SRU trustees praise president; honor retiring dean
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - The Slippery Rock University Council of Trustees praised SRU President Cheryl Norton today at their quarterly meeting and voted unanimously to send a letter to the chancellor recommending her contract be extended. Trustees also voted to name the athletic training laboratory in Patterson Hall in honor of Susan Hannam, dean of the College of Health Environment and Science, who is retiring after 28 years.
"Although the president is evaluated annually, every three years the board of governors requires the trustees to appoint an evaluation committee which then works with an external consultant who has expertise in presidential and university leadership and provides an external perspective," Trustee Jeff Smith said.
The evaluation team met with various campus stakeholders to complete an assessment of the president's performance of her defined duties and responsibilities; an assessment of the achievement of, or progress toward achieving, the goals and objectives that were agree upon; and a review of University performance results.
"The Council of Trustees was pleased to complete its triennial evaluation of Dr. Norton and as anticipated it was determined that Dr. Norton has done a fantastic job in leading the University during the past three years," Thomas Breth, outgoing chair of the COT said.
"We met with numerous constituent groups as part of the evaluation and they echoed our feelings about her leadership. Most importantly, Dr. Norton has been able to guide the University during some very difficult financial times while continuing to expand and promote the academic excellence of the University," Breth said.
Norton said she was, "humbled by your comments and grateful for your considerable support. We have an outstanding team of staff and faculty working daily to ensure our students' success."
The request to honor Hannam by renaming the athletic training lab in her name was submitted by faculty in her college and noted her 28 years of service to the University and her outstanding leadership.
"I will say she always was a pleasure to work with. She always had a smile on her face and provided outstanding leadership and contributions in her department and in the college," said Trustee Robert Taylor.
The council also approved submitting two new degree programs, a bachelor in fine arts and a bachelor of science in petroleum and natural gas engineering, to the board of governors for review and implementation.
The proposed new BFA in dance is considered the foremost professional degree credential for undergraduate students seeking professional dance careers, Ursula Payne, chair of the dance department, told the trustees. Students enrolled in the program will receive daily advanced studio training in a range of dance techniques, as well as a solid historical and theoretical background in dance.
Trustees praised SRU's proposed entrance in to the field.
The bachelor of science in petroleum and natural gas engineering meets the growing demand of employers in the commonwealth for graduates with engineering skill in this discipline, said Athula Heart, associate professor in physics and pre-engineering. The degree requires 128 hours of coursework, including a minimum of 32 hours of college-level mathematics and basic science and 48 hours of engineering topics consisting of engineering science, engineering design and general education components.
In other actions, trustees approved a contractually required 2.99 percent increase in the meal plan fees charged by AVI FoodSystems Inc. for the provision of food services to campus, and approved contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders reports as submitted.
Trustees also elected council leadership for 2015-16. Sen. Mary Jo White of Franklin was elected council chair; Matt Lautman of Pittsburgh was elected vice chair; and Jeff Smith of Butler was elected secretary.
White, who earned her juris doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh, served as a Pennsylvania senator from 1997-2012.
Trustees also set quarterly meetings for Sept. 2-3, Dec. 3-4, March 17-18, 2016 and June 9-10, 2016.
As part of their informational agenda, the trustees received the President's Report, saw a sneak preview of the University's new website, viewed a video of the upcoming World Disc Golf Tournament to be hosted at SRU Aug. 2-8, heard updates regarding the 2014-15 Strategic Action Plan, facilities project list, summer project schedule, preliminary campus master plan, and reviewed the University current financial reports.
David Jacobson, CPA principal for CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, the University's auditors discussed the upcoming audit. Jacobson said the audit would include standard accepted practices with the findings returned directly to the trustees for their action.
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