March 14, 2012


Remarks before the Board of Trustees

Mar. 14, 2012 - Dr. Sherman began by reporting on preparations for the Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation visit in March 2013. He said that regular progress reports would be provided.

Higher Learning Commission Self-study

After noting that the self-study process includes materials that serve as our student academic success framework, he said that the self-study committee already has been meeting regularly, and writing team leaders were forming teams to draft the self-study document over the next several months. In addition, he said, University-wide communications stressed the importance of the process and participation and requested additional support. A website dedicated to the reaccreditation process is in place. He added that wide participation across the University and within the community is key to a successful self-study. Board members will be asked to be available at appropriate points during the visit, March 3-6, 2013.

In response to a question from Judge Bond, Dr. Sherman said there is a component of the process to assess Board actions in support of institutional success. He added that the Academic Issues & Student Success Committee would be updated on the elements of the HLC reaccreditation report at its next meeting.


Following up to Dr. Proenza’s comments earlier in the meeting, Dr. Sherman reiterated that, pursuant to Vision 2020, the FY2012 budget will be balanced without affecting open faculty searches. He said the administration is committed to completing the analysis needed to make decisions about allocation of institutional resources among and within academic and academic-support units. Dr. Sherman said that, for FY2013, the Board’s instructions to assure strategic investment will be valued, particularly in the Achieving Distinction program that will focus on regional solutions, medicine and health, the human condition and innovative technologies. He said that the academic mission and the success of the academic units have top priority.


Dr. Sherman reported that a comprehensive, multi-media marketing strategy to promote summer 2012 enrollment began February 29 and would continue through April 18, as planned. He credited Wayne Hill and Eileen Korey for that effort, and he provided copies of the relevant materials.

Dr. Sherman said that a relentless focus on persistence will continue with regard to summer enrollment and fall 2012 yield (admitted students who actually enroll). He said the yield benchmarks are being monitored closely at important steps in the admission process, such as completing the FAFSA form, attending Senior Visit Day, confirming admission and registering for New Student Orientation.

He said the Admissions Office has met with every college to identify yield opportunities, and progress on those activities is being tracked. Examples include:

  • A monthly communication plan for admitted students;
  • Congratulation letters from deans to admitted students;
  • Congratulation letters from deans to parents of admitted students;
  • College visit days, including Saturdays, for admitted students to meet faculty, staff and students;
  • Lab tours for STEMM disciplines, during which faculty, staff and students talk about current research;
  • Targeted-group college visits, such as admitted Honors students, women in STEMM disciplines, and students of color; and
  • A redesigned New Student Orientation that has more one-on-one faculty content.

Dr. Sherman added that a week of phone calls to admitted students who have not yet committed to enroll would be conducted to secure their attendance at this University.

Future of Academic Affairs Address

Dr. Sherman said he would present the second State of Academic Affairs on March 21 at 3 p.m. in Simmons Hall. He invited all to attend and noted that the address would be streamed live on the Web and recorded.