/Board of Trustees Meeting Update

Board of Trustees Meeting Update

The April board of trustees meeting marked what was, according Chairman Todd Strange, the very first UM Board of Trustees meeting held remotely. The meeting covered a broad host of topics, but the main focus was on the future of the University in the fall.  

Before they really dug down into business, UM President, Dr. John Stewart took a moment to acknowledge faculty senate president elect, Emily Gill, who would be taking over from the current president, Dr. Tiffany Wang.  

For her part, Wang wrapped up her time representing the faculty senate by sharing a list of faculty priorities for the 2020-2021 year, and announcing that Dr. Raymond Ozley was the faculty service award winner for this year and would be honored at Founder’s Day.  

The staff senate also gave a brief report with staff senate president Dawn Makofski stating to the board that the staff survey had been completed, and that the results would be compiled and passed on to the board of trustees.  

Next up, the SGA reported to the board of trustees. Thomas Dillard, the current student trustee, was officially announced to the board as the next SGA president. Both Dillard and the current SGA president, Olivia Eldridge, expressed gratitude to the board for their work involving refunds, pass/fail option for grades and the student relief fund.  

“On behalf of student, Olivia and I can both say we are very thankful to you,” said Dillard.  

At the time of the meeting, the relief fund had acquired $50,000 to be given to students in need, and the University planned to continue to promote the fund.  

 “We’ve been driven with all of our decisions to just do what the right thing is,” Strange stated.  

After the SGA report, the Audit and Finance committee discussed a voluntary retirement plan to encourage some faculty and staff to retire.  

“This isn’t early retirement,” said Barbara Forrest, the Director of Human Resources and Risk Management at UM. 

Forrest explained that there were 28 faculty and staff eligible for retirement. The plan would offer incentives to all of these individuals to encourage them to retire. The incentives would be 50% of base pay for faculty and 25% of base pay for staff. The set date for this retirement will be Aug. 1. UM should know by June 8 which members of faculty and staff will accept the incentives.  

The committee recommended to the board that construction continue on the Stephens College of Business and the board voted to approve it.  

Dr. Stephen Craft, the chair for the strategic planning committee, gave an update on the committee’s five-year plan for UM. The plan focuses on four themes: mission and identity, growth, innovations for teaching and learning and support for learning.  

“These are interesting times to be developing a strategic plan for a university,” said Craft.  

The personal committee had several promotions and tenure recommendations for the board to approve. All 13 promotions and 9 cases of tenure were approved by the board. For a full list of the promotions and newly tenured employees see below.  

For the academic affairs committee, Dr. Mary Beth Armstrong announced the renewal of UM’s TRIO grant. 

Dr. Tammi Dahle gave an update on the new UM expression and demonstration policy. The policy would put UM in compliance with the new free speech bill passed in Montgomery, which UM is required to be in compliance with by July.  

Dahle stated that the new policy had been vetted by both the faculty and staff senates.  

When asked by Strange if she thought the new policy was less or more restrictive, Dahle stated her belief that it was more liberal. 

“It broadens area for free speech physically across campus,” said Dahle. 

Strange and other board members expressed some concern over whether the new policy would limit UM’s ability to control potentially disruptive or dangerous situations.  

“We can control time, manner and place,” said Dahle. 

She clarified that UM could still disallow private places or things that disrupt important campus events like exams.  

The policy was passed.  

For Athletics, the director of athletics, Mark Richard, stated that 18 seniors had expressed interest in taking advantage of the NCAA’s policy allowing seniors who lost their season a chance to participate in the next one.  

On behalf of the UM National Alumni Association, Ms. Cynthia Todd informed the board of the Association’s plans to send out cards and T-shirts to graduating seniors.  

After the Alumni report, Dahle gave an update on enrollments and deposits. UM is down 373 applications from last year. Deposits for fall were up for most of the year, but took a sudden drop very recently. There were 254 new housing applications, which was 14 less than last year.  

Strange stated that it was UM’s intent to open the campus in the fall, but also said that they need to at least think about the possibility that it won’t happen.  

Tenure and Promotion Recommendations: 

Promotion to Professor:

John Bawden (History) 

Tom Sanders (Business) 

Promotion to Associate Professor:

Donna Bell (Family and Consumer Science) 

Christopher Bounds (Sociology) 

Susan Caplow (Environmental Studies) 

Jennifer “JiJi” Davis (Elementary Education) 

Carolyn Garrity (Business) 

Amiee Mellon (Business) 

Shawn Mitchell (Exercise and Nutrition Science) 

Kyle Moore (Theatre) 

Latofia Parker (Counseling) 

Gregory Samuels (Secondary Education) 

Promotion to Senior Instructor:

Ryan Foster (Art) 


Christopher Bounds (Sociology) 

Susan Caplow (Environmental Studies) 

Carolyn Garrity (Business) 

Aimee Mellon (Business) 

Shawn Mitchell (Exercise and Nutrition Science) 

Kyle Moore (Theatre) 

Latofia Parker (Counseling) 

Gregory Samuels (Secondary Education) 

Douglas Smith (Business) 

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Harrison Neville is the previous Editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.