FMU’s Board of Trustees approved four resolutions and announced several plans for the 2016- 2017 year at its last meeting of the year on Nov. 17.
The four resolutions included: expanding the name of the Adele Kassab Recital Hall to include the art gallery, amending FMU’s mission statement, approving the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and establishing the University Facility Fee.
Mark Bunch gave the report for Academic Affairs and Accreditation, requesting the approval of the mission statement change to incorporate offering professional degrees at the doctorate level. He also requested the approval of the DNP program.
“Thank you to everyone who was a part of making these resolutions happen today,” Bunch said. “It took a lot of work, a lot of effort. This is a great day for Francis Marion. I’m very excited about these two resolutions passing, so thank you very much to our board for passing those, and congratulations to all of those that were involved in making this happen today.”
The final approved resolution was the establishment of the University Facility Fee. This charge will begin the spring semester of 2017. Students will pay $25 per semester, and the charge will increase by $25 each semester until it reaches the maximum of $100 in fall 2018. Money from the new fee will be used for building maintenance, infrastructure, sewer water, parking, safety and other security measures.
Different committees gave report to the Board, but four announcements addressed significant changes to FMU in the next few years.
FMU joined with Coastal Carolina University in a new partnership to establish the Social Sciences and Humanities Institute at the Belle Baruch Foundation in Georgetown, S.C.
“We will be the third institute,” Bunch said. “We will concentrate on cultural and social issues that surround the property. This is a great opportunity for research, archeology, and to study South Carolina history.”
The partnership is still being developed, but Dr. Fred Carter, president of FMU, said that the university should be sending students and faculty to the institute next fall.
Jody Bryson gave the report for Student Affairs and Athletics.
“Student Government Association (SGA) this past fall established a new standing committee to serve commuter students, which is a large part of our student population,” Bryson said. “They also have planned to establish two new student advisory committees in the spring that would interface with matters related to the bookstore and the dining facilities.”
Bryson also announced that SGA created a student discount book that would list discounts for FMU students provided by local businesses.
Carter highlighted two main changes for FMU in the next few years.
The speech pathology program should begin in the fall semester of 2017, and in the late fall semester the Board of Trustees will begin plans for an occupational therapy program. Carter also said that FMU projects to have a physical therapy program in 2020.
“[These are] three programs which medical providers all over this region tell us are absolutely essential because of the shortage of therapists in each of those areas,” Carter said.
FMU will also make three requests to South Carolina’s legislature for budget changes.
The first recurring request is for $610,000 to enhance faculty positions that undergo frequent accreditation reviews, such as business, education and health sciences. The second recurring request is for $350,000 to strengthen STEM positions in areas that collaborate externally with school districts, such as chemistry and physics. A one-time request of $3.1 million will be used to build the honor’s center. Money from this request will be added to $700,000 FMU received last year. Carter said he hopes to have all of the funding for the facility in 2018.