August Board of Governors MeetingAugust 3, 2020
The Truman State University Board of Governors met on campus this past weekend under the leadership of Board Chair Jennifer Kopp Dameron. In line with Truman’s return to campus plan, the Board members, and everyone in the room, wore masks for the entire meeting and maintained social distance. The Board began the meeting by recognizing Tiffany Middlemas, former student representative to the Board of Governors and a graduate in the Virtual August Commencement Ceremony, with a resolution of appreciation for her service on the Board.
Given the Board members receive regular updates on the many challenges we are facing, my President’s Report focused on positive things that are happening. I noted the on-going support and collaborative interactions between the University and various entities at the state and federal level as well as the Adair County Health Department and the City of Kirksville. I shared the stellar work of Truman’s Office of Public Relations, highlighting the Love, Kirksville video as an example. The video is Truman’s most viewed video ever with over 90,000 views. In addition, the City of Kirksville has started a #LoveKirksville campaign and is using the hashtag on Facebook and Instagram. I discussed how the University is celebrating our May and August graduates through the August 1 Virtual Commencement Ceremony and the Graduates of 2020 banners on display outside of Pickler Memorial Library. I underscored the impactful work of the Director of Retention and Student Success and the Center for Academic Excellence, which has resulted in a current freshman to sophomore retention rate of 88.2%. While the rate can fluctuate between now and census, this is an impressive 4.7% increase over last year’s rate. And finally, I noted the tremendous work that has taken place throughout campus to ensure Truman’s Returning to Campus Plan is realized.
Jerry Wollmering, Director of Athletics, provided the annual athletics report noting the success of Truman’s athletic teams both on and off the playing field, as well as the abrupt end to the 2020 Spring intercollegiate athletics season and the postponement of the 2020 Fall season NCAA classified high risk sports (football, soccer and volleyball) to the Spring 2021 season due to the ongoing concerns of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
During the Board meeting and within their committee meetings, the Board received updates on Truman’s Fall 2020 Returning to Campus Plan, the Fall 2020 Amended Attendance Policy, the fully online Master of Arts in English program, Truman Week, the Student Health Center and University Counseling Services request for proposals, on-campus construction projects, and financials reports.
In terms of action items, the Board approved two items within the area of academic and student affairs:
Resolution Amending Chapter 6 of the Code of Policies of the Board of Governors Pertaining to Academic Affairs – Faculty
Following a discussion which included Provost Janet Gooch; Dr. Scott Alberts, President of Faculty Senate; and outside counsel, the Board approved Chapter 6 Academic Affairs – Faculty as presented within their agenda packet. The proposed chapter contains a number of policies pertaining to the work of faculty including tenure and promotion, professional ethics, the Faculty Senate, faculty conduct, and professional leave, among other topics.
Resolution Amending the University’s Non-Discrimination Statement and Authorizing the President of the University to Enact Policies for Enforcement
A proposed amendment to the University’s Non-Discrimination Statement was approved in response to the publication of the final rules addressing Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The current sections either conflicted with or did not fully comply with new federal law, and the approved policy changes and reorganization not only facilitate full compliance with the new regulations but also deliberately and explicitly create work and learning environments free of discrimination.
In addition, two items were approved within the area of budget and capital projects:
State Appropriation Request for Fiscal Year 2020
This request, submitted each year to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD), is for funding to support the Education and General Budget. Truman’s Fiscal Year 2020 request includes funding based on core restoration, additional funds to expand the Nursing Program, as well as funds to continue to support the cooperative programs with community colleges and additional maintenance and repair funding.
Local Capital Budgets for Fiscal Year 2020
These budgets are reviewed and approved annually to provide funding for major building and renovation projects on campus. Due to the reductions in state funding for Fiscal Year 2020 which occurred in April-June 2020, no funds are available for transfer from the Education and General Budget to the Local State Funds Capital Budget. Auxiliary funds are available to transfer which are primarily dedicated to the Recreation Center.
A copy of the complete agenda from the August 1 meeting can be found on the Board of Governors website located at http://www.truman.edu/about/our-people/board-of-governors/board-of-governors-agendas/. The next meeting of the Board is currently scheduled for Friday, October 23.
The August Board meeting always signals that summer is nearly over and the new academic year is about to begin. While we all hoped it would not be the case, it is certain that this upcoming academic year will be different than anything we have yet experienced. But different does not have to mean bad. As a matter of fact, one of the synonyms for different is distinct, and we take understandable pride in the fact that Truman is distinct from other universities. If each of us takes our responsibility to our community as seriously as we take our responsibility to ourselves, we will truly be distinct in our ability to make the structure of the new semester both workable and meaningful. It will take all of us to make it happen.
Speaking of different, it will probably come as no surprise that Fall Opening Assembly and the Ready-or-Not Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon cannot happen as usual. As it is still important to recognize our colleagues, an Abbreviated Virtual Fall Opening Assembly will be added to the Strategic Planning and Assessment Workshop (SPAW) website and you will receive notification when it is available for viewing. In lieu of the Ready-or-Not Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon, all employees will be raffle winners this year with new logo items that will be provided to you shortly. While it seems like an eternity ago, if anyone failed to pick up a new Truman logo t-shirt following the unveiling ceremony in early March, please contact my office and we will send one to you through campus mail.
Thank you for facing the unknown and doing your part to ensure Truman successfully navigates these uncertain times.