The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

President Vaidya’s contract gets renewed through 2026

October 8, 2021

Dr.+Ashish+Vaidya+is+NKUs+sixth+president.

Colin Johnson

Dr. Ashish Vaidya is NKU’s sixth president.

Thursday afternoon NKU’s Board of Regents unanimously passed a motion to renew the contract of President Ashish Vaidya. 

The meeting started at 12:30 p.m. and went into executive session for around an hour and a half.

Board Chair Andrá R. Ward sent out a campus-wide email shortly after the conclusion of the meeting congratulating Vaidya for all of his hard work throughout his time thus far as the university’s president. 

“We believe the university is in a strong position to move onward together, and I want to thank President Vaidya for his strong leadership throughout his tenure. Certainly over the past 19 months, NKU has navigated the challenges presented by the pandemic, and President Vaidya has inspired us to meet these challenges and persevere,” Ward wrote in the email. 

Vaidya’s contract will be extended from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2026.

“President Vaidya has demonstrated this leadership countless times throughout his tenure as our sixth president– from securing many public-private partnerships that increase access to higher education to prioritizing the mental health of our campus community,” Ward wrote. 

Ward reflected on Vaidya’s success with overcoming NKU’s previous pension plan, where he proposed to exit the Kentucky Employees Retirement System which is the most underfunded pension system in the country. The board approved the resolution in Dec. 2020. 

Another accomplishment mentioned by Ward throughout the email was Success by Design, Vaidya’s strategic plan to ensure student success through the pillars of access, completion and career and community engagement. 

“Success by Design unveiled a new vision of NKU becoming nationally recognized for being a student-ready, regionally engaged university that empowers diverse learners for economic and social mobility,” Ward wrote. 

Vaidya has served as NKU’s sixth president since July 1, 2018. 

Three motions were passed in the beginning of the meeting, including the reappointment of the following regents:

  • Andrá Ward, Chair
  • Normand Desmarais, Vice Chair
  • Gregory Shumate, Secretary

 

Read the full email from Ward below:

Dear NKU Campus Community:

On behalf of the Board of Regents, let me express our sincere gratitude for the exceptional work and resiliency that the campus community has demonstrated over the past year. We believe the university is in a strong position to move onward together, and I want to thank President Vaidya for his strong leadership throughout his tenure. Certainly over the past 19 months, NKU has navigated the challenges presented by the pandemic, and President Vaidya has inspired us to meet these challenges and persevere.

Considering all his accomplishments for NKU, the Board has voted to renew President Vaidya’s contract from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2026. With a one year extension included in the contract, the Board has secured a strong and unwavering leader for NKU through 2027.  President Vaidya has demonstrated this leadership countless times throughout his tenure as our sixth president– from securing many public-private partnerships that increase access to higher education to prioritizing the mental health of our campus community.

President Vaidya took the reins as the university was embroiled in a pension dilemma that continued to evolve with changes in the Legislature and Governor’s office. President Vaidya kept the conversation clear and focused on the issue at hand. In doing so, he resolved the crisis in a manner that not only kept the pension promise to our long-term employees but also will save the university over $73 million in cessation costs which will translate to annual savings on our bond payments of approximately $4 million. His active presence in Frankfort also has resulted in increases in the Commonwealth’s Performance Funding Model. This year, NKU received additional state funds and over the past four years secured the second highest allocation of performance funding dollars, behind the University of Kentucky.

In addition to navigating the pension issue, President Vaidya was looking ahead to the university’s future growth. His first initiative was holding strategic conversations that included both campus and community voices in the plan for NKU’s future. Success by Design unveiled a new vision of NKU becoming nationally recognized for being a student-ready, regionally engaged university that empowers diverse learners for economic and social mobility. In his time leading NKU, President Vaidya has raised NKU’s profile with his work as Board Chair of the Horizon League Board of Director, on the American Association for State Colleges and Universities’ Board of Directors, on the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Cincinnati Branch Board of Directors and as part of EAB’s Moonshot for Equity. The President has been interviewed by national news organizations, and NKU’s accomplishments have been featured in prominent Higher Education outlets. 

 President Vaidya also focused on enhancing NKU’s commitment to Success by Design and the goals of equity, inclusion and diversity. He created the Chief Diversity Officer position and established the Chief Strategy Officer. These Cabinet-level positions support our core values and goals. The President and First Partner Dr. Nita Vaidya recently established the Ashish and Nita Vaidya Fund for Mental Health and Student Engagement. They dedicated funds for two essential services that support our students as they journey to complete their academic goals.

It shows true character to put the needs of others first, and it is not surprising President Vaidya chose to invest in our campus’ wellbeing. His strength of character and passion for our students were some of the reasons why we selected him to serve as our sixth President. We appreciate his hard work and are looking forward to seeing NKU continue to evolve under his leadership.   

Sincerely,

Andrá R. Ward

Chairman, NKU Board of Regents

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