The Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees held their last meeting of the year last Monday, October 20 on the eleventh floor of the Houston Cole Library.
At the start of Monday’s meeting, the Board announced that the Presidential Screening Committee would be meeting later in the afternoon. According to board member Rodney Smith, three potential candidates have been chosen thus far in the search for a new president for Jacksonville State.
“We plan to set the tone of where we want to go,” Smith said. “We haven’t acted upon anything yet.”
Randy Owen announced a proposal from the Academic Affairs Committee for a research center for veterans to provide an avenue in research and education to those serving our country. The Academic Affairs Committee plans to use a holistic approach to study the needs of veteran students and support them in every way possible.
“As a veteran, this is the best thing I’ve seen this board do and those involved should be applauded for their efforts,” said Clarence W. Daugette III in regards to this proposition. The board approved this proposal.
Smith then brought forward the Building & Finance Committee plans. He first motioned to change the bank used by the bond trustee from The Bank of New York Mellon to Regions. Board members approved this change.
Tuition quickly became a topic of conversation as Smith continued on to discuss the budget for the 2014-2015 academic year. Due to cuts in the budget, he speculated that at this time, there is to be a 5% tuition increase next year.
While he emphasized that tuition was to be finalized at a later date, he did make it clear that without a 5% increase in enrollment or tuition hours to balance out the difference, the matter would be out of the board’s hands. No decisions have been made regarding tuition, and, if an increase is to occur, there will be a meeting at a later date to solidify a decision.
Board member Randall Jones asked the board and those in attendance of this meeting, “What can we do to increase enrollment and credit hours?” Jones asked Brett Johnson, SGA President, to put a committee together to help this matter so that students are aware that promotion of our university is crucial, especially in regards to tuition costs.
Smith continued the meeting by bringing up the second phase of renovation to the Pete Mathews Coliseum. This involves all new floors and seats for the Coliseum, which was built in 1974.
The goal of this renovation is to make the Coliseum more welcoming for graduation and heighten fan enthusiasm during games. Altogether, the second phase of construction will cost 1.3 million dollars.
Other subjects discussed Monday included new chillers in the TMB and Martin Hall, occupancy rates for on and off-campus housing, and honors program rates. Dr. Meehan announced that JSU’s average ACT score is now a 22.6, an increase from last year. New department heads and directors were also recognized.
Dr. Janet Moore expressed the need for more tutors and drop-in tutoring locations like the one located in Martin Hall.
Dr. Alicia Simmons showed how the money from the First in the World grant would be used across the university. The 3.2 million dollars will be spread across four years, then divided into money for iPads, classroom upgrades, more employees, and the IT expansion. Simmons announced that starting next fall, incoming freshmen will get iPads on a yearly check-out basis.