Academic Affairs and Campus Life Committee
The Academic Affairs and Campus Life Committee recommended, and the board subsequently approved, the recommendations for changes in instructional appointments.
Provost Smyer updated the committee on the upcoming visit by the Middle States reaccreditation chair, the Kern Family Foundation grant to the College of Engineering, the National Science Foundation grant to build a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) summer program, planning for future construction of Academic East when the necessary donor funding is secured, the success of this year's first-year reading experience program and the assessment of the Writing Program.
Vice President of Enrollment Management Bill Conley reported on the work of the Degree Completion Working Group and noted that while Bucknell's 90% retention rate is quite strong, a retention rate of 95% would be more in keeping with our competitive peer set and is the University's goal. The group's work has already led to a number of changes in University practices, and the group is developing a series of recommendations to boost retention success.
Dean of Students Susan Lantz and Dean of Arts and Sciences George Shields reported on recent successes in student participation in the Residential Colleges, for which first-year student participation rose 41% from 247 to 349. The increased participation resulted from enhanced and expanded marketing to prospective students and parents, along with a personalized faculty advising program for first-year students prior to enrollment. Susan and George stressed that the program's success depends on faculty involvement and that its growth is a powerful sign of the importance of faculty engagement in the colleges.
Vice President for Library and Information Technology Param Bedi and Assistant Director of Instructional Technology Matt Gardzina provided a report on Instructional Technology and Digital Scholarship. Several new developments, including the recent $700,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation and reallocation of staffing to better support academic programs, are continuing to strengthen the faculty's use of information technology as teaching tools.
Provost Smyer noted the successes of faculty on sabbatical in their engagement with leading institutions, obtaining grant support, and including students in their publications and presentations.
The chair of the committee, Dr. David Scadden '75, reported that following discussions President Bravman had requested among the Faculty Honorary Degree Committee and the trustees Honorary Degree Sub-committee, the University will again be actively seeking nominations for recipients of honorary degrees. But instead of awarding them at Commencement, the aim will be to award honorary degrees during the academic year so that the recipients can engage with students and faculty in meaningful discussions. The new nominations process will be announced in the coming months.
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Development and External Relations Committee
The Development and External Relations Committee heard presentations from Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Scott Rosevear, Executive Director of Career Services Pam Keiser, Director of the Annual Fund Loni Kline, and Vice President for Communications and Community Relations Pete Mackey:
Vice President Dave Surgala, Associate Vice President Dennis Swank and Treasurer and Controller Mike Cover discussed the following topics with the committee:
Chief Investment Officer Chris Brown '81 reported that staffing changes to the office, including the recent addition of Christina Chang as Associate Director of Investments, will enable us to terminate our contract with an external consultant, saving $210,000 annually effective in 2014. As of July 1, 2013, Bucknell's endowment was $660 million. The one-year return was 11.8%, which we believe ranks in the 2nd quartile relative to University endowments and foundations. The five-year return was 4.6%, which includes the financial collapse that precipitated the Great Recession, and which we believe ranks in the 2nd quartile. The 10-year return was 7.7%, which we also estimate ranks in the 2nd quartile. The committee continues to work with the Investment Office and the University's investment advisors to adjust the portfolio to balance risk and growth objectives. By the end of this month, we expect to publish our semi-annual endowment report, which will be placed at http://www.bucknell.edu/x57576.xml
Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee
The committee reviewed the June 30, 2013, audited financial statements and discussed the audit results with the University's independent auditors, KPMG LLP. The auditors reported that the financial statements prepared by management were fairly presented and there were no audit findings or deficiencies. At June 30, 2013, the University had over $1 billion in total assets and less than $200 million in total liabilities.
The committee was pleased by the University report about progress on the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) initiative previously endorsed by the board, and encouraged the University to continue providing ERM training and reporting guidance to the remainder of departments across campus. The ERM initiative is helping to assure that the University has in place the necessary plans, procedures and staff training to adapt to foreseeable risks to all aspects of Bucknell operations.
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