VU Board of Trustees holds annual meeting

VU Board of Trustees holds annual meeting

Conner McKinney

October 06, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. – Conner McKinney was sworn in as the newest trustee and John Stachura was elected to serve another term as chair during the Vincennes University Board of Trustees Annual Meeting on Oct. 5. 

The board heard university updates via Zoom, and a limited number of individuals attended the meeting held in the Innovation Room of the Shake Learning Resource Center.

McKinney (Sumner, Illinois) is serving as Student Trustee. His term runs through Oct. 3, 2021. McKinney is studying business administration after switching from biological biomedical sciences.

Stachura has served on the VU Board since 2006.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has reappointed three trustees to the Board of Trustees:

  • J.R. Gaylor (Noblesville), president & CEO of Associated Builders & Contractors of Indiana, will serve through Oct. 1, 2023.
  • Eric “Rick” Schach (Evansville) will serve through Oct. 1, 2023.
  • Don Villwock (Edwardsport), president, CEO, and owner of Villwock Farms, will serve through Oct. 1, 2023.

During the President’s remarks, VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson spoke about the $2.5 million grant the University received from Lilly Endowment Inc. The grant will fund programs to help strengthen work-based learning partnerships and programs; launch the Techmester program that will bring career and technical education (CTE) students to attend classes on the Vincennes campus; and fund a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) academy that will expose underrepresented populations to careers and education in STEM fields.

VU continues to expand its footprint in the critical area of cybersecurity. Johnson shared news of VU’s new partnership with Purdue University’s Cyber Apprenticeship Program (P-CAP) that is providing a pathway to at least 5,000 students by 2023. VU is the only university providing the opportunity to earn stackable degree programs at the one-year or two-year degree programs level. The University is offering two online associate degree programs and an online cybersecurity certificate for students registered in the innovative apprenticeship program.

Johnson announced the creation of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council. Members of the council will work together to better understand how VU’s culture, policies, and processes may be contributing to challenges faced by students, faculty, and staff of various backgrounds. It will also identify approaches to help ensure that the University is an institution where everyone has a genuine opportunity to succeed in achieving their goals.

The Higher Learning Commission visited the Vincennes campus last week. Johnson said the University received positive feedback during the 1 ½ day visit.

In other business:

  • Senior Director of External Relations Sarah Fortune reported system-wide enrollment has held fairly steady when comparing 2019 to 2020, and VU has experienced only a 4 percent decrease. On average, community colleges are experiencing a 10 to 30 percent decrease in 2020. Fortune noted there has been a 3 percent increase in Hispanic students. She also noted student retention is going very well and credited VU’s faculty and staff for going above and beyond to ensure each student is connected with the resources and support needed to be successful. VU is currently engaged with an Admissions consultant from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) to enhance multicultural recruitment and recruitment efforts in a Covid-19 environment. Fortune shared applications for the 2021 spring and fall semesters are coming in strong.
  • Trustees heard a report from the Executive Director of VU Foundation and Senior Director of Institutional Advancement Kristi Deetz and Director of Development Leslie Kidwell on the VU Foundation and fundraising efforts. Deetz announced the Foundation experienced several areas of growth during the 2020 fiscal year. It established 16 new funds, including 11 new scholarships. The average gift size per donor increased, the average gift by foundations doubled, and the overall number of individual donors went up as well. Deetz proudly announced the return of Columns: The Foundation and Alumni Magazine of Vincennes University. The publication shares stories demonstrating the Trailblazer spirit, introduces members of the VU community, and reveals the growth of VU.
  • Stachura praised the new edition of Columns. He also congratulated President Johnson along with the administration, faculty, and staff on the tremendous job they have done related to Covid-19. He also applauded Assistant Vice President and VU Jasper Dean Christian Blome for the great things and efforts happening at the VU Jasper campus.