Henderson Now - February 2016

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Please accept my deepest and heartfelt apologies for the disruption Phase II of the energy savings project has caused you and our students in offices and classrooms.  While we anticipated that the middle of winter would be a safe time to take air conditioning systems off-line for the installation of the new chilled loop system, the temperatures during this particular winter have been more akin to an Arkansas spring.  These abnormal temperatures have resulted in unbearable teaching, learning, and working environments in many buildings on our campus.  I know this has been a difficult time, and I greatly appreciate your continued patience and understanding as we work to address these long-neglected deferred maintenance issues on our campus.  In the meantime, Aramark is making fans and cooling units available to faculty and staff in an effort to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by the ongoing installation of our new chilled loop system.

This spring, I invite you to take advantage of the opportunities for professional development on our campus. I hope those who have participated this week in the Teaching & Learning Center’s Spring Conference: “Reddie to Teach the 21st Century Student” have found the sessions enlightening and encouraging. I also hope our staff are taking advantage of the software training being offered through Computer Services. Additional training opportunities are being developed and will soon be announced.

Strategic Plan Update

The Henderson Strategic Plan has been operational for approximately eighteen months.  During that time we have accomplished a tremendous amount of work toward the implementation of our plan. 

Of the 173 actions and elements comprising the strategic plan, the overall analysis reveals that:

  •  19% have not been started
  • 15% are in planning
  • 10% have been initiated
  •  39% are in progress
  • 17% have been accomplished.

Later in the semester a detailed email devoted to the Strategic Plan and its progress, will be distributed campus-wide. 

Compensation Plan Update

Last March, the Compensation Task Force developed comparative salary data for all faculty ranks, as well as professional and administrative staff and compared it with peer and aspirational peer institutions. Average salaries for each position at Henderson were compared to the overall average salary level for the peer groups to establish a baseline. 

The task force analyzed what would be required to bring Henderson salaries up to 100 percent of the peer group average salaries over a four-year period, keeping in mind that some positions are already paid up to 100 percent of the peer average and would not be affected by this plan. This first fiscal year, the goal was to increase salaries to 85 percent of the average. At the beginning of the fiscal year, half of the total required to reach the 85 percent funding was placed into the 2015-16 operating budget and salary adjustments were made for qualified positions.  The remaining balance for this first step was based on Henderson attaining enrollment levels that would fund it.  Mr. Bobby Jones is currently analyzing our current budget to determine if sufficient funds are available to address the second half of the year one compensation plan recommended step.  I anticipate receiving his recommendation by the end of next week.  Additionally, I have requested that the original data generated by the Compensation Taskforce be placed on MyHenderson.  Subsequently, the updated data being developed by Mr. Bobby Jones and his team will be added to MyHenderson as well.  

Enrollment Management

As the university works to enhance the student recruitment process, we are moving forward with the implementation of a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system that will automate and streamline communications with both prospective and admitted students. The CRM implementation will be supported by an enrollment management consultant from SEM Works, who will also help us align our current admissions processes with the new CRM. Additionally, this spring we are moving forward with plans to hire a vice provost for enrollment services to give senior-level accountability to our admissions and enrollment services functions.

 

Poise/ERP update

This spring we are moving forward as well with the review and finalization of our draft request for proposals for a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to replace POISE. Working from a revamped University Technology Committee, we will constitute a larger group to review the ERP draft and move the process forward. However we are slowing the timing of this process in order to initiate a search for a new Campus Technology and Communications Officer, necessitated by the retirement of Mr. David Epperhart.

Marketing Update

A months-long research study of the Henderson brand has been concluded. Conducted by a team from mStoner, thought leaders in higher education marketing, the team’s focus groups and surveys have revealed that our greatest hurdle as an institution is that Henderson’s brand is not well defined among prospective students and their parents.  Key takeaways from the research found that the following perceptions are widely held by prospective students and their parents:

  • Henderson has the academic subject they’re interested in.
  • Henderson is perceived as a good financial value.
  • There is a lack of awareness about the strength of the faculty.
  • There is a lack of awareness about the new residence halls.
  • Knowing someone who attends Henderson does meaningfully impact the perception of Henderson’s brand.

The Office of Marketing & Communications is using these findings to develop a marketing strategy to strengthen the university’s brand and address areas where there is a lack of awareness. As an example, the office has worked over this academic year to build a portfolio of faculty profiles to strengthen awareness of our outstanding faculty. Additionally, photos and detailed information about campus housing options have been added to the web for prospective students. The Office is also working with the academic deans to develop marketing-related content for each academic program’s webpage.

125thAnniversary Gala

As a capstone event to the year-long celebration of Henderson’s 125th Anniversary, a fundraising gala will be hosted for alumni and friends at the Hot Springs Convention Center on Saturday, April 23. This gala will celebrate our university’s strong heritage in higher education while also raising much needed private support for the General Academic Scholarship Endowment, which provides scholarships to students with financial need who demonstrate a propensity to succeed. We are delighted by the support that this event has found among the Arkadelphia and Hot Springs business communities as well as our alumni and friends. We look forward to showcasing our university and our talented students at this special event.

Shared Governance Policies

This spring three policies that were among the first to pass through the university’s new Shared Governance process were approved by the Board of Trustees. University policies on Media Relations, Social Media and Prohibiting Sex- and Gender-Based Discrimination, Harassment, Misconduct and Retaliation are now in effect. Please take a moment to review these new University Policies.

Vice President for Finance & Administration

As you all are aware, Bobby Jones has announced his intent to retire on Aug. 31,  following nearly 30 years of service to the Henderson community. Bobby has epitomized the Reddie Spirit as both an alumnus and an employee of the institution in a variety of roles, including interim president. As Bobby acknowledges, there is still much work to be done as he leads the budgeting process for next fiscal year. We are grateful for his leadership and dedication to Henderson and will announce plans for a retirement party as that time draws near. A search for a new Vice President for Finance & Administration will soon commence. I have appointed a search committee to be chaired by Vice President Jennifer Boyett, and a position announcement will be posted next week. The following individuals have graciously agreed to serve as members of the committee:  Ms. Lea Ann Alexander, Ms. Cathy Bell, Dr. Alan Blaylock, Ms. Lecia Franklin, Mr. Shawn Jones, Mr. Tim Jones, Mr. Dan Mabery, Dr. Lynn Stanley, Ms. Kathryn Taylor and Dr. Ken Taylor.

I wish each of you the very best this spring semester and offer my continued thanks for your service and dedication to our students.

In Reddie Spirit,
Glen Jones, 
President