June Board of Governors Meeting

June Board of Governors Meeting

June 16, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

The Truman State University Board of Governors met virtually this past Saturday for their annual June meeting under the leadership of Board Chair Jennifer Kopp Dameron.

In a very full and productive meeting, the Board welcomed Abby Smeltzer, the new Student Representative to the Board of Governors, who began her term on June 8.  Abby is a junior Communication major with an emphasis in Journalism and a minor in History from Sedalia, Missouri.  Abby holds leadership positions with Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and Delta Zeta International Sorority.  She replaces Tiffany Middlemas who will be recognized officially at the August meeting.

During my President’s Report and in previously held committee meetings, the Board members were involved in discussions regarding instruction for the 2020 Fall Semester.  On Saturday, the Board granted authority to adjust the 2020-21 Academic Calendar as needed in order to meet the educational and safety needs of the University.  As shared with campus yesterday, based on current data and guidelines from CDC, Truman plans to resume in-person instruction when the fall semester begins on August 17, observing the previously approved start and end dates; however, in-person instruction will conclude November 24, the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.  Details on specific steps will continue to be emailed to campus and posted to the Fall 2020 website https://www.truman.edu/fall2020/ as they become available.  Due to the ever-changing circumstances related to COVID-19, the University is trying to maintain as much flexibility as possible and will make any necessary adjustments as needed.  I also provided an update on the University’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan Process, highlighting the work of the Metric Teams and the Strategic Plan Drafting Team.  After review by constituency groups, the goal is to present the plan to the Board in October for their approval.

Dr. Tyana Lange, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing, provided a report on admissions, retention, and federal CARES money distribution to students.  Dr. Scott Alberts, Faculty Senate President and Professor of Mathematics, presented the annual Faculty Senate Report.  Within their committee meetings and during the open session meeting, the Board reviewed financial and investment reports, met with the University’s external auditors and reviewed the status of on-campus construction projects.

In terms of additional action items in Academic Affairs, the Board approved the addition of two undergraduate programs and one graduate program, pending the approval of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education.  The twin programs of Liberal Studies, B.A. and Liberal Studies, B.S. would be implemented in Fall 2020 as tools for academic advisors and the Director of Retention and Student Success to use in helping undergraduate students complete degrees.  The Data Science and Analytic Storytelling M.S. program is a 30-credit hour graduate degree that builds on Truman’s existing Graduate Certificate in Data Science.

Within the area of budget and capital, the Board approved enrollment fees for the 2020-21 Academic Year.  The Higher Education Student Funding Act (HESFA) calculation allows a statutory maximum increase that is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and applies to Missouri resident undergraduate full-time students.  For the 2020-21 Academic Year, the Board approved tuition rates that reflect the 2.3% allowable CPI increase for resident and non-resident tuition at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  For resident, undergraduate tuition, this amounts to a $179 increase for the academic year.  No change in designated fees such as the Athletic Fee, Health Fee, or the Student Activity Fee were proposed, and the charge for the Freshmen Orientation Program will remain at the current level.

In addition, the Board approved Operating Budgets for Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021).  The approved budgets were developed using state funding based on the 13% reduction made by the Governor for the current FY2020 appropriations and assuming a similar reduction for FY2021.  The budget includes the potential use of reserve funds.  Because the Governor has not signed FY2021 appropriation bills, and due to uncertainty regarding enrollment, a quarterly budget adjustment process will be utilized.  This will allow for adjustments as trends in both state revenues and tuition income become more certain.  This is a change from the traditional fiscal year budget approach, but is necessary to allow decisions to be made as conditions change during this health and economic crisis.

In terms of salary policies, the Board approved Academic Promotion Salary Increases for the 2020-21 Academic Year ($1,000 Instructor to Assistant Professor; $3,600 Assistant Professor to Associate Professor; $7,200 Associate Professor to Professor), continuing the final phase of increases as previously approved for the 2019-20 Academic Year.  As you will recall, last year the Board endorsed a new timeline for salary recommendations, moving consideration to their December meeting, with the exception that faculty promotion amounts would be approved in June.

Starting with the new fiscal year (July 1), faculty and staff who have previously received annual contracts or salary letters will no longer receive these paper documents.  Instead, to optimize efficiency and reduce costs, faculty and staff will receive a position and compensation notification letter the first of July.  Information in the letter will soon be added to the Payroll tab within the Employee section of TruView.  Once this information is added, as all position and compensation information will be easily accessible through TruView, employees will no longer receive a paper document unless there is a change in their employment status.  A notice will be sent to campus once the information is added to the Payroll tab.

Finally, the Board approved the State FY2022 State Capital Improvement and Maintenance Request which requests funds for the top priorities including Pershing Phase 2 renovation, the Greenwood Center, a significant renovation of Kirk Building and an Emergency Electrical Backup System.  Although it is not likely that there will be state funding for these requests, the capital requests must be submitted each year to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education and the Division of Design and Construction, Office of Administration.

During the closed session of the meeting, the Board approved recommendations for promotion and tenure effective at the beginning of the 2020-21 Academic Year.  I congratulate these dedicated faculty members and thank them for all they do for our students and our University.

Promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor and Granted Academic Tenure:
Jose Carreno-Medina, Spanish
Jocelyn Cullity, English
Margaret Edwards, Political Science
Arlen Egley, Justice Systems
David Charles Goyette, Theatre
Chetan Jaiswal, Computer Science
Stacey Kaden, Accounting
Michelle Kleine, Communication
Victor Marquez-Barrios, Music
Amanda Medlock-Klyukovski, Communication
Sarah Mohler, English
Curran Prendergast, Music
Jocelyn Prendergast, Music

Promoted from Associate Professor to Professor:
Jamie D’Agostino, English
Ilene Elmlinger, Communication Disorders
Sergio Escobar, Spanish
Elisabeth Hooper, Biology

A copy of the complete open session agenda can be found on the Board of Governors website under Agendas.  The next meeting of the Board is scheduled for Saturday, August 1.

Thank you for the unique and valuable contributions you make to our University.  Enjoy your summer and continue to be well.

Best regards,