Provost Mick Smyer and Dean of the College of and Arts & Sciences George Shields discussed faculty diversity and shared with the committee demographic data for the faculty as a whole and in particular for Bucknell's faculty of color. Mick and George reported on a recently awarded grant from the Mellon Foundation that will help Bucknell maintain and expand the diversity of the University's faculty.
The committee received summaries of Bucknell's current intellectual property policy and activity and the recent philanthropic support from Trustee Emeritus Joseph Ciffilillo and others designated to further support health care technologies developed by Bucknell students and faculty. Dean of the College of Engineering Keith Buffinton reported on a variety of activities designed to offer entrepreneurial options to all University students.
The committee also received an update on progress made toward the recommendations that resulted from the Open Educational Resources report. The report calls for affiliating with consortia to enhance faculty and staff capacity for online learning. Bucknell has since successfully joined a consortium sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). The committee discussed a summary of the CIC proposal and the current relevant work by two faculty members who are developing online courses.
Mick provided the committee with several examples of the ways in which the University continues to develop and implement measures of student academic engagement and outcomes. The committee discussed metrics of the strategic planning priority of Strengthening the Academic Core, National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) measures that allow Bucknell to look at internal patterns of change and external comparisons to national liberal arts colleges and universities, and mapping the Association of American Colleges & Universities' assessment of what employers are seeking onto the University's own goals for student learning.
[back to top]
Campus Life Committee
As a newly formed committee, the first act of business was to adopt a charter. Dean Susan Lantz updated the committee on student engagement surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day observances and the student-led activities in response to events in Ferguson, Mo. Susan updated the committee on the newly implemented student Code of Conduct, reporting that the new processes are working well. She also shared with the committee information on student participation rates in a variety of programs and events.
Continuing a conversation from its October meeting, the committee focused a significant amount of its time discussing leadership development opportunities on campus. Susan provided a summary of current programs and a vision for expanding upon those offerings, particularly via a core leadership development program. As part of the conversation, Director of Athletics & Recreation John Hardt provided details on the Bison Leadership Academy and how it might help inform discussions on future campuswide programs and opportunities.
John also reported on Bucknell's student-athlete graduation rate, which ranks second in the nation behind Stanford. John discussed the success Bison Athletics has experienced so far this academic year. The Bison won seven Patriot League championships in the fall, positioning the University as the current leader for the President's Cup. Teams participating in winter sports are off to a strong start too. John also talked with the committee about the expanded hours of operation for recreational activities and the recently upgraded equipment in the fitness center.
Development & External Relations Committee
Due to scheduling conflicts, the Development & External Relations Committee met via teleconference on Feb 2. Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations Scott Rosevear updated the committee on the progress of the WE DO Campaign, which has reached $340 million. The committee also discussed fiscal year fundraising performance and the annual Trustee Day of Giving Challenge scheduled to take place in April.
Scott and Director of Athletics & Recreation John Hardt also discussed fundraising operations for Bucknell's Athletics programs.
Vice President for Finance & Administration Dave Surgala reviewed with the committee several changes to historic budget practices that will be adopted for fiscal year 2016. These changes will bring budget reporting more in line with GAAP financial statement reporting.
Dave also updated the committee on various campus construction and renovation projects. The Carnegie Building renovation, which was approved by the Board in October 2014, will go out to bid this month. Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed by December. Pending approval by the Board at its fall meeting, the Roberts Hall renovation is slated to begin in January 2016 and be completed in time for the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.
It was also reported that the University has taken advantage of the low interest rate environment and recently placed a $25 million private placement debt issue with Farmington Bank in Connecticut. The all-in-cost of the debt is just shy of 3.0%.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources Pierre Joanis updated the committee on the second Total Faculty Compensation Survey, noting that there are 23 institutions participating, including 16 returning and seven new colleges and universities. A final report is expected by June.
The committee also considered the comprehensive fee increase for the 2015-16 academic year. We want our students and their families to be the first to learn about next year's changes to the comprehensive fee. They will be notified next week.
The Investment Committee reviewed plans for making allocations to private partnerships in real assets and private equities for 2015. The committee heard a presentation from a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm and decided to make a $5 million allocation to its upcoming fund. The committee reviewed the performance of the University's endowment, which finished the 2014 calendar year at approximately $730 million.
Audit, Compliance & Risk Management Committee
The Audit, Compliance & Risk Management Committee reviewed with the University's independent auditors, KPMG LLP, the annual NCAA revenues and expense report and the final draft of the annual Federal Grants Single Audit report that focuses on financial aid and grants. Internal audit provided the committee with a summary of recent internal audit projects and recommendations. KPMG advised the committee of expected changes in financial reporting and compliance and presented the results of their annual client survey. Furthermore, the committee and management discussed the fiduciary responsibilities and investment due diligence procedures of the defined contribution retirement/403b plan.
In addition, General Counsel Amy Foerster provided an update regarding litigation and administrative claims, as well as regulatory developments concerning Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law.
Office of the President