At today's Board meeting, Trustees requested that Faculty Senate provide input on proposals to suspend some academic programs, and that students applying for admission to those programs be informed about the possibility of being impacted by program suspension.
Under the process of Academic Program Review, some programs will be enhanced, perhaps with increased investment in faculty. Most programs will be maintained, and some will be suspended, allowing the University to focus resources to serve the needs of students and the region in more relevant ways.
The full proposal awaits input from Faculty Senate. President Luis M. Proenza will present the proposal to Senate on Thursday, and he will request that senators provide feedback at the Senate's April 3 meeting. The administration will review Senate's input and make a recommendation to the Trustees at the Board's April 23 meeting.
In the meantime, the University will notify students currently in programs being considered for suspension that they will be given opportunities to complete their degrees. About 600 students, approximately 2 percent of our student population, are enrolled in programs or program tracks being considered for suspension.
Students who have applied for admission into the programs under consideration will also be contacted and provided guidance to achieve their academic goals potentially through a similar course of study in another program or college. About 115 students, amounting to less than 1 percent of the applicant pool, may be affected.
Provost Mike Sherman told the Board that student success initiatives are resulting in a more academically prepared pool of applicants to UA. The initiatives are designed to improve retention and graduation rates.
The percentage of college-ready students, defined by their high school GPA and ACT scores, has increased from 65 percent of fall applicants in 2013 to 76 percent of fall applicants in 2014. ACT scores in the applicant pool have increased from an average 22.4 to 23.1.
Last month, Board of Trustees Chair Richard W. Pogue received a letter from President Proenza stating his desire to “waive in full any consideration” of his one-year performance bonus for calendar year 2013.
The president's employment contract authorizes the Board to award the president up to $25,000 as a performance bonus for achieving the one-year goals set for calendar year 2013. Citing the “challenging financial times for the University” as a reason for his decision, his letter to the Board Chair also expresses his sincere appreciation for the opportunity of his many years of service with the university.
Board Chair Pogue praised the president's action: “This is a wonderful action on your part. The Board and many others will be deeply appreciative. It is one more act of leadership on your part and reminds us one more time of how fortunate the University of Akron has been to have you at the helm all these years.”
The Board did take the opportunity, as required by the president's employment contract, to consider his two-year performance bonus and his retention bonus. In determining that the president met his two-year performance goals, the Board awarded $40,000 in a performance bonus, in addition to $60,000 in a retention bonus for his continuous service as president through Dec. 31, 2013.
Those two-year performance goals included:
The Board authorized the appropriate University personnel to execute the collective bargaining agreement tentatively reached between UA and the Communications Workers of America, Local 4302. The CWA Local, representing about 340 staff employees, ratified the tentative agreement on Jan. 10.
The Board approved a new certificate in medical coding in the Department of Allied Health Technology of Summit College. Recommended by the Faculty Senate, the new certificate packages together 5 existing courses for a total of 16 credit hours. It is the only certificate of its kind in the state of Ohio. The certificate is designed to give students already taking classes in health-related areas, or new students only interested in a certificate in medical coding, to enhance their skills for job placement or career advancement.
The Board will reconvene for public session no earlier than 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 23.