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President McDavis addresses media at July press briefing

ATHENS, Ohio (July 20, 2006) -- Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis met with the local media on Wednesday, July 19, in Cutler Hall to update them about the university's latest news and initiatives. 

McDavis began by saying that during the 2005-06 academic year, Ohio University faculty, staff and students worked hard to build an even stronger Ohio University community. He shared academic year highlights, including the development of the comprehensive strategy to reduce high-risk drinking, completion of searches for senior-level administrative positions, formation of a collaborative academic program with Kent State University called Complete to Compete and the implementation of Vision Ohio, the university's strategic plan. 

He also noted the accomplishment of increasing diversity. The 2005-06 first-year class comprised the university's largest group of multicultural students in the last 20 years. This fall, the university will welcome its second class of Urban Scholars and its first class of Appalachian Scholars, McDavis said.

Other accomplishments he discussed included developing relationships in the Appalachia Ohio region and engaging students in learning outside the classroom. Events, such as the opening of the GRID Lab and the Student Research and Creative Activity Fair, supported those efforts. Helping to develop relationships in the region, associate professor Richard Greenlee became associate provost for Appalachian access and enrichment programs, an advocacy position dedicated to Appalachian initiatives and partnerships.

McDavis also pointed to the $1.5 million in one-time funds released by Provost Kathy Krendl in January 2006 to help jump-start programs that will help meet the goals of Vision OHIO. Those funds are being used by colleges for projects such as expanding degree programs to regional campuses, and developing online courses, communication strategies for targeted recruitment and interactive digital media initiatives. Some funds also are supporting design and planning for a comprehensive service and support center for faculty development, McDavis said.

It was reported that the university will be able to once again invest in projects that support Ohio University's strategic priorities as a result of the budget realignment process. This summer, Vision OHIO implementation teams are defining priority projects. Based on their recommendations and the input from members of our university and local communities, McDavis said, he and Provost Kathy Krendl and will finalize Vision OHIO priorities for reinvestment funding. 

News shared at the press briefing included the report that the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards had another banner year. Ohio University students won 45 nationally competitive scholarships for the 2005-2006 year, surpassing last year's record number of 37. Of the university's 45 nationally competitive award winners, 13 received Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards in 2006, breaking the university's 2005 record of nine award-winners. "The record number of Fulbright winners, as well as all nationally competitive award winners, not only speaks volumes about the dedication and initiative of the recipients, but also illustrates the dedication of the faculty and staff members who helped these students with the application process," McDavis said.

Also discussed at the briefing was Ohio University's academic honesty initiatives. McDavis said that the university is reaffirming its commitment to academic integrity by engaging the campus community in a dialogue on the issue of academic honesty. He said that a universitywide Day of Discourse is scheduled for Sept. 28 to focus on the issue of plagiarism and to continue the effort to make students and faculty members better informed about this issue.

The university continues to move forward in addressing alleged cases of plagiarism in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, he said. McDavis explained that the university is following a measured approach that emphasizes due process.

McDavis spoke about the measures that the university is taking to address data security issues. A senior-level team of consultants from the Gartner Group has been brought in to assist in the development and implementation of programs in three areas: tactical and strategic security improvements, infrastructure and networking project reviews and prioritization, and organizational restructuring best practices.

"While we cannot correct the mistakes of the past, I am determined that we will learn from these oversights and make the appropriate changes," he said.

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

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