Chairperson Blair called the Committee of the Whole to order at 9:00 a.m. in the Bradbury Thompson Center.
Present were: Regents Blair, Dick, Engel, Etzel, Parks, and Lee.
Chairperson Blair then turned the floor to President Farley who reported that the primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss academic initiatives and capital plans. He introduced Dr. Wasserstein, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Wasserstein said he appreciated the compliments of the Board at its Friday meeting with respect to coordinating the performance pay proposal, but said he wanted to give credit to all of those who provided input, particularly noting input from Professor Jacobs.
Dr. Wasserstein sought the advice of the Regents concerning the location of the Law School Commencement. He said the law students have reserved the Topeka Performing Arts Center for the 2001 Law School Commencement. He said the students did not want to have a ceremony in Lee Arena which is viewed as nothing more than a gym, but that the other facility on campus, White Concert Hall, is too small. The consensus of opinion appeared to be that the administration should not stand in the way of a commencement ceremony for the Law School at the Topeka Performing Arts Center.
Dr. Wasserstein said many number of things which have been and now are taking place, that he'd like to tell the Board. The first is the issue of classroom furniture with the goal of improving seating for students and getting rid of the tablet armchairs which have served us well. He said care needs to be taken to do that because the tablet armchairs have, in fact, served so well and there must not be a significant reduction in seating space in classrooms as we improve seating. He said there is a University-wide committee comprised of faculty, staff and students which has selected five rooms of various size and types to serve as laboratories to help determine the best type of furniture and arrangement of such furniture as we move forward towards a furniture replacement program. He said an RFP has been developed and will be sent out next week with the opening to occur in late February or early March. He said the four major concerns with the seating projects are ergonomics, aesthetics, the Americans with Disability Act, and architectural.
His second report was on the Intensive English Program which, he said, used to be quite small, generating approximately 160 credit hours. He said that since 1995-96 the program has been growing so that it is now up to 135 students, generating 1,200 student credit hours. He said these hours do not count towards enrollment and noted that only 600 student credit hours are needed to pay for the Intensive English Program. He complimented Baili Zhang for his leadership in the program.
Dr. Wasserstein said the University's 2+2 Program is going "great guns" with approximately 120 students taking on-line courses in the program. He said this semester is the "warm up semester" of the state-wide program. He said there are approximately 80-90 students in the Kansas City area with 70 on-line 2+2 programs and approximately 10 other face-to-face programs in the 2+2 Program. There are some 28 other on-line courses being offered and 21 on-line graduate courses.
In response to a query from Regent Engel about what surprises he has experienced in the program, Dr. Wasserstein said he has been somewhat surprised at the speed at which faculty have embraced conducting on-line courses. He said that while we have approximately 100 different courses that we're doing, there is still a strong indication that most students still want to come to campus.
In response to a query from Regent Dick about the measurement of the efficacy of courses, Dr. Wasserstein said there are two things we're looking at presently - the completion rate and the satisfaction rate. He said there is an 84% completion rate of on-line courses and a survey of students who have participated in such courses indicates that 90% of them would take another such course.
Dr. Farley noted another interesting thing in conjunction with the offering of on-line courses is the number of on-campus students who want to be enrolled in as well. President Farley reported that there is some interest in expanding the on-line program to provide nursing courses.
* Mr. Etzel departed at 9:50 a.m.
Dr. Wasserstein reported that there are two other things the institution has done, in part because of the expansion of the 2+2 program. He reported the University has hired two web techs who are employees staffing a help desk to assist those participating in the developing of or taking of on-line courses and the acquisition of the Web CT software which is a course developing and offering tool. He said there are 1,000 students who have a Web CT account and each of whom is enrolled in at least one on-line course. He said this is the first year in a multi-year program for seeking accreditation by the AACSB for the University's School of Business. He said the school has increased faculty positions in the school by 1.5 and has provided some professional development assistance and in the next fiscal year there will be another 1.5 faculty positions added.
He also reported that the institution has added a position for military studies which is held by Professor Heller. He said there are 674 student credit hours in Professor Heller's courses and 33 graduate hours. He said Professor Heller is the coordinator for the MLS degree and that he's active in working with the Kansas National Guard in providing similar courses for it.
Finally, he said the Leadership Institute is up and running and there are "tons of activities." He said there's a good deal of recruitment activities on going for recruitment of the next crop of students and that the students themselves recently organized a mock election on November 7 and then met in Henderson Learning Resources Center to watch the election night returns. He said Security had to eventually chase them out of the building as they were glued to the screen watching developments.
In terms of initiatives that Dr. Wasserstein and academic affairs are looking at, they are: international programs area, the expansion of radiation therapy, a strategic planning process involving Mabee Library, improvement of Career Services area, and scholarships. In the area of scholarships, he said there are three areas in which they are placing priority. They would like to increase the number of persons participating in marching band from 80 to 120, including a stipend for persons participating in the pep band, and to increase the number of debate forensics scholarships to 13. He said another area is the allocation of faculty positions, particularly those areas which are experiencing growth, and the reallocation of faculty positions from retirement. And, lastly, he said they will be presenting a proposal at the next General Faculty Meeting for a council for undergraduate mentoring program.
In response to queries about the Dean and the Vice President searches, Dr. Wasserstein said he could not report on the VPAA search, but noted that the search for the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences is just getting underway with the first meeting of the group next week and that in the Law Dean search, he expects to get word next week concerning the persons to bring onto campus for the on-campus interview process. He said that he has participated in off-campus interviews of eight of the ten persons identified as potential candidates and in two telephone conference interviews with the others.
Dr. Farley said the announcement is out for the Vice President of Academic Affairs position and that the review process is beginning. He said the schedule presented to the Board earlier is still on track and anticipates seeking Board approval of a hire of a new Vice President for Academic Affairs probably at its May meeting.
President Farley introduced Vice President for Administration and Treasurer, Wanda Hill, who began her presentation talking about the Administrative Information Systems project to lead the acquisition of a new integrated information system. She said the Change Management Committee team has been formed to assist the communication issues associated with communicating campus-wide on the various issues concerning the project and a Project Management Team which put together the proposed RFP for the project. She announced that a web site just went up on the University's web page at www.washburn.edu/project which is intended to assist in keeping everyone on the campus updated. She said, in response to questions, the RFP is expected to be put out in early February with Board approval being sought in June or July.
On the subject of capital maintenance, Vice President Hill said the maintenance plans are governed by three P's - process, priority and performance. She said there is continuing evaluation by Facilities Services staff to evaluate annually the status of the various buildings and equipment and they are assisted through annual project requests that are forwarded to a central location by the various departments and entities about the types of projects or additions of equipment, facilities, futnirure, etc. that they'd like to have. These are then prioritized and, following prioritization, a performance plan is put into place.
Vice President Hill introduced the director of Facilities Services, Thomas Yang, who walked the Regents through the methodology by which the Facilities Services area performance evaluation. He first directed the Regents attention to page 57 of the book "Major Maintenance Funding Requirements Five Year Estimate 2001-2006" showing the Washburn University fire/safety system inspection schedule. Then, to the building condition evaluation of Bradbury Thompson Center appearing on page 32 of the publication. This, he said, is an example of the process by which buildings are evaluated. He then gave an example of the major maintenance funding requirements which is based upon the evaluation showing, by way of example, the Bennett Computer Center on page 3 and concluded by directing their attention to the summary of major maintenance funding requirements found on pages 1 and 2.
Regent Dick said he would like to congratulate Mr. Yang and all his predecessors in the development of such a program noting that at a recent AGB meeting he was attending a session where trustees and regents of other institutions were lamenting their inability to deal with deferred capital maintenance or even to be able to determine what their needs might be. Regent Dick said he was able to share what Washburn is doing which he said is something we've done really well, and which other people thought was too based upon our example and their experiences.
* Mr. Etzel returned to the meeting at 10:45 a.m.
Vice President Hill then directed the Regents attention to the Capital Improvements/Maintenance Project List for 2000-2001 fiscal year which is based upon the evaluation process and requests from the various areas. There are seven identified potential capital improvements projects over the next three to four years. They are: Mulvane Art Department improvement which is now proceeding into the fund raising study to see if it is a viable project for which funds could be solicited; the Student Fitness Center for which the University has received a draft consultant report; the Moore Bowl Improvement Project which is in the planning stage; Lee Arena Improvement Project, the contract for construction of which was approved at the Board's January 26 meeting; the Administrative Information Systems Project, the KTWU Digital Conversion project; and, the Student Housing Project.
President Farley introduced Vice President for Student Life, Denise Ottinger, who said that the University, as indicated by President Farley, recently received the preliminary report of the consultant for a proposed student fitness center. She said these facilities are being increasingly found on campuses across the country which are intended to complement student life on each campus. Vice President Ottinger said the consultant studied the campus thoroughly during a two-day visit in November which included evaluation of our current facilities, the usage of each and the physical layout identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each. In addition to the use of the facility as a student fitness center, it could also be used by faculty and staff as part of a wellness program and possibly also be available for outside users. She said the initial recommendation of the consultant is for a stand-alone or add-on facility comprised of approximately 44,000 sq. ft. which would include a gym, two full-size basketball courts which could be converted to four half-court basketball courts, a suspended running track of four lanes, weight and cardiovascular facilities, group exercise room, a lounge, a lobby area and support spaces. He said the components of the building would comprise about 36,500 sq. ft. and adding circulation and mechanical space of approximately 20% brings the total to 44,000 sq. ft. Additional things mentioned as possibilities were an activity court, a third gym floor and a climbing wall. He said the consultants initial projection as construction costs are between $110-$120 per square feet, minimum $5 million hard costs and $1.5 million in soft costs. The consultant said there are naming opportunities for the building and that the facility would be operated from student and user fees and professionally managed. The projected operating budget of $600,000 a year, open 132 hours per week.
* Mayor Wagnon arrived at 11:05 a.m.
Vice President Ottinger said it might be possible to convert Whiting to some uses of a student fitness center but there are other issues, namely compliance with the American with Disabilities Act and air conditioning. She said the Gym South area site is attractive; however, there is the issue there of shared space with Athletics and there is also the ability of adding on on the south side of Petro either on the southeast or southwest corners with the possibility of some cost savings. Other location options included west of the press box at Moore Bowl, on the southwest corner by the KTWU facility, and combining the fitness center with an art facility.
The Committee of the Whole recessed at 11:10 a.m. so the Board could reconvene as the Board of Regents to complete discussion of item V.A.1. of its January 26, 2001 Business Agenda.
The Committee of the Whole reconvened at 11:25 a.m.
* Mayor Wagnon departed at 11:26 a.m.
President Farley said the three major issues with respect to the student fitness center are accessibility for students, location and cost. He said that after the consultant's report is finalized it is possible that the administration would come to the Board of Regents at its March meeting to seek authority to hire an architect.
Dr. Farley also said that they are considering the potential of expanding the concept for Moore Bowl to make it more of a multi-purpose facility, noting that over the next two years it is likely that we may be adding a women's sport.
President Farley said that Regent Engel has devised an elegant method by which these projects could be funded which is that special obligation bonds would be issued by the County, the funds borrowed by the Washburn Endowment Association which would construct buildings on ground leased to them and the University would then lease back the facility from the Washburn Endowment Association.
Regent Dick said that there is a missing component and paraphrased a professor he had while an MBA student at Harvard to the effect that one should never confuse the ability to acquire financing with the ability to repay it. He said that while we do have the capacity to acquire the debt, we do need to analyze the fixed charges - insurance, electricity, maintenance, etc. - in some sort of a sensitivity survey to play out the various scenarios so we might see how much slack we have if something adverse and unseen arises.
Regent Engel said he didn't think we could find a better landlord to have than the Washburn Endowment Association noting that if we can't operate the facilities and make the rent payment, rent income could be offset from distributions to be made from Washburn Endowment Association to the University.
President Farley said there are four different tests employed by financiers to determine the ability of an entity to take on debt. They are balancing sheet ratio, viability ratio, leverage ratio and debt/burden ratio. He said under all four our balance sheet numbers are all excellent.
The meeting of the Committee of the Whole adjourned at 11:59 a.m.
Kenneth P. Hackler
Secretary, Board of Regents