Last Thursday, ESU’s Council of Trustees convened for the final time this semester on the third floor of the Innovation Center.
Shortly after Chair of the Council of Trustees L. Patrick Ross called the meeting to order, there was a presentation. Dr. Doreen Tobin, ESU’s vice president of student affairs, introduced ESU’s peer educators who recently presented to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Board of Governors.
The presentation focused on what is being done to raise awareness and prevent sexual assault on campus.
The peer educators wanted to use the term “relationship violence” instead of “domestic violence” in order to emphasize that violence can happen to anyone no matter what the relationship status, not just people involved in committed relationships.
The goal of the peer educators is to make a difficult topic easier to discuss and identify. When relationship violence happens, it should be reported.
President Marcia Welsh was next to speak. In her President’s report, Welsh said that the fourth annual Student Research and Creative Activity Symposium was happening on the same day.
She said that student research is considered one of the high impact practices that teach critical thinking activity and facilitates all the factors that make college meaningful to students. Welsh thanked all the faculty and people who made the symposium possible.
Welsh announced that ESU’s proposed Ed.D. program was approved by PASSHE’s Board of Governors. It is ESU’s first doctoral program, and it will begin in the fall.
Welsh said that several students went to Harrisburg to take part in the state’s Advocacy Day. Welsh said how proud she was of the students. She commented that one of the best parts of the trip was when ESU Student Senate President Drew Johnson sat down at the piano and began playing.
A student from Clarion began to sing, and then another student from Mansfield began to sing. Students then stood on the stairs of the rotunda and began singing along.
Welsh announced Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry as the keynote speaker for the graduation commencement ceremony. Chaudhry is an ESU alum who has a private oral and maxillofacial practice in Bethlehem.
The undergraduate commencement speaker will be Carrie Hesler-Radelet, the nineteenth director of the Peace Corps.
Ross said that the Governor finally signed the budget. Less than a million dollars was appropriated to ESU, and the funding is at the 1993 level from the Commonwealth. Given ESU’s financial situation, Ross said that Welsh and ESU Vice President of Finance Ken Long have been doing an outstanding job since they have been here.
Trustee Harry Lee was next to speak. He broke the news that ESU will be about five million dollars in debt. Something would have to be done to make up for this deficit between now and the start of the fiscal year.
VP of Finance Long talked about a proposal to increase the local and auxiliary fees by $318 more than last year. These fees apply to students who participate in mandatory accommodations on campus such as room and board, dining plan, rec center, student activities and so forth. These fees do not include the fees tied to the tuition rate that are set by the Board of Governors.
Despite the proposed fee increase, Long reiterated that ESU’s fees would still be one of the lowest within the state overall. The proposed fee increase will allow ESU to continue to provide services to students at the most economical price.
The motion to increase the local fees for students was unanimously approved by the Council.
Trustee Lee also talked about a presentation by PASSHE Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance James Dillon that was extremely eye-opening from the standpoint of where ESU stands with respect to the entire university system, and where the university system stands in respect to the competition.
Lee and Long also noted that ESU’s baseball and softball fields need a considerable amount of work to be brought up to speed in a variety of areas. Rather than investing in two separate sites, ESU is looking to collaborate with Stroud Township and the Stroud Little League to use their fields.
Because their respective seasons do not overlap, this partnership between ESU and Stroud Township would be able to bring something good to the community, at a more efficient and economic price.
Although there is still much work to be done, the feeling is that the idea of a partnership between ESU and the township and its Little League is a step in the right direction.
ESU Trustee and Pa. State Senator Mario Scavello presented the Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management Report. He said that the undergraduate enrollment update showed that ESU was a little bit ahead of last year when transfers in are considered.
In the achievement gap, ESU is tied for fifth. The report looked at graduates from the last ten years, and it was found that ESU was approximately 7.8 percent ahead of where they were previously. Scavello said that ESU was up there with some top schools.
Separately, Scavello commended the work that Drew Johnson did when he came to Harrisburg for the state’s Advocacy Day. Scavello called Johnson “an exceptional young man.”
Trustee Lee presented the Research and Economic Development Report. He called for Vice President for Economic Development and Research Support Mary Frances Postupack to speak.
Postupack said that ESU had three finalists in the top ten of PASSHE’s fifth annual Student Business Plan Competition. ESU graduate student Blaise Delfino won first place and $10,000.
The other two finalists from ESU were Edmond Hawi and Tammy Tuckey.
Postupack was proud to announce the commercialization of Lyme-Aid, a tick testing diagnostic kit for Lyme disease. It was originally designed by former ESU graduate student Melissa Shaw and ESU Distinguished Professor of Biology Jane Huffman.
A signed agreement with Cutter Medical was announced. Lyme-Aid will be rebranded and sold in places like Home Depot and Lowe’s and Walmart. For every kit that is sold, $3.50 will go to the university.
Postupack said that this marks the first successful commercialization project at ESU and among PASSHE schools.
Postupack’s second announcement was about 3-D printing. With the support and leadership of President Welsh and an impactful grant from the Hughes Foundation, ESU is acquiring the Stratasys J750 3-D printer.
Only seven of these printers are being distributed around the world: two internationally and five in the states. The top three locations in the United States are NYU, Columbia and ESU.
The acquisition of this machine establishes ESU’s G3Design Lab in the Fine and Performing Arts Center as a Stratasys Super Lab. The technology behind this device was so secretive that the codename for this machine manufactured in Israel was called Keshet or “Hero for Rainbow.”
Postupack said that through this process, there is a list of the 25 most influential women in 3-D printing. Among those 25 people, there are four universities represented: Harvard, MIT, Politecnico di Milano and ESU Professor Darlene Farris-LaBar is ranked twenty-four and recognized globally.
ESU junior biology major and Trustee Mariam Juya announced that the annual Community on the Quad event will be held on Apr. 30. The theme is “We are the World at ESU.” Different countries and cultures from around the world will be represented. There will be food and music.
On May 3, there will be a finals week snack cart going around the Science and Technology Center, University Center and the Fine and Performing Arts Building.
Ross then recognized Robert Willever, Chair of the ESU Foundation Board of Directors. Willever said this year’s effort would be among the top five in thirty years of fundraising at ESU.
$700,000 in scholarships were given to 393 scholarship recipients this year.
The Nominating Committee then made the motion to recommend the following slate of officers to the Council for the next academic year: Pat Ross as President, Marcus Lingenfelter as Vice President and Josephine Ferro as Secretary. The motion was passed.
The Council concluded by going into executive session.
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