(MUNCIE) – The Ball State University Board of Trustees approved the President’s Strategic Imperative Fund — a $5 million investment to support initiatives that will expedite the implementation of the institution’s strategic plan, Destination 2040: Our Flight Path.
During a presentation to the Board, Chief Strategy Officer Sue Hodges Moore described the process by which members of the campus community have been invited to submit proposals that align with any of the plan’s strategic imperatives.
Priority will be given to proposals that meet at least one of the following criteria:
- improve undergraduate student retention, persistence, and completion
- modify existing or create new high-demand graduate programs, including degrees, certificates, and/or micro-credentials
- enhance faculty and staff professional development, personal satisfaction, or well-being
- lead to revenue generation, cost savings, cost containment, or operational efficiencies that result in a strong return on investment.
The University will award up to $5 million from the fund over a three-year period, from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2023.
“Destination 2040: Our Flight Path includes short- and long-term goals for Ball State and the President’s Strategic Imperative Fund will support innovative projects from across the campus,” President Geoffrey S. Mearns said.
“As our campus community develops these proposals, we will be guided by our enduring values: excellence, innovation, courage, integrity, inclusiveness, social responsibility, and gratitude. In that spirit, I am grateful for our faculty and staff’s investment in our University’s bright future as we continue to implement our strategic plan.”
In other business, the Board approved a 1%, one-time merit salary supplement to employees as part of the University’s efforts to invest in Ball State’s talented faculty and staff.
The supplement is possible because of the University’s strong financial position, Board Chair Rick Hall said.
“We are able to reward our faculty and staff this supplement for their outstanding work and commitment to our students as a result of the University’s prudent fiscal planning,” said Chair Hall, who noted the positive financial report for 2019 from Alan Finn, vice president for business affairs and treasurer. “The University has been fiscally responsible and is well-positioned for success for the coming years.”
Last June, the Trustees approved the salary and wage plans for the 2019-20 academic year, including a 1% increase to the salary pool for all employees. At that time, University officials said there was a potential for an additional 1% salary supplement after January 2020 if the midyear forecast was favorable.
“In the last few months, units across the campus have been able to operate both effectively and efficiently,” President Mearns said. “These efforts allow us to continue to focus on how we can provide our students with an innovative, collaborative learning experience – led by our outstanding faculty and dedicated staff.”
The Board also kept the cost of living on campus highly competitive as compared to its peer institutions and in-state schools as a result of an average 2.0% increase in the room and board rates for the 2020-21 academic year.
The Board of Trustees approved a 2.5% rate increase for first-time students, while returning students enrolled in the University’s premium plan, which locks in costs for a two-year period, will experience no increase from the prior year.
“The University continues to provide first-class housing and dining, with a variety of rate options designed to meet the needs of our students,” Vice President Finn said. “Over the last few years, we have worked hard to streamline operations and examine cost-effective measures to make our residence halls an attractive and viable option.”