Campus Update, Sept. 26

President John Langell shared updates on a wide range of topics during the Campus Update Sept. 26 to faculty and staff gathered in Watanakunakorn Auditorium and on Zoom.
Some highlights Dr. Langell shared during the update included:

  • Grants totaling $1.2 million were received in the past month, including funds from National Institutes of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Ohio Department of Mental Health.
  • Congratulations to Vindya Perera (P4), who is one of 10 recipients of the national Walmart Health Equity Scholarship for Pharmacy Students, which recognizes leadership, academic success and a commitment to serving rural or medically underserved patient populations upon graduation.
  • Final results of the Higher Learning Commission site visit will be received after the HLC board convenes later this year or early in 2023.
  • The NEOMED Board of Trustees approved the pursuit of a College of Dentistry

Watch the video of the entire Campus Update

Read a transcript of President Langell's remarks at the Update, lower on this page.

Dr. Langell invited questions from the audience. The following response was to a question received online:

Do volunteer faculty need to do the FERPA training?

Volunteer faculty are invited to take the FERPA training but are not required, unless they already received specific instructions as part of the group that are required (e.g., COM Site Directors and Clinical Department Chairs). In general, if volunteer faculty do not handle or have access to student educational records, then it is not necessary to take the training. However, if volunteer faculty would like to participate in the training, they are welcome to do so. Please contact Andrea Coard, academic affairs specialist, at for further instructions.

-- Response from Deborah Loyet, executive director, Academic and Faculty Affairs

Campus Update with President John Langell
Sept. 26, 2022

Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning. These monthly updates to the community are just a great opportunity for me to get in front of you and share with you some of the events happening on campus and then to give recognition to members of our team who have done wonderful things for us over the course of the previous month.

I do want to start by recognizing that some people will not be here with us today as this is Rosha Shana, which is the Jewish New Year celebration. So for those who aren't joining us [in person], I hope some may have an opportunity to catch us online, for those who've taken some time off today. But it is important to recognize the various religious holidays that are celebrated in our very diverse group of faculty staff and, of course, students at NEOMED.

I want to thank those of you who participated, but especially to thank Dr. Chander Kohli for hosting, the second Kohli golf event this year. Dr. Kohli was our longest serving Board of Trustee member, is a distinguished professor of neurosurgery for the University, spent 18 years on our Board of Trustees, and I don't think anybody's ever going to match that record.  He's been a generous donor to the University and continues to be a supporter of ours. So for those of you who participated, it was a wonderful day. Fortunately not as hot as it was last year, but it was a nice event.

I want to recognize our faculty who are continuing to show their leadership through research. Over the last month alone, there are over $1.2 million in grant funds brought into the University. Some of those were from Dr. Ohanyan, Dr. Stacy Gardiner-Buckshaw, Dr. Hrouda, in fact, brought in five separate grants totaling over $500,000. Dr. Kasumov,and then, of course, Dr. Simera And those are a combination of NIH dollars dollars from the Ohio Mental Health Department as well as SAMHSA. So really a big recognition for them. 1.2 million is a lot of money. And so this is a big deal. And there to support a number of programs at the University to include mental health and to include our SOAR clinic, among other research activities taking place.

I also want to give a big recognition for one of our P4 students Vindya, last name is Perera, in the College of Pharmacy. Fourth year student was selected as a national AACP Health Equity Scholar. There were over 700 applicants. Ten were selected. And this is to recognize leadership, academic performance and then service to either an underserved or to a rural community. This is a national level award. You'll see this is in our Pulse so big recognition to Vindya for all the work that she's done and [for] gaining recognition for herself.

I wanted to give you an update on Higher Learning Commission. This has been really a big event for the University. We only go through this once a decade and if you're fortunate, you only go through this once a decade. If they're coming more frequently than that, it means you didn't do so well. We won't officially know the results until the Higher Learning Commission has had a chance to convene their board, and then we'll be given written notification formally notice notifying us on our status on reaccreditation. I can't thank Dr. Wenstrup, my Ms. Deb Loyet and Dr. Kasmer and their teams enough for the work they did leading this. But it's not the three of them. It was an entire village of faculty, students, staff members, alumni, community partners who all engaged through this process over the last 16 months. And while we don't know our results, we feel pretty good. I can tell you that we did receive our first draft – unofficially -- our first draft of the report nine days after the site visit was completed. And Dr. Kasmer would say that is usually just really, really good or it's really, really bad. We think it's actually going to be good.

I can tell you what I was shared with me by the chair of our site visit committee on the last day they were here to review us. She said, ‘I want to recognize some strengths and I want to point out two weaknesses. And so those strengths were your faculty, your students and your staff are incredibly engaged. We had more of them relative to the size of this University show up in fill the rooms for every one of the meetings we held. It was incredibly impressive. And this is something you see with an engaged community.’ To them, it was a sign of strength.

She also shared that our strategic plan was meaningful and people were embracing it and there was a sense that we were using it as our North Star and really as our guiding light in moving forward.

And that being tied to zero-based budgeting made great sense. And much to their surprise, zero-based budgeting was really well-received, and most people thought it increased financial transparency at the University. They also noted that shared governance at this organization seems to really work and that the emergence and strengthening of the University Faculty Council, their participation and the horizontal and vertical communications across the University were also a strength here for us.

So they felt really good about the big efforts that we've been putting in place here at the University. They also noted that compensation changes, specifically calling out the new faculty compensation plan and faculty development activities, has led to an increase in trust and an increase in faculty morale at the University. So those are the good things. Now, where our weaknesses, the material weaknesses they pointed out were that we could do a better job with, I believe it's 3c1, which is co-curricular assessment, [they] said the College of Pharmacy is doing a great job at it, but they should be because it's part of their accreditation through the AACP.

However, College of Medicine and College graduate studies need to do a better job with it. What is co-curriculum? If you go to the agency's website, co-curriculum is extracurricular activities, research, student interest groups. What we're supposed to do is, if the University is supporting those activities, is to understand why we're having the students do it and then measuring it for the individual students.

So while important, and certainly important to HLC, when they start to dig into co-curricular, I see that as a sign that we're doing our main elements through curriculum well, and they're pointing out some things that we could do better.

They also noted a strength was that this organization is doing an incredible amount around diversity, equity and inclusion, that the students, the faculty and the staff are all participating.

In fact, one line they did write was ‘everybody is doing DEI!’ However, they said ‘your faculty, and to some extent your staff, but your faculty diversity is not reflective of the great student diversity that you've achieved at this organization.’ A part of that measurement is what they count as faculty. So if somebody is not a full-time faculty member as their primary responsibility, so if you are a faculty member and you are also an administrator and assistant dean and an associate dean or in the College of Pharmacy, you're a shared faculty member, we don't get credit for that.

So they really looked at just the faculty members. Those are the ones that they focused on here and said you need to do a better job. But they also said it's going to take time because faculty are here for a very, very long time and we know it's going to require attrition. People are going to move on for whatever reason, whether it's retirement or they want to become the dean at Harvard Medical School. ‘Whatever it happens to be, we know that there's a cycle that takes place. So just show us over the next four years that you're really trying, that you've got a plan that you're addressing. Why that plan is not working over time.’ And those are it. Those are the two things and those are true. Those are right and those are where our focus is.

So I want to thank all of you for your participation in the great efforts that you put in place for HLC. We are feeling good about it. I can't tell you ‘we did it. we slam dunked it’ until we get it in writing from the HLC that could be November and if we don't get it in November, it'll be closer to February when their next meeting comes into play and when we get that, we hope to be able to celebrate with the University in some meaningful way.

But I do want to thank all of you, because this is really incredibly important for us. If we hadn't or don't do well on this, this is going to be tremendously impactful in a negative way to everybody. But we're feeling good about it right now. Dr. Kasmer was smiling when he read the initial brief, and he put his heart and soul into this for us over the last year with his team. So thank you again for that.

We had our quarterly board meeting in September. Our Board of Trustees is an incredibly talented team of individuals who are appointed by the governor, and we have nine full board members who serve a nine-year term and then we have two student trustees. So that team comes in and looks at everything we do.

The role is to be strategic, looking at what we're doing, making sure we're going in the right direction, looking at our numbers. And of course, they have fiduciary responsibility for this University, meaning financially, they're responsible for everything we do. They're supposed to be that that group that looks over my shoulder, looks at the numbers and says, ‘you're doing the right things. We support the direction you're going.’ And they are representatives from the community who are really here to act on the best interests of the state of Ohio as governor, gubernatorial appointees. We're really fortunate to have an outstanding board. I do want to share that. Unfortunately, we they move on every year and we lose great board members and then we get a new board member because their nine-year term is up.

I want to thank Mr. Bob Plunk, who is the president and CEO of Oswald Companies, and after a nine-year term is moving on. However, he has promised to continue to be involved with us and to help the University in every way that he can. His replacement has not yet been selected by the governor's office. When that happens, will make an announcement that will come out in Pulse.

We had a transition in leadership that generally happens every two years. It could happen every year. I want to thank Mr. Richard McQueen, who has served as our chairman for the last two years. He still has one more year on his term on the board. And Mr. Philip Trueblood, who is now our new chairman of the board, and Dr. Doug Beach, who has moved into the vice chairman's position.

There is one other member of our board of trustees that I think deserves some recognition, and that's Ms. Sharlene Ramos-Chesnes. Sharlene has been on our board second longer than anybody. I don't know that anybody's going to match Dr. Kohli’s 18 years, but she is serving her second term and she's been an important member of our community and an important board member as one of our diverse board members is always making sure that we are on track and accountable for diversity at this University. And so I want to thank Sharlene for all the work that she's been doing for us also. The board meeting went very well.

I want to thank Dr. Gallegos for being the UFC representative who attends these meetings and gives input from the University's perspective and then takes the message from the board back to our faculty. The critical elements in this board meeting where they're very pleased with the direction we're going, they reviewed finances. They had a change in leadership.

And they looked at all the potential data for does it make sense or does it not? And at the time has decided to authorize the University to pursue a new College of Dentistry to serve the needs of the state of Ohio. We have a press release coming out on that later today. And I can't take away the big thrill that's going to happen on Thursday with another press release. But let me just share with you the great work of our Advancement Office. We have a signed document for the University's largest ever single philanthropic donation to the University to support the dental school. And that's I'll leave it at that, because Thursday is going to be a big announcement. And then there will be an event later on in this campus, either in October or early November, as a big recognition ceremony for that.

This coming Thursday, we also have a PDAC meeting that's the President's Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council. It's a group of leaders from outside of the University, some of them our graduates, some community leaders. And we'll be giving a report out on the great work that everybody has done in diversity on this campus to get us where we're at and to really give them the recognition they deserve for helping us and guiding us, providing strategy and oversight which led to some of those results I shared with you from the HLC visit.

An update on our Vice President for Research and our College of Medicine Dean Searches. We put the VPR search a little bit on hold because of HLC. We were all quite busy with that and the board meeting. We do have some finalists who are waiting to hear from us, and we have a couple more finalists that we need to finish up. And we hope that we’ll be in the position to be able to make an announcement by the end of this month.

We have some great candidates. We're here to choose the one that's best for NEOMED, and that's going to help us launch our research growth into the future.

College of Medicine Dean Search. I want to thank that committee that's also helping us through that process. It's chaired by Dr. Zarconi that is continuing to move forward very rapidly. We've had some great candidates. Right now, they've identified a group for a zoom-based interviews. And from that process, we'll move forward to an in-person interview eventually here on the campus so that everyone in our community can have an opportunity to weigh in. I think we've got some really strong candidates and we're going to be in a good position for that, also.

A reminder for everyone. I know we're busy, but we have a mandatory FERPA training requirement at the University. It's online through campus and it's not it's not Dr. landfills making it mandatory. It's the federal government says it's mandatory. And if we aren't in compliance, we don't qualify for things like student financial aid, it potentially could impact our ability to take in federal grants for researchers. So we have to do this. We're only at 70%. We need to get everyone trained. I did the training. It's not that onerous. But we need everybody done within three weeks. So if you haven't done that yet, please take some time today or over the next two weeks ideally to get that accomplished for us. So we're tracking that closely because it does greatly affect the University and our ability to take federal funding, which is a big component for us.

September is National Recovery Month, so our students and our faculty and staff are all invited to come join the team for a Mocktails competition. And that's going to be September 29 from 12 to 1:30 in the patio outside the new center. In addition to the fun event that we're also going to have about 10 members of our community who are focused on resources for mental health and substance abuse. They're to share their resources and information with all of us. And I understand there's going to be some therapy dogs out there, too, which always tends to attract pet lovers. So please come out and join us for that, also.

And then November 10th is our Transformational Leadership Day. It's really about our strategic plan. It's going to be a celebration and recognition of the leaders who are at the University, who've been through the University. And we're fortunate to have a special VITALS presentation that day from Admiral Forrest Faison. Admiral Faison was our speaker, honoree speaker. At commencement this year, I received literally hundreds of people commenting on how amazing he was. He's the former three-star admiral who was the Navy's surgeon general who led a $20 billion health care program for the U.S. Navy and just a genuine, wonderful guy and a native Clevelander who cares about Ohio. So looking forward to that day. And I want to thank Lacey Madison in the Strategy Office for putting that together.


So with that, I'm going to stop in and open it up to questions. I'll start here and our in-person audience. It's quiet. It's like sitting in front of a classroom of students. Nobody's in the front row, by the way.

Everyone's in back. So our students should come in and understand the social dynamics of sitting in an auditorium. Dr. Kasmer.

For those who didn't hear that online, Dr. Kasmer said October is National Pharmacists Month also, and there will be a large number of events taking place over the course of the month that are being put on by the pharmacy students here. I thank them for their leadership for that.

Anything else that's in? We have nothing online, do we? How many people do we have online today?

147 online and no questions. So we must be doing things well. Either that or everybody started hearing me talk and they want to get out of here.

But I just got one.

So. Mr. Torres wrote ‘Hispanic Heritage Month is currently underway also.’ Yes. Thank you. Very important. There have been a lot of celebrations on campus already. And for those of you who didn't see under the flags, some amazing food to share that heritage, that was very impressive.

Well, if that's it then and there's no questions, I'm going to assume everybody's happy.

Thank you again for everything you're doing at the University. It's time we're going to start heading into the holiday season. It's almost October. It starts with Veterans Day and Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and then Kwanzaa and all the other celebrations that are going to take place until the new year.

So enjoy. Take care of each other. Remember, holidays are wonderful for all of us, but it's also a tough time for others to look out for each other. Thank you.

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