To: Faculty and Staff
From: President Ashish Vaidya
Subject: September Board of Regents Summary
Below is the summary of all the presentations and activity that took place during the September 14, 2022, Board of Regents meeting:
The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be November 9, 2022.
September 14, 2022
Thank you Chair Boehne and members of the Board.
I would like to take a moment to honor a very special friend of the university, Eva G. Farris, who passed away last week. Eva and her husband, Oakley, were generous supporters of NKU—and the region—for nearly 30 years.
The names of Eva and her husband Oakley are found in many locations on campus like Steely Library’s reading room, the commons of the College of Informatics and the outdoor amphitheater overlooking Loch Norse.
Hundreds of NKU students have been named Eva G. Farris scholars since the couple established the Eva G. Farris Business Scholarship Endowment Fund in 2002. Their numerous gifts have funded the building cost of Griffin Hall, renovations of the Steely Library archives and the sculpture of young Abraham Lincoln outside of Nunn Hall.
My sympathies go to Oakley, Eva’s family and to the entire NKU community. Eva’s dedication to NKU and continuous support of student success will be dearly missed.
Thank you, members of the Board and to everyone who is joining the meeting here in person and via live stream. We appreciate your presence here today. I would like to begin by welcoming Rich Boehne back to the chair.
I’d also like to welcome our newest regents Nathan Smith, Brad Zapp and Daniel Myers.
Regent Nathan Smith is no stranger to our Board. This is his third term. He is an NKU alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He first served as student regent during his term as Student Government Association president from 1993 to 1994 and also served on the Board from 2010 to 2016, serving as chair in his last year.
Regent Brad Zapp joins us for the first time this year. He serves on the advisory board for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is a 2000 graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he majored in economics and finance.
Student Regent Daniel Myers is a senior double majoring in marketing and sports business. He has been in his role as SGA president for a few months now, but I look forward to his service on the Board as well.
Welcome to all of you and thank you for your service.
Finally, I would like to thank Regent Andra Ward for his exemplary service as Chair of the Board for the past two years. On a personal note, I have appreciated his friendship, mentorship and guidance over the past two years.
At the June Board meeting, we welcomed Jeremy Alltop, VP of Admin and Finance, and Christina Roybal, VP of Athletics. Today, I’d also like to introduce Grant Garber as the new Vice President for Legal Affairs/General Counsel.
Grant joined us on July 18 from Auburn University in Alabama, where he served as a university counsel. He also served as the lead counsel for Auburn University–Montgomery (AUM). In this dual role, Garber performed all the legal work for AUM, a separately accredited institution led by its own executive team. At Auburn, he focused on a wide range of business issues and projects in employment and student affairs.
Prior to his tenure at Auburn University, Grant served as an associate general counsel for Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. He began his career working for law firms in Ohio and North Carolina, where he represented public utilities, universities, and other institutional clients.
He is a graduate of Georgetown University and the Duke University School of Law. I am excited to have him join Norse Nation.
I would like to thank the search advisory committee co-chairs Bonita Brown and Tammy Knochelmann for their service during the search process. I would also like share my gratitude to Elizabeth Meiszer for her support as interim VP for Legal Affairs/General Counsel.
We also have a new member in our Advancement division who just joined us this week. Shelly Deavy is the new assistant vice president of development.
Shelly is no stranger to NKU. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature and theater here in 2000, and she also served on the Alumni Board of Directors from September 2016 through May 2022.
Shelly previously served as the assistant vice president of development for the University of Cincinnati Foundation.
And now she will lead a department that just successfully completed the largest campaign in NKU’s history, Further, Faster: The Campaign for NKU. Welcome back, Shelly. We are so happy to have you.
Return to Campus
Last month, we welcomed our students, faculty and staff back to campus.
We celebrated the start of another new academic year with the annual Fall Convocation on August 22, and fall semester classes began the following Monday.
The Division of Student Affairs hosted its annual welcome-back series of events called VictorFest, which just ended last week. It brought some much-needed vibrancy back to campus with three weeks of activities for all NKU students. Highlights included Fresh Fusion, a student engagement fair, a karaoke night, Paint Wars and an outdoor movie.
At the Campus Recreation Center, RecFEST was an overwhelming success with more than 740 students in attendance. The Rec Center was full of engaging activities, including roller skating, Bingo, yard games, mini golf and a photo booth. The ice cream food truck "Hometown Swirls" was a hit with the students, serving more than 450 ice cream cones in three hours. I understand our students had a wonderful time.
August 18 was move-in day here when more than 400 staff, students and community volunteers welcomed new student residents to campus. We are at 77 percent occupancy, which is a 16% increase from fall 2021.
Staff and volunteers were happy to welcome students back to campus and provided a wonderful move-in experience. Many have said that it was the best move-in they have experienced at NKU, which set the tone for our residential students. I cannot fully express how wonderful it was to walk around campus and see the comings and goings of the students, faculty and staff who make this university such a wonderful place.
We partnered with the Brighton Center and Highland Heights on this innovative project last year to turn an old building into a beacon of hope for learners with a specific need.
Last month, 16 people moved into their apartments and started a new chapter and many of us here today just returned from cutting the ribbon to officially open this important partnership.
Amazon Career Choice
NKU was recently selected as an education partner for Amazon’s Career Choice program, providing Amazon’s hourly employees access to nearly all undergraduate opportunities at NKU.
The program empowers employees to learn new skills for career success at Amazon and beyond. The program meets individual learners where they are through a variety of education and upskilling opportunities including full college tuition, industry certifications designed to lead to in-demand jobs, and foundational skills such as English language proficiency, high school diplomas and GEDs.
This partnership aligns with NKU’s learner-focused and regionally engaged mission, providing Amazon hourly employees access to more than 80 undergraduate degree programs and stackable micro-credentials with options for in-person, hybrid and online classes. Full-time employees are eligible for up to $5,250 in tuition, fees and course materials, while part-time employees are eligible for up to $2,625. Employees are eligible for the benefit after 90 days of employment with Amazon.
Amazon’s Career Choice program has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programs, assisting them with job placements and offering education that leads to overall career success.
Enrollment and Degree Management
The annual number of degrees and certificates NKU awards to graduates continues to increase. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we are up 27% from three years ago.
World’s Universities with Real Impact placed NKU on its Global Top 100 Innovative Universities list!
Universities are evaluated on six categories: industrial application, entrepreneurial spirit, ethical value, student mobility and openness, crisis management, and fourth industrial revolution. Within each category, each school is then judged on three criteria: innovativeness, implementability and impact.
In addition to the Global Top 100 Innovative Universities rankings, NKU also ranked 17th globally in the category of entrepreneurial spirit.
The Third Way Economic Mobility Index ranked NKU in the top tier of colleges and universities in the U.S. when it comes to economic mobility and the return on investment for low-income students and Pell Grant recipients.
NKU is the only Greater Cincinnati college or university in the top tier. By placing in the top tier, NKU is among the top 20 percent in economic mobility.
NKU has also been awarded a Cornerstone: Learning for Living Planning Grant to fund Becoming a STAR at Northern Kentucky University and Beyond: A Pathway through the Foundation of Knowledge General Education Program.
We are the first institution in the state of Kentucky to have been awarded this nationally competitive planning grant in support of general education. This grant is funded by the Teagle Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
These are truly remarkable accomplishments.
Institute for Health Innovation
IHI was recently awarded a 5-year grant from the Economic Development Administration for a project totaling $1,096,180. This grant will expand the university’s initiatives for health entrepreneurship and innovation through the NKU Collaborative for Economic Engagement, our one-stop shared-services central innovation hub for businesses and entrepreneurs.
These initiatives will leverage the new life science wet lab in Covington, regional economic development agencies and entrepreneurship programs, the region’s anchor health care systems and health-related industries, and NKU’s technical expertise to advance commercialization efforts.
They will increase regional bioscience innovation in NKY through skill development and work force training in STEM, healthcare and entrepreneurship; applied research for economic development; mentoring for commercialization; and targeted entrepreneurial support programs founders.
Congratulations to Vice President Valerie Hardcastle and her team as they pursue this important work.
Academic Affairs Updates
The Haile College of Business officially opened the Verst Group Logistics Hub of Supply Chain Excellence on Aug. 23. The hub, founded through the partnership and generosity of Paul Verst and Verst Group Logistics, is equipped to serve as the heart of the Global Supply Chain Management program at NKU.
It will allow students and alumni the opportunity to connect and engage with businesses and affiliated groups within this growing field.
The Haile College of Business also continues to expand its programming internationally through a new partnership with SCMS Group of Educational Institutions (SCMS) in Kerala, India.
The memorandum of understanding was signed June 13 and will enable students of SCMS to enroll in the award-winning NKU Master of Business Administration (MBA) program as well as its undergraduate degree programs.
Under this program, students will begin their studies on site in India and will have the option of completing their BSBA degree and/or MBA on NKU’s campus.
This partnership supports the northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati region’s global aspirations. In an increasingly global world, these partnerships are greatly needed and are critical for a thriving economy.
Congratulations to Dean HassabElnaby and everyone involved in bringing these opportunities to life.
The College of Business welcomed Ryan Goss as director of the Center for Economic Education on August 1. Ryan is leading NKU’s center that increases resources to help K-12 students and local educators learn about economics and personal finance.
In the College of Arts and Sciences, The Center for Integrated Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CINSAM) was awarded a 5-year highly competitive NSF grant totaling nearly $1 million that will help the center design, implement and assess a structure and programming to increase direct participation of URM and transfer students in STEM research and professionalization. Congratulations to CINSAM director Madhura Kulkarni on this great news.
UniversityHQ ranked NKU’s online history program as the best in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and No. 19 in the country.
Professor Justin Yates won the APA Division 6: Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology Early Career Award this year.
SOTA and Regents Professor Ken Jones’ screenplay of Beyond The Moon (co-written with NKU alum Suzanne Fitzpatrick) recently won Best Screenplay at the Global Film Festival Awards.
In the College of Education, Drs. Jaesook Gilbert and Ryan Alverson received a $307,500 grant from the Kentucky Department of Education for conducting an evaluation of the Kentucky Preschool Partnership Grant.
The purpose of the grant is to encourage cooperative partnerships between public school districts and private childcare providers to develop full-day, high-quality programs for at-risk children. Congratulations, Jaesook and Ryan!
ABET, the nation’s most prominent accreditor of programs in science, technology and engineering, announced last month that NKU’s bachelor’s degree in data science will be the first data science program to earn ABET’s rigorous accreditation. NKU was selected to be one of only two universities to undergo this inaugural accreditation process.
Kudos to the faculty and leadership in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics for helping NKU achieve this distinction.
The College of Informatics has also launched a groundbreaking international partnership with St. Andrew’s Georgian University (SANGU) in Tbilisi, Georgia. Students in Georgia will enroll in NKU’s online master’s in cybersecurity program beginning in October, then take additional coursework at SANGU.
Students from Georgia will visit NKU and the Cincinnati area to learn about U.S. practices in cybersecurity, and NKU faculty will make short annual visits to the campus in Tbilisi to give intensive sessions to students there. This new program originated with the support of the U.S. State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Program.
The College of Health and Human Services received a $1 million gift from St. Elizabeth Healthcare to enhance the health care workforce. This gift will provide scholarships for juniors and seniors in nursing, respiratory care, radiation therapy and radiologic science. The gift will also fund two summer nurse camps and 1.0 FTE faculty in nursing to teach and recruit new students.
While the state benchmark for NCLEX-RN—the licensure examination to test the competency of nursing graduates—pass rate in Kentucky is 80 percent, the BSN program at NKU had pass rate of 97 percent in 2021. Given the significant challenges faced by our faculty, students and clinical partners during the pandemic, this outcome is quite impressive.
In the Chase College of Law, Governor Beshear appointed Professor Alex Kreit to serve as a member of the Kentucky Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee to advise him on possible legal access to medical cannabis. The Advisory Committee hosted a town hall on the NKU campus in July to hear from members of the public on this topic.
Professor Kreit directs the Chase Center on Addiction Law and Policy and is a national expert on substance use and the law.
This summer, Chase hosted a group of incoming first-year law students from diverse backgrounds as part of the residential Kentucky Legal Opportunity (KLEO) program.
Students from Chase, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville learned doctrine and legal skills to prepare them for success in law school.
A special thanks to Ashley Siemer, Chase director of admissions and student affairs, for running this program.
The Honors College welcomed Shanda Harris as its new director of NKU Esports. Shanda is an NKU alumna with a degree in sports business from NKU and a Master of Legal Studies from Chase College of Law.
This fall, the Institute for Student Research and Creative Activity launched a pilot of the First Year Exposure Program (FYRE). This program will involve more than 25 students from 13 majors and 36 faculty who will mentor these students on individual projects in the spring.
This is a great opportunity for students to explore undergraduate research early in their academic careers. Experiences like FYRE lead to increased retention and graduation rates for students.
A special congratulations to Dr. Shauna Reilly, ISRCA director, on the FYRE pilot launch and her Regents Professorship. Dr. Reilly is a professor of political science at NKU, and she teaches classes in American politics, state politics and political behavior.
For the first time in NKU’s history, four members of the university’s faculty received the Quality Matters (QM) Certification Mark for their online course design:
The QM Certification Mark is the internationally recognized symbol of online and blended course design quality and represents an ongoing commitment to creating learning environments that provide learners with a clear pathway to success. The certifications are the result of these professors’ dedication to continuous improvement.
Now that it has become safe to travel internationally again, 149 NKU students studied abroad this summer.
NKU also advanced its internationalization agenda by further increasing and diversifying its international student population. International students submitted applications to NKU in record numbers, which has resulted in enrollment of more than 200 new international students, most of whom are first-time freshmen. This fall, we have representation from 62 different countries.
Student Affairs Updates
This summer, 19 students from five area high schools lived on campus for four weeks to learn about college life. They attended classes—ranging from science to Spanish—during the day and participated in several cultural and educational trips, such as college tours and a visit to the Queen City Underground.
Thank you to Upward Bound team for making this fulfilling time for many of our future NKU students a reality.
Dr. Eddie Howard, our VP of student affairs, took over as chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee on Sept. 1. NKU is excited about this additional connection between NKU and the northern Kentucky community.
We have a new partnership that will expand the Help-A-Norse initiative when students present with needs beyond the university’s ability to assist. This partnership with Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission (NKCAC) will provide supportive and developmental services that can help students on their pathway toward an NKU credential.
A staff member from the NKCAC will be present on campus twice a month to meet with students who have been referred to the agency so that our students do not have to travel to them.
Thank you to Dr. Neisha Wiley for your leadership and to Drs. Gannon Tagher, Ryan Padgett, Bob Alston and UCAP Director Peg Adams for your collaboration and support on this initiative.
Finally, the ARP HEERF III grant for mental health initiatives has been extended for a second and final year. With this grant, NKU has waived counseling fees for students for the 2022-2023 academic year, hired two additional contract counselors in Counseling Services, hired a contract advocate in Norse Violence Prevention, and funded the first year of Talkspace—a new EAP benefit through HR that provides chat and televideo counseling for faculty and staff. We are also able to provide another year of Norse Support, which is a one-credit hour course equipping students to provide peer-to-peer mental health support.
Administration and Finance Update
Facilities Management continues to support the regional Norse Project Search Initiative, which provides job training opportunities to high school students with disabilities. In August, we were able to hire one of our former interns into a full-time custodial position.
The Office of the Comptroller facilitated implementation of a new four-pay student payment plan, saving the average student more than $200 in charges and evenly spreading out payments across the semester. This has impacted more than 2,100 students so far. This is a significant improvement to the overall student experience.
In partnership with The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, NKU will host the 2022 Higher EDquity Symposium on campus Tuesday, November 15.
This year’s theme is “Recruitment, Retention, Realization: A Road Map for Promoting Equity and Student Success Using Inclusion and Belonging.”
The symposium will provide an opportunity for faculty, staff, students and administrators in higher education to collaborate on issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
I mentioned during our last Board meeting that Athletics received a naming rights gift for the field at the soccer stadium.
This generous gift came from the estate of Ms. Joyce "Brenda" Hoskins. Her philanthropic spirit has created a lasting impact in northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati, and we are grateful to her and the entire Scudamore family.
On Aug. 28, we celebrated the official naming of the soccer field to Scudamore Field with Brenda’s twin brother’s son, Richard Scudamore. We were honored to pay tribute to Brenda's life and to Richard's contributions to the soccer community.
Chair Boehne and members of the Board, that concludes my remarks for today’s meeting.