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Dec. 21, 2009
The Northwest Board of Regents met in open session Friday, Dec. 18, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom.
The meeting began with the recognition of the Northwest football program for leading the Northwest Bearcats to their third NCAA Division II national football championship title. Coaches present included Mel Tjeerdsma, head coach; Scott Bostwick, defensive coordinator, linebackers; Charlie Flohr, quarterbacks, recruiting and passing game coordinator; Will Wagner, assistant head coach, secondary; and Richard Wright, defensive line, special teams. Dr. John Jasinski, Northwest president, indicated several celebratory events are being planned and that a multitude of Northwest employees and friends are to be commended for their role in the championship.
The awareness portion of the meeting consisted of a presentation by Dr. Doug Dunham, interim provost, and Bev Schenkel, dean of enrollment management, presenting information about the enrollment management efforts at Northwest.
Schenkel's presentation emphasized the growth in admissions at Northwest, including a 37 percent increase in applications for admission over the past five years, a freshman class of more than 1,400 for the past three years and an increased enrollment of students from Iowa and Illinois.
During her presentation, Schenkel shared that Northwest's Freshman Retention Rate, at 73 percent, is above the national average and consistently leads in Missouri among moderately selective universities. Northwest's graduation rate, at 58 percent, also tops the national average for peer universities by 10 percent. Schenkel attributed this success to many factors, including strong recruitment, strong advisement, faculty who focus on teaching and strong academic support.
After discussion with Scott Sullivan, of Kuhlman, Reddoch & Sullivan P.C. in Liberty and the University's established legal counsel, the Regents authorized Sullivan to enter into a contract not to exceed $1,000 to obtain counsel on items relating to intellectual property.
The Regents received a legislative update from Sen. Brad Lager and Rep. Mike Thomson covering the budgeting process for the state of Missouri and how this will impact higher education. Lager predicts the state is projecting an 8 percent decrease in state revenues for this fiscal year, due partially to the high unemployment rates. Lager and Thomson expressed that this, coupled with rising fixed costs such as Medicaid and other mandatory expenses, is leading to difficult discussions about balancing the state budget. Jasinski described the University's work on cost containment measures and current work on strategic planning efforts. Lager advised that this is the ideal time for Northwest to redefine priorities and overall vision as well as expand upon partnerships across the state of Missouri.
Action items taken up by the board included the approval of several curriculum proposals presented by Dunham, including the addition, deletion and modification of courses and curriculum requirements in the departments of Mass Communication; Computer Science/Information Systems; Agriculture; Psychology, Sociology and Counseling; Biology; English; History, Humanities, Philosophy and Political Science; Communication, Theatre and Languages; Geology/Geography; and Music. Of particular note is the creation of a bachelor of music education degree for vocal music education and instrumental music education majors. Additionally, the Department of Communication, Theatre and Languages created an individualized language minor, which will allow students to complete an immersion program at an approved foreign higher education institution and transfer up to 24 credit hours toward the minor.
The board also approved Hero Teams LLC as the fifth tenant in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the University's mixed-use incubator that emphasizes technology-based, start-up companies, provides assistance to small businesses and encourages development of new small businesses. Hero Teams specializes in providing full-service support for Internet servers, Web hosting and the emerging cloud computing industry. (Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet.) The company plans to initially hire 10 to 15 fulltime employees.
Additionally, the board approved an Art Exhibition Agreement in regards to their custody of a collection of art belonging to Dr. Antonio Racela of Kansas City. Racela asked Northwest to house the collection in the art department and to use the art for educational purposes throughout the United States. The agreement delineates terms between Northwest and other organizations that accept the works on loan for exhibition. The board also approved the renewal of an agreement to continue Northwest's study abroad partnership with The Instituto Tecnologico y De Estudios Superiores De Monterrey (Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico).
The board approved Northwest's audit, which was presented by interim Vice President of Finance Dan Edmonds. The board motioned to issue a Request for Proposal for auditors for the next fiscal year.
The board also voted to bestow an honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy on Lowell Kruse, recently retired president and CEO of Heartland Health in St. Joseph, volunteer Senior Fellow-Healthy Communities for the Heartland Foundation and winter commencement speaker.
Dunham and Dr. Charles McAdams, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, affirmed for the Regents that the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is under budget, allowing for the purchase of new equipment. Dunham also shared that the Higher Learning Commission will be visiting Northwest's off-campus sites.
Erin Holm, Student Senate president, said Student Senate is preparing for Great Northwest Day at the capitol, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Dr. Max Fridell, Faculty Senate president, announced committees that have been formed in cooperation with Faculty Senate, including the Faculty Evaluation committee, the Residential Life Committee, the Provost Search Committee and the Honorary Degree Committee.
The next Board of Regents meeting is at 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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