Trustees consider phased retirement plan, review reports on accreditation and diversity

Topic: Administrative

December 16, 2011

The Ball State University Board of Trustees heard several updates today, including a report on the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process, diversity initiatives and a proposed phased retirement system.

Provost Terry King updated the board on plans to prepare for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation process. Every 10 years, the university conducts an exhaustive self-study followed by an on-site visit by an HLC review team. The self-study is being conducted now, and Ball State's on-site evaluation is scheduled for 2013.

King reported that Ball State remains focused on clear, consistent learning outcomes; attracting and retaining highly qualified, expert faculty; excellent academic support services; and a robust educational environment in and out of the classroom.

King also presented the Ball State University Diversity Committee's report. The committee was established by the Board of Trustees in accordance with state law. The report suggests measures to continue the university's efforts to enhance diversity. These include improving mentoring relationships and continuing existing minority recruitment efforts and augmenting them with new programs.

The board also reviewed a proposal for phased retirement, presented by Randy Howard, vice president for business affairs and treasurer. The proposal, which was requested by faculty through the Salary and Benefits Committee of University Senate, would benefit faculty by allowing them to maintain full benefits while working a reduced schedule for reduced pay. Howard noted that the proposal also would allow university departments to better plan for staffing needs while minimizing interruptions. This proposal could replace the early retirement plan currently in place through June 30, 2013, he noted. The board will consider acting on this proposal at its next regularly scheduled meeting, and the plan could be implemented as early as fall semester of 2012.

The board also heard a report from Robert Kvam, dean of the College of Fine Arts. Kvam noted that Ball State has an ever-increasing number of alumni with national television and stage credits to their names, including Grace Rex, Emily Behny, Andrea Prestinario and Ryan Woodle. He also noted that the School of Music was recognized by In Tune magazine in its "Best Music Schools" listings, placing Ball State among other elite institutions such as Juilliard, Oberlin and the New England Conservatory.

Kvam reported that the college's recently added master of fine arts programs in glass and animation have been doing well. The David Owsley Museum of Art collection also has been enhanced by selling lesser works to enable the purchase of a Joshua Reynolds painting that better fits the university's educational needs. Kvam also noted that the Department of Theatre and Dance will present "Circus in Winter" at the Region III Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Champaign, Ill.

In addition, the board heard a report from Ball State Athletic Director Tom Collins on the successful Lucas Oil Stadium football game on Sept. 3, in which Ball State beat Indiana University 27-20. Collins reported a net income on that game of nearly $481,000. 

By Joan Todd, Executive Director of Public Relations 

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