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Trustees hear report on comprehensive strategic plan for Ohio University

ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 17, 2004) -- Interim Provost Kathy Krendl reported on the Presidential Task Force on the Future of Ohio University during the university's Board of Trustees' meeting today (Dec. 17).

The group, which was formed Nov. 15, is responsible for developing a comprehensive strategic plan advancing Ohio University President Roderick McDavis' four primary goals and objectives for the institution. These include transforming Ohio University into a nationally prominent research institution, increasing diversity in every area of the university, securing the research resources necessary for the university to reach national prominence and expanding the university's partnerships regionally, statewide, nationally and internationally.

"Ohio University is committed to excellence, and a strategic plan such as this provides a road map for setting and realizing our goals and potential. This type of study is vital as the university continues to pursue its opportunities," Krendl said.

The 43-member task force includes broad university-wide representation of students, faculty and administrators.

The task force is already at work examining existing materials about the university's identity, opportunities and weaknesses. Following an evaluation and review of those situation reports, the university-wide group will seek to craft a new plan building upon the university's strengths, allowing for the pursuit of opportunities, making clear the university's identity and implementing strategies that will enable the university to reach its stated goals.

Additionally, President McDavis updated the board about the university's peer institution study. Ohio University has identified 10 peer institutions that will be used as benchmarks as the university maps its long-term future.

The list includes Auburn University, University of Connecticut, Clemson University, University of Delaware, Indiana University, University of Missouri, University of New Hampshire, University of North Carolina, University of Tennessee and Washington State University. Seven of these universities serve as flagship institutions in their respective states.

The peers were selected based on a list of 48 criteria, which are divided into nine categories. The categories are peer assessment, retention and graduation rates, student experience, finances, tuition and financial aid, faculty salaries, institutional characteristics, race and ethnicity and freshman admissions selectivity.

The peer schools will serve as models for the president-appointed task force charged with planning the future of Ohio University. The peers will serve an especially important role as the task force performs a critical self-evaluation of the university and eventually measures its progress.

In other action:

  • The board accepted a resolution to name the student leadership center in the new University Center in honor of the senior class president who died in an automobile accident May 5, 2003. The Amanda Cunningham Leadership Center will serve more than 350 campus organizations by combining modern group work space, peer consulting, leadership training and Web-based information resources.

    "This is a fitting tribute to a student leader who epitomized the true spirit of Ohio University and who was a strong advocate for leadership development," Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Sostarich said. "Amanda was an active member of the design team for the new University Center, and it is appropriate that the center would bear the name of someone who dedicated her life to serving others."

    Cunningham was named an Ohio University Outstanding Student Leader and was awarded a bachelor's degree posthumously.

    The 180,000-square-foot University Center, which is under construction at the southern edge of the College Green, is scheduled to be operational between October 2006 and January 2007.

  • The board adopted amendments to its bylaws to address changing committee responsibilities and order of business in an effort to streamline the procedures for board meetings.

  • The Board of Trustees accepted financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2004, as presented by the audit firm Deloitte and Touche.

  • Trustees approved the re-issuing of $7.65 million in bond notes, continuing the project begun in 1999 to fund the Enterprise Project, which standardizes database software and tools for use in human resource management, payroll and financial affairs.
The board's next meeting will be Feb. 17-18, 2005.

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Media Contact: Associate Vice President for University Communications and Marketing Hub Burton, Office: (740) 593-2200; Pager: (740) 290-4479

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