JSU trustees approve Jeff Ryan as chief of program operations

Jeff Ryan, JSU’s COVID-19 task force head, pictured waiting to speak during the quarterly Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday. The trustees approved Ryan to serve as chief of program operations. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)Jeff Ryan, JSU’s COVID-19 task force head, pictured waiting to speak during the quarterly Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday. The trustees approved Ryan to serve as chief of program operations. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Coley Birchfield, Correspondent

Jeff Ryan was officially introduced as the Jacksonville State University chief of program operations during Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Trustees. 

The meeting, held in the Meehan Hall Stadium Towers, also discussed changes and policy proposals from the latest quarter.

“We are pleased that he is in this new role,” JSU President Dr. Don Killingsworth told the board when introducing Ryan. “We appreciate his willingness to serve in this new capacity.”

Ryan has led the JSU COVID-19 task force since the beginning of 2020, while simultaneously working as a professor of emergency management. He also teaches a Pandemics and Pestilence course, or EM 307, available this semester.

Ryan now joins Killingsworth’s presidential cabinet. The group of ten staff members — including Killingsworth — will provide important insight on new policies around the university.

Ryan’s specific duties as chief of program operations is to supervise the University Police Department, Marketing and Communications, External Affairs, the Professional Development Academy as well as Environmental Health and Safety. 

Killingsworth jokingly described Ryan fitting his new position into his already-busy schedule. However, he ensured the board that “he will also continue to lead the COVID-19 task force and teach classes in his free time.”

In other business, the trustees: 

— Approved the fiscal budget for 2021 proposed by the Board of Trustees Billing and Finance Committee. 

— Approved a resolution to permit Killingsworth to explore the possibility of selling or leasing the Education Broadband System. The university currently has a license for the system, but doesn’t utilize it and has no future plans to.

— Heard from the president’s report that Vinson Houston, JSU’s vice president of information technology, was tasked with strengthening JSU’s broadband. With CARES Act funding, the university’s broadband strength was doubled from 3 GB to 6 GB. This change improves the university’s business and instruction. Future plans are to get to 10 GB, according to Killingsworth

— Heard from Faculty Senate President Russell Hammack who presented details regarding a resolution passed by the Faculty Senate to rename Bibb Graves Hall. He also described a recent approval of the creation of a faculty resource guide which will inform future educational hires of childcare or other community services staff can utilize in their transition to the university.

— Heard from JSU Provost Christie Shelton who recommended an extension of the English Language Institute Pilot Program for one year, which was approved. She also introduced six new programs in the School of Education including: a mathematics specialists program; and middle level baccalaureate programs in general science, medical, mathematics and computer science.

— Heard a report from the Board of Trustees Audit, Risk and Client Committee which recently received the latest audit report from the last fiscal year. The report, overseen by Chris Anderson, found no weaknesses or deficiencies in the school’s finances or budget. The Internal Audit Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees. 

— Approved the 2021 Board of Trustees meeting dates. The next meeting for the Board of Trustees will be held on Jan. 25, 2021.

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