Summary of Board of Trustees Actions July 14
At a special July meeting, Kent State University’s Board of Trustees took action on the following items:
Among the priorities identified in the budget are investments in student recruitment, retention and student success initiatives, including the Destination Kent State program, international programs, scholarships and the graduation planning system; library collections; investments in academic programs including new faculty; utilities; and compensation increases for represented employees. A salary pool of 3 percent also was reserved for non-represented employees.
A portion of the Kent Campus priorities was funded through budget reductions totaling almost $5.6 million; $2.5 million in first-year savings through a voluntary separation plan for longtime employees; 3-percent savings in increased efficiencies in areas from energy to billing; and an increase in employees’ share of health care costs beginning January 2010. The priorities also will be funded from about $24.4 million available from a $50-million reserve fund established from accumulated investment returns.
The budget reflects a 3.5-percent increase in undergraduate tuition. As the result of a state mandate, tuition had been frozen for the last two years. The freeze was lifted by the Ohio General Assembly on Monday in acknowledgement of the new cuts in state funding for public higher education.
- Tuition Increase
After two years without tuition increases and on the heels of additional cuts in state funding for public universities, the Board increased tuition by 3.5 percent for undergraduate and graduate students at the university’s eight campuses.
Effective fall semester 2009, undergraduate tuition for students attending the Kent Campus will increase $148 per semester (from $4,215 to $4,363). Graduate tuition will increase $157 per semester (from $4,484 to $4,641).
The increase is needed to offset the latest round of cuts in state funding for higher education, which were announced Monday (July 13) when the Ohio General Assembly finalized the state budget for the coming biennium. To help offset this decrease, legislators lifted a two-year freeze on tuition and allowed universities to raise tuition by 3.5 percent for fiscal years 2010 and 2011.
Due to the higher costs of instruction and instructional technology, advising and other student services in certain academic programs, the Board authorized non-refundable program fees ranging from $25-$50 for undergraduates admitted to degree programs in the Colleges of Architecture and Environmental Design; Business Administration; Communication and Information; Education, Health and Human Services; Nursing (except students enrolled in the BSN for RN’s online program); and the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. The fees are effective fall semester 2009.
Trustees also approved a change in the assessment of rates for distance-learning courses. Effective spring semester 2010, the university will assess the same undergraduate credit-hour rate for all undergraduate distance-learning courses at all campuses. Previously, differing rates were assessed for Kent Campus students and students taking a distance-learning course(s) at one of the university’s seven Regional Campuses.
- Ratification of Collective Bargaining Agreement Between University and Full-time, Nontenure-Track Faculty Unit
The Board ratified a three-year, collective-bargaining agreement between Kent State University and the full-time, nontenure-track faculty unit of the American Association of University Professors–Kent State Chapter, effective Aug. 16, 2009. The agreement will expire Aug. 16, 2012.
Negotiations began last February and concluded in June with a tentative agreement on all matters subject to negotiation. Members of the bargaining unit, which represents about 350 faculty members on Kent State’s eight campuses, ratified the tentative agreement June 29, 2009.
Under the new agreement, full-time, nontenure-track faculty members will receive salary increases totaling 9 percent over the three-year term of the contract.
- Annual Compensation of the President
After a comprehensive performance review, the Board voted unanimously to increase President Lester A. Lefton’s base salary by 3 percent. Dr. Lefton announced previously that, along with other members of the President’s Cabinet, he will donate his increase to help fund student scholarships. The Board also awarded the president the full value of his performance-based compensation pursuant to his employment agreement, effective July 1, 2009.
The Board commended Dr. Lefton, who became Kent State’s11th president in July 2006, for his efforts to lead Kent State toward its centennial in 2010 as a university committed to and known for excellence in academics and administration. Under his leadership, the university has set records in research funding and private fund raising; increased the quality and quantity of students; built new international ties that will benefit students and faculty; and has taken significant steps in areas from building a more inclusive environment to campus sustainability.