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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 November 13, 2019.

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

  • Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance and CFO Mike Hales joined Russ Kerdolff to provide the Annual Financial Report.
  • Vice President Kim Scranage, Interim Vice President Hales, Shawn Rainey, Ryan Padgett and Leah Stewart provided the Annual Enrollment Report.
  • Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sue Ott Rowlands joined Dean Hassan HassabElnaby and others from the Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business provided an update on that college.

In the afternoon, the Board approved all of the recommended items including Academic Affairs and non-academic personnel actions, major gifts acceptance, and the capital budget 2020-2022 recommendation.

The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be on January 14, 2020.



Presidential Comments
Board of Regents
November 13, 2019

Thank you, Vice Chair Ward and members of the Board.

Chair Scheben is not with us today, but I would like to congratulate him for his promotion to Interim President of Heritage Bank.

And thank you to everyone who is here with us today.

An update on Success by Design

  • On October 23, we held a Success by Design Update Forum with the campus community.
  • We unveiled our First Five Initiatives that we will implement as part of the strategic framework and the 2020 NKU Innovation Challenge, a program designed to unleash innovations in student success.
  • During the morning’s presentation you saw the first five initiatives.
  • Implementation Teams will oversee each initiative and represent a diverse group that includes deans, department chairs, faculty, staff and students.
  • We will also look to the campus community to continue to innovate while the First Five implementation is underway.
  • The implementation teams held their meetings on November 8, and they have begun actively meeting and planning.
  • Success by Design is beginning to get national attention. Just last week, Bonita Brown, NKU’s CSO, and Doug Hume, Chair, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Philosophy and a member of the Strategic Advisory Group were invited to present at the Educational Advisory’s Board annual Connected Conference where more than 900 higher education administrators from around the country were in attendance.
  • They presented a Ted talk on how SBD was developed and how we are moving forward - and I heard that they were amazing! We will be sure to share that video link with you when we receive it.

Pension Update

  • On October 25, we held another pension open forum for our employees, this time with individual meetings for each Tier (I, II & III).  KERS representatives joined us to discuss the Tiers and HB1.
  • Following the KERS open sessions, on November 8, we held a session with representatives from our defined contribution plan (TIAA). The TIAA representatives joined us to discuss defined contribution plans, the newly developed planning tool, and allowed for Q&A.
  • We continue to work in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University and Western Kentucky University on a request for proposal (RFP) for services that will assist the universities to analyze the options in HB1.  We have received proposals and are in the process of selecting a firm(s) to perform the services.

CPE State Biennial Budget Request

  • The Council on Postsecondary Education approved the 2020-22 budget recommendation for the state’s colleges and universities on October 31st.
  • The two main components of the recommendation include an operating funds request for performance funding and a capital request for asset preservation of state-owned buildings.
  • For performance funding, CPE requested $52.5 million in 2020-21 and $75 million in 2021-22. These institutional operating funds will provide incentives for campuses to maintain affordability, increase student success and course completion outcomes, while accelerating progress toward the goal of 60 percent of working-age Kentuckians with a college-level certificate or degree by 2030.
  • The total operating funds request is a 6.2% increase in the first year and an 8.8% increase in the second year. It also includes base adjustments for debt service and a Kentucky State University land grant match.
  • Since 2007-08, public institutions have been cut 21% in state general fund appropriations and have experienced mandated pension increases.
  • The second part of the budget request is $200 million in each year of the biennium for asset preservation to address a projected $6 billion need, as identified by a commissioned study. The recommendation calls for $400 million of state bond funds matched with $200 million of campus funds, which would address about 10% of the estimated capital investment needs of the state-owned buildings. Kentucky postsecondary institutions have over $6 billion in needs for aging facilities, infrastructure and related systems.
  • NKU’s share is approximately $294 million. NKU would see approximately $30 million of the total bond issuance to improve existing property and infrastructure ($20 million state investment + $10 million NKU match).

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer search

  • The Search committee for the Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer has completed both the screening and semifinalist interviews on an extremely tight timeline.
  • Out of a pool of 35 candidates, the committee narrowed the pool down to 9 semi-finalists.
  • The committee has now recommended 3 candidates for on-campus interviews, which will begin on Nov 19 and proceed through the first week of December.
  • During the on-campus interviews, the candidates will have the opportunity to meet with many campus stakeholders including students, faculty and staff.
  • We hope to make a selection before the end of the calendar year with a start date soon after.

Dr. David Schneider, Director of Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)

  • Dr. David Schneider, a highly successful entrepreneur, business executive and NKU alumnus, will join us as Director of our award-winning Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) on Jan. 6.
  • Dr. Schneider currently serves as the CEO of Rem Brands, Inc., a technology incubator of high-performance patented chemistries and proprietary formulas.
  • He brings a wide variety of business experience to the CIE, from launching startups as an entrepreneur to guiding established public and private companies as the president/CEO.

National First-Generation Student Day

  • Last Friday, November 8, NKU joined hundreds of other colleges and universities in celebrating National First-Generation Student Day, culminating in a celebration that was held in our TRIO Student Support Services office.
  • NKU hosted a week of on-campus events, outreach and campaigns that celebrated our first-generation students.
  • Events and activities included:
    • Student, staff and faculty spotlights across NKU’s social media platforms;
    • tabling in the Student Union and Campus Recreation Center where first-generation students could ask questions to our Student Pilots;
    • an alumni giving campaign to benefit first-generation student scholarships;
    • and outreach to parents and family of first-generation students through our Parent Programs, just to name a few.
  • I would like to thank all the departments, faculty and staff across campus who came together to support this cross-divisional initiative.

Veterans Day

  • On Monday this week, our Veterans Resource Station honored the legacy of those who have fought for our nation’s freedom on Veterans Day with a ceremony that included a flag raising and wreath laying ceremony, a bugle performance of “Taps” and a bag pipe player to remember fallen service members.
  • The VRS also hosted a Veterans Recognition Luncheon and sponsored a Fill the Boot Campaign that raised money to be sent to a deployed Army National Guard unit currently serving in Iraq.
  • Our Veterans Day celebration is among the many examples of why NKU is among the best schools in the nation for military veteran support, according to Military Times.
  • This is NKU’s seventh-straight year NKU has been nationally ranked by Military Times, and it is the only Greater Cincinnati educational institution to make the list.
  • The 2020 ranking is based on university culture, student support, academic policies, academic outcomes, cost and financial aid.

NKU Response to Cincinnati Christian University Closure

  • Late last month, we announced a 50-percent tuition discount to current students
    attending Cincinnati Christian University, which recently revealed its closure.
  • In October, CCU notified students that it will no longer offer classes at the end of the Fall 2019 semester. Nearly 700 students will be displaced.
  • This 50-percent tuition discount, excluding fees, applies to any CCU student: both graduate and undergraduate, and regardless of residency.
  • All application fees will be waived. The spring housing deposit for those looking to live on campus will be waived as well.
  • On Nov. 7, we held an event for CCU students who are interested in learning more about our university and its programs.
  • As of Monday, we have 85 undergraduate applicants with 23 admitted and 11 graduate applicants with 1 admitted.

Academic Affairs Updates

  • The second annual Spotlight on Scholarship was held on October 24 in the Griffin Hall Digitorium. Twenty faculty groups presented their scholarship, research and creative activity, and two musical interludes were provided by SOTA faculty. The winner of this year’s Sol award (named for the Norse goddess of enlightenment) was Zach Hart, Professor of Communication, who presented his research on sensemaking among parents of children with disabilities.
  • The College of Education was recently recognized at the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP, national conference with the Frank Murray Leadership Recognition for Continuous Improvement award. NKU was one of 12 Educator Preparation Providers in the country to receive this award. Recipients were selected from providers who were granted accreditation by CAEP in the previous year and who provided evidence and data to achieve accreditation with no stipulations or areas for improvement.
  • For the third year in a row, the NKU Cyberdefense Team came in first place at the US Bank Strength in Security Competition. The competition was held on October 8 as part of the US Bank Strength in Security conference held in Minneapolis, with teams competing both at the conference and remotely from their home universities. The competition tests participants’ expertise and problem-solving skills on software/web security, security engineering, network security, computer forensics, crypto and security code review.
  • Chinedu Asinugo, a Computer Information Technology major with Computer Forensics and Information Security minors, was selected as a Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar. The scholarship provided the opportunity for Chinedu to travel to Detroit, Michigan, in October for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, where he joined young leaders, founders, investors and creators for a life-changing, four-day immersive experience that included speakers such as Serena Williams and Blake Griffin; investor speed-pitching; industry-focused field trips; and a powerful day of community service.
  • Hans Schelhas and Brad McCombs from visual arts and Amy Gillingham from the music department, alongside the NKU 50-piece student Philharmonic orchestra, created a sound and light experience entitled “Light Streams” at BLINK along the Ohio River this year. More than 1.5 million people attended BLINK, making it the largest attended event in Cincinnati’s history. The installation and performance showcased the creativity, collaboration and outstanding faculty/student performance of SOTA.
  • NKU’s CINSAM, College of Education and Institute for Health Innovation partnered with the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Kentucky Science Center to host our second annual High School STEM Day. Two hundred high school students from the Ignite institute, Cincinnati Public Schools, Bracken County Schools, Owen County Schools, Williamstown Independent Schools and Bishop Brossart High School participated in hands-on activities that helped them envision various STEM and health careers. Professionals from organizations around the region, including the Kentucky National guard, the Federal Reserve, Kroger Technologies and more were on hand for the event.

Student Affairs Updates

  • The Division of Student Affairs celebrated Wellness Week and Mental Health Week in October. A wide variety of well-attended programs were offered, including a Town Hall Meeting with the Student Government Association.
  • The Norse Violence Prevention Center and Campus Recreation conducted Trauma Sensitive Yoga Certification, a free, 5-week Trauma Sensitive Yoga series that was available to all student survivors of interpersonal violence.
  • A very successful “It’s On Us” week of action was conducted in October with a pledge signing, an open workshop on healthy relationships, a soccer night and a self-care event. The new NKU 2019 “It’s On Us” video was also released, bringing together students, faculty and staff from multiple offices, departments and schools across campus. This video currently has over 5,400 views on social media.
  • NKU’s Upward Bound, a TRIO program funded by the US Dept. of Education supports low income and 1st generation college bound students through a challenging college prep program. This year the program achieved a six-year-best associate/bachelor graduation rate of 67 percent for the high school graduating class of 2013.
  • The Greek community has raised nearly $13,000 toward the endowment of a scholarship named for Christian Dichoso, a campus leader we tragically lost in November 2018.
  • The University Police Department was recently re-accredited by the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police.

Administration and Finance Update

  • Ayers Saint Gross, a leading architectural firm, has been selected after a national search to lead the master planning effort. Under the stewardship of a steering committee comprised of a wide cross section of stakeholders, the project is expected to engage the entire campus and is scheduled for completion by Fall 2020.
  • In honor of National Disability Awareness Month, on October 23 the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation recognized all those at NKU who have shown their commitment and support for the Norse Project SEARCH Program.  Numerous departments have created a partnership and were recognized for their contributions to Norse Project SEARCH. Project SEARCH is an unpaid internship program that places interns with disabilities in real-world settings where they learn all aspects of gaining and maintaining employment. A series of three 10 to 12-week internships allows interns to explore careers and develop marketable job skills.  The interns receive support from department mentors, skills trainers and worksite accommodations and adaptations.  The ultimate goal for each intern is to secure employment within their community. The program provides individualized job development that is based on the intern’s experiences, strengths and skills.
  • NKU hosted the Southeastern Regional Association of Physical Plant Administrators (SRAPPA) annual-regional conference of facilities professionals from October 5 through 9. The conference was held in Covington, in collaboration with the Northern Kentucky Visitors Bureau, and marked a return to our region after 12 years away. It provided a unique opportunity for professional development and networking for facilities staff. Conference participants also received an opportunity to tour NKU’s campus and witness the transformation that has taken place over the last 12 years. I [President Vaidya] got an opportunity to meet with the delegates and talk to them in the general session, where I emphasized to the attendees that the dedication and hard work of facilities professionals is a critical factor in student success.


  • NKU has sold a record 1,396 men’s basketball season tickets as of earlier this month.
  • Norse Athletics hosted a student tip-off event with both men’s and women’s basketball in late October to continue building a connection with the student body.
  • Coach Horn has also been active on campus nearly every Wednesday. Make sure to check out his “What’s that” videos that men’s basketball has been running on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.
  • Norse cross country hosted the Horizon League Championship. This marks the fourth cross country championship that NKU has hosted, but it was the first time a conference title’s been contested on campus. It also marks the first time in the DI-era that a champion was crowned on NKU’s campus.

International Trip

  • Just a few days ago, I returned from an international trip to Japan and Vietnam with Dr. Francois Le Roy, the Executive Director of our Center for Global Engagement and International Affairs.
  • It was the first time an NKU President has traveled internationally in an official capacity and the trip underscores our commitment to comprehensive internationalization.
  • The first stop was in Japan where we visited institutional partners, Gifu University (NKU’s oldest international partner institution) and Nanzan University, two of NKU’s most valued partners. At each institution we met with our students who are studying Japanese in either semester or year-long programs.
  • Some key companies are headquartered near these two schools, and some of these companies happen to have a presence in our own region such as Mazak and various subsidiaries of Toyota.
  • Following our visit to Japan, we traveled to Vietnam where we met with high-level officials of the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, several universities with which we signed articulation and cooperation agreements, and some high schools from which we hope to recruit more talented students.
  • Vietnamese students are among the fastest growing group of international students at NKU.
  • This is just the beginning of our work toward comprehensive internationalization.

Finally, on November 20 from 9:00 am to 10:30 am we will host the President’s Fall Forum. The session will include updates on the implementation of Success by Design, highlights from around the campus and the FY20 budget.

Vice- Chair Ward 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