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Wednesday, Sep 03, 2014

Overcast, 71 °F

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Executive Vice Provost and Dean of University College David Descutner and Faculty Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin listen to the opening remarks.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

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President Roderick J. McDavis, First Lady Deborah McDavis and Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit listen to Distinguished Professor Charles Smith's introduction.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

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McDavis' remarks stressed the University community's need to continue the tradition of excellence together, even in trying times.

Photographer: Kevin Riddell

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Authoring our legacy

Faculty and Staff Fall Convocation emphasized transformation, challenges, and community


On Wednesday, Distinguished Professor Charles Smith welcomed attendees to the Faculty and Staff Fall Convocation held in the Walter Hall Rotunda. The event spotlighted faculty, staff, student and alumni achievements and provided an opportunity for the university community to assess challenges and how it would face it during the 2010-11 academic year.

In his remarks, President Roderick J. McDavis encouraged faculty and staff to celebrate how far the university community has come in charting its future since the establishment of the Presidential Task Force on the Future of Ohio University, which began the groundwork “for where we stand today, positioned to transform our university.”

“Our university is successful because we have committed people who are focused on our students. Our faculty and staff share their expertise, they want to guide students on their journey, and they want to transform students’ lives.”

McDavis reported that last spring, the university community completed development of a vision statement: “Ohio University will be the best transformative learning community where students realize their promise, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders.”

“The vision for the university articulates what already is inherent to Ohio University,” McDavis said. “Our faculty and staff embody the vision of Ohio University and lift up our university and students. Our vision expresses, in large measure, who we are and who we have been for 206 years. We are an institution that from the depths of its very soul and its earliest beginnings has been a transformative place of learning.”

“Our students learn from the best and brightest faculty members in their fields – high-achieving scholars who not only advance knowledge but who teach and share their knowledge with the next generation of thinkers, leaders, and innovators,” he said. “They bring our students along on their quest for new knowledge. This relationship to transforming the lives of our students is at the intersection of what we do and do best.”

To that end, McDavis announced the resumption of the Presidential Teacher Award. Recipients of the award will be named in the spring of 2011.

McDavis shared that over the last six years, “we have learned that time is not static.”

Citing changes in modes and tools for communication, the advent of the University System of Ohio, and the struggles of the international, national, and state economies, McDavis emphasized the importance of transforming to meet the needs of a changing society. Over the last six years “we have learned that time is not static,” he said.

“In order to survive and thrive in the 21st Century, we must be more than a university that delivers academic excellence. Our survival is hinged on ensuring the relevancy of what we offer, being responsive to the changing needs of society and our students, and being competitive with other higher education institutions.”

Some of the realities McDavis shared include a decrease in the number of public high school graduates in Ohio, at least a $15 million reduction in fiscal year 2012 state share of instruction directly tied to the anticipated end of federal stimulus funding, growing costs for utilities and health care, and need to address the important institutional priority of employee compensation.

Because of these growing concerns, he announced that the current University-wide hiring freeze would continue as a necessary short-term action to strengthen the university for long-term transformation.

“Now is the time for us to pull together and support one another. Together, we must apply our creativity and ingenuity to everything that we do and find ways we can be more efficient and strategic with our limited resources.”

The university’s strategic priorities – including setting short- and long-term enrollment goals; enhancing our undergraduate and graduate curriculum; improving our financial strength; bolstering graduate education, research and creative activity; instituting effective compensation policies and practices; and successfully launching a $450 million capital campaign – are important steps, he says, because they position the university to face its current challenges.

McDavis also outlined the multi-year planning process that was developed and implemented last spring. It includes a two-pronged approach – a strategic analysis and a budget analysis. The strategic analysis includes the environmental scans taking place at the university and planning unit levels. Much of that work, including the Environmental Scan Team’s findings, is communicated through a blog on the Executive Vice President and Provost’s website.

The budget analysis, which will continue into the fall, includes development of three- to five-year projections on expenditures and resource generation, based on detailed information planning unit heads have provided.

McDavis challenged the audience to continue to elevate Ohio University to provide the best transformative learning experience in America and to author the next chapters of the institution’s history.

“The time is now. We must embrace this opportunity and our shared responsibility to be active participants in determining the future direction of our university. Our world will not wait for us,” he said. “Our institution must be at the forefront of change… a leader for transformation. After all, it is who we are.”

Focus on OHIO

Evidence of the constant upward momentum created by faculty, staff and student research and creative activity was sitting on attendees' seats.

Small “Focus on OHIO” booklets illustrated the numerous research and instructional successes at OHIO in the last year.

Click here to download a PDF version of the "Focus on OHIO" booklet.

Highlighting the Green

Distinguished Professor Charles Smith introduced the "Highlighting the Green" video to the audience of the Faculty and Staff Fall Convocation before introducing President Roderick J. McDavis.

This edition of "Highlighting the Green" recaps a few of the recent remarkable academic, artistic, and athletic achievements of OHIO faculty, staff, and students.

Click here to watch the full "Highlighting the Green" video.