By Linda Lockhart
A recent white paper from Ohio University deans as well as teaching loads were among the topics discussed Friday when President Roderick J. McDavis traveled to the Zanesville campus for an update with campus faculty and staff. The president plans to visit each of the regional campuses over the next several months, with a trip to the Lancaster campus scheduled for May.
"I look forward to continuing my visits with faculty and staff at our regional campuses," McDavis said. "I value the opportunity to talk with them and hear their insights and perspectives. The outreach and learning experiences they offer are a very important way that Ohio University fulfills its mission in Southeast Ohio."
McDavis characterized the Zanesville visit as a chance to reconnect and talk about what was on employees' minds. And the audience of about 50 wasn't hesitant to share concerns and ask questions.
Reorganization was a hot topic, prompted by a blueprint for an academic restructuring plan that was released Wednesday by Ohio University deans.
Among other things, the plan proposes combining Regional Higher Education, University Outreach and University College to create a new college. McDavis encouraged those in the room to share input to the plan.
"That's the value of having the dialogue," he said, adding that discussion of the advantages and disadvantages to the plan will help to shape the outcome. "If we are going to realign…let's do that in a way that doesn't pull us apart, but connects us."
Other topics raised by attendees included faculty salaries, shared governance, University System of Ohio goals, benefits changes and fundraising. The president and attendees spent nearly an hour and a half in discussion, with McDavis saying in closing that he enjoys visiting Zanesville because the interaction is always rich.
Faculty member Carol Hoefler said that the topics weren't new to her, but said she was pleased to have the discussion brought to her campus.
"I think it's a really exciting time for OU," Hoefler said. "We do have an opportunity to reinvent ourselves. And that we have an opportunity to be part of the discussion is exciting."
McDavis will be on the Lancaster campus on May 12 for a similar session. He visited the Eastern campus in January when the Board of Trustees met there. Visits to the Southern and Chillicothe campuses will be scheduled for early fall quarter.