I. Call to Order
Chairperson Engel called the meeting of the Board of Regents to order in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union at 4:37 p.m.
II. Roll Call
Present were: Mr. Blair, Mr. Dick, Mr. Engel, *Mr. Etzel, Mrs. Lee and Mr. Roth.
*Participated via telephone conference call.
III. Approval of Minutes of March 12, 2003 meeting as mailed.
It was moved and seconded to approve the Minutes of the March 12, 2003 meeting as mailed. Motion passed unanimously.
IV. Officer Reports
A. Chair's Report
Chairperson Engel reported he'd spent a good portion of the morning at the Kansas Board of Regents office with the Performance Agreement Task Force. He said the task force proposal will be going forward to the Council of Presidents and the Council of Chief Academic Officers. He said today what they discussed was what should occur in the event an institution does not fully meet the goals. He said the consensus of the group is that it is good enough if an institution makes good faith efforts towards fulfilling the performance agreement goals as this is not intended to be of a punitive nature. He noted that the performance agreement deals with only a small portion of each institution's budget. In response to a question from Regent Dick, he said it is certain that performance agreements deal with the new dollars for an institution, not the total budget. Chairperson Engel said the regents' goal for all to aspire to meet is for the providing of seamless, more efficient transition in higher education. The performance agreement will also include institutional goals. He said the proposal advanced by the task force is now more simple and logical based on the idea that it's a system rather than about going after the budget of any single institution.
B. Committee Report(s)
There were none.
C. President's Report
President Farley noted there are lots of things occurring at Washburn. First, he noted that Alumni Weekend will be held next week beginning Thursday morning with Wake Up with Washburn. Other events scheduled include the ground breaking for the Recreation Wellness Center at 1:30 p.m. on Friday; a Friday morning session, normally "Friday with Farley", which will include Chairperson Engel, WEA Trustee Steve Kitchen, and President Baer of the Washburn Alumni Association. There will also be the All Alumni Luncheon on Friday honoring Alice Clare Wright, Dean Ferrell, Betty Casper, Stephen Koranda and Darvin Hawley. Saturday night there will be the University Ball which will be based on a 1920s theme. There will also be class reunions for the classes of 1933, '43, '53 and '63. Information about Alumni Weekend events can be found on the University's web site at www.washburn.edu.
President Farley announced that Washburn University has been selected as the administrative home of the American Society of Victimology. He commended Tom Underwood for developing the victim services program and being able to attract the American Society of Victimology to Washburn.
He also announced the employee recognition event will be held May 1 on the University's campus.
Mayor Felker arrived at 4:45 p.m.
President Farley also asked faculty representative Ron Ash to make an announcement concerning recent events involving students. Dr. Ash announced at the recent Kansas Academy of Sciences Washburn University students took all three of the available awards.
Dr. Farley announced Washburn University recently received a gift from an individual who was not an alumna of the University. He said Beulah Jardon worked 45 years at Crosby Brothers. Her gift was $358,000 to the School of Nursing which will be used for the international scholarship programs of the School in Finland and in Ireland. He said Ms. Jardon died at age 94 and left the bulk of her estate to charities.
Dr. Farley recognized Jonathan Schmucker and Ericah Tucker who have just completed their term of office as president and vice president of the Washburn Student Government Association. Jonathan Schmucker expressed appreciation for the Board of Regents in working with the WSGA and recognized Dennis Bohm and Brandi Jacobs who assume office as the new president and vice president of the Student Government Association. Dr. Farley said Jonathan Schmucker and Ericah Tucker did a tremendous job this year and that it will be a really fun year to come.
Regent Parks arrived at 4:55 p.m.
President Farley said he's been listening to others at the Kansas Board of Regents sessions to see what we expect the Legislature to do. He said he does not expect the Kansas Board of Regents to do anything budget-wise or tuition-wise until May or June, so we will probably have to follow the same time lines as we did last year. There will be a meeting or two with the Budget/Finance Committee and they expect to bring the final budget guidelines and tuition for Board approval at the July 24 meeting. He said if we are fortunate enough to have a salary program it will probably be implemented along the same time lines as occurred during the present fiscal year.
President Farley reported recently students involved with the Washburn Student Government Association participated in cleanup of brick sidewalks in the College Hill neighborhood. He said there were a lot of students joined by lots of homeowners who are excited about students being involved in the community. He reported WSGA recently did a survey of students about what they would like to see in and around the University neighborhood and neighborhood residents have asked a similar survey be done of residents. Mayor Felker commended the University and the WSGA students involved in the cleanup project noting both they and we want to be better neighbors and that more communication is better.
D. Treasurer's Report
Vice President for Administration and Treasurer, Wanda Hill, presented the information in 1. Public Fund Investments - March 2003, 2. Depository Security Transactions, 3. Liquidated Claims - February, 2003, and 4. Liquidated Claims - March, 2003. It was moved and seconded to accept the Treasurer's Report as presented. Motion passed unanimously.
Vice President Hill then introduced Mike Gibson of Murray Construction who provided an update on the Moore Bowl renovation project. Mr. Gibson highlighted the various projects within the scope of the renovation including the pavilion, the northeast and northwest entrances as well as the historic entrance plaza. He said the late completion date for the northeast entrance is June 30 as is the same date for the historic entry plaza, and a July 14 late completion date for the northwest entrance. In response to a question from Regent Roth about a percentage of completion of the project as a whole, Mr. Gibson said he thought it was about 60 percent complete.
Regent Dick requested whether it might be possible for members of the Board of Regents following the April 25 ground breaking for the Recreation/Wellness Center for them to have a tour of the Moore Bowl project. Mr. Gibson said that would be possible, but he would like to know in advance how many persons would be participating so he could have on hand the appropriate number of hard hats. He was asked to plan to be at the June meeting of the Board of Regents for an update of the renovation project status.
Mr. Gibson then was asked about the status of the project for the Recreation/Wellness Center. He said he's developed a preliminary schedule and they've let contracts for the project and are starting the organizing and scheduling necessary for the project.
V. New Business
A. Consent Agenda:
It was moved and seconded to approve the Consent Agenda. Motion passed unanimously.
As approved by action of the Board of Regents:
a. Faculty Personnel - Manske
extension of miliary leave of absence for the Fall 2003 semester for Michael Manske;
b. Faculty Personnel - Ubel & Wolfe
appointment of: Sarah Ubel on full-time, 9-month, tenure-track contract as Instructor in Communications Department at an annual salary of $40,008 effective August 1, 2003; and Suellen Wolfe on full-time, 9-month, non-renewable contract as Visiting Associate Professor of Law at an annual salary of $100,944 effective August 1, 2003; and,
2. Report of Purchases between $25,001 and $50,000
award of contracts to: Florence General Contractor to remodel the Kansas Room in the Memorial Union in the amount of $39,910; and Creative Signs, Inc. for monument sign Washburn Student Government Association in the amount of $26,325.
B. Action Items:
a. Capitalization Policy for Capital Assets
Vice President for Administration and Treasurer, Wanda Hill, made a presentation of the agenda item which establishes a $100,000 threshold for capitalization of items other than land or equipment. She noted that equipment is handled in a separate policy. She said her office and staff are in the process of developing a capitalization asset guide detailing what it is we're going to capitalize, establishing depreciation method, asset disposal and record keeping guidelines. She said also any expenditure not capitalized will be an expense item in the year made.
It was moved and seconded to approve the Capitalization Policy outlined in the agenda item. Motion passed.
2. Washburn Innovation Grant Funding
Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Wasserstein, presented the information in agenda item V.B.2. noting the recommendations for the two projects identified were the result of work of an innovation grant committee which included not only faculty and staff members but also a member of the Board of Regents, one of the Washburn Alumni Association Board of Directors, and a member of the Washburn Endowment Association Board of Trustees.
In response to a question from Regent Dick about composition of the body reviewing proposals to include representatives of external constituent groups to provide an independent perspective, Dr. Wasserstein noted the committee did include representatives from the WEA, WAA and a Board member and noted there is a huge time commitment involved for review of these proposals, that others have been reluctant to commit to and perform, and there was also concern about sharing "our ideas with the world."
President Farley echoed Dr. Wasserstein's comments and noted we did attempt to do that three years ago and that the external representatives did not spend as much time as we thought necessary and it was not altogether satisfactory and the other problem is that external reviewers don't know or understand the local culture.
Regent Dick said he thought it still important to seek an external perspective as it's very appropriate and sees it as a challenge to overcome the problems with doing that.
In response to a query from Regent Lee about the computers available for faculty members, Vice President Wasserstein noted every faculty member does have a computer device, not necessarily an individual personal computer. He added the biggest thing the University needs to do rather than providing personal computers for each faculty member is to provide more correctly equipped classrooms. He said it's not so much an issue of being outdated in technology, as we are adding equipment in a scheduled manner very carefully. He said also important is to encourage the adoption of technology by more faculty in teaching.
President Farley commended the efforts of the two individuals responsible for the two projects recommended, introducing Dr. Sara Tucker who submitted the Digitally Accessible Resources for Teaching, and Dr. Joanne Altman for the Undergraduate Creative and Scholarly Work Program. Both were recognized by the Board.
It was moved and seconded to approve the funding of the Digitally Accessible Resources for Teaching project in the amount of $295,980, and $150,000 for the Undergraduate Creative and Scholarly Work Program from the WEA grant fund for such purpose. Motion passed unanimously.
3. Expenditures over $50,000
It was moved and seconded to approve V.B.3.a. and b. Motion passed unanimously.
As approved by action of the Board of Regents:
a. Mobile Shelving System for School of Law Library
award of contract to Automated Business Systems in the amount of $58,384.02 for a mobile shelving system for the School of Law Library; and,
b. Install Fire Alarm System - Keuhne Hall 30325, West Hall #0327 and Petro/Whiting #03335
award of contracts totaling $182,923 to: SimplexGrinnell in the amount of $94,778 and to Torgeson Electric in the amount of $88,145 for an Addressable Fire Alarm System in Kuehne, West and Whiting.
4. Appointment of the Dean of the School of Business
It was moved and seconded to recess to Executive Session for the purpose of discussing personnel matters and to reconvene in open session in the Kansas Room at 5:50 p.m. Motion passed unanimously. The Board recessed to Executive Session at 5:35 p.m.
At 5:50 p.m. the Board reconvened in open session in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union. The Board Chair reported the Board had been in Executive Session for the purpose of discussing a personnel matter and that no action had been taken.
President Farley reported the University had conducted an extensive national search to find a dean for the School of Business who would fit in with the community and accomplish the goals set for the school, not the least of which is the accreditation by the AASCB. He said a number of persons were nominated or applied for the position on a national basis. From this pool four persons were identified to bring to campus for the interview, one of whom withdrew prior to coming to campus. He said there were two external candidates and one internal candidate. He noted Dr. Russ Smith, the interim dean, was the internal candidate and that he has done a tremendous job as interim dean and has done a super job for us. He said following the interview process he is recommending that Dr. David Sollars be offered the position of Dean of the Washburn School of Business at an annual basic salary of $141,000. He reported that Dr. Sollars is presently at Auburn University at Montgomery as an assistant dean and professor. He said he would recommend his employment begin no earlier than May 15 and no later than July 15.
It was moved and seconded to approve the offer of the position of the Dean of the School of Business to Dr. Sollars at an annual basic salary of $141,000. Motion passed unanimously.
At 5:51 p.m. Board Chair Engel reported the Board would be in recess for the purpose of dining for a period of some 35-40 minutes, then reconvene in open session in the Kansas Room of the Memorial Union.
At 6:38 p.m. Board Chair Engel reconvened the meeting of the Board of Regents in open session.
C. Transitional Housing Facility
President Farley said earlier members of the Board had been provided a binder which was a compilation of salient pieces presented to them over the past 2-3 years concerning the transitional housing project. He then made a PowerPoint presentation highlighting key decision points. He concluded by recommending the Board approve the issuance of bonds necessary for the financing of the project and the establishment of a special committee consisting of the Chair, Vice Chair, President and Treasurer to authorize the execution of the bond sale under the authority of the Board with ratification and, further, the Board authorize the letting of bids for the project. It was moved and seconded to approve the recommendation on page 2 of the binders circulated to members of the Board of Regents.
In response to a query from Regent Parks concerning any plans for construction of buildings in the future, President Farley said there is a cornucopia of potential projects. He identified, by way of example, something having to do with Mabee Library; the science building, either an update or a refreshing, and there is a need to start a process to make determinations about what to do in proceeding towards that; potential refreshing of the Law School building; a classroom building; and, in the more immediate future, space for the WEA.
In a response to a query from Regent Dick to the effect that were we to assume all those projects would go forward, would there still be sufficient space left on the campus for all to go forward, Dr. Farley gave an unqualified yes.
Regent Lee, noting she is a graduate of the Law School class of '83, said the University has added and/or is adding a lot of buildings in a short period of time. She said the campus does need to be updated but has concern about the number of ongoing projects. Dr. Farley said clearly we have had a lot of construction, mostly as a result of timing and targets of opportunity as the result of being successful in our fund raising efforts. He said some of these projects were overdue. He noted, however, that academic projects and programs are equally in need of resources and we are trying to put an emphasis in fund raising organization and strategies for more funding to provide resources in the future for the academic programming.
President Farley said in the context of the question whether if we build it will they come, there have been three different studies and that has been the conclusion of each of them. He noted there have been two demand studies conducted two years apart and there is a demand for such housing. He said he does not believe, nor do the demand studies suggest, the housing would be adverse to the fraternities and sororities on campus nor on the area apartment owners. He said it's about bringing more people onto our campus to create an environment where they want to be. He said he recognizes every project involves some risk and the staff work has been at a level to attempt to ensure those risks are appropriately balanced.
Regent Roth said he didn't see a need for housing on campus because anybody can go somewhere. He said it's not a question of whether we need it, but whether we want it for the campus to provide a better environment not only on campus but for all our students. So, he said, the question is not whether we need it but do we want it and in that context, what will it do to fraternities and sororities, existing LLC and area apartments?
Dr. Farley said the administration has worked with experienced people in this area, noting they have indicated the housing will actually help the fraternities and sororities. Regent Roth said if we fill it at the right rent and charge, he doesn't know of a better time than now with the low interest rates to do the project. He said if we don't do it it's because we don't want to and we want to keep it like it is now.
Regent Etzel said in every business decision you have to weigh the risk with the reward and that were he doing this on a business decision, based on current interest rates, he'd probably roll the dice. However, he said because of public funding and public trust he's not opposed to the project but does want to be convinced.
Mayor Felker said he envisions this more as a chance for an investment rather than expense. He said he's been talking with parents of students and they're excited about the project and the options that will bring. He said it gives another opportunity to re-energize campus life. He said this is my opportunity to say this is the magnet that's going to turn this area around and to help bring the neighborhoods back. He noted the geographic center of the city of Topeka is at the corner of 17th and Washburn, that we are in the heart of the city, and now is the time we have to strike.
Regent Parks noted when she was a student she lived in Benton Hall and if this project helps campus life, it's a good time to do it.
Chairperson Engel, noting that while he does not have a vote, he has grave concerns referring Board members to page 87 of the note binder. He said we have to get a grip on demographics, pointing to the second paragraph under the caption "Enrollment" on the page showing a declining group of incoming freshmen in five years. He said we're not now really benefiting from the baby boom echo. He said also that at the recent AGB Conference he learned that in approximately 2008 the pool of incoming first-time freshmen will be down for well over the next twenty years.
Chairperson Engel noted the Topeka apartment market has present capacity to absorb these students without destabilizing the market, observing a television commercial with Vivian Kane last Saturday night indicated housing purchases were up and apartment living rates down because of the low interest rate. He said he was concerned about the possibility of cannibalizing ourselves as the University will be competing with itself for both the apartment-style living and the more traditional student residence in the LLC. He then referred members to page 154, which details the breakdown by class of residence hall occupancy at Washburn.
He said he believes we can invest in other things to bring the students here. If we get them here in as freshmen, they'll stay, so we should invest in the first year experience. He circulated a piece from Cohen-Esrey Real Estate Services showing the occupancy and rental rates of mid-town apartments. He indicated the occupancy rates have been going down for the last four years and said the institution would be getting into a market driven thing and we likely should expect to have to put dollars into it.
Regent Etzel said the notes he had made included a question whether we would be competing with ourselves and whether the numbers we have are accurate. He said he had heard the new apartment complex project out by Sams is having a difficult time in attracting tenants. But, he said, again back to Regent Roth's comments, whether we have a need, we probably don't, but do we want it, we probably don't know.
Regent Dick said he saw things in a somewhat different perspective than did Chairperson Engel. He said he really appreciated the concerns expressed by Mr. Engel about the fiscal ability to handle the project. He said if we were to go back some six or seven years ago when it was decided the Regents would focus on rebuilding campus life, that it's the right thing to do to enhance the education of students. Since that time, we've gone from a mix of primarily non-traditional students since the '66 tornado to a better balance of students. He said we have made several decisions to enhance campus life and have so far been successful and noted there is one overwhelming thing which is, there is a huge amount of demand of students desiring to live on campus. He said there clearly appears to be a large unmet demand. He said even if we are wrong, we are still going to fill up the 200 beds, noting we will not have a huge capacity for residences on campus so we do not have to take 50 percent of projected student population but rather take only a tiny little slice and we'll fill this facility.
He said he also has done a "gut check" to ensure we have not somehow deluded ourselves, noting that if we look back at the old housing statistics and space available and scale that forward, his analysis is that we are 215 beds short of the percentage now than pre-tornado. He said putting it altogether, recognizing that nothing is ever certain, it's likely we will fill the complex and it will be good for the University.
Mayor Felker noted the projections for new jobs at the Target Distribution Center is now up to 1,000 from the previous forecast of 600. They will be looking for places to live and apartment occupancy rates will be going up, and that the numbers seen in occupancy rates are temporary.
Regent Roth observed the concerns raised by Chairman Engel are legitimate concerns saying some are the same concerns he had when thinking about whether we should go forward to build it. He said he looked to see what percentage of the student population would be housed on residence if built and noted that would be approximately eight percent. He said in comparing that eight percent with the residential rates at the other campuses, including KU, K-State, Fort Hays State, Emporia State, all are at about 25 percent. He said that tells him our eight percent is do-able. He said with respect to concerns about the rental rates, he said the architects are those who have been designing these facilities across the country and this is what has been successful elsewhere. He said he believes this is the right step to make this a good and wonderful place for students and think we should do it now.
Mr. Etzel inquired whether the motion on the table should be amended in some manner to reflect the not-to-exceed number. It was moved and seconded to amend the first paragraph of the recommendation on page 2 of the notebook to authorize the issuance of not more than $7.5 million in revenue bonds plus cost of issuance. Motion passed. On call of the question of the motion as amended, as follows: to authorize the issuance of $7.5 million in revenue bonds, plus cost of issuance, necessary for the financing of the plan, and that a special committee of the Board consisting of the Chair, the Vice Chair, President and Treasurer, working in concert with bond counsel and financial advisor, authorize the execution of the bond sale under the authority of the Board with ratification by the Board; and to authorize the administration to let bids for the construction of the project to be returned to the Board for approval to issue contracts for construction. Motion passed.
Board Chair Engel inquired whether there was any further business to come before the Board. Hearing none, Board Chair Engel adjourned the meeting of the Board of Regents at 8:07 p.m.
Kenneth P. Hackler
Secretary, Board of Regents