Board of Trustees Meeting, Oct. 28: Report from President Schrum

President Jake Schrum, President of Emory & Henry College • jschrum@ehc.edu

The fall meeting of the Emory & Hnery College Board of Trustees was held on October 28, 2017. The following is the report from President Schrum.

President Schrum provided an update that included positive developments and challenges. The senior staff in place now is the best he has worked with anywhere. Myra Sims is doing an excellent job as interim vice president for enrollment management implementing the new Affinity programs to help attract and retain students.

Melissa Taverner, who served last year as interim vice president for academic affairs, has been named provost at Lyon College effective January 2018. That means we have had two leave E&H to become college presidents and two leave to become provosts in the last year. This speaks highly of the caliber of people we have working at the College.

Dr. Charles Quillin, Class of 1970 and former director of development at E&H, is retiring as executive director of the national Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) program at the pentagon at the end of the year and has agreed to work with us pro bono to help recruit veterans to the College.

The public phase of the Ascend! comprehensive fundraising campaign is underway with events scheduled in major cities in the coming months. The president has met with a number of major donors recently with more planned.

Efforts to retain more students are paying dividends with an increase last year in fall first-year to fall second-year numbers up six percentage points to over 76%.

New Village housing for upper class students is open and is receiving rave reviews. The Community Center will officially open in early November with new amenities like smart washers and dryers, a new fitness center, meeting spaces, a game room, and gas fire pit. We are still trying to determine what to do with older residence halls, such as Carriger, Matthews, Stuart, and Wiley Jackson.

The president informed trustees about recent vandalism in the Channels nature preserve by Emory & Henry students. Those involved have been forthcoming in admitting their guilt and have worked with local conservation officials to remove graffiti.

A Greek Life Task Force has convened and made recommendations to the Vice President for Student Life, Student Success, and Inclusion.

The president reported that the executive leadership team held a retreat earlier in the month and invited members of the Academic Council, along with representatives from faculty and staff, to discuss ways to address the four strategic priorities that came out of
the board’s summer retreat.

Faculty recently elected Joe Reiff to serve as a faculty representative on the Executive Council, which should help provide another perspective and improve our commitment to shared governance.

President Schrum has been invited to participate in a higher education institute at Yale University, along with five other college presidents and the editor of The Chronical of Higher Education. His participation will be paid for by Yale and helps promote E&H as a national education leader.

The president also reported that he is spearheading an effort among almost 40 liberal arts college presidents to write op eds about the value of liberal arts institutions.

The president remarked that we have made many improvements in our facilities over the past decade and that is causing continued stress on the operating budget since we have to budget for depreciation totaling over $4 million annually. However, we must continue to invest in improvements in order to attract and retain students.

The president spoke to a lot of alumni during Homecoming and many expressed to him that the campus looks better than ever before. He thanked those involved because their efforts are making a good first impression for potential students and their families.

Finally, the president indicated that our Composite Financial Index (CFI) has increased to 5.4. Below 3.0 is considered financially problematic. This will help with our accreditors who are reviewing our finances closely. Auditors remain concerned that our recurring expenses at the undergraduate level are still not covered by recurring revenues. We must remain diligent in finding ways to increase net tuition revenue and to identify new funding sources in order to remain financially strong..

Board of Trustees Meeting Summary

• Approved a final budget that provides for a 3% salary pool for increases*, continues the 5% retirement contribution, and restores the 2% retirement match.** The final budget also provides funds to guarantee that all full-time employees receive a minimum wage of at least $10 per hour and allocates money to begin addressing the most serious salary compression issues across campus. The money to make these last two items possible were provided by the president’s senior staff who agreed to forego a raise this year.

• Reviewed ongoing efforts to increase net tuition revenue on the main campus in order to be more sustainable.

• Set tuition, room, and board rates for 2018-19.

• Heard how the Ascend! comprehensive fundraising effort has raised almost $64 million to date toward a goal of $80 million.

• Market value of endowment funds invested at the end of June 2016 stood at $82.1 million and our Composite Financial Index rating improved to a healthy 5.4.

• Discussed progress toward our four strategic priorities dealing with financial sustainability, providing relevant and “handcrafted education”, increasing undergraduate enrollment to 1250, and strengthening the E&H brand and marketing efforts.

• Discussed ways to strengthen and grow Greek Life on campus and recommendations from the Greek Life Task Force.

• * Raises are capped at $80,000 and apply to full-time employees employed before January 1, 2017. Salary increases will be effective December 1, 2017.

• ** Matching retirement contributions will be effective beginning January 1, 2018

 

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