Board discusses upcoming self-study

Dr. Richard McCallum - Vice President for academic affairs

Dr. Richard McCallum – Vice President for academic affairs

Nate Billings

Enrollment topped the discussion of the Board of Governors Sept. 23.

University president Julio León told the Board about the increase in overall enrollment and the larger freshman class.

“To us, it is a very good sign,” he said.

Overall enrollment is up 4.2 percent and the freshman class is up more than 15 percent.

The Board room, or Billingsly Student Center Room 314 was renovated for the meeting.

Three new cameras, a computer, a projector and an automated screen were put into the meeting room to improve the broadcasts.

“It should be a great improvement,” said Dwight Douglas, Board member.

Student representative Eric Norris was not present at the meeting, but he submitted a written report about Student Senate.

He said the Senate was off to a good start and committees were being filled.

“We appreciate him submitting a written report,” said Elizabeth Deffenbaugh, Board president.

The Board also voted to extend León’s contract as University president by one year and also raise his salary by the same rate as that of the faculty members.

The next order of business brought out a discussion of the campus-wide comprehensive administrative software program.

The program would integrate different sections of the campus offices together in one central accessible unit.

“It’s extremely comprehensive and touches all areas of the University,” said Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs.

The software would integrate the registrar’s office, admissions, fees, student records, financial aide as well as work with the University’s Web site.

“It will help operations tremendously,” León said.

The integration of the software, the training and the upgrading of the network computers will take place over a two-year period.

León said in the meantime, the old system will be slowly phased out to make way for the new one.

The Board approved the measure, and the system will be installed through Sunguard STC Banner.

It will cost approximately $3.4 million for the installation, hardware, software and training.

Dr. Richard McCallum, vice president for academic affairs, gave the Board a presentation on the 2008 Higher Learning Commission accreditation.

He said the accreditation will be prepared for through a series of faculty and staff teams working in conjunction to prepare a self-study.

The self-study would focus on several criteria given to the University by the HLC.

“The purpose of the self-study is harmonious with our focus,” he said.

The University was given an opportunity to pick a focus of the self-study and give the results to the HLC.

The focus will touch on the international mission of Southern.

The last accreditation came in 1998, and the University received the full 10-year accreditation. It is the highest available.

“Anytime you have a self-study and communication, it’s always an opportunity to improve yourself,” León said. “It fulfills and obligation, but it gives us a chance to look closely at ourselves.”

The next Board meeting will be Oct. 21.