Tigerville, SC (July 1, 2020) North Greenville University (NGU) Board of Trustees held their quarterly meeting on Tuesday, June 23. The meeting looked a bit different following COVID-19 guidelines; however, the atmosphere was full of reminders of God's continued faithfulness. The Board is united and ready to face the future stronger than ever before.
"I am so grateful for the leadership of Board Chair Travis Agnew and the selfless service of the entire Board. In spite of our social distancing and masks, we had great reports, excellent accountability and transparency, and a spirit of mission-focused unity," said President Fant. "As we prepare for a unique Fall 2020 opening, we feel even better prepared thanks to their input and wise counsel."
During the meeting, the Board affirmed the University's response to COVID-19 and the work of the COVID-19 Response Team. The University is in the process of a transitional re-opening period for the Tigerville and Greer campuses. The campuses are coming back to life slowly, but surely, and the Board expressed confidence in the recommendations of the Response Team in cooperation with state health officials to open through appropriate risk mitigation measures safely.
University initiatives such as the remodeling of Neves Academic Center into a one-stop-shop, called NGUcentral, for serving students with student accounts, financial aid, and student records, launching a website redesign project expected to go live in March 2021, expanding WiFi capacities, renovating classrooms and residence halls, and many, many others were reviewed. The Board voiced praise for everything that was accomplished and set in motion to be completed before the fall amid transitioning the institution's operations caused by COVID-19.
NGU's statement on Human Flourishing was presented and unanimously adopted by the Board. The statement is a positive declaration of why the Christian faith matters for life in community.
A Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity degree program is unanimously approved to begin offering a program in the traditional in-person and online modalities starting Fall 2021, pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Students that study and graduate from the program will have an opportunity to give Christ-centered leadership in one of the highest demand, fastest-growing, top-pay labor sectors in America.
On the recommendation of the Academic Committee, several faculty promotions were approved unanimously. An institution does not merely award academic promotion based on time of service at the university, it is earned by demonstrating high and consistent commitment to excellence. Each of these faculty members earned these academic distinctions because they are dedicated to the students, the disciplines they love, and North Greenville University. The faculty members are Ann Aust, Professor of Education; Angela Bullard, Associate Professor of English; Amy Dunlap, Associate Professor of Theatre; Hyunju Kim, Associate Professor of Mathematics; Robert Knepp, Associate Professor of Biology; Xuhua Liu, Associate Professor of Mathematics; Victor Prieto, Professor of Spanish, Linguistics, and TESOL; Jamison Rhoads, Associate Professor of Theatre Design; and Matthew Wireman, Associate Professor of Christian Studies. The following faculty members were automatically promoted upon completion of their terminal degree: Kayla Black, Assistant Professor of Honors and History, and Karyn Campbell, Assistant Professor of Communication.
NGU is pleased to welcome thirteen new faculty members as exceptional teachers, scholars, and practitioners to our faculty ranks for Fall 2020. New hires include Kelechi Benet ('02), Assistant Professor of Communication; Allison Bridges (’13), Assistant Professor of Biology; Nancy Caukin, Associate Professor of Education/Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the College of Education; David Entwistle, Distinguished Professor of Psychology; Brad Hamlett, Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity/Director of the Center for Cybersecurity; Nicholas Higgins, Associate Professor of Political Science/Chair of the Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice and Legal Studies; Angela Horn-Barrett, Assistant Professor of Voice; Martin Jones, Assistant Professor of Business Law and Ethics; Randall King, Professor of Communication/Associate Dean of the School of Communication; Jieun Lee, Assistant Professor of Mathematics; Sarah Little, Assistant Professor of Education/Assessment Coordinator for the College of Education; Jeremy Parks, Visiting Instructor of ASL; and Gary Rhoden, Director of Athletic Bands/ Instructor of Music Education.
The University presented a balanced budget, and the Board adopted it for the 2020-2021 academic year. The long history of wise financial decisions has helped the institution propel itself forward despite turbulent times.
The graduating Class of spring 2020 was confirmed by unanimous vote by the trustees. The restrictions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic canceled NGU's in-person commencement ceremony on Friday, May 1. All confirmed 2020 graduates were invited to pick up their regalia and diplomas at a Regalia & Diploma Drive-Thru Pick-Up Event. The Class is encouraged to participate in a special commencement ceremony during Homecoming 2020 planned for October 17-18 or be a part of the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 commencement services.
"Despite the unique time and circumstances we find ourselves navigating, our board meeting was a tangible reminder of God's faithfulness toward North Greenville University. It was amazing to hear updates of significant progress and plans for strategic initiatives," said NGU Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Travis Agnew. "These are special days."