Mar 14, 2011
Pam Benoit and Stephen Golding
On Monday, Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit and Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding sent an e-mail to the entire University community about OHIO's vision.
Dear Ohio University Students, Faculty and Staff:
Members of the University community have sought greater understanding about our collective sense of Ohio University's identity, our vision for its future, and how these considerations will shape budget decisions. This message aims to provide clarity, helping to focus our ongoing discussions.
What is Ohio University's vision?
Adopted in 2010, Ohio University's vision is to become the nation's best transformative learning community where students realize their promise, faculty advance knowledge, staff achieve excellence, and alumni become global leaders.
What is transformative learning?
At Ohio University, our intent is that all students acquire what James Madison called a "distinguished competency." The hallmarks of a distinguished competency are facility in:
writing, analysis, communication, and collaboration;
civic, cultural, and scientific literacy;
global fluency; and,
the creation and application of knowledge through research and creative activity.
We achieve transformative learning by providing our students a mix of challenging and engaging experiences in the classroom and in co-curricular activities that measurably advance the acquisition of a distinguished competency.
How do undergraduate and graduate education fit into this vision?
Achieving excellence as a transformative learning community includes both undergraduate and graduate education. Ohio University is known as a predominantly undergraduate institution with strong graduate programs in specific areas.
Our criterion for guiding budget planning likely will result in a different mix of programs and emphases from what we currently offer. At the masters level, our programs must demonstrate quality and be responsive to student demand. At the doctoral level, the programs we choose to support must show national visibility. While we will focus our offerings, we will maintain the disciplinary span that makes us a university.
How does research and creative activity fit into this vision?
Students benefit when faculty use their expertise as researchers, scholars, and artists to directly enhance educational activities at the university. Opportunities for students to participate first-hand in the discovery and creation of knowledge are an integral part of a transformative learning community. Research and creative activity are thus very much a part of Ohio University's future. But, guided by our vision, we intend to sharpen our focus on scholarly activity that is aligned with our educational mission; beyond grant dollars, publications, exhibitions, or performances, we will look closely at the degree to which research efforts and creative activities further the transformation of our students.
How will our vision guide our budget planning?
As our budget comes under greater stress, we will be forced to continue making difficult decisions to suspend or reduce activities, including ones that have considerable value. In choosing what to pursue and what to scale back, we must gauge the extent to which each activity helps us achieve our vision. We will focus on supporting and advancing those programs that most effectively provide transformative experiences for our students.
In so doing, we must reduce costs, operate more efficiently, focus on our core strengths, and do all that we can to protect our academic integrity. Hard decisions lie ahead, as do compromises and sacrifices, and what we have taken for granted in many cases will not be sustainable. Travel budgets, procurement practices, class sizes, number of electives offered, number of co-curricular activities, teaching schedules and workload, staffing levels and configurations, maintenance of buildings, benefits -- all of these are likely to change along with other elements of our academic and professional lives.
Input from faculty, staff, and students was at the core of developing Ohio University's vision. This vision elevates much of what we do well while calling on us to sharpen our focus in what we pursue, be more intentional in how we pursue it, and be more resolute in deciding what we will cease to do. We will be aided in this work by our transition to a multi-year planning and budgeting approach based on Responsibility Centered Management. A multi-year approach will move us away from the limitations of single-year incremental budgeting, and will give us an incentive to develop investment funds to devote to key academic priorities.
In moving forward, we must work together as a community to build upon our core strengths, and by doing so, enhance the student experience and the academic quality of the university. Ohio University's vision and the conclusions that follow provide a blueprint for the future.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Vice President for Finance and Administration