Goal 3 Progress to Date
Updated Fall 2017
Recruit, nurture, and sustain faculty and staff who are leaders in their field.
- Admission counselors recently spent two days working with a professional from Dan Tudor Collegiate Strategies to improve relationship and communication skills when recruiting prospective students.
- Knox welcomed a new director of spiritual life in May 2017. The director will work to engage students in programs and dialogues around issues that are core to being human: compassion, understanding, equality, justice.
- A new associate vice president for human resources, Crystal Bohm, joined the Knox community in summer 2016. John Newton and Associates, Human Resources consultants, facilitated the transition of the new position and assisted in developing and revising policies and procedures in order to ensure Human Resources is utilizing best practices to serve the employees of Knox. The associate vice president will also be responsible for leading strategic human resource planning to provide the College with the best people talent available and to position Knox as an employer of choice by bringing to Knox the best policies and practices in higher education.
- Knox has made important progress on faculty salaries in the last two years in regard to both salary compression and overall increases to base salary. Additionally, the Mellon Foundation grant awarded in 2014 for faculty development support has provided valuable new areas for faculty funding, including research and start-up package support, and pedagogy and course development support; however, faculty salaries at Knox continue to lag behind salaries at our peer institutions, and the Mellon Foundation supplement to faculty development funds only continues through 2017.
Create a contemporary, sustainable, and accessible Knox campus featuring the design, technology, and infrastructure required for a 21st-century education. Plan intentionally and strategically to renovate existing facilities, add revenue-enhancing new facilities, and ensure that facilities are suitable for year-round programming and revenue.
- Design development for the phased renovation of the Umbeck Mathematics-Science Center was completed during summer 2017. Through schematic design, the overall cost of Phase 1 of the renovation has fallen from $15 million to $13 million; total fundraising for Phase 1 stands at $4 million.
- Fundraising for a golf performance center in support of Prairie Fire men's and women's golfers is complete; in total, 32 golfers contributed to the $115,000 project. The center will be located in the former wrestling room int he basement of Memorial Gymnasium and officially dedicated during Homecoming 2017.
- Roughly $300,000 has been raised from three lead donors for the Prats Soccer Field upgrade, which will include synthetic turf and lights. This project is an addition to the original Above & Beyond capital projects, and the College has agreed to move forward based on revenue that could be generated from additional soccer recruits.
- The second floor of George Davis Hall (GDH) was renovated over summer 2017, following the format of last summer's renovation of the first floor. Both renovations were made possible by donor support. The gifts provided new furnishings, lighting, paint, carpet, and technology for classrooms and common areas.
- Facilities Services completed a number of projects over summer 2017, the majority of which were funded by the capital improvements budget. Along with regular furniture and carpet replacement, the HVAC controls in Seymour Union lobby were upgraded; several labs in the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center were refreshed; the northside of Seymour Union was tuckpointed; and the third floor bathrooms in Conger/Neal residence hall were remodeled. Past projects include the renovations of the bathrooms on the first and second floors of Conger-Neal residence hall, move-in to the Whitcomb Art Center, the construction of a permanent space for the Alumni Hall Portrait Wall exhibit, preparation of the former art studies in the Center for Fine Arts for use as a dance studio space, regular furniture and carpet replacement, roof replacements on two student houses, and an upgrade to the fire alarm system for Four Name (Griffith, Longden, Drew, Simonds) Hall.
- Campus Life has been focused on optimizing auxiliary revenue by developing housing revenue projections based on the results of the April housing lottery for returning students and past trends of housing "melt." Our current occupancy numbers, coupled with estimates of the incoming class, indicate that we will be at capacity in the residence halls for the 2016-17 academic year.
- Communications and Admission recently completed the permanent installation of an interactive exhibit in the Petrovich Atrium of Alumni Hall, known as the Portrait Wall.
- A bequest upgraded all 1960s lighting in Studio Theatre to the latest lighting and connectors, allowing students to learn to operate contemporary lighting systems.
- The architectural firm Christner, Inc. is in the pre-design stage of work on the Green Oaks Biological Field Station enhancements. Their current work has focused on creating a flexible-use lab, classroom, and residential facility usable nine months of the year that will teach multiple audiences about earth-friendly living. The design provides both a facility that would offer significant teaching opportunities for the Green Oaks Term and other Knox collaborations, while at the same time offering amenities to attract summer camps and seminars for both students and adults. The College has agreed to move forward into the discovery phase with the idea of the facility being a Living Building, a building that is designed, built, and operated in balance with nature and to generate more resources than it uses.
- Designs for an art gallery in the Ford Center for Fine Arts, in the space previously occupied by Admission before their move to Alumni Hall, have been vetted by theatre, music, and art faculty. Theatrical space planner Schuler Shook was hired to develop the plans. Once pricing is secured, plans will be shared with a prospective donor, who has expressed interest in the project. In the interim, a Learning Commons was added to the building in February 2015. The commons is a technology enabled lounge and study space and has proven very popular with students.
- The BETA house renovation has securied 100% of constrution costs; outreach has begun to all brothers to encourage gifts for soft costs to complete the $1.6 million project. The plans were originally discussed at Homecoming 2015, the 160th anniversary of the Betas at Knox.
Achieve financial equilibrium by securing the short-term and long-term funding needed to fulfill our educational mission.
- Above & Beyond: The Initiatives for Knox has raised more than $73.9 million to date with a projected completion date of June 2019. In addition to the capital projects listed above, six new endowed scholarships have been established, as well as one endowed fund for a student organization, and one for an entrepreneur fund related to the new StartUp Term, have been established to date.
- Increased efforts to expand the top of the College's recruitment funnel are underway. Admission and Communications, in consultation with communication and technology partners Generation and Brooklyn United, are exploring new ways to raise visibility during the early stages of the College search process. The plan is to explore new ideas during the summer and early fall 2017 and to roll out a new, integrated search campaign in early winter. Additional efforts include reaching out to more high school and transfer students via purchased lists, e.g. ACT, PSAT, and SAT test takers, as well as online sites such as Cappex, Chegg, and CollegeFish. During the past year, the College has expanded its presence on third-party websites (niche.com, CollegeBoard, and The Princeton Review, among others) to provide compelling content, including videos, photos, virtual tours, and expanded descriptions.
- Admission and Communications have contracted with Brooklyn United (BU) to conduct market research to better inform the use of alternative media channels for engaging prospective students. BU is conducting surveys and interviews with current and prospective students and parents over fall 2017 that will information the creation of a "digital journey map," including the development of personas of the prospective students we wish to target within our key markets. This research will inform our investment of resources in digital/online marketing and the development of appropriate messages and strategies within these media.
- Admission has also expanded efforts within Illinois to reach out to community college transfers via participation in the Private Illinois Colleges and Universities (PICU) college fairs, among other efforts to raise our visibility with potential transfer students.
- In an effort to increase the visibility of Knox College in key admission markets, Communications worked with Admission on two new marketing initiatives: IP advertising and underwriting on the Chicago NPR affiliate, WBEZ. Both initiatives have resulted in positive momentum, increasing traffic to the Knox website and encouraging prospective students to engage with the College.
- In celebration of Knox's 180th Founders Day, Advancement launched the 180#forKnox campaign on February 9, which focused on celebrating this milesone; the campaign ran for 180 hours (ending at midnight on February 15) and matched each gift made during this time frame with $180. The goal was to reach 800 donors, which was ultimately surpassed with a final total of 925 donors. An alliance of 60+ donors provided the matching funds for the campaign, which raised more than $200,000.
- More than 9,000 donors gave $13 million to the College during the 2015-16 fiscal year that concluded June 30, 2016. The total included a record-setting $3.8 million for the Knox Fund. It's the second year in a row that gifts to the Knox Fund set a record; this year's final total surpassed last year by more than $200,000. In all, 9,015 alumni, parents, and friends gave to the College this year-an increase of 1,272 donors over the previous fiscal year.
- Knox met the 1K #forKnox challenge to gain 1,000 additional donors by the end of the 2016 fiscal year on June 30, raising a record-breaking $3.8 millions for the Knox Fund.The campaign launched in May 2016 and featured two overall challenge donors at $100,000 each and two other challenges focused on alumni from 1990 to 2015, for a total of more than $217,500 in challenge monies. Thanks to Chuck Smith '84 and Larry States '63 for being the lead challengers; current parents and alumni Reid '94 and Jennifer Quinn Broda '94 and Nyerere Billups '99 were the other two challengers. The challenge was staged through GiveCampus, which offers significant opportunities for social engagement; more than 50 volunteers from the Knox Fund Steering Committee, Alumni Council, Young Alumni Council, and class agents worked to encourage gifts, and three volunteers issued additional challenges for their specific classes—'86, '95, and '96.
- The K Club, the athletics booster club, surpassed its goal to raise $100,000 during fiscal year 2015-16, or three times what it had raised the previous year. Thus far, fundraising stands at $125,375 from 307 donors or a 300 percent increase in dollars and a 60 percent increase in K Club donors from last year. Thanks go to alumni Topper Steinman '70, who coordinated peer to peer solicitations, and David '69 and Julie Stolarski Ladner '70, who made a $25,000 challenge gift to propel the annual campaign over the $100,000 mark.
- Crowdfunding has been met with much enthusiasm both by participants and donors. Five KnoxStarter crowdfunding campaigns were completed in 2016, after last year's successful crowdfunding initiatives—two to support spring break initiatives for the jazz ensemble's trip to China and the Knox Choir's Midwest tour and one for the men's summer 2016 basketball trip to Costa Rica. Best of all, faculty and students have come away with new skills in fundraising, team work, web development and video production.
- Grants (private and public funding) written by faculty or in support of faculty teaching and scholarship, including equipment, remain strong. Knox and its faculty won 13 grants to date during the 2015-16 academic year, totaling $2,804,265, including the $800,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for first-generation and low-income student experiences and a more recent $226,000 grant from the Kohler Trust for the Arts & Education for scholarship endowment & faculty development endowment. Knox received a total of 28 grants during the previous three academic years for a total of more than $2 million.
- To support the Above & Beyond initiative to renovate the Umbeck Science-Mathematics Center (SMC), Communications engaged the digital design firm Brooklyn United (our partner on the redesign of the Knox website) to create interactive renderings of Phase 1 of the building renovations. Phase 1 focuses on the new atrium and entry to SMC, as well as renovations to the central core of the building. The interactive renderings are made for mobile devices, primarily iPhones and iPads, and can be utilized by major gifts officers to help prospective donors better visualize the significant renovations to the building.
- Advancement and Communications worked with the higher education marketing and branding firm Generation on the development of a new Knox Fund messaging platform and solicitation plan. The goal of the project was to better engage Knox alumni and donors and to align fundraising appeals more closely with the College's new recruiting messaging platform. Focus groups with Knox alumni and donors were held in June 2015, and a new messaging platform and "signature publication" are currently being implemented.
- In mid-June 2016, Admission will launch a virtual tour of campus available via the Knox website. It offers visitors a student-guided tour through much of the campus, as well as parts of Galesburg and our Green Oaks Biological Field Station. The tour features 360-degree panoramic views of the campus and selected facilities, along with photos and videos. With special virtual reality viewing glasses and a smartphone, the tour will provide full virtual reality views of more than 20 locations around campus. The tour will be offered in English, Spanish, and Mandarin.
- The number of independent educational consultants working with college bound students continues to rise, as do the resources Admission is putting into developing relationships with them. As soon as admission decisions we mailed in March, our three most senior Admission staff, including the dean of admission, spent 4-5 days each traveling to meet with educational consultants to share information about Knox. In just one week, we met with nearly 80 consultants in California, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington. As a result, we also hosted eight of these consultants for a Sunday afternoon campus visit several weeks later. In May and June, we're participating as presenters, exhibitors, and event sponsors at both the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) national conferences.
- Admission continues to work with Render Experiences to differentiate Knox through the campus visit experience. Over the last two years, the campus visit program and campus tour has been rebuilt, and Admission is currently working to incorporate the Whitcomb Art Center into the tour. Ways to "nuggetize"—or break up into shorter pieces—tours is also being explores, along with introducing more opportunities for brief presentations and engagement along the tour route.
- Additional investments in athletics—including more full-time coaches, off-campus recruiting, new information and communications systems, new marketing strategies, and better collaboration between athletics and admission—is contributing to gains in athletic recruitment. One-third of the fall 2015 entering class have been recruited to play an NCAA intercollegiate sport at Knox. Work is underway on an athletic branding and marketing plan that should further support our coaches in their recruitment efforts.
Ensure the long-term ability for campus operations and infrastructure to adapt to a changing environment and the associated resource availability concerns.
- A $1.5 million renovation of the Hard Knox Cafe was completed in summer 2017. Bon Appetit worked with the campus community to plan and design the facilities upgrade, which enhanced the student dining experience.
- A new recycling and waste remove contract was negotiated and put into place, which will increase the volume of recycling and reduce landfill waste.
- Student Senate provided funding for solar panels, which were installed on the roof of Wilson House during summer 2017.
- Phase 1 of the implementation of a new phone system kicked off in October 2017.
- Development of an Information Security Plan, companion policies, and a training program has begun. An Information Security Policy was adopted in March 2017, and 35 staff members have been selected to serve as security liasons for the College's various operating units. Their role is to implement the security policy and best practices in their specific areas. A mandatory training program for all faculty and staff will also be introduced in summer 2017. Creating a College-wide policy and standardized training program will improve our information security poster and response if audited for compliance under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
- Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) performed well in testing during winter and spring terms and has been broadly deployed in the computer labs. Additional server infrastructure has been added to facilitate deployment to staff desks and other multirole workstation locations. Use of this technology will reduce the level of effort and cost to maintain the desktop fleet, improve information security, and ease remote access to institutional data sources.
- Knox is in the early stages of exploring resource sharing and disaster recovery scenarios with Carl Sandburg College and Augustana College. Knox will join the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) to take advantage of the purchasing contract with Mitel.
- In an effort to ensure that our website, www.knox.edu, is meeting accessibility standards, Communications has subscribed to SiteImprove, a company that monitors websites for accessibility issues and quality assurance. Siteimprove regularly monitors our website and provides reports on areas that need to be addressed. The company also provides training for our web team. During our first year, we have focused our efforts on quality assurance, including broken links, and are now turning our efforts this summer to accessibility issues.
- A risk management committee has been formed. The committee has undertaken an exercise to collect risks facing Knox. These risks will be categorized and evaluated. The top risks facing the college will be identified and mitigation plans developed. The Risk Management process has been further refined to integrate monitoring of risk mitigation plans by Board Committees with an anual report on Risk Management during the annual June Board meeting.
- Information Technology Services has continued to refine deployment and financing options for a telecommunications system with Heart Technologies (Peoria). We have tentatively selected Mitel as the system vendor and settled on a phased deployment that will consist of 3 to 5 phases that will occur over the next few years. Phase 1 will be staged to provide service to the Whitcomb Art building and will extend service to Communications, Borzello Hall, and Alumni Hall. Detailed specifications are under development for remaining campus buildings to facilitate planning of successive phases. Strong consideration is being given to outsourcing ownership and operation of the system to free staff resources to focus on tasks more closely aligned with the mission of the College and improve our agility with communication technologies and vendors.
- Communications recently signed an agreement with Learfield Licensing Partners to become the official licensing agency for the College. This partnership will help us ensure the consistency of our College brands and logos across a wide variety of merchandise and promotional products. Learfield works with many of our peer institutions, including Monmouth, Cornell, Ripon, Beloit, and Colorado Colleges, and they are working closely with the College as we contact our vendors and campus departments who regularly place merchandise orders, such as the bookstore, Advancement, Admission, Athletics, and Student Development.
- The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) performed well in testing during winter and spring terms and has been broadly deployed in the computer labs. We will use Winter term to further assess reliability, performance, and scalability. Additional server infrastructure has been added to facilitate deployment to staff desks and other multirole workstation locations. Use of this technology will reduce the level of effort and cost to maintain the desktop fleet, improve information security, and ease remote access to institutional data sources.
- Knox has recently joined the Higher Education Systems and Services (HESS) consortium. The initial objective of HESS is to improve the position of institutions in negotiating with administrative information system vendors by obtaining fixed pricing that will be available to all members for software and services. The consortium will provide valuable networking opportunities as we consider the future of administrative software and systems. In the short term, the consortium may help the College recognize cost savings, as well as provide a valuable forum for assessing other administrative system vendors and options. Knox attended the first annual HESS conference in early May. More than 65 private colleges and universities representing 130,000 FTE were in attendance. The conference provided an opportunity to meet with executives and see product demonstrations of the most popular administrative system vendors in the industry,. All participating vendors supplied a response to an RFP developed by the HESS membership for software, professionals services, and product maintenance. HESS members will be given access to all vendor RFPs. The consortium is also exploring other areas for collaboration.
- Knox has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the CampusEAI consortium, which will be used to offset the cost of professional services to be provided by QuickLaunch SSO to establish a cloud based platform for Single Sign On (SSO) service. Establishing cloud based SSO will improve the resiliency of our authentication infrastructure and allow us to deploy additional security features such as multifactor authentication.
- New management of the College bookstore was introduced in fall 2014, which has resulted in better service for Knox students and faculty, as well a more efficient and profitable operation. During summer 2016, the bookstore operations fully transferred to Follett Corporation. A new, permanent store manager has been named and is working to build relationships with organizations across campus and in the community. The change in bookstore operations from a self operated entity to third party management will result in an income stream this year and in the future.
- After an initial one-yea agreement, Knox has singed a five-year contract with the dining services management company Bon Appetit. The company officially came to Knox in August 2015 and noticeable changes have been made, including a new menu items in the Hard Knox Cafe and the Gizmo and new hours of operation for some dining facilities. A $1.5 million renovation of the Hard Knox Cafe is scheduled for summer 2017. Bon Appetit is currently introducing new revenue sources for the College by enhancing our catering efforts.
- An improved Budget Module and a set of executive dashboards were was deployed in spring 2015 to provide better information and tools for managing the budget process.
- New agreements with Internet Service Providers CenturyLink and Stratus Networks were negotiated in spring 2015, allowing the College to open fall term 2015 with double the bandwidth at the same cost.