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Ohio University provost releases one-time funds to jumpstart Vision Ohio initiatives

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 10, 2006) -- Under the leadership of Provost Kathy Krendl, Ohio University has released $1.5 million to jump-start programs that will meet the goals of Vision Ohio.

Vision Ohio is the university's strategic plan that seeks to enhance national prominence and to promote diversity, partnerships and research. The plan also aims to enhance Ohio University's ability to engage students in distinctive and interdisciplinary activities that serve the educational, societal and economic needs of the region, state, nation and world.

The university will formally roll out the plan during a public convocation at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the Margaret M. Walter Hall rotunda area. Implementation of the plan, which is meant to be a "living" document, will continue throughout the academic year and into the summer.

"We wanted to make available resources to begin implementing initiatives where opportunities exist," Krendl said. "We had one-time funds targeted for strategic investments and thought we would put them to good use to get moving toward Vision Ohio goals while we're still working on the strategic plan."

Before the Office of the Provost released the funds, each academic planning unit submitted a proposal detailing how it would spend money and ideas for measuring the initiatives' success. Launch dates for the initiatives vary, though most initiatives will have been rolled out by the end of the academic year.

Most colleges received $200,000. Because of the varying sizes and numbers of faculty and students, University College, University Libraries and Honors Tutorial College received smaller allocations, and Arts and Sciences received $400,000.

The funds are being used for projects such as expanding degree programs to regional campuses, developing online courses, communication strategies for targeted recruitment and interactive digital media initiatives. The one-time funds differ from base monies, which continue annually.

"The one-time funding gives me an opportunity to do some strategic things that otherwise I would not have been able to do," the College of Arts and Sciences interim Dean Ben Ogles said. "We were able to pick a few targets to see how well they mirror the values of Ohio University and achieve the goals of Vision Ohio."

The College of Arts and Sciences is developing a new liberal arts core curriculum that it will market to first-year students and, with University College, is working to enhance first-year student retention. The college will collaborate with the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and Graduate Student Services to enhance graduate student recruitment in engineering, math and science.

Many of the new programs that the one-time funds support were designed to generate revenues or create programs that the colleges plan to maintain under Vision Ohio.

"If the colleges generate new revenues from these projects, under the new budget model they will realize the benefits of these funds to provide continuing support for their programs," Krendl said, adding that she hopes to begin to assess the success of the initiatives in spring 2007.

Many of the projects will help meet Vision Ohio goals such as a strong and visible commitment to faculty development. Julia Zimmerman, dean of University Libraries, will use the library's funding to help create a faculty learning commons in Alden Library. The project, which will require facility renovation, will integrate the Center for Innovations in Technology for Learning, the Center for Writing Excellence, the Center for Teaching Excellence and library services oriented to faculty into one centrally located area at Alden Library. The library site will provide faculty across the institution with ready access to faculty development resources.

"One key element of Vision Ohio is to be an excellent teaching institution," Zimmerman said. "This will make it easier for faculty to develop the skills they need as they aspire to become better educators."

The Vision Ohio process continues with open forums that will help move forward implementation plans, which will be completed by the end of the academic year. Colleges and planning units are working on their individual strategic plans to be completed in February, and departments and schools will follow in May.

During the Vision Ohio Convocation on Jan. 17, the university will roll out the plan and celebrate academic excellence. The event will honor distinguished professors, students who have won national awards and other scholarly achievements.

"The convocation will become an annual event to remind ourselves of the university's core values, to celebrate our progress to date, and to reaffirm our ambitions for the future," Krendl said.

To view the Vision Ohio document, please visit the Office of the Provost Web site at www.ohio.edu/provost/

To learn more about Vision Ohio, visit www.ohio.edu/outlook/vision/

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Note to Media: You are encouraged to cover the Vision Ohio Convocation at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the Walter Hall rotunda area.

Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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