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Dear Colleagues:

I write to update you on yesterday’s Board of Regents meeting.  The Board met as part of its regular meeting schedule.

The Board heard four presentations during its morning session.  Sue Hodges Moore, Senior Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Sue Ott Rowlands, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Vickie Natale, Assistant Vice President for Planning and Institutional Research, presented on the University’s proposed new Executive Dashboard.  The purpose of the dashboard is to monitor and evaluate the University’s effectiveness at achieving the five major goals of our strategic plan, Fuel the Flame.  The dashboard was developed with broad consultation from faculty and staff.  Updates on the University’s progress towards meeting the targets for these metrics will be presented to the Board of Regents annually.  

Ken Ramey, Vice President for Administration and Finance, and Ken Kline, Budget Director, presented the proposed 2014-2015 annual budget and tuition rates.  The 2014-2015 undergraduate tuition rates will increase by $16 a credit hour for most students and graduate tuition rates will increase $24 a credit hour for most students.

Ms. Zoe Welch, President of the Association of Campus Residents, presented a recommendation for a beautification project in the Residential Village.  Earlier this academic year, I challenged the residential students to develop a project to enhance the residence halls and demonstrate school spirit.  The students were also challenged to participate meaningfully in the installation and ongoing maintenance of the project that they propose.  The Association of Campus Residents, in consultation with many residential students, proposed adding a spirit boulder, creating additional green space, and establishing a more welcoming entrance to Norse Commons and the Residential Village.

Finally, the Board learned more about this year’s outstanding Celebration of Student Research.  Dr. Judy Voelker and Dr. Stephen Walker, the co-chairs for the event, presented an overview of the growth of the Celebration.  Debbie Hines, a student in the MSW program, discussed her research on aging, socioeconomic status, and exercise.  Debbie’s faculty mentor is Dr. Holly Riffe.  Caitlin Ferris, a senior psychological science major, presented her research on success dispositions in Psychology 100.  Caitlin’s faculty mentor is Dr. Perilou Goddard.

During the afternoon session, the Board approved all of the items on the consent agenda, including awarding honorary degrees to Dr. Pearse Lyons, Dr. Leon Boothe, and Justice Michelle Keller.  The Board also approved a new Center for Information Security, the University’s Executive Dashboard Metrics, the 2014-2015 budget authorization, and the tuition and fee schedule for next year. 

The next Board of Regents meeting is the July Board Retreat.  The next on-campus meeting is on Wednesday, September 10.  The Policy and Finance Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m., and the Board of Regents business meeting will start at 1:00 p.m.  Both meetings are open to the public and will be held in Student Union room 104.  

In just a few days, we will celebrate the commencement of more than 1,600 students.  It will be a wonderful celebration.  And as I said in my comments to the Board, this year has been a very good one.  Even better days for our University are in our future.



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Regents Distinguished Service Award

In March, we honored three employees who embody the great spirit of our University.  The Regents Distinguished Service Award recognizes staff employees who have made exemplary contributions to the growth, image, or efficient operations of the University.    I am very pleased that the recipients of this year’s award could be with us this afternoon.  Ms. Millie McLemore was recognized in the Service Maintenance/Skilled Crafts/Technical and Scientific category.  Millie has served the University for six years and is presently a systems manager in Steely Library.  Ms. Jackie Marsala was recognized in the Office Clerical category.  Jackie came to NKU in 2008 and presently serves as the Academic Assistant for the Department of Nursing.  Ms. Tina Altenhofen was recognized in the Professional/Research Assistant category.  Tina has served the University for seven years and is the Executive Assistant to the Director of the Center for Applied Informatics.  Please join me in thanking and congratulating this year’s winners of the Regents Distinguished Service Awards.

Dean Searches

As I shared with you in April, we have now completed the Dean searches for the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, and Haile/US Bank College of Business.  Dr. Katherine Frank will be the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Frank presently serves as the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indiana University East.  Dr. Cindy Reed will be the new Dean of the College of Education and Human Services.  Dr. Reed presently serves as the Director of the Truman Pierce Institute and the Emily R. and Gerald S. Leischuck Endowed Professor of Educational Leadership at Auburn University.  Finally, Dr. Becky Porterfield will be the new Dean of our Haile/US Bank College of Business.  Dr. Porterfield is presently the Graduate Associate Dean of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Cameron School of Business.  Our three new Deans will begin in July.  We look forward to welcoming them to campus.

Vice President for Enrollment Management Search

Last month, we began our search for a Vice President for Enrollment Management.  This Vice President will report directly to the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Given the extraordinarily competitive enrollment management hiring market and in order to attract top candidates, we have engaged a search firm to assist us.  The search will be conducted over the summer, and we will welcome finalists to the campus in the Fall semester for interviews.  Later this month, Joel Robinson will transition to Assistant Provost for Special Projects.  Ms. Leah Stewart, Director of Student Financial Assistance, will serve as the Interim Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management.  I am very grateful to Joel for his service and dedication.

Landor Marketing and Branding Engagement

As I have previously shared, the University has engaged Landor, an international marketing and branding firm with a strong local office, to help us develop updated branding and messaging guidelines.  The work began in early March, and I anticipate that Landor will complete its work in September.  The process involves qualitative and quantitative research through focus groups, individual conversations, and input provided by the faculty, staff, students, alumni, prospective students, and business and community leaders.  We have just completed the qualitative research phase where Landor’s team interviewed current students, alumni, and business and community leaders.  I will meet with Landor tomorrow to learn more about this initial phase of research findings.  The next phase of the project will involve testing of ideas and themes generated from Phase 1 of the project.

AASCU Exceptional Universities – Outreach Initiative

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has chosen five exceptional universities to feature in AASCU’s Outreach Initiative Pilot Program.  This pilot program seeks to broaden the public’s understanding of the high-quality, accessible, and affordable college opportunities at state colleges and universities like NKU.  I am very pleased to report that our University has been selected by AASCU as one of the five exceptional universities.  This selection means that NKU will be recognized nationally for our contributions to excellence, access, and opportunity.

Student Celebration of Research and Creativity

Just a few weeks ago, the University held our 12th Celebration of Student Research and Creativity.  This year, 750 students presented posters, oral presentations, or other scholarly and creative works.  139 faculty members mentored these students – and many faculty members mentored more than one student.  In total, there were more than 300 projects and 25 live student performances.  This is the largest Celebration of Research and Creativity yet.  I would like to thank Dr. Judy Voelker and Dr. Stephen Walker for their leadership of this event.  I’d also like to express my gratitude to the committee members, students, and faculty who participated in this extraordinary event.

Cyber Defense Competition Wins

Just last week, our Cyber Defense Team competed at the national cyber defense competition.  These competitions are exhaustive multi-day experiences that test each team’s skills in defending a corporate-style computer network under sustained attack by judges posing as hackers.   At the regional competition, the team defeated state champions from the nine Midwestern state competitions, including our long-time rival, the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, to earn a spot in the national contest.  At the national competition, we fared very well.  Our team placed 6th and edged out the Air Force Academy and UC Berkeley.  More than 180 teams competed through the regional and national competitions.  Dr. Yi Hu and Teresa Riley coached this year’s team.  They were assisted by alumni who were previous team members.  NKU’s prowess in Cyber Defense extends beyond this team. Earlier this month, a research poster and presentation by women in the NKU Masters program in Computer Information Technology won the graduate student poster competition at the national Women in Cybersecurity Conference in Nashville, beating out PhD students from universities such as NYU and Carnegie Mellon.  Members of the team included Darci Guriel, Irina Vorobyeva, Helina Oladapo, and Mary Ferguson.  The team was coached by Dr. Marius Truta. 


This time of year is always a special time in the life of a campus.  On Saturday, we will celebrate the accomplishments of more than 1,600 students as they graduate with their undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and law degrees.  This semester we have celebrated the many accomplishments of these students and are proud of their many achievements.  In just a few minutes, I will ask that you approve our honorary degree recipients for this year – Dr. Pearse Lyons, Dr. Leon Boothe, and Justice Michelle Keller.  We are delighted that each of these individuals has agreed to speak at our commencement.

Regent Pederson

As you know, today is Regent Pederson’s last Board of Regents meeting.  Erik has ably served on our Board for the past two years and has faithfully represented our student body as the Student Government President.  Personally, I have enjoyed working with him and appreciate the insight he brings to the Board’s deliberations.  I look forward to shaking Erik’s hand on Saturday at Commencement.  Erik, congratulations and thank you for your service.


In closing, this year has been a very good one.  And even better days for our University are in our future. 


Geoffrey S. Mearns
Northern Kentucky University
Nunn Drive
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099
Phone: 859-572-5123
Fax: 859-572-6696