Associate Provost Robert Midkiff updated the committee on changes to the academic calendar that are effective in the 2015-16 academic year, including starting classes on Mondays and providing a full week of break at Thanksgiving. Robert reported that changes are a result of collaboration between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, addressing behavioral issues in the student body, and helping to accommodate the increasing geographic diversity of the student body.
Vice President for Enrollment Management Bill Conley provided a report on the recent success of Admissions in recruiting for the Class of 2019. Bill informed the committee that Bucknell had its largest and most diverse applicant pool ever.
Provost Mick Smyer and Dean of the College of Engineering Keith Buffinton provided a brief report on the Bucknell-Geisinger relationship. They reported that the relationship is strong and continues to grow. They highlighted that the Bucknell Geisinger Research Initiative, which provides for collaborative research projects among faculty, students and Geisinger personnel, is central to these efforts.
Mick also highlighted the success of two recent events: The Kalman Symposium and the senior art exhibit.
The committee submitted, and the full Board approved, the recommendations for faculty promotion and tenure. The Board granted tenure to 11 faculty and promoted 10 to full professor, effective Aug. 24, the first day of the 2015-16 academic year.
The committee then met in executive session.
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Campus Life Committee
Dean Amy Badal updated the committee on various campus developments, including issues related to campus climate. The committee discussed data from the National College Health Assessment, which indicates Bucknell is in many areas on par with peer institutions. Amy discussed opportunities for improvement and noted that the Office of Student Affairs continues to identify and implement programs to assist students in regards to campus climate issues, particularly in areas of education and prevention.
Amy also gave a brief update on campus housing, stating that the new south residence halls and commons building will come online this summer. The additional housing will allow 300 students to relocate from downtown Lewisburg back to campus, which has been a longstanding, Board-identified objective. Amy also discussed with the committee the impact on downtown housing, sharing that an estimated 200 students will remain in off-campus housing.
Director of Athletics & Recreation John Hardt reported on an analysis of coaching continuity at Bucknell. The data show that, while some national trends contribute to coaching turnover at institutions such as Bucknell, there are no clear areas of concern specific to Bucknell that are contributing to coaching changes. John also updated the committee on new coaching additions, including Men's Basketball Head Coach Nathan Davis and Women's Soccer Head Coach Kelly Kuss. John then provided a brief update on the Patriot League President's Cup standings, in which Bucknell remains in first place heading into the conclusion of the spring season.
Before entering executive session, the committee recognized Amy's leadership as acting dean of students during a challenging spring semester, and thanked her for her hard work and dedication to Bucknell.
Development & External Relations Committee
Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations Scott Rosevear provided the committee with the initial result of the $300K in a Day Trustee Challenge, which took place on Thursday, April 23. More than 4,200 donors participated in the one-day giving challenge, an increase from last year of nearly 1,300 individuals. Including the matching funds from the trustees, the event raised more than $1.7 million. The WE DO Campaign for Bucknell University now stands at $345 million.
Scott also talked with the committee about the importance of strengthening Bucknell's culture of philanthropy. Scott shared with the committee information on initiatives implemented by DAR over the past decade to engage with students and young alumni, and discussed the need for additional programming and initiatives in partnership with other campus offices.
Assistant Vice President for Communications Andy Hirsch showed the committee several enhancements to the usability and navigability of the University's website, discussed certain metrics by which Communications assesses the site, as well as usability testing that is currently underway, which will inform further improvements and modifications.
The meeting ended with the committee meeting in a short executive session.
The committee reviewed the FY16 operating budget, which includes a 3.7-percent increase to the comprehensive fee and an annual increase to the compensation pool for faculty and staff, along with an additional faculty salary pool increase to address specific needs identified through the Sibson Total Faculty Compensation survey. The Board approved these increases during its February meeting. The committee recommended and the Board approved the FY 2015-16 operating budget.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources Pierre Joanis informed the committee that the University will receive soon the draft report of the second faculty total compensation study. Pierre also reported that Human Resources is developing a staff total compensation program that will modernize the merit and promotional processes; help attract, retain and engage staff; and ensure staff compensation is equitable and aligned with University goals.
Vice President for Finance & Administration Dave Surgala updated the committee on the University's integrated health care initiative, now in its fifth year. Dave reported that implementation of the student health, behavioral health, self-funded current employee health care and athletic components of the plan have all been successfully completed. Dave also stated that participation in the employee wellness program continues to grow and aggregate campus health metrics are improving.
Dave provided an update on the Graham Building, which will house a campus health, counseling and wellness center and a new wrestling practice facility. The initial cost estimates came in higher than the $12 million approved by the Board in April 2015, but that after a year of additional design work, contractor bids have been received at $12.5 million. Construction on the building is scheduled to begin this spring, and be completed by fall 2016.
The meeting concluded with Associate Vice President of Facilities Dennis Hawley providing updates on several major projects, including:
The committee met with students from the Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF). SMIF's assets have grown to $1.6 million, and the transition to next year's class is taking place.
A New York-based risk advisory consulting firm then presented to the committee on total endowment fund risk, as well as hedge fund risk. The committee also reviewed return objectives and market conditions, and reviewed the University's endowment performance. As of March 31, the University's total endowment fund stood at $732 million.
The committee will host the sixth annual Bucknell Investment Conference on Wednesday, May 27, at the Yale Club in Manhattan. The conference brings together Bucknell experts in the finance industry to share their knowledge with alumni and other guests.
Audit, Compliance & Risk Management Committee
The Audit, Compliance & Risk Management Committee reviewed with the University's independent auditors, KPMG LLP, the annual Federal Grants Single Audit report that focuses on financial aid and grants. KPMG also discussed the upcoming fiscal 2015 audit plans and timing. Internal audit provided the committee with a summary of recent internal audit projects and recommendations. The annual IRS Form 990 was reviewed with the committee and was made available to board of trustees.
In addition, General Counsel Amy Foerster provided an update regarding litigation and administrative claims, as well as changes in staffing and office structure that will assist the University as it moves forward with regard to Enterprise Risk Management and effective use of insurance as a tool for risk mitigation.
Office of the President