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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2018

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Board of Visitors convenes to discuss UMWs overall standing, plans for future performance

The University of Mary Washington Board of Visitors (BOV) convened at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center to discuss the future of academic and extra-curricular activities at UMW from Thursday evening through Saturday morning.

At the beginning of the weekend-long meeting, the BOV laid out the mantra “movement toward a process where we can improve.”

Board members stressed they were not looking for “a report card, but looking at a process that would move us forward.”

This idea of progressive thinking and success was discussed at length and established a theme of setting the school on a track of upward trajectory.

Some of the first matters of business included a vote on the Germanna property, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SAC) reaccreditation and new approaches toward various academic related procedures, such as changes toward accreditation in specific fields of study. The BOV ended up voting in favor of giving the Germanna property to the Germanna Foundation by an 8-3 margin.

“We have over fifty committees…for a university of this size, that’s kind of bizarre,” remarked special projects coordinator at the Events and Conferencing office, Erika Spivey.

This struck a chord with many board members who agreed that some of the organizational procedures were “out of touch” with events at UMW.

Aside from problems such as organization and productivity, the BOV also had to allow for a portion of time to discuss future board-related activities. The orientation of new board members was scheduled for Oct 21 and 22, a potential resort location at UVA was considered and another report was scheduled for November at a date yet to be determined.

Everything from the school’s budget to the introduction of new majors was covered during the latter portions of the multi-day meeting.

Additional grants in science and math were presented, and the BOV also moved to adapt a named gift policy with regards to private donations.

The University pulled in $8 million in revenue from fundraising alone ensuring the University to be able to provide more funds toward improvements in various programs. Yet, this was actually less than last years figures, so the University is hoping for even better numbers to come.

To ensure no potential issues occur on homecoming weekend, UMW reached out to the Fredericksburg police department to better understand appropriate tailgating behavior and alcohol policies.

Noting the potential backlash the university could endure if something were to go amiss, President Richard Hurley spoke: “We have to do it right or we won’t be doing it again. The whole world is watching.”

Issues seen in admissions were also brought up in discussions.

UMW fell below its desired number of international students this year: the aim for thirty was met with the gain of seven. A lack of incoming graduate students was noted. The out-of-state applicant rate dropped to a measly six percent this year.

However, citing aggressive new campaign ads that will utilize public transportation, Internet ads and billboards and the BOV was confident it can turn these numbers around by putting interest in the university into the minds of anyone comes across the ads.

By and large, the BOV expressed optimism on UMW’s ability to climb the ladder of public liberal arts colleges in the South, and they have full confidence that the University will continue its ascent towards regional and national excellence.