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28 August 2006

President's Annual Meeting Speech

Our "GO Leaders" and "Go Mentors" did an excellent job this summer during the many orientation sessions. They are outstanding representatives for our University and provide what I believe to be the best start possible for JSU's new students.

I want to thank Dr. Crotts and the JSU Jazz Band for an outstanding performance. Please bring your families and join us at the Presidents Home tonight from 5:00 - 8:00pm for food and more good music from our JSU Jazz Band under Dr. Crotts direction.

I too, welcome our new faculty and staff. You are part of a great university community where we look forward to your contributions and a long term association that will be mutually beneficial.

Dr. Simmons did an excellent job in reviewing our strategic planning process. Many of you have developed strategic plans for your units and broad representation of faculty and staff have helped in the current strategic planning process. The strategic planning process is future oriented and consists of visioning, creating a mission statement, gap analysis, environmental scans, trend analysis, strategy development, and benchmarking. All sectors of the university will have an opportunity to contribute to the strategic plan through peer representation or by directly responding to on-line surveys. This plan will be developed just as the Mission Statement, Vision Statement, Core Values and University Goals for 2003-2007. We need your participation so that we can present the Board of Trustees with a working document at the next meeting in October and seek final approval in January 2007.

The Board of Trustees approved implementation of the new Banner system from SunGard SCT. Banner is the name of the computer software that JSU has purchased to replace the mainframe administrative computing system. It will support student financial aid, human resources and financial activities.

JSU employees are investing a great deal of time and effort in the Banner and Luminis projects that Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Graham already mentioned. Some of you are working extra hours during the evenings and weekends to help ensure a successful implementation. As we approach "go-live" with the financial system in October, there will be unanticipated issues that we must deal with. I ask for your patience and cooperation as we all move into this phase of the project. Then, as we move beyond, into the Human Resources, Financial Aid and Student system implementations next year, additional employees will be required to devote a larger percentage of their time to the project. At the same time we must continue to carry on business with our current system. It is essential that we find ways to allow our employees to invest the time required for Banner implementation and training. We must rearrange priorities, postpone the completion of non-critical functions and perhaps work extra hours for a limited time. The investment of time and effort during the next year will pay dividends for years to come. Your cooperation and efforts during this phase of the project are necessary and very much appreciated.

I want to thank Gloria Horton and Joe Whitmore for leading the JSU United Way Campaign this year and for their prior years of service in this effort. Last year JSU was recognized by United Way as the most improved corporate donor. United Way of East Central Alabama fulfills a unique role in making our community a better place. And thanks to the generous support of volunteers like the JSU employees who supported the "Day of Caring" and all who contribute at JSU, we're helping to improve lives every day right here in Calhoun County. I hope you will consider donating again this year.

JSU is also in another campaign, 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. To date we have raised $15.8 million which represents 63 percent of our goal in 53 percent of the time allotted for our campaign. The public phase of the campaign was launched this past April with a spectacular gala that featured entertainment by students and faculty from the David L. Walters Department of Music. During the Gala, I received two verbal pledges, one in the amount of $5 million and one in the amount of $2 million. Needless to say, the public announcement Gala was a tremendous success. Shortly after the Gala the original campaign goal of $17.5 million was raised to $25 million. We are very confident that this goal can be reached. I want to thank the Jacksonville State University Foundation and the International Endowment Foundation for their commitment to this campaign. These two foundations 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. Six out of every ten 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 sixty 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 301 of Bibb Graves Hall.


I've reviewed your annual reports for 2005-06, and I'm proud of your accomplishments. Here are just a few highlights:

The Office of Admissions reported that as of August16th the fall application and acceptance numbers were second highest in 15 years. We won't receive the final numbers until after the last day to add and /or register, Sept. 6th, but we're optimistic about this year, and I want to thank everyone who has assisted in our recruiting efforts, including volunteering their time for Preview Days.

As of July 31, 2006, JSU had 123 faculty grants and contracts totaling $10,424,541.11.

Alumni Affairs hosted or assisted with 50 alumni chapter events or reunions.

JSU's Accelerated High School/Dual Enrollment program established a fiber-optic connection with Jacksonville High School. Also part of this project is for Anniston High School to be provided a direct internet connection with JSU. The project was made possible by a $100,000 federal grant matched with $100,000 from two local high schools and a generous gift from the Stewart family foundation. As a result of this work, Anniston and Jacksonville high schools will be connected with JSU, which can offer college-level courses to high school students on their own campuses.

Athletics finished the year with a National Championship in Rifle and five Ohio Valley Conference championships: Baseball, Women's Golf, Rifle, Softball and Volleyball. JSU won the Ohio Valley Conference Women's All-Sports Trophy and three JSU teams received OVC team sportsmanship awards.

Books for Baghdad concluded its second book drive, collecting and shipping nearly 19,000 textbooks and a good number of scientific journals. Dr. Safaa Al Hamdani made arrangements with the International Relief and Development Agency to ship two 20-foot containers of books to Baghdad on June 28.

The Center for Economic Development and Business Research initiated the Choccolocco Economic Activity Zone. The Zone's primary role is to promote area-wide economic development by gathering, analyzing and providing relevant data to local leaders.

The Department of Drama received a 10 year reaccreditation notice from the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

In December, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) approved the post-implementation report for the Master of Science in Systems and Software Design program, which successfully met all benchmarks established by ACHE. The Department of Mathematical, Computing, and Information Sciences awarded 36 master's degrees during the implementation period.

Construction began on the Department of Art's new facility, the Art Annex.

Planning and arrangements took place for the Southerners historic 50th anniversary reunion and performance, which will be held on November 11, this year.

Renovations to Brewer Hall provided new and improved space for the Departments of Criminal Justice, Political Science and Public Administration, and Sociology and Social Work.

The Environmental Policy Information Center received $6.3 million for construction of a Little River Canyon Center, with ground breaking scheduled for later this year.

Jacksonville State University is proud to add JSU's Dr. Guillermo Francia III, professor of computer science, to its growing list of Fulbright Scholars. JSU has possibly had more Fulbright scholars than any other regional university of its size. Dr. Francia will teach and study in the Mediterranean island nation of Malta for academic year 2006-2007.

The College of Commerce and Business Administration was included in the 2006 Princeton Review of "The Best 237 Business Schools." This places the JSU College of Commerce and Business among the top 10% of all business schools in the nation.

Both the National Council for the Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Alabama State Department of Education officially reaccredited and approved the programs of the College of Education and Professional Studies.

ALFA contributed $250,000 to the College of Education and Professional Studies in support for a new education annex.

A visiting team from the National Association of Industrial Technology (NAIT) recommended accreditation approval for the Department of Technology and Engineering in April 2006.

Graduate Studies established a new record for graduate enrollment in the fall 2005 semester.

Ayers Hall became the home of the Mathematical, Computing, and Information Sciences (MCIS); Technology; and Psychology departments at the beginning of the 2005-2006 academic year. The newly renovated spaces of the former Biology and Psychology departments, along with the newly constructed three-story wing at the east end of the structure, provides an impressive, modern and spacious facility.

The annual Visual Arts Society's JSU Gala and Art Auction raised over $12,000 for the Art Foundation.

Mr. Alberto Ibaguen, former editor of the Miami Herald, and current president and CEO of the Knight Foundation, presented the 2006 Ayers Lecture in February 2006. Mr. Ibaguen donated his honorarium to the Department of Communication for scholarships. Because he was so impressed by JSU's students.

The Office of Distance Education saw enrollment in the Fall 2005, Spring 2006, and Summer 2006 terms maintain and even exceed previous years. Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 saw 129 and 121 online courses offered, with the majority utilizing the Blackboard Course Management System.

This summer the International House celebrated its 60th anniversary in Paris, France with a reunion of 145 alumni from around the world. Thanks to the staff at the International House, Alumni Affairs, Development Office, Institutional Advancement and The JSU Foundation Inc. the reunion was a success and raised $150,000 for a scholarship in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Jones the program founders.

The Information Technology Division established wireless access throughout Houston Cole Library and Sparkman Hall and implemented new hardware and software features to provide improved network management.

A contract for $930,000 was received from the Alabama Department of Education to establish an Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) at Jacksonville State University. Thanks to the hard work of College of Graduate Studies, In Service Education and others throughout the University, JSU's AMSTI office was established and Governor Riley came to open our first training session.

Dr. Fred May served as a guest instructor in Emergency Management at Wuhan University during May 2006.

The Office of Continuing Education updated its registration system, enabling students to register and pay by credit card on-line.

The Small Business Development Center presented 20 seminars and workshops, and SBDC procurement clients were awarded over $15 million dollars in contracts.

The Jacksonville State University community responded in many ways to assist hurricane Katrina survivors. Nursing instructors Mendy Wright and Carrie Elkins provided nursing care through the American Red Cross in Citronelle, Alabama, September 7-13, 2005. Nursing students conducted a Knapsacks of Hope project to help evacuees at McClellan. The SGA and Student Affairs conducted the Quarter 'n' Up project and held a blood drive. Dr. Safaa al-Hamdani and Dr. Nancy Francisco-Stewart formed a team of 30 volunteer physicians who provided free care to survivors of Hurricane Katrina. You helped in numerous other ways, such as cleaning and repairing dorm facilities at McClellan. Thank you for all you did.

Counseling and Career Services, Peer Educators, and the Housing Department sponsored events during Alcohol Awareness Week in October 2005. Numerous students signed pledges promising not to drink and drive.

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) notified the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS) of re-affirmation of accreditation of both the baccalaureate and master's programs for 10 years, extending to December 31, 2015.

Enrollment in Nursing increased 66% from Fall 2001 to Spring 2006.

Noah Cleveland, library technical assistant, was named Employee of the Year.

Special faculty awards were presented as follows:

  • Earlon & Betty McWhorter Outstanding Teacher Award was presented to Dr. Roland Thornburg.
  • Faculty Scholar Lecturer Award was presented to Dr. Edwin Smith.
  • The Cleo & Carla Thomas Outstanding Community Education & Service Award was presented to Dr. Nouredine Zettili.

Dozens of faculty members served as guests on my public service radio program, which is aired on WLJS during the morning NPR hours of programming. On my behalf, News Bureau Director Al Harris will be calling on many of you again this year to serve as guests for this outreach effort.

JSU is grateful to Governor Riley for his support of Higher Education, specifically for his recommended increase for JSU; and to the Legislature for funding an even greater increase in our operating budget. This year the Alabama Legislature approved a $42,714,403 appropriation for Jacksonville State University's fiscal year 2007. This represents a 22.7 % increase over last year budget or $7,901,050. A significant portion of this budget is for increases in health cost, retirement costs and earmarking for special projects. I will recommend to the Board of Trustees that they approve an across the board increase of 5 percent for all employees and step raises for all classified staff who were employed on or before July 1, 2006. This will continue our efforts to increase our faculty and staff salaries to the regional standard. With approval of this years recommendation JSU will have increased salaries more than 26 percent over the last eight years, added step raises for classified staff each year, and provided equity or merit pay four of the last eight years.

Thank you all for what you do to make Jacksonville State University, truly, a very special place to work and learn. We have grown to more than 1,000 employees and we serve more than 9,000 students. Our campus is beautiful and our reputation for excellence continues to grow. We continue that service today for our 123 year. Mrs. Meehan and I look forward to seeing you and your families at the house tonight anytime between 5:00 and 8:00. Have a great year!

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