Bucknell University

Board of Trustees Spring Meeting
April 25-27, 2013

Academic Affairs and Campus Life Committee
Development and External Relations Committee
Finance Committee
Investments Committee
Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee

Academic Affairs and Campus Life Committee

The Academic Affairs and Campus Life Committee recommended, and the board approved, the recommendations for faculty promotion and tenure. The board granted tenure to 16 faculty and promoted 10 to full professor, effective July 1. On Friday night, there was a wonderful turnout for the faculty-trustee dinner as we celebrated the achievements of these faculty and the many family and friends who supported them as they reached these seminal moments in their careers.

The committee recommended and the board approved all recommended changes in academic personnel:

  • Instructional staff appointments
  • Recommendations for tenure.
  • Recommendations for promotion
  • Sabbatical leaves for 2013-14
  • Leaves of Absence
  • Retirements
  • Separations

On the recommendation of the joint faculty and trustee Committee for Honorary Degrees, the committee recommended and the board approved awarding the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, to Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson. This degree will be conferred at Commencement on May 19, 2013.

Provost Smyer reported that the meeting would focus on high-impact practices for higher education. He began with a discussion of the importance of endowed chairs and professorships for recruiting and retaining talented faculty.

Associate Provost Jim Rice and Dean George Shields presented on undergraduate research at Bucknell, which has been steadily increasing. They noted how important it is that we meet the challenge of finding additional funds to support such projects and conference travel that results from such experiences.

Dean Keith Buffinton presented on the entrepreneurship ecosystem at Bucknell and the considerable interest among students and faculty in entrepreneurial opportunities. We have learned from recent work that to capitalize upon this collective interest we must strengthen the related curriculum, themed housing, co-curricular programming and alumni engagement.

Deans Buffinton and Shields discussed the Engineering Success Alliance and the example it gives us to achieve the goal of supporting diverse students from under-resourced backgrounds through a potential University Success Alliance. These programs enhance the academic, social and personal skills necessary for success at Bucknell and beyond.

During the meeting, the two faculty presenters did a great job sharing their work. Prof. Chris Martine, who holds the Burpee Chair in Plant Genetics, discussed his research in botany and how the chair supports his scholarship and work with students; and Prof. Katie Faull and her student Steffany Meredyk '14 presented their research using GIS within the Stories of the Susquehanna humanities project.

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Development and External Relations Committee

The Development and External Relations Committee heard reports from Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) Scott Rosevear, Associate Vice President for DAR Kathy Graham, Executive Director of the Alumni Office Josh Grill, Executive Director of the Office of Career Services Pam Keiser, and Vice President for Communications and Community Relations Pete Mackey:

  • The WE DO campaign has now surpassed $280 million in gifts and pledges.

  • A one-day fundraising challenge last Thursday to alumni and parents who have yet to make a gift this fiscal year far surpassed its goal. The goal was to secure 200 new gifts. More than 1,100 donors, including two trustees who made generous matching gifts, raised nearly $1,000,000 in the 24 hours of the challenge.

  • The WE DO tour events to date – San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – have gone well. Fall events will be in Boston on September 7 and New York on November 16.

  • Registration for this year's Reunion on May 30-June 2 shows signs that it may be the biggest Reunion ever, and off-campus breakfast with the deans and community service events in partnership with 25 of our alumni clubs are underway.

  • With the survey data now in hand and compiled, the Class of 2012 shows strong placement results. Within nine months of graduation,
    • 76% of the graduates were employed.
    • 16% had entered graduate school.
    • 2% were both enrolled in school and working.
    • 2% were volunteering.
    • 3% were still seeking employment.
    • 1% were traveling or involved in other activities.

  • After receiving a brief overview of the organizational structure of the Communications Division, the committee took a tour of the printing and production plant located near the Facilities Offices with Pete and Lisa Hoover, the Director of the Office of Publications, Print and Mail. Each year, the print team produces more than six million pages of publications and documents and processes more than 1.2 million pieces of outgoing mail and more than 750,000 pieces of incoming mail to students, in addition to campus mail.

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Finance Committee

Following a recommendation by the Finance Committee, the board approved the fiscal 2014 budget. For FY13, the University is on budget. We appreciate all the work everyone on campus has done to manage budgets carefully and make this possible.

The committee discussed the long-term Integrated Financial Model and noted that, while Bucknell has a strong balance sheet, our income statement model is highly dependent on tuition and endowment income. Mostly because we are bringing new buildings on line over the next few years, our modeling shows deficits; knowing that, we will plan accordingly to balance those future budgets.

The Faculty Total Compensation Study is progressing well. We received responses from 28 schools that they intend to participate, which is more than we had hoped. Once the data is in hand, we will do analytics over the summer. We expect to be able to share results with the Human Resource Subcommittee by early August in preparation for discussion at the October board meeting.

Vice President for Finance and Administration Dave Surgala updated the board on two other major items:

  • The Integrated Health Care Initiative, involving student health, athletics, wellness and faculty and staff health care, is making progress.

  • Bucknell will be moving its PPO and High Deductible Health Care Plan to self-insurance in 2014. Geisinger will administer these plans. The University's HMO insurance is currently self-insured, and is administered by Geisinger.

Academic West remains on schedule for move-in this summer and to be fully operational by the start of the fall semester.

The board unanimously passed a resolution stating that the University should build a student housing complex and commons south of the library. We will open those buildings in fall 2015. This construction will meet a longstanding goal of the board to increase on-student campus living and provide students with additional apartment-style living options.

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Investments Committee

As of March 31, 2013, Bucknell's endowment was $669 million. Over the last 10 years, the endowment has had a 9.3% average annual return, despite the Great Recession. 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. With interest rates at low levels, and the U.S. stock market near all-time highs, prospective returns are in the mid- to high-single digits. The recently published semi-annual endowment report is available at http://www.bucknell.edu/x57576.xml.

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Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Committee

In introducing our Grant Thornton presenters, committee chair Mike Flowers '76 reviewed the steps that have led to this discussion. In 2009, the committee began reviewing Enterprise Risk Management concepts and their applicability in higher education. Concurrently, professional organizations such as the American Institute of CPAs and the National Association of College and University Business Officers developed seminars and position papers for their higher education constituents. These discussions over the past several meetings led to a general ERM vision for Bucknell. High on the list of concerns is the importance of protecting the University and its future by managing and overseeing the multitude of internal and external strategic risks that could affect Bucknell. The committee also has taken note that government and regulatory bodies are increasingly giving non-profits and higher education closer scrutiny and formalizing new risk-management expectations. The committee recognizes that risk management must be carefully planned and built into the University's daily operational practices across all departments and programs.

With those concepts in mind, following a competitive bid process, the University chose a highly experienced outside consultant, Grant Thornton, as its partner to build a comprehensive enterprise risk management process at Bucknell.

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Office of the President
Bucknell University
Lewisburg, PA 17837