Henderson Now - May 2016

Dear Campus Community,

As we bring the 125th Anniversary Celebration year to a close, I could not be more proud that we just graduated 470 Reddies who will have amazing experiences and inspire the next generation to follow in their footsteps. Please know that their success is a direct result of your commitment to student success and the positive impact you have had on the lives of our graduates.  

Budget

The Budget Committee has forwarded a recommendation for next fiscal year that will be considered by the Board of Trustees at their meeting tomorrow. As this year’s budget recommendation was prepared, I asked university leaders to be conservative in their requests in order to minimize the financial impact on our students. Once the budget is approved, we will send additional information to the campus.

New Degree Programs

Several new degree programs are being proposed that will help us achieve priority two of our strategic plan: enhancing our academic programs. Pending board approval tomorrow, new degrees that will be offered beginning this fall include a bachelor or science degree in criminal justice, a bachelor of science in education in computer science and business education (4-12). Additionally, we will increase our online learning opportunities with a new online bachelor of science in nursing degree for registered nurses and an online master of science in sport administration. New minors that will be offered include engineering physics, museum studies and public administration/public management. The School of Business will also offer undergraduate certificates in business IT, fashion marketing, financial services support, integrated marketing communication, nonprofit management, personal finance and personal sales. These new degree programs, minors and certificates are directed not only at providing students the educational opportunities they desire, but also at fulfilling the needs of prospective employers.

125thAnniversary Gala

Henderson’s 125th Anniversary Gala brought more than 500 alumni and friends together last month and raised $83,000 for scholarships awarded through the Henderson Foundation. I hope you will take a moment to watch a video of highlights from the evening.

In addition to providing a time for alumni and friends to reconnect, the Gala also showcased our incredibly talented students from music, theatre, dance and art. Through the generosity of donors, we also provided more than two-dozen students the opportunity to attend the event and network with some of the region’s top business leaders.

We remain grateful to our alumni and area businesses that served as generous sponsors of the Gala. Our success would not have been possible without each of them.

Shannon Curtin, a 1999 graduate, who was recently announced as the new senior vice president of COTY North America gave graciously of her time to serve as our emcee for the evening. 

Compensation Plan Update

This past year, we were able to complete the first step of the Compensation Plan. Through the completion of that first step, we now have all faculty and non-classified staff salaries at 85 percent of their peer group average.  Our second step will bring us to 90 percent of the peer group average. As was the case this past spring, the first half of the second step is on hold until the start of the fall semester when we can determine if there are sufficient funds available due to a strong enrollment.

Legislative Update

Last month, Governor Hutchinson exercised his line-item veto authority to preserve the state’s participation in Medicaid expansion via the Arkansas Works initiative. As a result, state funds will not have to be reallocated in order to offset the cost of continuing insurance coverage for many newly insured Arkansans.  At the request of Governor Hutchinson, the Arkansas General Assembly will convene in a special session beginning tomorrow for the purpose of determining how to address the ongoing needs of our state highway system.   Since these critical needs will require a significant source of funding in order to be addressed, we will be monitoring the special session closely to minimize, hopefully, any unintended impact on higher education.  While we strongly support enhancing our state highway system, we remain sensitive to our state’s finite budget and higher education’s role within that budget.

Good News

The Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Commission awarded Henderson a $950,000 grant last week to begin the next phase of restoration of the old Caddo dining hall. These funds will allow the completion of all exterior work on the building while initiating much need interior work in an effort to repurpose this historic facility into a student success center.  The Office of Advancement will provide a more detailed update on this project in the coming weeks.  The news only gets better.  After three weeks in the hospital, I am excited to share that Bobby Jones arrived home late yesterday afternoon!  While he is doing better, I know that he and Judy would greatly appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers on their behalf. 

Thank you for everything you’ve done to make this academic year a success.  Words cannot express my admiration and appreciation for each of you for the many ways in which you continuously go above-and-beyond to ensure our students are successful.  Please have a safe and enjoyable summer.  I look forward to seeing you in the Fall.

In Reddie Spirit,
Glen Jones,
President