Notes from the January 23, 2014 Board Meeting
After a tumultuous week involving a major snow storm, frigid weather, broken pipes, and rented RVs at the Freehold campus with no heat, not to mention truncating Convocation and Faculty Day and missing the first day of classes, it was a pleasure to host the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, January 23, at the Lincroft campus with no controversy, and excellence to celebrate.
The Workshop meeting included brief discussions on two information items from Finance and Operation. First was the division’s Fast Facts FY13, an informative report highlighting the issues handled by division employees over the last fiscal year. Second was the Financial Report of the NJ County Community Colleges 2009-2012, which contains comparative information on four major topics: Enrollment Data; Sources of Current Revenue; Expenditures and Costs per Full Time Equivalent Student, and Fixed Assets and Capital Data.
In Board business, the Finance and Facilities committee chose Trustee Joseph DiBella as Chair, and appointed Trustees Abby-White, Passiment and Karcher (Chair) to the new Ad Hoc Governance Committee. This Ad Hoc committee will provide for Board development and training, Board self-evaluation, and the evaluation of the President.
As required by NJ Statute, the Board held a Public Hearing on the proposed Tuition and Fees for FY2015; there was no comment.
We started the Public Business Meeting with a wonderful salute to two faculty members: Professor Mike Qaissaunee, winner of the “People Who Made a Difference in Cybersecurity 2013” from the SANS Institute, and Professor Linda Wang, awarded the “2013 New Jersey Professor of the Year” from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. I am so proud to see the importance of Linda and Mike’s work in teaching and the larger community acknowledged by their peers, colleagues, national and regional organizations, and our Board. You can view photos in the January meeting’s SmugMug gallery.
The Consent Agenda included the acceptance of a significant award ($195,000 for year 4 of 4) from NJDOE of a continuation grant awarded to Business and Community Development for folks entering the secondary CTE teaching profession through NJ’s Alternate Route Teacher Program, a donation of southwestern pottery to the Arts and Communications Division, and formal acknowledgement of the “Neptune” sculpture presented to the College by the Neptune Township Board of Education. This sculpture is on display in my office; please stop by and take a look.
In Human Resource matters, the Board welcomed a temporary Economics instructor, acknowledged several change of status employees, and sadly bid farewell to Scott Thompson, who has resigned his position as Manager of the Print Shop effective Wednesday, February 12, 2014. We wish them all the best.
The review of the Monthly Financial Report was routine. One item of interest is a contract with The Rodgers Group, LLC, to develop best practices, standard operating procedures and regulations for the Police Department in compliance with standard requirements to achieve NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) Accreditation.
The Board approved a Health Science Option in the Social Science A.A. degree, designed for students seeking a career in health sciences; and approved a substantive change request to Middle States for an ‘additional location’ to accommodate our Early College High School initiative with St. John Vianney High School.
Most significantly, the Board approved the Proposed Operating & Capital Budget for FY15 of $86,695,902, and the proposed Tuition and Fees of $118.75 per credit hour for residents of Monmouth County, not to exceed $1,781.25 per term – a $3.25 per credit increase. The General Services Fee will be $28.50 per credit hour, not to exceed $427.50.
The decision to raise tuition is never an easy one. We have developed a graduated long-range tuition plan in an attempt to prevent students from experiencing sharp spikes in tuition, and to help make their college expense more predictable. We have – with your help – been able to achieve great savings with critical hiring practices, purchasing partnerships with the County and other local consortia, a continued focus on energy savings, and the use of technology to simplify business processes. But, much more needs to be done.
Ms. Karyn Arnold, President of BCCAA, recognized the following members: Michele Risley, Rita Lo, Cheryl Cummings and Richard Morales-Wright. Ms. Helen Vota, President of BCCPSA, joined Ms. Arnold to recognize the entire staff of the Freehold Branch campus for their hard work, their flexibility, and most of all the support of their students. In particular they recognized, Peggy Austin, Meghan Ingstrup, Tim Cox, Debbie Brown, Ansa Thomas and Ayesha El Banna, Lee Snowiss, Susan George, Milagros Martino and Lynne Shaffery as well as a student worker, Justin Melendez.
As I said at Convocation, we must be realistic about the current state of the College and what we need to take us into the future. Our funding levels from both the State and the County have declined, and funding will never return to past levels. Middle States accreditation standards are changing, and Performance Based Funding seems inevitable given the present mind-set of our public and legislators.
We must find ways to adapt to continuing uncertainty and operate with a renewed sense of urgency. We must increase our use of data, so our outcomes can be measured and accounted for in ways understandable to those who would undercut the wonderful work we do daily. We have a choice to shape and direct change or allow that change to direct us; the work of the President’s Jubilee Commission is at a critical point. Now is the time for Brookdale to re-imagine itself.
I must, again, repeat something I said at Convocation: let’s keep the lines of communication open. Post the rumors and your questions to the Grapevine in the Portal, attend the Governance Forums, and other open meetings during the semester, and please, do not hesitate to email me with your questions and ideas.