ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. – The St. Mary’s College Board of Trustees met Friday, May 11, and approved two new minors in business and astrophysics, and a new major in women, gender, and sexuality studies (WGSX).

The new business minor is designed to complement a wide range of majors currently offered at the College. The business minor is consistent with the College’s mission of developing a curriculum that serves all students; integrates theory, practice, and a student-centered ethos; engages students in a rigorous, experiential, flexible, innovative academic environment; and graduates prepared, responsible, and thoughtful global citizens and leaders. The learning objectives for the business minor are for graduates to demonstrate effective oral communication; demonstrate an ability to analyze business information; and demonstrate knowledge of the legal environment impacting business organizations.

The new astrophysics minor is the application of physics to the large-scale structure of the universe: the birth and death of stars, the formation of galaxies, and the origin and fate of the universe itself. In the last five years, the physics department faculty have developed the expertise to offer the program, and faculty and students developed instrumentation in the form of two radio telescopes which can be used for program support.

WGSX is a cross-disciplinary area of inquiry that investigates the social, psychological, biological, and cultural construction of gender, as well as the ways women and men locate themselves within gender systems. The goals and program outcomes of the WGSX major, reflected in its structure and requirements, are to engage students and faculty in distinguishing variations in gendered systems across culture(s) and over time; assessing how sex, gender, and sexuality are related to other social hierarchies and identity markers, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, class, and ability; critiquing how sex, gender, and sexuality shape aspects of our daily lives; and integrating values of inclusion, diversity, and equity in regard to sex, gender, and sexuality.


The College’s Current Fund (Operating) Budget of $69.29 million for FY19 was also approved by the Board of Trustees.  The approved operating budget reflects the stabilization of enrollment for the FY18-19 academic year with an anticipated 1,527 full-time undergraduate students. The budget is based on 1,424 full-time undergraduate students, excluding study abroad students, representing 98 percent of the estimated total enrollment.

Campus Safety Report:

Tressa Setlak, director of public safety, gave a campus safety update. Setlak stated that the increase in reported safety incidents received in 2016 and 2017, compared to previous years, shows that students now feel safe reporting incidents to Public Safety and are confident that incidents will be investigated. Of the 649 incidents reported in 2016, only 129 were Cleary-level incidents.

A number of safe-campus indicators were reviewed. Public Safety escort requests by students has decreased by 45 percent over the last 2.5 years, which, Setlak explained, shows students feel more comfortable walking from point A to point B on campus. Student initiatives that had previously been created are now being disbanded because they are no longer needed, including Nighthawks (student to student escorts) and the Public Safety Student Advisory Council (student-initiative that brought campus incidents before Public Safety).

Setlak reviewed a number of initiatives Public Safety has recently undertaken including the launch of the 911 Shield app, official branding of Public Safety vehicles and equipment, and updating policies and procedures.

Setlak also explained the Public Safety officers now receive a combined 68 hours of training compared to only 24 hours of training previously received.

Faculty Presentation:

Professor of Art Carrie Patterson discussed writing 24 lectures for The Great Courses Lecture Series program. The Great Courses are a series of educational classes offered to “surround the world’s greatest teachers with a team of experts who collaborate on crafting a customized and entertaining educational journey.”

Her course is titled “How to See,” which Patterson describes as: “From the works of great masters to the architecture of great buildings and even the design of everyday objects, visual literacy enhances your appreciation and ability to describe the aesthetics of practically anything. These lessons teach you the principles of design as the vocabulary of art – line, shape, space, texture, color, and more – and how to see and evaluate them. You learn also how the arrangement of these principles affect the quality of design and art overall.”

Patterson will begin recording the course in January 2019 and it will be available for purchase that summer. 

Special Honoree:

During a special reception on the evening of Friday, May 11, the Board honored Charles “Chip” Jackson, who is retiring from St. Mary’s College after 32 years.

Jackson has served as St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s vice president for business and finance since 2013. He oversees business affairs, facilities planning and operations, human resources, information technology, and government relations. Prior to this position, Jackson served as the associate vice president for planning and facilities and also as interim president for a short period during that time. As associate vice president for planning and facilities, Jackson led the college’s master planning, design and construction efforts. His work led to multiple awards for architecture and sustainability initiatives.

He began his St. Mary’s College career on September 1, 1986 as director of capital projects. Three year later, he became director of facilities before being promoted to associate vice president of facilities on March 1, 2000.

Jackson holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in business from Webster College.

Jackson will retire from St. Mary’s College effective August 31, 2018.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education through 2024-2025. St. Mary’s College, designated the Maryland state honors college in 1992, is ranked one of the best public liberal arts schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Approximately 1,600 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.