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Board Approves Budget, Creates Police Department

March 6, 2009

Dr. David W. Whitlock
OBU President David W. Whitlock told board members the University expects continued enrollment growth in the 2009-10 academic year.

Trustees approved a $40.87 million operating budget for the 2009-10 academic year. Randy L. Smith, OBU executive vice president for business and administrative services, presented an overview of the proposed budget. Smith said the university projected distribution of $11.5 million in scholarships for the 2009-10 academic year.

Smith told board members the university anticipated a decrease in endowment income due to the national economic downturn. However, he noted that due to OBU's alternative investments managed through the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, the investment losses were less than national benchmarks.

The 2009-10 budget will include a 3 percent cost-of-living salary increase for OBU faculty and staff members.

Trustees also approved a resolution to establish a campus police department. OBU officials said the university will develop a campus police force with CLEET certified officers. David Shannon, who has supervised OBU's campus safety office since November 2007, has been named chief of university police.

"The university police department and local agencies working together will allow the agencies to provide assistance to one another and allow for joint training to benefit all agencies involved," Smith said. "This will provide for a safer university community."

Trustees established a new lifelong learning policy for OBU graduates. The benefit provides tuition for undergraduate courses taught at the Shawnee campus. The policy, which becomes effective June 1, 2009, allows OBU graduates to audit courses or take them for letter grade credit working toward a second bachelor's degree from the institution. The benefit is available for courses which have available seating at the start of an academic term.

In his state-of-the-university report to the board, OBU President David W. Whitlock introduced trustees to two new administrators. Dr. Stan Norman, OBU provost and executive vice president for campus life, and Dr. Mark McClellan, dean of the university's Joe L. Ingram School of Christian Service, joined the administration early in the spring semester.

Norman fills one of two executive vice president positions in an organizational structure Whitlock announced on Feb. 2. Randy L. Smith, who has served as the university's chief financial officer since December 2002, was promoted to executive vice president for business and administrative services.

"This new structure offers us the opportunity to streamline our administrative structure and move forward with a model that facilitates our vision for OBU," Whitlock told the trustees.

Whitlock also reported on the university's student recruitment efforts for the upcoming academic year.

"We expect another strong freshman class and continued enrollment growth," the president said. "Applications are up and OBU's deposits are up. All of the indicators are good, but we are not slacking off on our efforts to make sure every student who would benefit from an OBU education is given every opportunity to enroll at this university. We do not want to miss one of them, and we don't want them to miss being a part of this great university."

OBU Student Government Association President D.H. Dilbeck reported on recent work of the SGA, including the reactivation of the SGA's Volunteer Action Committee. The group has worked with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and is working on renovation of a community center facility in the Dunbar Heights neighborhood.

"At the beginning of the fall semester, we had 27 freshmen run for the five senate seats," Dilbeck said. "That enthusiasm has made for a good year in the senate."

Dilbeck noted that the SGA had allotted nearly $4,000 to campus organizations during the current academic year. He said the SGA senate helped to fund travel for students from OBU's English honor society to present papers at the society's national conference. A total of 10 OBU students will participate in the conference.

"The legislative record of the senate really demonstrates its commitment to support of the entire student body," said Dilbeck, a junior history major from Oklahoma City.

Trustees approved a change in how students can reach their total number of required Chapel attendance credits. Under the policy effective for the 2008-09 academic year, students are required to attend at least 12 Chapel programs during a semester, for a total of 96 over a four-year span. Upon recommendation by OBU's student development office, the new policy will allow students to accrue additional credits each semester, with a total of 96 attendance credits required for graduation from the university. Under the new policy, completion of Chapel attendance requirements will be necessary for the student to graduate from OBU.

The board approved promotions for nine OBU faculty members. Five were promoted to the highest academic rank. Dr. Jeanne Akin, who joined the faculty in 1997, was promoted from associate professor of teacher education to professor of education. Dr. Kaylene Barbe, who joined the faculty in 1990, was promoted from associate professor to professor of communication arts. Dr. Brad Jett, who joined the faculty in 1998, was promoted from associate professor to professor of biology. Dr. Bobby Kelly, who joined the faculty in 1997, was promoted from associate professor to professor of religion. Dr. Craig Walker, who joined the faculty in 2000, was promoted from associate professor to professor of economics.

Dr. Paulette Belshe was promoted from the rank of assistant professor to associate professor of education. Dr. Benjamin Myers was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor of English. Dr. Charles Swadley was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor of English and Spanish. Julie Blackstone was promoted from instructor of art to assistant professor of art.

Richard Streeter, chairman of OBU's 33-member board of trustees, moderated the board's plenary session. Streeter is a financial planner who resides in Claremore.