Board acts on Assessment and Prioritization
Published: February 26, 2013
On the Lyon campus Friday, The Board of Trustees froze tuition and fees for the 2013-14 year in response to changes in the Arkansas lottery scholarship. It took this unusual action because it recognizes the need to keep Lyon affordable and accessible to students and their families. Three and a half years ago, when the lottery scholarship took effect, most schools in Arkansas raised their tuition to match the new funds. Now, the lottery scholarship is lowering the amount available to incoming students, and, to help those students and their families access premier liberal arts education, Lyon College has responded by freezing tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 academic year.
President Donald Weatherman presented to the Board of Trustees a number of possible actions that he explained “were designed to position the College for sustainability and growth.” He continued, “The Board realizes that cuts of recent years have not put the College on a path to sustainability. Future sustainability can only be accomplished by growing the student body, and the decisions we make must all be driven by that objective.”
After much discussion, the Board approved the following actions concerning the academic programs. Any students affected by these changes will be “grandfathered” to the completion of their degrees.
- Create a Celtic Studies minor with emphasis on bagpiping and drumming in response to many inquiries from prospective students about Celtic studies. The curriculum will be composed of current Scottish Arts courses and others from music, history, and English.
- Redesign the business major to focus heavily on such enriching applied experiences as intern- and externships, and regular interaction with local businesses and business people. Recent assessment and external data will be used to measure and analyze the current program in an effort to strengthen it.
- Bolster the secondary education program, especially in the sciences. As a result of anticipated changes in the state education licensure standards, we likely will phase out any elementary education licensures.
- Take the opportunity to examine the future of the theatre program provided by the retirement of Dr. Michael Counts as professor and theatre director in May. One faculty member will be hired to teach core courses and run a theatre program for 2013-14 while the college considers how to proceed with the program.
- Refocus resources provided by the retirement in May of Writer-in-Residence Andrea Hollander. No replacement will be sought for this position at this time. The Heasley Prize Lecture program will continue.
- Implement and support a new freshman seminar called COR 100, Year One.
The recommendations for the administrative programs include:
- Refocus development and communications efforts to engage a broader constituency and build a brand identity. Jon Vestal was hired recently as the new vice president to lead this effort.
- Make changes to the Nichols International Studies Program because of growth in the student population and the popularity of the Program. The Nichols Travel Committee will explore ideas to manage the program’s continued growth.
- Establish a one-stop student services center to make it easier for students to conduct business. Representatives from the registrar, business, and financial aid offices will share a central location to improve customer service.
In addition to freezing tuition and fees for the 2013-14 year:
- The Board requested a report be compiled regarding the construction of new residence halls.
- The Board also approved a sabbatical for Dr. Scott Roulier, John D. Trimble Associate Professor of Political Philosophy for Spring 2014.
- The Board voted to grant an honorary doctorate to past chairman of the Board Raymond LaCroix in recognition of his extraordinary support and exemplary leadership as former chairman of the board.
- The Board expressed an interest in strengthening the spiritual life of the campus.
After the meeting, trustees joined 300 other supporters of the College at Chimney Rock Ranch for the second annual Black Tie Blue Jeans Ball, an event that raised more than $150,000 to support student scholarships.