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VU in the News

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VU Board of Trustees approves contract extension for president

December 3, 2020

VINCENNES, Ind. - The Vincennes University Board of Trustees extended President Dr. Chuck Johnson’s contract an additional year through December 2023 during the board’s meeting on Dec. 2.

Board Chair John Stachura and other Trustees shared highly positive comments about Johnson’s performance.

“I personally would like to opine on the job that Dr. Johnson is doing in guiding the University through trying times,” Stachura said. “Everybody is going through trying times. Dr. Johnson and his teams have done a fabulous job navigating this pandemic. It wasn’t day by day or week by week, things changed almost by the minute. You really had to be flexible, and they were. For that, I compliment all who were involved.”

Johnson was praised repeatedly for his guidance of VU during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Vincennes University has obviously had its share of challenges, but we are much better off because of the fact that we have an individual like Chuck who not only has great leadership skills, but also vision and the ability to be responsive,” Trustee Reggie Henderson said. “The year has presented a lot of challenges. He has definitely risen to the task and kept the University moving in the right direction.”

Trustee Scott Brand offered his full endorsement of Johnson’s performance and contract extension, which does not include a salary increase.

 “(Johnson) brings very, very strong aptitudes,” Brand said. “One is the organizational effectiveness objectives that he has sent forth and the vision that he has from a strategic standpoint. The third is the goal to achieve metrics. Chuck is very metric-driven, but at the same time, he understands the organization has to grow and adapt to not only the challenges that are offered by the current pandemic and other financial challenges but also just adapting to the ever-changing landscape in higher education. I think Chuck has done an outstanding job with that and I fully support him in his endeavors to support the University.” 

Johnson was appointed the 22nd president of Vincennes University in 2015 after previously serving as interim president for four months and provost for three years.

“I greatly appreciate those comments, the support that I continue to have from the Board, and the support you have for the entire University,” Johnson said. “This year has obviously been trying, but it has also been a great learning experience. We as an institution have become better at many things as a result. I have been very fortunate to be part of the team. I’m very pleased to be here. I love this institution. I’m excited to have the opportunity to continue to serve you.” 

During the meeting, Vice President of Government Relations Tony Hahn shared details of VU’s extensive efforts in contact tracing to ensure the University is providing a safe working environment, learning environment, and campus community during the Covid-19 pandemic. He attributed the University’s success in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus and minimizing the disruption to learning and operations to multiple reasons. He credited the University Primary Care Clinic (UPCC), rapid response times from contact tracers, 24/7 contact with the UPCC team, quick isolation and quarantine for students if needed, and taking a conservative approach to who was quarantined and when. 

“It’s successful because of the people involved,” Hahn said. “We had a plan. We worked the plan. We adjusted the plan. It enabled us to have a full face-to-face semester. The benefits of that far outweigh us not having that face-to-face semester that many universities were not able to achieve. Our students benefited from being able to be here. It’s going to be better in the spring. We have already started the process to improve our protocols and to make changes as the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) makes changes.”

In other business, 

  • The Board approved a new concentration in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences - Sustainable Foods and Farm Systems. The program will allow students to specialize in an up-and-coming field.
  • The Board re-elected Mike Sievers as First Vice Chair; Reggie Henderson, Second Vice Chair; and JR Gaylor, Secretary.
  • Senior Director of External Relations Sarah Fortune reported on marketing enrollment management, application numbers, and advertising avenues.

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