Radford University tuition stays the same for first time in nearly two decades


RADFORD – For the first time in 19 years, tuition will not increase in the upcoming year at Radford University.

The Board of Visitors paid tribute to outgoing Rector Mark S. Lawrence.

The Radford University Board of Visitors (BOV) recently approved a recommendation to freeze tuition for undergraduate and graduate students for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The mandatory comprehensive fee for all students will increase slightly, however, while the Radford University Carilion tuition and fees will decrease by $2,699, or about 10 percent, for the 2019-2020 academic year when compared to tuition at Jefferson College of Health Sciences from the previous year.

A new rector and vice-rector were also voted in at the BOV meeting. Robert “Bob” A. Archer, of Salem, will serve as rector and James “Jim” R. Kibler, J.D., of Virginia Beach, will be vice rector. Their terms are one year and begin on July 1.

According to information released by the university, Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., “briefed the BOV on the progress toward establishing a business incubator on campus to promote and encourage student entrepreneurs.”

This will allow students “as they have great ideas, to have the ability to go to a place and work on bringing that potential idea to commercialization,” Hemphill said.

The space will be located on the lower level of the Davis College of Business and Economics and will offer 24-hour access “because ideas do not just hit you between 8 and 5,” President Hemphill said.

According to the university, the following also occurred at the BOV meeting:

Hemphill briefed the BOV on the inaugural Retention Summit held on campus in January. About 125 people participated in the event aimed at improving student retention.

The president spoke about the signing of a Guaranteed Transfer Partnership Agreement with New River Community College on April 4 at the NRCC Dublin campus. The agreement ensures credits earned by NRCC students will transfer to Radford University, thereby saving students time and money.

Hemphill also briefed the BOV about the April 22 celebration event in Roanoke that united the Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University communities. There, the name – Radford University Carilion – and logo for the soon-to-be merged entity were unveiled.

BOV student representative Myriah Brooks briefed the BOV about her work over the past year, including participating in the Unity Day of Service on April 11. Radford students were involved in eight different service projects that day. Brooks also conducted a survey during the academic year asking students to provide feedback about their ideas for how they might like to see campus grow and change.

The BOV heard from Faculty Senate President Jake Fox, Ph.D., and Interim Director of Core Curriculum Nicole Hendrix, Ph.D., about The REAL General Education Model, representing a focus on reasoning, expression, analysis and learning, that is student centered, has foundations in student success and reflects the identity and responsibilities of Radford University.

The BOV paid tribute to outgoing Rector Mark S. Lawrence and approved resolutions for outgoing BOV Members Randolph “Randy” J. Marcus and Lisa Throckmorton ‘94. The BOV also announced the formation of The Founders Society to foster continued engagement of former BOV members. The Society’s first event will be held in April 2020.

During the Student Success Committee, chaired by Debra K. McMahon, Ph.D., Committee members heard from Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President Cody Hartley. Hartley is the co-chair of the Student Advisory Committee of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and presented to the BOV several SCHEV recommendations, including enhanced support services and programs for transfer and under-represented students, as well as additional campus safety initiatives.

Vice President for Student Affairs Susan P. Trageser, Ed.D., introduced the new Substance Abuse and Violence Education Support (SAVES) services Director Brian Lusk, who joined Radford University in March. Since his arrival, the SAVES office has implemented new group sessions for students and created a Recovery Lounge for students to study, relax and engage with one another.

Vice President Trageser also highlighted several student success and retention initiatives, including:

The recruitment of 22 students, who withdrew from the Fall 2018 semester and re-enrolled for the Spring 2019 semester;

The Spring 2019 “You Matter Campaign” during which approximately 40 faculty and staff members visited each residence hall to talk with more than 700 students about mid-term grades and advising; and

The creation of new and intentional traditions for students, including the Halfway There Celebration for sophomores, the Junior Twilight: It’s Your Time for juniors and Senior Signing Day.

The Business Affairs and Audit Committee, chaired by Vice Chair Jay A. Brown, Ph.D., heard from the Auditor of Public Accounts Zachary Borgerding, who outlined the audit results for the Commonwealth of Virginia for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. According to the audit, Radford University was found to have no material weaknesses.

The Committee also heard from University Auditor Margaret McManus, who reported that 100 percent expenditures were reviewed and all were found in compliance with the BOV’s guidelines.

Vice President for Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer Chad A. Reed presented the Radford University Police Department (RUPD) to the Committee. The RUPD is a full-service, sworn and accredited law enforcement agency that is devoted to the welfare of the University community. Reed introduced members of RUPD, including Chief of Police David Underwood and RUPD’s newest member, K9 Brix.

Vice President Reed also updated the Committee on the University’s two active capital projects in progress:

The nearly $33 million project to renovate the existing Reed and Curie Halls to complement the Center for the Sciences, which is expected to be ready to host classes by Spring 2020; and

The Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, for which planning is ongoing. The $95 million, 215,000 square feet, multi-story building currently awaits final authorization from the General Assembly, though Radford has received $4 million with which to begin planning.

Vice President Reed also presented on the 2020-2030 Master Plan and a succession plan update, designed to ease transitions for key personnel, executive positions and employees nearing retirement.

As part of the Committee discussion, the University recommended modifying the tuition model for the 2019-2020 academic year to limit the flat rate to 16 credit hours for students at the Radford campus. Students will be incentivized to more actively manage course loads and it better aligns tuition price and cost with student credit consumption. Students taking more than a 16-hour course load would pay an additional $329 per credit hour.

The Committee also reviewed Radford University Carilion information, including degree overlap, the need for nurses, personnel operations, non-personnel operations and revenue and expenditures.

The Academic Excellence and Research Committee, chaired by Vice Chair Rachel D. Fowlkes, Ph.D., voted unanimously to recommend the award of tenure to 23 Radford University teaching and research faculty members and promotions for 51 others.

Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kenna Colley, Ed.D., said the faculty members, who had earned promotions and been awarded tenure, reflected the great work done by Radford’s entire faculty.

Faculty approved for tenure were:

Artis College of Science and Technology: Joyce Caughron, Matthew Close, Laura Gruss, Eric Choate and Shawn Huston;

Davis College of Business and Economics: Thomas Duncan, Jane Machin and Feifei Zhu;

College of Education and Human Development: Laurie Bianchi, Carol Bland, Theresa Burris, Joshua Carroll and Keith Davis;

College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences: Dayna Hayes, Tay Keong Tan, Laura Vernon;

College of Visual and Performing Arts: Amy Van Kirk and Jimmy Ward; and

Waldron College of Health and Human Services: Sarah Gilbert, Judith Ismail, Sheila Krajnik, Philip Mongan and Matthias Naleppa.

When considering faculty for tenure, the BOV examines the continuing need for the individual’s expertise, teaching effectiveness, advisor effectiveness, professional development, participation in University co-curricular activities, committee work, cooperation with colleagues and contributions toward the objectives of the department, college and University.

Colley announced that seven distinguished Radford faculty members had been awarded emeritus status by President Hemphill. The newly-named emeriti faculty members are:

Virginia Burggraf, professor of nursing;

Daniel Davidson, professor of accounting, finance and business law;

Juergen Gerlach, professor of mathematics and statistics;

Sharon Hartline, professor of philosophy and religious studies;

Lucy Hochstein, professor of criminal justice;

Susan Kwilecki, professor of philosophy and religious studies; and

Etty Vandsburger, professor of social work.

Other noteworthy activities by various academic departments announced at the BOV meeting include:

Approval of Radford’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program for which there are already 105 applicants for two planned 20-person cohorts, the first of which will begin in January 2020. The online program will prepare practicing professional educators for positions as educational leaders at the district level in Virginia and will qualify successful candidates for licensure as a superintendent;

A growing complement of professional development courses hosted by Radford at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon and the opening of a Master of Counseling Education cohort there by which Radford can help address the regional shortage of school counselors;

The Capture the Flag competition, hosted by the Department of Information Technology, that featured 15 teams of more than 60 high school students in a challenging cybersecurity exercise. The event was broadcast internationally via an online platform, called “Twitch,” to project the University’s cutting-edge leadership in computer security; and

A series of upcoming residential and day camps in cybersecurity and forensic sciences that will complement the University’s ongoing recruitment activities and full summer schedule of camps and activities.

Freshman applications are at 15,538 with 11,708 having been admitted for the Fall 2019 semester. In the first year of data, including Radford University Carilion, freshman applications are a combined 16,225, with 11,908 students having been admitted. The average high school grade point average (GPA) for admitted students is 3.30, up from 3.27 for Fall 2018.

Associate Athletics Director Durand said new pledges and gifts to the Highlander Club totaled $463,100, as of May 7, 2019, and the club has 1,034 members.

On Thursday afternoon, BOV members had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with students during a special research and internship poster presentation in Martin Hall.

Students representing the Highlander Research Rookies Program and the Center for Career and Talent Development talked with BOV members about their research and internship projects that have enriched their Radford University experience.

The Board of Visitors provided special recognition to many student-athletes, including the men’s tennis team, who recently secured the Big South Championship Title.

Senior Ruth Pokuaa, a marketing major, said she was ecstatic to present to the BOV just days before Commencement. “What an amazing graduation gift from Radford University,” Pokuaa said. “I’m excited to share about how much Radford University has helped me achieve my dreams and connect and network with BOV members. I am sure they will have a lot of career advice to offer.”

Senior Jacob Walters, a computer science major, presented on his internship with Booz Allen Hamilton, the company he has secured a job with upon graduating from Radford University this spring. As the president of the University’s Cyber Defense Club, Walters worked throughout the past academic year to teach the skills he gained from the internship to club members.

BOV Member Krisha Chachra, chair of the University Advancement, University Relations and Enrollment Management Committee, said it was “very rewarding to see what students have been up to and what passions drive them as Radford University students.”

“It is impressive to see such a breadth and depth of knowledge represented in this room,” Chachra continued. “We get to see first-hand how they are going to impact their communities and the world.”

The next quarterly on-campus BOV meeting is scheduled for Sept. 26-27, 2019 at Radford University.

-Chad Osborne

Radford University