February 2014

Notes from the February 19, 2014 Board Meeting 


The Board of Trustees’ meeting was held in Lincroft on Wednesday, February 19, 2014; it felt like the only day all week we weren’t dealing with weather or weather-related issues. As I write this today from the cloud forests of Peru, I confess to missing y’all.

Shortly after convening the Workshop meeting, the Board went into Executive Session which lasted longer than I anticipated; however, our discussion was substantive and the time well spent educating and orientating the Board.

When the Workshop meeting reconvened, Trustee Jones briefed the Board on the Policy & Education Committees (P&E) meeting on February 10, 2014. In addition to a review of Board Policies, and the introduction of a new Policy (more on that later), P&E discussed Middle States matters; the Five-Year Program Review Process and Outcomes; the IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2013, and the Georgian Court University Dual Agreement partnership (more on this later too).

The draft Board Policy on Fiscal Exigency is ONLY a precaution; Professors Jim Crowder and Jack Ryan both commented on it during the meeting, and their anxiety is understandable. Folks – we are NOT facing fiscal exigency (which is considered a step above bankruptcy) but I would be remiss – as your President – if I – and the Board – did not prepare for the worst case scenario, as scary and unpleasant as it may seem to the College community. Also, since the Board is reviewing Board Policies sequentially, and this policy clearly belongs in the first section – 1.2051 Declaration of Financial Exigency – it is appropriate that the Board consider it at this time. This was a first read-through; it will pass through other Board committees, as well as College and Counsel review.

I beg your patience as we work on developing a portal page devoted to the Board and College Review of Policies and Regulations. With the exception of those Board Policies strictly within the Board’s purview, all revisions, additions and deletions of Policies and Regulations will have an opportunity to be fully vetted by the College community. Trustee Campbell asked that all material coming forward to the Board be shared in draft form (track changes) and in the final proposed format and we will absolutely do so moving forward.

Louise Horgan has proposed to the Steering Committee of Governance a posting and review period for the College community to comment on revisions and new Policies and Regulations and they have agreed that it is a good idea; more communication on this is forthcoming. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Louise or me for more information on the Fiscal Exigency policy or any others in the review process.

Trustee Guzzo shared with the Board the discussion at the Audit Committee meeting held February 6, 2014, held primarily to provide Trustee Bill Dalton background information on the internal audit function at the College. Since 2012, the College has put in place numerous internal controls, including the formation of the Board’s Audit committee; the hire of an Internal Auditor (Rob Francis); the revision of the Board Bylaws which included the Board’s Code of Ethics, and the establishment of the College’s Ethics Hotline.

Trustee DiBella reported on the Finance & Facilities (F&F) meeting held via conference call on February 6th. In addition to the routine review of Finance issues, this meeting included an update from Vice President Maureen Lawrence on the status of numerous facilities and infrastructure projects currently underway. The Gorman Hall renovation project; the numerous weather-related damages at the Western Monmouth campus, as well as the window replacements and parking lot repairs there; the replacement of the fascia and the finalization of the roof study at the Lincroft campus, and the planning for the demolition of buildings at the Wall site were all discussed. The meeting ended with a discussion of the County of Monmouth’s continuing capital support through the Chapter 12 program; funding from Chapter 12 will enable us to tackle deferred maintenance projects in FY15 (which we’ll prioritize after a comprehensive review of the Facilities Master Plan). Funds allocated from Chapter 12 funds for FY14 will fund the renovation of the MAS Science labs.

At the Board of School Estimate meeting held February 13th, 2014, the county’s allocations of funding to Brookdale, including the Chapter 12 funds, were approved. See my statement to the BOSE here. At the March Board meeting we will present an overview of Capital Projects Funding to the Trustees.

Trustee Flaherty gave a sobering report on topics covered at the ACCT Legislative Summit in Washington D.C. which he attended along with Chair Butch, Vice President Trammell, and me, earlier in the month. The prevailing theme of the conference was one of increasing anxiety about the imposition of performance metrics and future funding tied to indicators that have little connection to the unique and necessary role that community colleges play in our country and for society. I have mentioned before my uneasiness with performance funding; we continue to monitor developments in this area and will keep the College informed as much as possible.

When the Board was asked if there was any ‘New Business,” Trustee Guzzo asked the Board to consider having members of the Brookdale Police posted at the Freehold campus and the higher education centers, as well as the Lincroft campus. I am very proud of our “Safest College in New Jersey” designation and the work of our Police department; in a prior message I wrote of how the Police are undergoing a comprehensive accreditation process expected to be completed in 12-18 months. The Police department participated in the College-wide PJC analysis, like every department on campus. Working with Dean Pat Sensi, I expect to use the results of their self-examination; the data gathered in the accreditation process, and an examination of the history of the department to analyze options to present to the Board in the near future.

In the Public Business Meeting we saluted a ‘virtual’ flag (get well soon Jean Karl!) and the minutes of the January 23rd, 2014 meeting were approved, with the addition of Trustee Campbell’s statement that, although she was unable to attend the January meeting, she had conveyed through Trustee Guzzo that she was not in support of the tuition increase (which was approved) and wanted that reflected in the minutes.

The Spotlight this month focused on the “Third Best Paralegal Education Provider in NJ” from the NJ Law Journal’s ‘Best of 2013’. Dean Pat Gallo introduced Brookdale Legal Studies Professors Joe Zavaglia and Lillian Harris, and Assistant Professor Michael Sullivan, and enthusiastically described how the hard work and dedication of these professionals has paid off in student success and employer satisfaction. Congratulations to all!!

The Consent Agenda passed, as did the approval of the revision to Board Policy 2.0002 – Public Access to Government Records (changing the Custodian of Records). The Board lodged revisions to two additional Board Policies – 1.3035 Presidential Screening Process and 1.5141 Procedural Rules for Hearings – adding clarifying language from current practice and/or existing regulations. These Policies are expected to be approved by the Board at the March 20th meeting.

During Public Comment Professor Ryan told the Board that the change in the Custodian of Records (from the President’s office to the Director of Internal Audit) was ‘a good thing’; and asked the Board to make sure the College community was included in Policy revisions. He also asked that the Board meetings be audiotaped for broadcast to the College community. Professor Jim Crowder, as I mentioned above, shared the faculty’s anxiety about the Declaration of Financial Exigency policy and was assured that discussion was just beginning and the College community would be included in future discussions. Karyn Arnold gave her reliably upbeat report on the various activities of some of the members of the Administrative Association, including Maria Breger; Kristin Florio; Katie O’Shea (and Karyn Arnold!); Reve Anderko; Stephanie Fitzsimmons; Donna Cuddy; Laurie Bender; Holly Peterson, and Camille Shelley and all the folks in OIT. 

Before the meeting adjourned we celebrated an agreement with Georgian Court University (GCU) which guarantees admission to Brookdale students to all academic programs offered at GCU’s Lakewood campus with the potential for up to 52% savings for BCC students who maintain a high GPA, complete all their prerequisite courses, and satisfy entrance requirements for certain GCU programs. It was incredibly gratifying to sit with Dr. Rosemary Jeffries, President of GCU, and listen to 2013 BCC graduate Courtney Griffin extol the value of graduating from Brookdale and moving onto GCU.

Success starts at Brookdale for so many in our community – Courtney is a perfect example – thanks to the efforts and hard work of all of you – I am honored to call you colleagues.