Below is the summary of the presentations and activity that took place at the Virtual Board of Regents meeting on March 10, 2021.
1. That morning, the Board heard three presentations as a part of its Joint Finance and Policy Committee meeting.
2. In the afternoon, the Board approved all of the recommended items including Academic Affairs and non-academic personnel actions and major gifts acceptance, as well as Faculty Emeritus status for Allen Ellis and Perry Bratcher, and a new Master of Science Degree in Health Administration.
The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be May 12, 2021.
Board of Regents
March 10, 2021
Thank you, Chair Ward and members of the Board.
And thank you to everyone who is joining this Board meeting via live stream. We appreciate your participation.
This week we celebrate the founding of our university fifty-three years ago, and I believe that is a great place to begin my remarks.
As part of that celebration today, we launched our Inaugural Day of Giving. This campaign allows alumni, faculty, staff and friends to make an investment in our students and the region.
At our founding, education was the best path to a better life and that principle rings true today. While the world looks very different in 2021 than it did in 1968, we still strive to provide that path, opening the doors of opportunity for those willing to put in the hard work.
NKU’s mission of being a steward of place is as relevant today as ever before.
So before I begin sharing news and highlights from the past two months, I want to encourage you all to visit our Day of Giving website at nku.edu/FoundersDay to make a gift if you can.
Happy Founders’ Day, NKU.
First, COVID-19 vaccinations for Kentucky residents in Phase 1C opened this week and that includes NKU faculty and staff who are Kentucky residents.
Like in a lot of areas around the country, finding an appointment continues to be a challenge because supply still remains a constraint. Besides St. Elizabeth Healthcare and the Kroger Clinic at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, other sites are opening as we speak and with supply likely to increase in the coming weeks, it will only be a matter of time before vaccines will be available for all who choose to get them.
Earlier this week, interim Provost Durojaiye reported that the BB&T Arena on campus will serve as a St. Elizabeth mass-vaccination site for eligible individuals on March 20 and 21 from 8:00 am through noon and from 1:00 pm through 4:00 pm.
Second appointments for those receiving the shot on these days in the arena will take place at BB&T Arena on April 10 and 11 from 8:00 am through noon and from 1:00 pm through 4:00 pm.
The site will have 4,000 does of the Pfizer vaccine. Registration information will be communicated to campus as soon as we know more. So please stay tuned and sign up as soon as possible. The available appointments will go quickly.
NKU employees who live in Ohio or Indiana are currently unable to receive their vaccine in Kentucky. We have advocated that that restriction be modified as soon as supply eases. We will keep the community informed when and if that changes.
And of course, as we move through this process, it is important to stay focused on the safety protocols that keep us safe.
On Monday we announced that we will have an in-person commencement this May. Our proposal for outdoor commencement ceremonies was approved by the Commonwealth. The approval is for up to 25-percent of capacity provided social distancing and masking are still observed.
We still have several items to firm up, but knowing we can honor our graduates in person this May, is exciting.
I want to thank our special events team for their planning not only for this May, but for their great work on our previous two virtual commencement exercises.
New Provost — Dr. Matt Cecil
I am happy to share that Dr. Matt Cecil has accepted our invitation to become our new Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs beginning this July 1.
Dr. Cecil currently serves as Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he oversees its academic colleges and institutional research, as well as its COVID-19 response. Dr. Cecil has also served as the Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Minnesota State.
He brings more than a decade of academic administration experience at Minnesota State, Wichita State University and South Dakota State University. He also taught at Purdue University and the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Cecil is a media historian and a leading scholar of FBI history during the J. Edgar Hoover era.
As NKU's Chief Academic Officer, he will help advance NKU’s mission to deliver innovative, student-centered education across its seven colleges.
Thank you, Dr. Cecil. And thank you to search co-chairs Bonita Brown and Dale Stephenson, the search committee and all of our students, faculty and staff who participated in interviews and open forums with the candidates.
We are very excited to welcome Dr. Cecil to the NKU community later this year.
Earlier today, the Board heard from Trey Grayson and Assistant Vice President for Economic Engagement & Government Relations, Carmen Hickerson, with a legislative affairs update.
We will keep the campus informed about developments in the Kentucky General Assembly Session and how NKU’s priorities are faring. We remain hopeful for additional higher-education appropriations, given the state’s positive revenue situation.
Student Success Innovations
The campus continues to move forward with Success by Design despite the tumultuous past year, leading to several high-impact student success innovations across the campus.
For example, Steely Library extended its popular Textbook Affordability Program into the spring 2021 semester. The library identified 19 digital textbooks to add to the online catalog with the potential to reach over 1,100 NKU students and save them more than $74,000. Since the launch of the Program in the fall 2020, over 6,000 NKU students have saved nearly $350,000!
The library also expanded its Research Help Services for students by joining a national consortium of academic libraries. Students can now get personalized support from a librarian any time, day or night, via online chat. Last fall, there were close to 600 virtual chats. So far this spring there have been more than 200 virtual interactions demonstrating that we are meeting students where they are.
Norse Advising moved to virtual advising appointments, a practice students have enjoyed and embraced with fewer no-shows for crucial interactions. The plan is to include this in the future as a regular option for our students.
These are just a few imaginative innovations accomplished for students this year and we will continue to refine how we serve students across campus going forward.
Homecoming was a bit different this year, but our Alumni team planned a successful 2021 NKU Homecoming and Alumni Weekend “At Home” in February, which allowed our alumni to celebrate safely.
The weeklong celebration featured a blend of virtual gatherings and Norse pride traditions on campus, including a window painting competition and helmet decorating contest.
The community enjoyed several virtual events such as Black History Month Celebration Keynote Speaker Angela Davis, a political activist, philosopher and author. NKU's Black Alumni Council also held virtual events such as the "Black Norse Homecoming Experience," a showcase of black excellence from the campus community.
The week concluded with a virtual pep rally before the men's basketball team took on Wright State Raiders on ESPN+.
Norse Pride was showing all week and it was a great sight to see.
Making Teaching Public 2021
Our third annual Making Teaching Public event was also held during Homecoming Week last month and it was our most successful yet.
About 170 people attended classes virtually — a increase in attendance over the first two years.
Thirteen classes were available for anyone to attend at no cost and covered subjects such as teaching K-5 students reading skills and creating a village's brand identity in the Czech Republic.
This program always provides a great opportunity for community members to take an inside look at an exciting topic and learn something new.
I want to thank the faculty members who opened up their courses, as well as the University Advancement who helped make this happen. By all accounts, our external guests had a great experience joining our students.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Students, faculty and staff have been engaging in online training in diversity, equity and inclusion this month as part of the commitment to building a safe and welcoming campus community for all individuals.
This training is meant to inspire a more equitable and respectful community while offering the opportunity to learn about diversity, equity and inclusion. It will equip participants with the information and skills necessary to create that respectful and welcoming environment.
Throughout the month of February, NKU celebrated Black History Month with a variety of activities, including Angela Davis serving as our Keynote speaker and more than 600 in attendance for that virtual event.
Also, the Office of Inclusive Excellence partnered with Marketing and Communications to share via social media the names and photos of Historic African American leaders who we celebrate for contributions to social justice and civil rights. The highly successful campaign engaged faculty, staff and students.
In fact, the campaign continues this month as we celebrate Women icons in History, this time offering the stories of accomplished and powerful women who have made significant contributions throughout the history of the United States.
Student Affairs Updates
o Paint night
o Wellness Wednesday certification program on pathogen transmission
o and Trivia Night
Academic Affairs Updates
Administration and Finance Update
Campus Conversation — March 19
As you heard from members of the Mental Health Advisory Group this morning, another key component to serving our students is our resolve to maintain a focus on mental health at NKU. I encourage all of you to join the Campus Conversation on Mental Health next Friday, March 19 at 1 pm via Zoom. We all can and must play a role in promoting and supporting the mental health of our students, faculty and staff.
In two weeks, I will have the honor to serve on a panel at the American Council for Education (ACE) annual meeting along with President Ronald Crutcher of the University of Richmond and Dr. Nancy Thomas who directs the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education at Tufts University. The topic for the panel is Civic Learning, Racial Justice, and Democracy’s Future: The Role of Institutions and Campus Leaders. It should make for an interesting conversation to say the least.
NKU’s American Idol contestant: Alyssa Wray
Finally, I would like to offer congratulations to NKU freshman Musical Theatre BFA student, Alyssa Wray.
Alyssa is from Perrysville, KY, and was featured this past Sunday on American Idol and is moving on in the competition. She auditioned before the judges singing, “I Am Changing,” by Jennifer Hudson and she received three votes to send her on to Hollywood.
All of Norse Nation is excited to watch her journey.
Chair Ward and members of the Board that concludes my remarks for today’s meeting.
Ashish K. Vaidya, Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099