top of page

Campus Update Following the March Board Meeting

Updated: Mar 26

Greetings, campus community, and happy spring!


I am pleased to provide you an update from the spring Board of Trustees quarterly meeting held March 1-2, 2024 on campus.


Led by Chair, Dan Buckley, the Board began its meeting on March 1 in Executive Session while they deliberated on the selection of the College's next president. At 1 p.m. after deliberations, the Board announced and welcomed the 20th president of Wilmington College. I humbly accepted the role to serve this great and remarkable institution. Both Dan and I extended our gratitude to the Presidential Search Committee for their exemplary leadership and dedication to the institution throughout the search process.

 

Plenary Session

I began the Board Plenary session following the presidential announcement with a summary report from the All-Campus Visioning series, which began in September of 2023 and concluded in January of 2024. Results were shared with the Board and guests and are summarized in the downloadable document below:



All Campus Visioning Summary (7)
.pdf
Download PDF • 11.30MB

The next steps in the All-Campus Visioning series include plans to:

  • Share/discuss vision outcomes with constituents

  • Develop goals and strategies tied to vision and mission

  • Align administrative structures to ensure collaborative implementation

  • Engage systematic and integrated planning with clear goals, metrics, tracking, and evaluation

  • Review resource allocation in budget-development process (closing the loop)


I also shared a brief update about the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) site visit on April 22, 2024, indicating the lock date for the Assurance Argument was March 24.


Following the vision and HLC update, Standing Committee reports were presented by Trustees Dan Buckley, Larry Sidwell, and Nancy Summers from the Executive, Finance and Audit, Trusteeship and Quaker Connections committees, respectively.


Representatives from FORVIS provided results from the 2022-2023 Financial Statement Audit. No covenant violations were identified. Following the audit presentation, interim CFO Ed Besong presented the current year financials, which indicated the College is projecting a modest surplus at the end of this fiscal year (~$818,000). Ed and his team have also engaged in a zero-based budgeting process in an effort to develop a FY 2024-25 budget that aligns with the Mission, Vision and Core Values and supports the institution's strategic priorities. Ed shared that a draft budget is under development and that the $3.2M Employee Retention Credit would be applied to the FY 2024-25 budget.


Ad Hoc Committee updates followed the Standing Committee reports and are summarized below:


ACADEMIC AFFAIRS AND ENROLLMENT MANAGEMENT

The Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management Committee, chaired by Ruth Olmsted and facilitated by Wynn Alexander and Angela Griffin, presented on the following projects or programs:

Prison Education Program

Wilmington College’s Prison Education Program has now been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The College has permission to offer bachelor’s degrees in business administration at Warren Correctional, Lebanon Correctional, and Dayton Correctional Institutions. Warren and Lebanon are men’s facilities, and Dayton is a women’s facility. The final step in our approval process is the federal Department of Education. This application should be submitted by the time of the Board meeting in early March. The federal Department of Education will review our application to be a national Prison Education Program and receive federal financial aid funding, including Pell Grants. We hope to have permission to receive Pell Grant funding by Fall 2024.


In the meantime, the College’s HLC accreditation allows us to proceed with bachelor’s degree programming with state funding ($127.50/credit hour). Courses will begin on May 13 for a 12-week summer term, with approximately 8 course sections offered in each prison during Summer 2024. These courses are staffed, and students will begin submitting applications for admission to WC within the prisons during the week of February 19. We have begun enrollment of approximately 35-45 students per site for the summer semester. In Dayton, students will be completing their bachelor’s degree after receiving an A.A.S. from Sinclair Community College. In Lebanon and Warren, the lack of students with an A.A.S. means that most students will be beginning with WC as first-year students.


Grant Initiatives

  • Wilmington College received $400,000 of funding to establish and deliver an accredited Social Work Program, created in partnership with Wilmington College (WC), Southern State Community College (SSCC), and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (CSTCC). This initiative is tailored to bridge the gap between public and private educational resources and the behavioral health needs of underserved populations in the southwest Ohio region. This private-public initiative, designed as a rural-urban hub, intends to bridge the gap between urban resources and the underserved rural populations of Ohio, including Appalachian communities. This grant will allow Wilmington College to meet the accrediting criteria by first hiring a Social Work Program Director to help design and implement a Social Work program that will be accredited by the Council for Social Work Education (CSWE). To specifically address the needs of these diverse communities, WC will first establish articulation agreements with CSTCC, catering to the educational needs of the urban Southwest Ohio region. Concurrently, we will formulate a similar program with SSCC, serving the central Southeast counties, to support the education and training of those committed to meeting the behavioral healthcare demands of the Appalachian region. This is the first step in the establishment of a regional hub through which regional recruitment will occur. These agreements will provide direct pathways to WC for students to complete their Social Work bachelor’s degrees. Monies from the grant will also serve as scholarship dollars to allow partner institutions make the completion of this degree affordable.

  • To honor the memory of Fred Anliot, the Clinton County Streamkeepers are awarding a grant of $20,000 to Wilmington College to support the Anliot Scholars Program. The program supports activities in the Academic Programs of Agriculture, Science and Mathematics involving student scholarships and field experiences related to the improvement of water quality in Clinton and Greene Counties of Ohio.


New Undergraduate Programs

Rize Education is a consortium that leverages online course sharing to create affordable academic programs that drive enrollment revenue by providing new pathways to employment for students. Built by integrating a small number of online courses with your current course catalog, they can be launched in as quickly as one semester to: Reach untapped new students, grow enrollment affordably, offer market-responsive degrees, and improve career outcomes. In summary, we have engaged with Rize Education to offer four (4) incubator programs in the areas of:

  • Public Health (Applied Social Science)

  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management (Business)

  • Sport Nutrition (Sport Sciences)

  • Cybersecurity (Business)


Admission Initiatives

The Office of Admission is adapting to meet the ongoing needs of the institutional new student enrollment goals. Examples of initiatives that support the strategic vision of the institution beyond our traditional main campus first-year and transfer student populations include:

  • Prison Education Program Application for Admission and data intake process completed. Required reassignment of Admission Operations personnel to meet ongoing needs.

  • Collaboration with Rize Education to successfully market and promote new academic concentrations in partnership.

  • Engagement in planning and strategy work to successfully support the recruitment and admission process for Wilmington College Online programs.


Key Admission Outcomes

  • On pace to meet the Fall 2024 application goal of 2150.

  • On pace to meet the Admitted student goal of 1600 (75% conversion from application to admitted stage).

  • Established a key benchmark goal of +150 students admitted prior to February 15th visiting campus for the first time this spring.

  • Revised initial First-year merit awards to an increased award level of $1000 each based on feedback received evaluating admits through the EAB Financial Aid Optimization tool.

  • Mailed updated awards to over 1000 students including recipients of the WC Scholars program scholarships (second week of February).

  • Concluded initial distribution of WC Scholar program scholarships to 77 students for Fall 2024. There were over 95 applicants to the program; we are currently fully awarded and running a waitlist for Fall 2024.

  • 7% increase in admits with a visit, awaiting initial import of student FAFSA submission data (anticipated during the second week of March) to get a gauge on the most significant factor indicating student enrollment.

  • Reduced admits with missing SSN by 3% compared to last year with 89% of admitted students providing SSN for the ability to provide Financial Aid information.


ADVANCEMENT

The Advancement Committee, chaired by Brent Bill and facilitated by Tammy Shadley-Hutton, shared excitement about the new chapter we are beginning at Wilmington College and the opportunities we see before us to engage our alumni and friends while funding new initiatives and increasing our annual fund dollars and donors. While we are working to exceed our fundraising goal for this year, we have already started planning on how to build relationships and gain even more support, next year. We are currently at $1,057,867.02 toward our $1,500,000.00 goal. Our staff is currently analyzing donation data to date to determine our target audience for spring fundraising initiatives.


Fundraising progress

  • Fall Mailer - Goal: $20,000. Received: $41,424.83

  • Giving Tuesday - Goal: $50,000. Received: $106,988.13

  • Tax Letter - Goal: $5,000. Received: $6,342.58


Alumni Engagement and Outreach

  • Cookies with Santa was held on campus November 30th. The campus community along with local alumni brought their children to meet Santa and participate in craft and game activities provided by student organizations.

  • Cooking with Corey and Quaker Man! This online initiative was a way to reach out to alumni and friends and provide a warm holiday message without asking for money. Cookie recipes were provided prior to the video release as we invited everyone to join Corey and Quaker Man in baking holiday cookies. We received overwhelming feedback from those who enjoyed the video.

  • Cape May Holiday Gathering. Alumni and Friends of WC who reside at Cape May retirement village were invited to an afternoon of hot cocoa and activities with our student alumni council.


BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS

The Buildings and Grounds Committee, chaired by Tim Buren and facilitated by George Dimidik, presented on the following campuswide improvement projects:

New HVAC units at the Austin and Pickett residence halls

  • The project has been kicked off and is in process. The contract has been signed and equipment orders have been placed.  

  • The electrical design has been completed. The new transformer has been ordered and is expected to arrive in next 2 weeks. Work has started on the layout and prep work for installation of the new electrical service.  

  • A test A/C Unit has been received and a test install is being done in the Pickett Demo room.  

  • The window vendor looked at our install and was concerned about using vinyl for the frame as vibration of the A/C unit could cause issues long-term and would only provide a 5-year warranty. They recommended, at roughly the same cost, aluminum-framed windows (with thermal breaks) that are just as energy efficient as vinyl and would provide a lifetime warranty. Therefore, the decision was made to go with the aluminum frames. 

  • Detailed planning is in process to ensure proper coordination of all the players (window removal/install, electrical work, A/C install, etc.). 

 

Pyle Elevator

  • At the direction of the B&G committee, staff is looking at other architects to see if the original quote of $1.1mil from BHDP is reasonable.  

  • MSA has provided a quote of $1.1mil as well, but they included more pre-work to ensure that the project will be successful. This includes not only Geo-tech survey to ensure the building site is stable, but also checking the structure of the Pyle building itself to ensure that the building will not suffer damage once the elevator tower is attached.  

  • Seeing the better suggestions provided by MSA and Megan Construction, the decision was made to proceed with MSA/Megan Construction.

  • Staff is working with the engineers to schedule the electrical, Geotech and building structure surveys. Assuming those pass, we will proceed with the project in full.  


Bailey Hall 1st Floor Remodel

  • Funding has been acquired to remodel the first floor of Bailey Hall into a Center for Business that concentrates on the Business Program as well as Career Development.  

  • Due to the funding model, this effort will be done in three phases:  

    • Phase 1: Remodel the lobby, bathrooms and offices to provide access to students and faculty by August 2024.  

    • Phase 2: Gut and remodel the now vacant health center to create a modern flex space/classroom for use for meetings, classes, mini-career fairs, etc.  

    • Phase 3: Add an ADA-compliant ramp to the Bailey Hall entrance to allow access to the first floor to all students and guests.  

  • Currently, staff is gathering estimates and preparing to select vendors to start the project near +/- the end of this semester. Engineers are being engaged to ensure proposed work will not compromise the current building infrastructure.      

 

Running Track Resurface

  • OSST/Geosurfaces has been selected as the vendor to replace the track this summer at an estimated cost of $650,000. With $559,000 raised through Advancement, we are now 87% of complete.

  • Staff is evaluating vendors to replace any existing asphalt base that may need replacement once the track surface is removed. Cost will vary, depending on amount of base needed to repair.

  • Based on the review of the vendors and their service, staff has picked the vendors and is moving forward with planning to ensure an Aug 1 completion of the new track.  


EXTERNAL RELATIONS, COMMUNICATION & MARKETING


The External Relations, Marketing, and Communication Committee, chaired by Taylor Stuckert and facilitated by Sylvia Stevens, presented written updates on the following programs due to time constraints during the Board meeting:


Wilmington College Advantage

  • Ed2Go Platform: Wilmington College continues to work with an account manager at Ed2Go (https://www.ed2go.com/) to leverage the training courses. A sizeable number of the offerings are eligible for the Ohio TechCred program. Through this program, the State of Ohio will refund employers for technical credential training programs up to $2000 per training. Wilmington College established a website link for the workforce credentials that qualify for the Ohio TechCred program: https://www.wilmington.edu/programs/techcred. Thanks to Tina Murdock for creating the links to the fundamentals short course site and also the Advanced Career Training modules: Wilmington College Fundamental Training Courses

  • In February 2024, we sent our first email blast to Wilmington College alumni about the Advanced Career Training Modules that Wilmington College now has available for professional and for personal goals and enrichment.

  • Several members of the Wilmington College community have stepped up to engage with the larger community. Kristin Zeller, Assistant Director of IT Enterprise, joined the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce to network and promote the expanded College offerings. It has also been a pleasure to collaborate with Eric McLaughlin, Director of Career Services and Workforce Development. Eric’s past experiences in workforce development outside of academia will translate into a greater connection between Wilmington College and employers in the regional community. We are developing an outreach strategy to local companies and businesses that, if successful, will become a framework for a broader outreach. Eric will also be joining the External Relations, Marketing, and Communications Ad Hoc Committee.

  • Wilmington College Advantage was invited to a conversation with Alkermes, which is hoping to restore a partnership arrangement with the biology and chemistry faculty and their students. They are also interested in exploring additional opportunities around career services and workforce training/preparedness. Thanks to Trip Breen and Dore Meinholtz for including Wilmington College Advantage in the meeting.

Wilmington Online

  • With online students now part of the overall enrollment goals of the institution, various areas are collaborating to create organic marketing for both the undergraduate online programs and the online Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) program. This will include social media outreach and direct marketing to the social networks around prospective students and current students, as well as to Wilmington College graduates. Several main campus students transferred into the online program after the fall semester. We will watch this development carefully to see if this is an anomaly or a trend. The Admissions Team believes that initiatives that are directed toward the parents of traditional main campus students will open new avenues for recruitment into the online programs and possibly the MOL program.

  • With the alignment of the online course calendar with the main campus calendar, we have a faculty member (Angela Mitchell) who will be experimenting with one of her classes in the fall 2024 semester (MA430 Stocks, Bonds, and Investments), offering it both as an in-person option as well as an online asynchronous option. She will record her class for off-line viewing and adjust assignments appropriately for the online students.


STUDENT AFFAIRS

The Student Affairs Committee, chaired by Jeremiah Guappone and facilitated by Sigrid Solomon, presented on a comprehensive plan to enhance student success and retention efforts at Wilmington College. This plan includes the continued implementation of First Year Connections, Student Success, and Peer Navigators programs.


CARE Team

In addition, the comprehensive plan introduces the incorporation of a CARE (Concern, Advocacy, Resources, and Engagement) Team, a First-Generation Student Program, a Student Engagement Model, and adequate staffing. These additional initiatives aim to provide holistic support, foster a sense of community, and provide essential support systems to facilitate student success at Wilmington College. The overarching goal is to improve retention and persistence rates within the current budget structure.


Addressing student retention and success is vital for Wilmington College to fulfill its educational mission, ensure financial stability, enhance its reputation, foster student engagement, promote equity, and provide long-term benefits to students and the broader community. By prioritizing these areas, Wilmington College can create an environment that supports student achievement, personal growth, and overall success.


Health Insurance for International Students

In collaborating with several areas of the college, we have investigated and will be recommending an insurance option for our international students. Many of these students come to the college with no health insurance and are not eligible for state or federal assistance. Helping hands fund, private donors, and other resources have helped these students in the past but we have traditionally experienced a gap in the ability to take care of medical or other health related expenses that arise during their time at the college.


I would like to extend a sincere thank-you to all who assisted with or attended the meeting.


The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for May 2-3, 2024.



In peace and gratitude,


Corey




 


 


Comments


bottom of page