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29 August 2005

Presidentís Address
Annual Faculty and Staff Meeting 2005

Thank you Dr. Turner, Rev. Waldhour, Ms. Horton, Mr. Whitmore, Sister Mary Roy. Welcome new faculty and staff. And welcome back all of you! I didnít hear the name Katrina among our new faculty and staff but Hurricane Katrina is bringing her presence to campus. We will cancel our traditional welcome back picnic at the Presidentís home. We will continue to monitor this storm.

It has been a long and hot summer. Your return heralds in the Fall Semester, the promise of cooler weather and the excitement of a new academic year. Believe me with the enthusiasm that our peer counselors and faculty mentors built into summer orientation we will be off to a great start.

I appreciate you, our students and parents appreciate you, and the community appreciates you. Even our local papers have been filled with your accomplishments and the wealth that is JSU is reflected by your actions everyday. Thank you for all that you do for JSU.

This morning I want to open my comments by directing your thoughts to the vision of what JSU can become in the very near future. You have always done an outstanding job as you proved again in 2004-05. Our plans for the future will magnify the impact you make in your divisions, departments, disciplines and in the lives of our students.

JSU is in the twenty-first month of a comprehensive capital campaign called "The Power of 125...Join the Celebration!" The campaign's conclusion in 2008 coincides with JSU's 125th anniversary, and we will be planning a huge birthday party to let everyone know that JSU represents 125 years of tradition, excellence, and achievement. We will also celebrate the success of reaching the campaign's goal of $17.5 million.

The university is still in what fund-raisers call the "silent" or "quiet" phase of the campaign, but we will be going public within the next few months. I am pleased to report that, with your help, our donations, pledges, and planned gifts now total $13.7 million. This represents 78% of our goal in 33% of our time.

I want to thank the Jacksonville State University Foundation for its commitment of more than $600,000 to help finance this campaign. The JSU Foundation, the International Endowment Foundation of the C.W. Daugette Jr. International House, and the university's board of trustees are working together to ensure that our campaign will be a success.

I also want to thank all of you who have made your personal commitment to this effort. Fifty-nine percent of our faculty and staff have made a commitment, and I encourage those of you who have not made a pledge to the campaign to do so today. Your participation is very important to the campaign's success. When we visit corporations and prospective donors regarding their contribution to the campaign, they will want to know how the campaign is being supported internally. A fifty-nine percent participation rate is good; however, full -- 100% -- participation will send an extremely strong message to our prospective donors. Full participation says the JSU family believes that this campaign is vital to the future of our university. It is not how much you give, but that you give something. It's important to show that you believe enough in the vision of JSU that you participate at some level. If you need additional information about the campaign, there is a link on the university's main web page, and you can also contact the campaign office in room 108 of Bibb Graves Hall.

Now, briefly, I want to call attention to just a few of your accomplishments. Around JSU, we like to use the word "service" instead of "work." Your service during 2004-05 resulted in the following:

  • The prospects for an increased enrollment this fall look good. Our head count after confirmation was 362, 5.5% above last fall. Credit hour production for fall at confirmation 2,725 hrs. 3.3% above last year. This yearís applicant pool is the largest in the Universityís history. Over 4,000 new undergraduates made application to JSU and our accepted applicants are up over last year by 11.6%. If graduate enrollment continues to increase as in each of the last ten years our total enrollment will certainly be over 9,000 students this fall and we will have made great progress toward our goal of 10,000.

  • Increasing JSU's grant funding by 17 percent, helping the university meet needs not funded by the legislature or other sources. Thanks to your grant-writing efforts in 2004-05, the total anticipated federal and state grants and contracts budget for 2005 Ė 06 is approximately $18 million.

  • Continuing to offer affordable tuition. JSU is ranked among the most affordable universities in the state. The university ranks twelfth out of fourteen Alabama universities in total tuition and fees during the 2005-06 academic year, according to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Only two universities have lower tuition and fees than JSU, and only by slight amounts.

  • Increasing the number of students dually enrolled in area high schools and JSU by nearly 50% over 2003-04's numbers, with a total of approximately 500 students for fall and spring.

  • Conducting the university's economic impact statement, which shows that JSU exerts a total influence of $325,410,021 on Calhoun and Etowah Counties.

  • Helping small business owners apply for Small Business Administration loans up to $50,000 through outreach services provided by our Small Business Development Center.

  • Completing (or bringing to near conclusion) major construction projects without state funding. Those projects are: Ayers Hall, Kennamer Hall, installation of artificial turf at Snow Stadium, renovating the Field House, and renovating and moving into JSU-McClellan (Building 3181).

  • Achieving the reaccredidation of three programs in the College of Arts and Sciences: the Department of Art was reaccredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the Department of Drama was reaccredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the Social Work program was reaccredited by the Council on Social Work Education and the Department of Mathematical, Computing, and Information Sciences received accreditation of its baccalaureate degree programs in computer information systems and computer science from the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) hosted a team of accreditation evaluators March 7-9 from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and received a favorable review. We expect to receive re-accreditation for nursing from the Commission within the next few weeks.

  • Achieving more than $3 million in much-needed external funding in Arts and Sciences. This included approval of the Biology Departmentís very competitive Beckman/Coulter equipment grant, which was used to purchase more than $100,000 in cutting edge genomic equipment and software. It also included $115,968 for the Impact-Seed program in Physical and Earth Sciences. Impact-Seed provides enhanced training in the sciences for high school teachers.

  • Additionally, JSU received congressional appropriations totaling $6,300,000 to build a research, education, and visitor center for the Little River Canyon Field School, which will attract tourists, students, and others to study the flora and fauna of Little River Canyon.

  • Hosting scholastically significant events that boost meaningful student experiences, such as the annual meetings of the Alabama Political Science Association and the Southeastern Branch of the American Society for Microbiology.

  • Receiving approval from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education to offer a new Master of Science with a major in manufacturing systems technology.

  • Making headlines with scholarly and professional efforts. Just a few examples include:

    • Dr. Benjamin Hardy, associate professor of finance, has been awarded the Faculty Scholar Lecture Award for 2005-2006.

    • Dr. Angela Beth Hembree, professor of nursing, was presented the Outstanding Teacher Award (the Earlon and Betty McWhorter award).

    • Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani, professor of biology, was presented the Outstanding Community Education and Service Award (the Cleo and Carla Thomas award).

    • Dr. Frank Romano, Jacksonville State University biology department head, was nominated as the 2005 International Scientist of the Year by the International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England.

    • Dr. Glen Browder, eminent scholar in American democracy, was featured in Roll Call magazine. He also received an honorary doctorate from Presbyterian College, his alma mater.

    • Dr. Russel Lemmons, professor of history, was named Academic Fellow for 2005 by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a non-partisan policy institute headquartered in Washington, D.C.

    • Terasha A. King, Ayers Chair professor in the department of communication, has been named a 2005 Educator in the Newsroom Fellow by the Radio and Television News Directors Foundation.

    • University Librarian Bill Hubbard received the Alabama Library Association's Eminent Librarian Award.

    • Pete Conroy, director of the Environmental Policy and Information Center, received the Patriotic Civilian Service Award.

    • Rufus D. Kinney, instructor of English, received the Phi Eta Sigma national Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his work with approximately 1,300 academically gifted JSU students in connection with the freshman honor society during his 20 years of service.

  • The Books for Baghdad project initiated by Dr. Safaa Al-Hamdani shipped more than 11,000 textbooks to Baghdad University in April.

  • Assisting 9,174 individuals through the Nursing Center Clinic and various community education projects.

  • The Department of Technology received a $1 million Congressional appropriation through the Federal Transit Administration for establishing a technology center.

  • The Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation will begin this fall to offer a complete online course of study leading to a Master of Science in education in physical education.

  • The College of Education and Professional Studies has increased access to current technology for training purposes and now has 17 classrooms that are equipped with SmartBoards, LCD machines, and computer technology with Internet connectivity.

  • Our JSU Library in a joint project with Gadsden State Community College added 54 sections of new shelving to accommodate the growing collection of books and journals, and renovating the shared library for JSU-McClellan.

  • JSU student athletes achieved outstanding status as evidenced by the university's 131 student-athletes with GPAs of 3.0 or higher, 88 OVC Commissioner Honor Roll students, and six Ohio Valley Conference titles (in football, rifle, women's Golf, Men's Tennis, baseball and softball). JSU's rifle team finished as runner-up (losing by one point) at the NCAA Championships at the United States Military Academy. JSUís lady Gamecocks earned the 2004-05 OVC Women's All-Sports Champions title (the point system was developed by the league to determine the most successful women's athletic programs in athletic achievement) Individually our athletes were recognized with by 31 OVC All-Conference honorees and six OVC Player of the Year or Freshman of the Year awards. Our coaches earned the distinction of three OVC Coach of the Year honorees (Jack Crowe in football, Jim Case in baseball, and Jana McGinnis in softball).

Our work in Montgomery this year has been successful and brought Jacksonville State Universityís 05-06 funding to $34,362,309, an increase of $3,919,104. This is the best higher education budget that we have seen in many years and we are grateful to Governor Riley for proposing an increase and to the Legislature for funding an even bigger one. Although most of this year's increase will be used to cover the increased cost of retirement and health insurance, I will recommend to the Board of Trustees that they approve an across the board increase of 4% for all employees and step raises for all classified staff who were employed on or before July 1, 2005. This will continue our efforts to increase our faculty and staff salaries to the regional standard. With approval of this year's recommendation, JSU will have increased salaries more than 21% over the last six years, added step raises for classified staff each year, and provided equity or merit pay four of the six years.

All these accomplishments are the results of your hard work and are part of this institution's effort toward continuous improvement. This morning you have been given a copy of the JSUís Comprehensive System of Continuous Improvement. This document outlines our mission, goals, planning process and institutional research. Together all these pieces make up one of the most important initiatives on our campus. The purpose of this initiative is to improve student learning and institutional services. Most of you participate in annual planning and assessment of student learning in some form or fashion.

This fall our Strategic Planning Committee will design an on-line survey that will allow all JSU employees to have input toward defining a set of core values for JSU. Also this fall we will be instituting Program Review, a seven-year cycle that each unit will participate in for a self-study and peer review process. The results of this important process will be institutional evaluation and informed decision making at all levels. I am requesting that all employees take part in these activities within your units and that all improvements be documented in PRISM, our management information system for continuous improvement.

Before I end my time with you today, I want to recognize one of our units that works hard to meet one of our most basic needs and that is our Physical Plant and Housekeeping staff. Thanks to these hard working folks our buildings and grounds are clean and attractive. Although we may take it for granted, our guests and studentís parents are always the first to comment on the beautiful campus and the friendliness of our people. We can take pride in our campus because of the great job these folks do every day. Many of these employees are at the back of the room; let's turn around and give them our appreciation.

Thank you. I have always been impressed by the outstanding way you have always shown compassion and caring for each other and our community. That speaks volumes about what a great place JSU is to work and learn. The way you take part in projects like United Wayís Day of Caring has a greater impact than you will ever know as Sister Mary Roy has shared with you this morning. This year we have had a number of our faculty and staff diagnosed with cancer of some type. Among those of whom I am aware are Dr. Bill Carr, Linda Cox, Penny Mize and our own JSU Employee of the Year Stephanie Przedwojewski. I want to thank you for the way you have reached out to these members of the JSU family and many others that I have not mentioned. Let me read to you a letter of appreciation from Stephanie and her sister Suiko Roper.

Thank you for being an exceptional organization, a place that cares about your purpose and your people. Although we have grown to a family of more than 1,000 employees, you have not forgotten that people are what make us the Friendliest Campus in the South. To our new faculty and staff welcome. Have a great year!

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