Board of Governors approves new degree programs, discusses government budget cuts

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The Marshall University Board of Governors approved three new degree programs at Wednesday’s meeting in the Memorial Student Center.

A Bachelor of Arts in sport management program, a Master of Science in clinical and translational science program and a master‘s of social work program will be offered beginning fall 2016.

The board received updates about the university’s fall enrollment and operating budget.

Senior vice president of institutional research and planning Michael McGuffey said final enrollment numbers for the fall are up 257 students or two percent.

McGuffey said the INTO Marshall international recruitment initiative and the professional programs at the School of Pharmacy and Physical Therapy are the largest part of the overall enrollment increase.

Last week, the university received details about the four percent mid-year budget cut ordered by the governor.

Mary Ellen Heuton, senior vice president for finance/chief financial officer, said the total impact of the cut to Marshall is around $2.5 million.

The deductions include $1.9 million from the university operating budget and $600,000 from the School of Medicine that will be taken in the third quarter, university administrators and the Budget Work Group are working on a plan to deal with the cut.

Interim President Gary White said budget cuts have a huge effect on the university.

“The effect of this is more than four percent over the long haul,” White said. “It’s not something we can cure by just nibbling around the edges.”

White said he appreciated those dealing with the budget changes and said the change is serious but the university is identifying ways to save money and increase revenue.

“We are in good and strong financial position and as a community, we intend to maintain that,” White said.

The board accepted a report on tuition waivers and the financial report for the 2015 fiscal year. The board approved updates to the Institutional Compact and finalized amendments to a policy for the university’s Employee Dependent Undergraduate Tuition Assistance Program.

The program offers dependent children of eligible employees the opportunity to earn a degree from Marshall at a reduced cost.

White updated the board on retention, recruitment and marketing initiatives as well as a university-wide space utilization assessment. The assessment will include decommission of Laidley Hall.

To end the agenda, the board voted to approve an employment term sheet for the appointment of Jerome A. “Jerry” Gilbert as Marshall’s 37th president. White said Gilbert remains involved with the university from Mississippi.

“We’re working with Dr. Gilbert at least once daily. He’s very much involved in what’s going on here,” White said.

The board and university are finalizing plans for Gilbert’s welcome. The board will revisit Gilbert’s welcome and the budget cut plan during its December meeting.

Ashley Sodosky can be contacted at [email protected]

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