Equipped with an overhauled governing structure and seven new members, Baylor University’s board of regents gathers in Waco this week for its quarterly meeting.
Regents will set 2018-19 tuition and fees rates, approve degree programs and likely discuss ongoing investigations stemming from the fallout from the school’s sexual assault scandal.
It is also the first meeting in which the board will operate under governance reforms regents approved in February. Fifteen people — Allison, Livingstone, past chairman Ron Murff, regent emeritus and longtime donor Drayton McLane, three vice chairs and eight committee chairs — now sit on an expanded executive committee.
The reforms granted voting rights to regents representing the Baylor Bear Foundation, the “B” Association and two faculty regents. Regents will undergo more rigorous selection processes and performance assessments under the reforms from a task force of three regents and three nonregents.
Allison and Livingstone will answer questions from media on Friday after the business portion of the meeting concludes following multiple days of committee meetings.
“This is a big week for the Board,” Allison said in a Monday statement.
“The new meeting format and committee structure will allow for more communication, more diverse representation among the Board and overall better operations,” Allison said. “Our primary charge is to support President Livingstone and her strategic direction for the university. I sense a strong spirit of collegiality within the Board and a common focus on Baylor moving forward.”
At the July 2016 meeting, regents set 2017-18 academic year undergraduate tuition at $39,610 per year for full-time students. The university touted the 4.25 percent tuition increase as the lowest percentage increase in more than 20 years.
Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Reagan Ramsower said at the time that he expects a 4 percent tuition increase for the 2018-19 year.
Eight hours of committee meetings are expected on Wednesday and Thursday. Livingstone, Allison, Murff and the three vice chairs are encouraged to attend each committee meeting. All regents are also invited to all committee meetings.
On Friday, regents will vote to approve a five-year program in all-level physical education and sports pedagogy, in which students will earn a Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science degree, according to the agenda.
Pending board approval, Baylor Law School will soon offer a Master of Laws degree in litigation management. Regents will also examine 2016-17 fiscal year discretionary financial transfers, revise the debt policy and pay $2 million to the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, per the university’s affiliation agreement.
In the last piece of Friday action, the board will amend its contract policy. Any contract of 10 years or more will exclude sales, lease, license or easement contracts involving real property which are arms-length business transactions, according to the agenda.
Regents will meet in executive session for almost two hours on Friday to close the meeting.