Tag: William Meehan

Possibility of increased tuition, Coliseum to get new floors, seats

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.

Alex McFry
Associate Editor

JSU begins search for next president

According to a university press release, JSU’s Board of Trustees is beginning the process of choosing the 12th JSU President.

Board Chair and Alabama Secretary of State Jim Bennett identified 12 individuals chosen to be part of the presidential search and screening committee.

These members have various backgrounds and histories with JSU. Members include Allyson Barker, Vice President of JSU Administrative & Business Affairs; Greg Brown, President of the JSU Foundation; JSU Trustees Clarence Daugette III, Thomas W. Dedrick Sr., Randall Earlie Jones, and Gale Saxon Main; Bill Fielding, Dean of JSU College of Commerce & Business Administration; Brett Johnson, SGA President; Julia Segars, Regional Vice President of Alabama Power Company and former JSU Foundation President; Melanie Wallace, JSU Faculty Senate President; and Edgar Welden, a Birmingham businessman.

“Having a student voice at the table is extremely important, for the students and for the future of JSU. My focus will be on what impact the new administration will have on those that I represent,” said Johnson, the only student to be part of the committee.

The committee members, headed by JSU Trustee Ronnie Smith, are tasked with choosing and narrowing down candidates for the position.

The Board will select a national search firm to aid the selection committee in weeding out potential candidates on a national level.

According to Bennett, most of the committee’s work and meetings will occur between January and March 2015. The committee’s goal is to submit a list of recommended candidates to the board in March 2015. Campus interviews and selection will follow.

The winning candidate is scheduled to be announced at the Board’s April 20, 2015 meeting.

Current President William A. Meehan announced in July 2014 that he would be retiring effective July 2015.

He is the third longest serving president at the university.

“Filling the shoes of President Meehan will be no easy task, and finding a successor who is as attentive to the needs of the student body will be even more difficult,” said Johnson.

JSU, under the Meehan administration, became a doctoral granting university, graduated the largest classes in JSU history, had higher admissions standards, increased scholarships and snagged 58 conference championships in sports.

Cassidy Smith
Staff Writer

JSU’s first Graduation Fair proved successful

Traditionally, graduating seniors are on their own when it comes to getting ready for that big day. Seniors this year, however, got a bit of a helping hand with JSU’s first Graduation Fair on August 26, in the Leone Cole Auditorium, lasting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The fair was the idea of the Bursar’s office. “We wanted to offer more to the students,” said Emily White, the JSU Registrar. Numerous booths set up by JSU staff or certain companies were located in the auditorium. A taping of last fall’s graduation ceremony was played on a projector at the far end of the hall.

Seniors could walk in and fill out an information card. Each time a booth was visited, the student would receive a sticker. After six stickers, a student could hand the card back, and be put into a drawing for an Apple iPad or other door prizes.

Each booth served a different purpose for graduating seniors. For example, a booth by Village Photographers let seniors have a free sitting for cap and gown pictures. Another booth from Balfour let students order class rings. Even Waffle House was available with hot waffles and information about its company.

Previously such companies would have to wait until right before graduation to be visible to students. “This is actually much more open, it seems much more visible to students,” said Matthew Phillips, a Balfour representative.

Booths that held various JSU services, such as Alumni and Career services, lined the walls. JSU Testing Services was available to inform graduating students of the change in tests from the CBASE test to the newer EPP test. Booths from different departments such as Communication, Arts and Sciences were available to help students check up on their progress for graduation.

The reception from students attending the fair was positive. “I love it. It was very informative about the next step; it’s a great thing they have going around here,” said Senior Lorenzo Dowdell, who is majoring in Exercise Science.
“It’s very well put together; they’ve got it all really well laid out,” said Jeremy Bagwell, a Fine Arts major. All of the students noted that they found out about the fair by email from their GEM account.

JSU teachers had similar impressions. “I think it’s an excellent method of making sure that seniors help get that senioritis; it just reinforces the fact that they are okay and don’t have to wait until the last of the semester,” said Debra Goodwin, Department Chair of Family and Consumer Sciences.

President Meehan himself dropped by to check out everything the fair had to offer. “I’m very pleased. I wish I had something like this when I was an undergraduate, everything is all in one place; you don’t have to go all around campus to ask your questions and get answers,” said President Meehan.

White said JSU is evaluating whether there are plans for more graduation fairs based on the amount of reception from the first. “Every fall and spring we ought to have a graduation fair,” said President Meehan.

Taylor Brown
Staff Writer