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Tuesday, Sep 02, 2014

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Roderick J. McDavis

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President responds to state budget


On Friday, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis sent an e-mail out to the entire University community regarding the state budget.


Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

The purpose of my message is to highlight key higher education-related aspects of the biennial budget that Governor John Kasich signed into law on June 30th. The state budget underscores the importance of the work the entire university community did over the last year to plan and prepare for the anticipated changes and affirms the actions of the Board of Trustees in its approval of the Ohio University 2011-12 budget late last week.

The budget addresses affordability and access by funding the Ohio College Opportunity Grant at the $37 million level for four-year public universities, and by limiting tuition changes at public universities to no more than 3.5 percent increase per year. In an effort to encourage native Ohioans to return to their home state, the bill also grants residency status for purposes of in-state college tuition to Ohio high school graduates who enroll in an institution of higher education, regardless of their location of residence prior to enrollment.

The budget provides a number of opportunities for enhanced university efficiency, including construction reform, which will help public universities save 10 to 25 percent on capital improvement projects.  The bill also directs the Chancellor and the Board of Regents to develop a plan for designating charter universities in the state. We will closely follow and actively provide input into the development process at every opportunity as this exploratory work unfolds.

Just as important as what was included in the budget is the absence of a number of items that had been discussed as part of the budget development process but were removed prior to finalization of the legislation. We were exceptionally pleased that all language related to faculty workload was removed from the bill. We were also pleased that strictly prescribed shared services provisions that would have limited our ability to explore a wide range of options were removed from the bill. While reference to health care pooling remained in the final version of the budget, the legislation stops short of mandated participation for state universities. All language related to retirement system contribution rates and pension reform was removed from the budget bill.

While the final budget resulted in a reduction in the State Share of Instruction (SSI) and the elimination of some line-item appropriations for Ohio University, our long-term financial planning efforts, transition to Responsibility Centered Management (RCM), and faculty and staff efforts to increase revenues and improve our efficiencies will strengthen our ability to offset these reductions.

We will continue to develop innovative ways to advance as we meet our opportunities and our challenges. Ohio University has a strong history of exploring new territory, emboldening us with a shared confidence that our excellent teaching, service, research and creative activity will continue to afford our students the best transformative learning community in America.

Cordially,

Roderick J. McDavis
President