Highlights from the Board of Regents Meeting, Feb. 9-10, 2017
Highlights from each Board of Regents meeting will be reported in the Pacific Insider to inform the campus community of the Board's actions and major discussions. The Board plays an important role as the governing body of the university, responsible for the quality and integrity of the education provided to students and the financial sustainability of the university. Board members are experts from business, education, health, law and other fields, and most are alumni. Board members are volunteers and pay for their meeting travel and expenses. The chair and chair-elect of the Academic Council, the president and president-elect of the Pacific Alumni Association and the president and vice president of the Associated Students of University of the Pacific are recognized as non-voting liaison representatives to the Board and provide a report at each meeting.
Major highlights from the February 2017 meeting:
Update of the University's Strategic Plan
President Pamela Eibeck presented a summary of the major accomplishments of the university's strategic plan, Pacific 2020, to lay the groundwork for a discussion on the refresh of the strategic plan. Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Maria Pallavicini presented the three leading strategies of Pacific 2025 that have emerged from the original five: robust support for students at all levels; an exceptional undergraduate learning experience; and an integrated school of health. Following an engaged conversation, the Board recommended that the strategies be sequenced with specific timelines, and that costs be assessed to ensure they can be achieved. The President and Provost agreed to further refine the plan and bring a final proposal to the Board for approval in May. The Board's Ad Hoc Committee on Strategic Planning will continue to guide the process and will convene in the next few weeks. University leadership will keep the community apprised as the plan progresses.
New Master of Science in Cybersecurity Degree Approved
A new graduate program designed to address the growing vulnerabilities of a computer-based society, such as security threats, data breaches, corporate and government espionage, banking and financial fraud, identity theft, and more, will launch in Stockton this fall. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity will be offered by the School of Engineering and Computer Science as a full-time, one-year degree or a two-year, part-time degree. The program is responsive to market demand—cybersecurity job opportunities have increased 88 percent locally and 60 percent in the state over the last three years.
Owen Hall Renovation Construction Approved
Renovation of Owen Hall on the Stockton Campus will increase the number of Conservatory of Music practice rooms and teaching spaces and improve interior design, technology and infrastructure. With the Regents' approval, construction will begin in the next few months and conclude this August.
Media X Spaces and Library Renovation Moves into Construction Design Phase
The construction of four editing studios and a production studio in the library on the Stockton Campus were approved to move into the construction design phase. These studios will provide experiential learning opportunities for students in the new Media X program. Launching this fall, Media X integrates the analysis, performance, production, marketing and management of traditional, digital and emerging media designed for students who are interested in pursuing creative combinations of coursework in subjects such as graphic design, English, business, theatre, digital and visual art, film and more. The renovations are part of a larger library redesign plan that the Regents approved to move into the construction design phase. The library redesign will create more learning and social spaces for students by reducing the number of books while providing students access to print and digital media and other resources. The redesign will provide a more holistic learning experience for students, taking into account the way students and the university community live and learn in the 21st century.
Fiscal Year 2018 Tuition Rates Approved
In preparation for the fiscal year budget process and following discussion regarding enrollment and discount rates, the Board of Regents approved the tuition rates for fiscal year 2018, which include a 3.9 percent increase for undergraduate and graduate tuition and variations for other schools and programs.
Faculty Diversity and Recruitment Highlighted
Assistant Provost for Diversity Christopher Goff presented to the Board the Report on Faculty Diversity (PacificNet login required), which provides information about the status of Pacific's full-time instructional faculty with respect to appointment type, gender, age and ethnic diversity. These data will provide a baseline for Pacific's opportunities, goals and strategies to increase the diversity of faculty. In addition, Goff spoke about Pacific's recent work to improve the faculty search process, which includes bias awareness training for new search committees.
Faculty Tenure Report
Academic Council (AC) chair Sharmila King and AC chair-elect Jeff Becker made a presentation on the value of faculty tenure at Pacific in response to a question from the Regents at their October 2016 meeting. King spoke about the purpose and importance of faculty tenure, the tenure process and the benefits to the institution. She answered Regents' questions on faculty performance and evaluation by describing how faculty and academic administration address shortcomings and achievements, and how faculty who receive student complaints (about any dimension of their teaching) are encouraged to actively address and improve those areas.
Lunch Program Highlights Religious and Spiritual Life
Dean of Religious Life Joel Lohr presented an overview of religious and spiritual life at Pacific, with particular focus on the experiences of undergraduate students. This included discussion on Pacific's historic (and ongoing) relationship to the United Methodist Church, the current religious life of Pacific's students and student demographics. For the latter, data illustrated Pacific's diversity: According to Lohr, "Pacific is more Muslim than it is Methodist; more Buddhist than it is Baptist; more Hindu than it is Episcopalian." Students Emilia Wolf (Pre-Pharmacy Freshman; Hillel Jewish Student Club), Amandeep Rai (Pre-Pharmacy Sophomore; Sikh Student Association), and Usama Zulfiqar (Business Administration Senior; Muslim Student Association) shared reflections on being involved in student organizations and their unique experiences as students with distinct religious identities.
Investment Committee Update
The University's Investment Committee has been working on a comprehensive review of the endowment portfolio to restructure and reposition the investments to achieve risk/return objectives above its benchmarks and peers. Working with financial partner Cambridge Associates, the committee held meetings throughout the year and restructured the endowment with the objective of achieving higher returns and lower risks on its investments. This will ensure that the endowments that Pacific's benefactors have established will be maintained in perpetuity.