credit-by-exams.

The grants tie directly to NKU’s Success by Design strategic framework and the university’s singular focus on advancing student success aligned with the needs of the region.

  • In August, the Office of Admissions, the Office of Institutional Students and Scholars and the Office of Information Technology successfully launched the Common Application for NKU.

The Common Application is an undergraduate application that applicants can use to apply to multiple institutions at one time. Through asking standard common questions, the common application allows students to complete one application that, upon submission, is submitted to the colleges and universities of their choosing without having to go to each individual school and complete a separate application. The Common Application also allows high-school counselors to submit required credentials through the Common App, streamlining the process for students requesting transcripts and test scores.

In addition, the NKU College Profile will appear to students using the Common App to research potential schools. Students can easily add NKU to their list of colleges. Currently, more than 750 students have added NKU to their list in our first month with the Common App. By becoming more accessible and streamlining the admission process, it is our goal to gain exposure to more students across the U.S. and the world that will lead to additional applications.

IHI Updates

  • In collaboration with St. Elizabeth and the Mayfield Foundation, our Institute for Health Innovation recently held a health/healthcare pitch competition. Competitors came from the northern Kentucky region, Louisville, and Cincinnati. The overall winner of $4,000 was CampusDocs – a team that just graduated from the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurship this past summer, held here at NKU. Second place was Kathy Noyes, an NKU faculty member from The School of Nursing. Judges included a senior administrator from St. Elizabeth, a neurosurgeon from Mayfield Brain and Spine, and a long-time entrepreneur from Cincinnati.

  • Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that NKU would receive more than $1.8 million in support for innovative approaches to solving the opioid crises in rural areas – more than any other college or university in Kentucky. With the Institute for Health Innovation as the lead, faculty and staff from seven departments and seven community partners came together to compete for these grants. This funding will advance rural care and support for Substance Use Disorder in Owen County and develop new ways of delivering peer support specialist training to underserved regions. This brings the total
    amount of grant funding that the IHI has received since its inception last
    summer, to $3.6 million.

Student Affairs Updates

  • The Division of Student Affairs administered a smooth and successful University Housing move-in experience with more than 550 students, staff, and faculty volunteering to help our new students with their transition to NKU.

  • Student Affairs developed an Ask Me Campaign in which faculty and staff volunteered during the first week of classes to be stationed outdoors throughout campus to answer questions and provide directions.

  • The Division of Student Affairs coordinated a highly successful Victorfest, the University’s Welcome Week for new and returning students. Students participated in a wide variety of events and programs designed to assist with their academic and personal transition to NKU. FreshFusion introduced new students to some of the 200-plus student organizations at NKU and it was a huge hit with more than 3,000 students in attendance.

  • NKU continues to be recognized for its success in maintaining a safe campus for students, faculty/staff, alumni, and visitors.  Most recently, recognized NKU as one of the most secure college campuses in the U.S.  In addition to the most recent ranking, we have been recognized as one of the Safest College Campuses in America by the National Council for Home Safety and Security in 2018, among the Safest College Towns in America by Safewise in 2017, and one of the Safest Colleges in Kentucky by, in 2016.

  • As part of our on-going efforts through the Division of Student Affairs Norse Violence Prevention Program, with the assistance of Facilities Management, a new office was created to expand programs and services.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Monday to celebrate the efforts of the Norse Violence Prevention Program and the new office suite located in the Albright Health Center.

  • You may remember my earlier announcement that we received a three-year grant of nearly $300,000 from the Office of Violence against Women – Campus Grant to continue the university’s efforts to reduce sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on campus.  With this grant, we are able to hire a full-time project coordinator/prevention specialist, hire a part-time advocate to expand our direct service capacity, expand our prevention efforts with African American, Latino, and international students, and provide trauma-informed yoga for survivors of sexual assault.

  • The Division of Student Affairs continues to award Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program grant resources in the amount of approximately $170,000 to help low-income parents with campus-based childcare services.  Currently 15 student parents, representing 17 children, are receiving the grant during the Fall 2019 semester.

  • Student Affairs continues to make significant progress on the Five-Year Housing Revitalization Plan, investing $2,400,000 in Commonwealth Hall, including replacing HVAC, flooring, common room furniture, mattresses, and painting stairwells.  Life safety was also part of the plan, including repairing the emergency electrical switch, repairing the fire suppression system, and repairing the generator. The project was completed on time and approximately $400,000 under budget.

Administration and Finance Updates

  • In April, IT conducted some student satisfactions surveys for the Norse Tech Bar. The results were overwhelmingly positive.  They received 307 responses and had a 99% positive satisfaction rating related to the service they provided.

  • IT replaced 800 handsets with new Cisco handsets across campus. This allows NKU to be on a more stable digital platform at a lower cost to the university going forward.  It also removes a major risk for the university due to aging technology.

  • A total of 642 computers on campus were replaced during the last fiscal year. Student success will be positively impacted due to the focus on upgrading computer labs - including our virtual labs.  With the computer redeployment program, over 120 functional computers were reused for lower compute workloads which resulted in saving to the university of over $100,000.

  • In August, the rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) issued a ratings report on NKU affirming our A/Stable rating.  In the report, it was noted that our financial profile is strong and that our solid balance sheet resources provide some financial flexibility.

  • An RFP for professional services related to an update of the campus Master Plan was issued in June. Proposals have been received and reviewed by the selection committee. Interviews with short-listed firms occurred in late August. A Master Plan Steering Committee will be appointed soon to oversee a collaborative campus planning process. The Master Plan effort is expected to focus on land use/site planning, space utilization and space needs, student life, community integration, transportation/parking, and infrastructure and utility planning. The engagement phase of the Master Plan process is expected to continue through the 2019-2020 academic year. The Master Plan and supporting documentation and plans will be complete by early Fall 2020.

  • An RFP for a long-term strategic partner for banking depository, student ID card, procurement card and other financial services was issued in early August. Proposals are expected to be received in early September with services awarded in late September or early October.  We are looking for strategic partners to work with us on delivering on our goal of student success aligned with the needs of the region. Potential opportunities for partnership include financial literacy, scholarships, paid internships, and sponsorships.  New contracts are expected to be in place by Spring 2020.

Pension Update

On August 23, we held a pension open forum with guest speakers from KERS who answered questions from the staff.

  • We have met with employees in IT recently to discuss pension and plan to hold several meetings this semester.

  • We are in the process of scheduling a separate meeting for each of the tiers and a meeting on defined-contribution pensions that TIAA will present.

  • And we have sent in our request for NKU’s liability to KERS.

  • This is still challenging for all of us, but we are keeping a close eye on this and will assess information coming out of Frankfort when the session opens.

  • We are working on issuing an RFP with other Universities to find a firm that can help the campuses assess liability and other data needed to make a decision about moving forward.

Athletics Updates

  • BriAuna Keys, who presented to the Board of Regents on behalf of athletics last spring, was the recipient of the Horizon League’s Cecil N. Coleman Medal of Honor, which is given annually to one senior student-athlete who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. BriAuna was also the Horizon League’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

  • The Horizon League also honored Haley Libs and Cameron Ross with post-graduate scholarships. Cameron is working toward an M.S. in Business Informatics, while Haley is pursuing a doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy.

  • Alec Sandusky won three combined track & field events between the indoor and outdoor seasons.

  • Norse student-athletes posted their best academic year ever. Following a department record 3.47 cumulative GPA in the fall, they posted a 3.39 in the spring.

  • Purdue Fort Wayne will join the Horizon League for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Staff Emeritus

  • Lenore Chambers has been granted staff emeritus status effective July 1, 2019. In her 25 years at NKU, Lenore served as Assistant to the President Emeritus and Assistant to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

    The Staff Emeritus appointment honors and recognizes eligible members of the university’s staff for considerable meritorious service to Northern Kentucky University.

    Staff Emeritus rank is awarded to staff member upon retirement who have provided distinguished service to NKU and have met NKU retirement eligibility.

    Congratulations, Lenore.


Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDO) and Title IX Coordinator

After careful thought and deliberation, we have redesigned the position of Special Advisor to the President for Inclusive Excellence into the position of Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDO) and Title IX Coordinator. This individual will report directly to me and will help align and oversee campus-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts to enhance the overall student experience and foster an inclusive, welcoming and engaging campus climate. In addition this individual will coordinate Title IX investigations and compliance.

The search for this position is underway with Ande Durojaiye serving as the chair of the search committee.

Chair Scheben and members of the Board, that concludes my remarks for today’s meeting.

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