Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees met April 6.
Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees met April 6.
Here is the minutes provided by the Board:
The regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University convened on Thursday, April 6, 2017, at 11:15 a.m. in Ballroom B of the Student Center, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois. The meeting was called to order by Chair Thomas. The following members of the Board were present:
MG (RET) Randal E. Thomas, Chair
Hon. J. Phil Gilbert, Vice Chair
Mr. Joel Sambursky, Secretary
Mr. Ryan Johnson
Dr. Shirley Portwood
Dr. Marsha Ryan
Ms. Amy Sholar
Ms. Naomi Tolbert
Executive Officers present were:
Dr. Randy J. Dunn, President, SIU
Dr. Brad Colwell, Interim Chancellor, SIU Carbondale
Dr. Randall Pembrook, Chancellor, SIU Edwardsville
Dr. Jerry Kruse, Dean and Provost, SIU School of Medicine
Mr. Lucas Crater, General Counsel
Dr. Jim Allen, Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs
Dr. Duane Stucky, Senior Vice President for Financial and Administrative
Affairs and Board Treasurer
Also present was Ms. Misty Whittington, Executive Secretary of the Board.
Note: Copies of all background documents furnished to the Board in connection with the following matters have been placed on file in the Office of the Board of Trustees.
Chair Thomas announced that due to the vacancy left by former Trustee Donna Manering, the Board needed to elect a new representative to serve on the State Universities Civil Service System Merit Board. Trustee Sholar nominated Chair Randal Thomas to serve as the Board’s representative. The motion was duly seconded by Trustee Sambursky. Hearing no further nominations, Trustee Gilbert moved that the nominations be closed. The motion was duly seconded by Trustee Sambursky. The motion to elect Chair Thomas to serve as the Board’s representative on the State Universities Civil Service System Merit Board passed by the following recorded vote: aye, Hon. Phil Gilbert; Dr. Shirley Portwood; Dr. Marsha Ryan; Mr. Joel Sambursky; Ms. Amy Sholar; Maj. Gen. Randal E. Thomas; Ms. Naomi Tolbert; nay, none.
Trustee Gilbert moved that the Minutes of the Meetings held February 8 and 9, 2017, be approved. Trustee Ryan seconded the motion, and the minutes were approved unanimously by voice vote.
Chair Thomas appointed Trustee Joel Sambursky to serve as a member of the Board Academic Matters Committee. Membership of the committee is following:
Academic Matters Committee:
Shirley Portwood, Chair
J. Phil Gilbert
Under Trustee Reports, Trustee Sholar reported that she attended a recent meeting of the SIUE Alumni Association and noted it was a very active group with a number of activities scheduled. She thanked Trustee Portwood for her service as former Board representative to the Association and reported that Dr. Portwood set a high standard for future Board representatives.
Under Executive Officer Reports, President Dunn provided his report for the Southern Illinois University system. He noted the FY16 Performance Report was finalized for loading into system “Dashboard.” The President spoke about the continued work on the system-wide diversity plan under Dr. Wes McNeese. Dr. Dunn provided information on work in the strategic plan area and efforts to build global relationships. Further, Dr. Dunn reported he made a quick trip to China to visit Carbondale and Edwardsville partner universities and to also work on making new friendships with a for profit university.
The President reported that within the shared services area, work on compliance efforts continues. A consultant law firm will recommend how compliance efforts may be consolidated on a system-wide basis. He indicated that centralized shared services for the system could result in monetary savings.
President Dunn informed the Board that talks amongst President Trump’s administration are being carefully monitored on federal funding for higher education within the Department of Education. He indicated they had been notified of a proposal for large cuts to federal student aid as well as research funding. The proposed federal cuts would be the largest to student financial aid and research funding seen in decades. He provided some information in regard to the Pell Grant reduction of funding and discussions that are taking place. The President notified the Board that staff are concentrating on working through the national associations to share the University’s concerns with the administration.
The President reported that state employee group health insurance is currently held up in court, so any concerns about drastic increases in premiums are on hold for now. He informed the Board that the State House Appropriations Committee had some movement for a short stop gap payment.
Executive Director for Governmental and Public Affairs John Charles provided updates on the funding bill that was introduced for the stop gap budget. For SIU the amount would be approximately $26 million or about 13 percent of its FY15 appropriation. He spoke of a bill advanced by community colleges that would grant them the ability to award bachelor’s degrees. Mr. Charles reported that the University is working with a federation of the other 9 public universities and 40 private colleges and universities in Illinois in opposing the bill. He provided updates on House Resolution 267, which is the Eclipse Resolution, and on Senate Bill 448, which would allow the SIUE School of Dental Medicine to create a practice plan, like the SIUC School of Medicine, to perform common functions such as scheduling and billing and to help them operate a dental practice.
Dr. Brad Colwell, Interim Chancellor, SIU Carbondale, provided his report for the Carbondale campus. Dr. Colwell reflected on his first 550 days serving as interim chancellor and provided a representation of his time spent attending events and meetings. He spoke of a celebration for alumni and prospective students held at Ballpark Village in St. Louis as well as the annual Carbondale Chamber of Commerce awards banquet.
Chancellor Colwell highlighted campus accomplishments. He noted Willie Lyles III was named one of 25 “Law School Students of the Year” for 2016-17 by National Jurist magazine. Graduate Student Alvin Gonzales, a computer science major and employee of the Department of Public Safety, was selected as the Student Employee of the Year. The Chancellor noted that 88 students completed externships with alumni and University friends over spring break. He informed the Board that the College of Education and Human Services moved up 27 spots in the U.S. News and World Report graduate school rankings. In addition, that college’s Rehabilitation Counseling Graduate Program tied for fourth place in the country in the rankings of those programs. The Master Brewers Association of the Americas has given its stamp of approval of SIU’s new bachelor’s degree program in fermentation science. The University earned a silver ranking from the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. And for the second year, SIU earned the Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation.
The Chancellor noted that the inaugural SIU Day of Giving had been a great success and raised $341,000 to directly support areas on campus. He highlighted activities of the 50th anniversary celebration of SIU’s 1967 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Championship team; nine team members were able to attend the celebration. The Chancellor went on to say that on April 1 more than 1,200 students, faculty, and staff participated in The Big Event: A Saluki Day of Service, where a number of agencies and organizations benefited.
Dr. Randall Pembrook, Chancellor, SIU Edwardsville, provided his report for the Edwardsville campus. He reviewed enrollment and noted that attendance was at capacity for the Spring Preview with over 300 seniors and 425 juniors on campus. He estimated the turnout was a good indication that next year’s enrollment should be strong. The Chancellor went on to say that summer enrollment should be up again around 5 percent, fall total enrollment is flat with undergraduate enrollment down at this time. He noted that recent news about funding for higher education and MAP grants could be a contributing factor.
The Chancellor provided highlights of university recognition and achievements. He informed the Board that Jim Zhou, professor of civil engineering, was elected as a fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineering, Environmental and Water Resource Institute. Sadegh Khazaeli, emeritus professor of chemistry, received the 2017 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award at the 38th annual Martin Luther King luncheon. Dr. Pembrook spoke of internal awards. McKenzie Ferguson, associate professor of pharmacy practice, was awarded the 2017 Teaching Excellence Award. Mike Shaw, professor and chair of chemistry, received the Distinguished Research Award. Bill Retzlaff, professor of biological sciences and associate dean of the College of Arts and Science, was promoted to distinguished research professor. Xin Wang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, received the Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Award. The School of Dental Medicine received the Liberty Dental Centers of Excellence Award. Kim Durr, assistant to the chancellor, was elected chair of the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education. School of Business Alumnus Jonathan Fowler accepted the 2016 Edwardsville Business of the Year Award on behalf of J.F. Electric. Department of Psychology Professor Jeremy Jewell’s image, “Heroin,” was honored as Best Representation of Research Impact.
Chancellor Pembrook spoke of scholarships and grant activity. The East St. Louis Center Head Start and Early Head Start Programs received an $11,827,358 grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. NASA gave two grants this year totaling $264,718, to Alison Reiheld, education; and Jeffrey Sabby, physics. Lastly, George Engel, engineering, received a grant from the National Science Foundation.
The Chancellor informed the Board the University Center celebration of its 50th year was a success. The School of Dental Medicine opened its Edwardsville clinic February 16. The engineering student project area addition is scheduled for completion this summer. Work continues for the Science East Building. Renovations are complete on the Campus Recreation led project to add an accessible family restroom, a private changing area and a gender neutral locker room.
Chancellor Pembrook spoke of student and athlete awards. Senior Megan Kaiser won the Public Health Outstanding Undergraduate Major of the Year by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Nursing students Brad Marcum and Madisson Haake were offered positions at the Mayo Clinic, one in cardiac surgery heart/lung transplant and the other in the trauma ICU unit. Softball Coach Sandy Montgomery became the 32nd NCAA Division I coach to reach 1,000 wins. Julian Harvey recorded the top indoor long jump by an American and number one in the world. Lastly, Jake Residori is the first SIUE wrestler to earn All-American honors since the wrestling program transitioned to Division I.
Chair Thomas recognized constituency representatives. He noted the Board had worked for a number of months on diversity and inclusion initiatives and approved system-wide accountability timelines and goals. He further noted a new constituent group, the Black Faculty and Staff Association, SIUE, had been added. He announced the Diversity Council at SIUC was finalizing and would soon announce the addition of two groups, the Black Staff and Faculty Council and the Hispanic/Latino Staff and Faculty Council.
Chair Thomas explained the procedures for the public comment and question portion of the Board’s agenda.
Dr. Mark Agustin spoke on behalf of SIUE faculty. He spoke of sacrifices made at the Edwardsville campus to make it more efficient. Dr. Agustin raised concerns about stipulations needed in the proposed Board matter to loan funds from SIUE to SIUC. Further, he shared concerns that those at SIUE would not benefit from their fiscal responsibility, and rather, may be put in a more precarious financial position in the future with the reduction of SIUE’s reserve funds. He asked the Board and President to consider concerns raised for the overall long-term wellbeing of the SIU system.
Dr. David Johnson, president of the SIUC Faculty Association, made his presentation to the Board. He reviewed the decreasing number of faculty employed at the SIUC campus. Dr. Johnson noted that when the fiscal crisis began more than two years prior, then acting Chancellor Dunn failed to make difficult cuts to better prepare the campus. He contended that the Faculty Association and campus constituent groups did not have a choice in the matter as they were not consulted at the time. Dr. Johnson asked the system leaders to work creatively to find a way to help SIUC pay off the money the campus owes. He mentioned President Dunn’s prior statements regarding the need to protect SIUC’s academic core and was troubled by current confusing talk about which academic programs to cut with little discussion about prioritizing academics. He provided the example from earlier in the day when the Board’s approval without debate $2.45 million purchase of Under Armour athletic apparel when the Athletics budget runs in deficit spending, but the Board had much debate regarding a purchase of planes for less than $1.3 million for an academic program.
Dr. Kim Archer, president of the SIUE Faculty Association, made her presentation to the Board. She spoke to historic concerns of legislators and others regarding whether SIUC and SIUE were stronger as a system or should be separate. Dr. Archer contended there is unequal distribution of system resources between the campuses. She noted SIUE’s enrollment was estimated to grow larger than SIUC’s enrollment soon. Dr. Archer mentioned cost cutting measures the SIUE campus had taken and contended there were cost cutting measures the SIUC campus had not taken during the same period and the failure of its administrators to make the campus solvent. She spoke of the need for stipulations to be made regarding the proposed Board item to lend money from SIUE to SIUC.
Mr. Mark Dolan, professor of photojournalism and new media in the School of Journalism, SIUC, made his presentation to the Board. He notified the Board of a book project recently completed in collaboration with the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce. He provided the members with copies of the book and copies of some recent other projects.
Mr. Brandon Woudenberg, president of the SIUC Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC), made his presentation to the Board. He noted that the GPSC had proposed updates to the campus’ Student Trustee Election Guidelines. Mr. Woudenberg contended Vice Chancellor Stettler exerted authority over the process by approving draft Guidelines without approval of both student government constituency groups. He reported that the GPSC would not participate in the election process and would not recognize a student trustee who is selected.
Dr. Jill Schreiber, assistant professor in the SIUE Social Work Department, made her presentation to the Board. She reviewed loss of faculty, graduate assistants, and clerical help in her department over the last four years. She spoke of additional administrative, mentoring, and advising responsibilities of faculty members for the same salary level and increased health care costs. Dr. Schreiber spoke of cost saving measures in her department which included the loss of office phones and the copier machine. She expressed concerns about the SIUE campus needing to make future cuts when she felt their department was operating at a minimal level. Further, she contended that the SIUC campus had not made the same cuts.
Ms. Shannon Lindsay, president of the SIUC Non-Tenure Track Faculty Association, made her presentation to the Board. She reviewed that SIU had been without a budget for twenty-one months, and President Dunn and Chancellor Colwell announced they would be implementing a plan two weeks prior. She encouraged the Board to keep academic considerations at the forefront of decision making regarding cuts to the budget as the students’ needs are critical.
Ms. Patricia Merritt, representative from the SIUE Black Faculty and Staff Association, made her presentation to the Board. She thanked Chancellor Pembrook for acknowledging the organization and granting it constituency group status. She reviewed recent involvement of the Association meeting with the other SIUE constituency groups. Further, she noted recent activities of the Association to include beginning the process of revising its bylaws to comply with the protocols and requirements of being a constituency group. Ms. Merritt spoke of its membership being located at the Edwardsville and East St. Louis campuses and differing issues and concerns of its faculty and staff members.
Mr. Kirt Ormesher, president of the SIUE staff senate, made his presentation to the Board. He read to the Board a resolution from the SIUE Staff Senate in response to President Dunn’s March 29, 2017, System Connection article, and he provided copies of the resolution to Board members. The resolution reviewed concerns regarding the Board item to loan certain unrestricted funds from SIUE to SIUC and the need for specifics in the Board item. The resolution reviewed budgetary realignment and reduction SIUE had gone through over the prior year under the leadership of Dr. Steven Hansen, interim Chancellor, and Dr. Denise Cobb, interim Provost, for savings of over $12 million. The resolution opposed the immediate transfer of funds between SIUE and SIUC, and it called on the Board to postpone consideration until all constituent groups and University advisory bodies including the University Planning and Budget Council could be consulted.
Mr. Anthony Travelstead, president of the SIUC Civil Service Council, made his presentation to the Board. He introduced Ms. Elizabeth Cheek, vice president of the Council. He reviewed historical enrollment of the campus, and that there were presently 1,454 Civil Service employees at SIUC, 158 less Civil Service positions than in two years prior. He reviewed recent positive efforts to collaborate with system constituency groups and spoke of an upcoming meeting of system constituency groups to be hosted at SIUC in August 2017. He spoke of further cost cutting to be implemented at SIUC, the number of positions lost, and the number of Civil Service personnel and workload with no wage increase. He expressed gratitude for the possible loan from SIUE to SIUC to assist the campus in its time of need.