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OHIO trustees approve FY2013 budget, discuss community engagement initiatives

The Ohio University Board of Trustees held in-depth discussions about town/gown relations and academic quality and approved the University’s fiscal year 2013 budget at meetings yesterday and today.

A panel of representatives from both the University and the Athens community gave a presentation during the trustees’ Thursday morning session about the varied ways that OHIO is engaged with its community partners in promoting and enhancing the quality of life and the welfare of the region. The panel outlined collaboration opportunities in education, economic development, healthcare, community relations, public safety and town/gown relations.

According to Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding, these collaborations are crucial to both the city of Athens and the University because the wellbeing of both is inextricably linked and essential for the recruitment and retention of faculty, staff and students to the Athens campus.

The panelists outlined a number of collaborations, some of which are already in progress, ranging from identifying strategies for community-based economic development partnerships to school-based educational services. Other projects include jointly developed emergency response plans and protocols as well as refining the existing memorandum of understanding between the city and the University.

These and other endeavors will help to ensure that Athens is an attractive place to live and raise a family, will enhance the resources available to faculty, staff and students, and will bolster the city’s ability to attract businesses to the area, according to OHIO’s Director of Real Estate and Community Engagement Donna Goss. 

Academics committee

At Thursday’s Academics Committee meeting, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit walked the trustees through a presentation detailing several key indicators of OHIO’s academic strength and commitment to its mission to be the nation’s best transformative learning community.

The first of these, the University’s tuition discount rate, represents the amount of grant and scholarship aid provided by the University against the cost of tuition and fees. It was at 18.9 percent as of fiscal year 2011, a jump of 1.6 percent over the previous year. According to Benoit, the improvement is the result of the continuing commitment of the Board and the administration to enrollment goals and affordability through the development of new scholarship programs.

This focus on affordability is particularly clear in regard to students who demonstrate need, 92 percent of whom were awarded a need-based scholarship or grant. While Athens campus tuition and fees totaled $9,936 last year, the average financial aid package for students who demonstrate need was $8,247 – including federal grants, state grants, federal Stafford Loans and institutional grants and scholarships – leaving only $1,689 in out of pocket costs for tuition and fees on average for these students.

Benoit also reported on the distribution and retention of Group I faculty. Defined as individuals who are on tenure or tenure-track appointments and are employed at least three quarters of a fiscal year, they are an integral part of supporting a strong academic environment.

As of 2011, Group I appointments accounted for 80 percent of OHIO’s Athens campus faculty. That is slightly above the 77 percent average for four-year publics in Ohio from 2009, the last year for which data is available.

The retention rate of Group I faculty in Athens was 92 percent in 2011. Benoit said that this number has been stable over time and that the number of Group I faculty who stay at the institution is high.

Resources committee

The Board approved the $786.3 million fiscal year 2013 budget, which encompasses the Athens campus, auxiliary operations, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and all regional campus budgets.

Interim Budget Director Chad Mitchell emphasized at Thursday’s Resources committee meeting that the projected increases in state share of instruction, tuition and general fee revenue – totaling about $12.7 million – have been allocated to fund strategic investments that support the core academic mission of the University.

These include increased general fund investments in financial aid, information technology infrastructure, recruitment and retention initiatives and a 2.5 percent raise pool for faculty and staff. The additional general fee money will go toward student activities and services like minimum wage increases to Campus Recreation, a yearly road trip for the Marching 110, the continuation of the Bobcat Readership program and funding to support annual Homecoming costs. 

Building the budget was a collaborative process that involved input from many groups on campus, including the Budget Planning Council, deans and vice presidents, constituent senates and the Student General Fee Committee.

The Resources committee also heard an update from Bill Jenkins and Scott Hess, managing directors with Huron consultants, on practical recommendations and next steps for the University’s transition to a Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) budgeting model. These strategies – which focus on operational and structural changes in the areas of Human Resources, Finance and Information Technology – are designed to ensure that the University will still function effectively once it fully implements RCM.

Hess laid out a detailed timeline and strategies for implementing many of these recommendations over the next year and beyond. Huron will continue to work with the University to facilitate several of these projects.

The Board also approved:
  • A resolution adopting several student fees that are in addition to the ones that were approved at the April Board meeting.

  • A resolution adopting the proposed new fee schedules for online off-campus undergraduate programs, the Masters of Health Administration, the Master of Communication Studies, the Master of Social Science and the Public Administration eLearning programs; the creation of a new online version of the Masters in Information and Telecommunication Systems with a program fee of $117 per hour; and the synchronization of the rates between the off-campus graduate programs in the College of Education with the Athens graduate rates for those degrees offered in both formats.

  • A resolution approving the capital improvement plan for fiscal year 2013. This is part of the six-year capital improvement plan that the Board approved last November.

  • A resolution giving the University the authority to award an energy savings performance contract to Constellation NewEnergy. The many energy conservation projects covered under the contract will cost the University about $28 million with a guaranteed 15-year payback.

  • A resolution that authorizes the president or his designee to approve the inventory and classification of each parcel of University land based on its suitability for oil and gas exploration and development. Much of the inventory is already done, and it will be completed by June 30 in compliance with House Bill 133. The resolution also gives the University the authority to review, negotiate, modify, edit or recommend any lease, subject to final approval by the Board.

  • A resolution authorizing the University to develop construction documents, receive bids and award construction contracts for South Green parking replacements, the demolition of the Wolfe/Ullom apartments, Bromley Hall relocations, Lindley relocations and the second and final phase of the Nelson Dining Hall renovations.

  • A resolution declaring 1.69 acres of University property in Zanesville, to be used as the site for a recreation center for Zane State College, as surplus property and authorizing the president or his designee to negotiate and execute a long-term ground lease with the Muskingum Recreation Center (MRC) once all approvals required by the state are in place.

  • A resolution to adopt a Supplemental Retirement Plan and a Supplemental 415 (m) Retirement Plan.

  • A resolution to award emeritus/emerita status to Professor Patrick Scott Washburn and Associate Professor Najee’ E. Muhammad upon their retirement from Ohio University.

  • A resolution appointing several people to the Regional Coordinating Councils at the University’s Lancaster and Zanesville campuses.

  • A resolution naming the School of Nursing conference room in Grover Center E363 the Walter C. Clay and Christina Stevens Clay Conference Room.

  • A resolution naming the reading room on the University’s Eastern campus the Patricia and Michael McTeague Reading Room.

  • A resolution naming the pavilion on the University’s Zanesville campus the Cora E. Rogge Pavilion.

  • A resolution accepting changes to the Faculty Senate constitution that adjusts meeting and election schedules to fit the new semester calendar.

  • A resolution appointing alumnus John Patrick Campbell as a national trustee.

  • A resolution accepting minor amendments to the Board’s Statement of Expectations.

  • A resolution approving an internal audit plan for the upcoming year.

  • A resolution electing Roderick J. McDavis as president of Ohio University for the year beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2013.

  • A resolution electing Stephen Golding as treasurer of Ohio University for the period beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2013.

  • A resolution electing Peter Mather as secretary for the Board of Trustees for the period beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2013.

Board of Trustees applauds President's leadership

The June 22 meeting of the Board of Trustees opened with words from Board of Trustees Chair Gene Harris and several other Board members commending Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis for his leadership and loyalty to the University. Harris spoke to how OHIO's peers view McDavis.

"Across the state he is viewed as one of the top presidents in the state as far as his leadership is concerned," she said. "We are fortunate; we are blessed to have Dr. McDavis as our president."

After honoring how far OHIO has come under McDavis' leadership, she then looked to the future.

"The Board is in the process of negotiating a new contract going forward with our president," she said. "We want him to stay as long as he would like to stay in this University. He is moving our University in the right direction and we appreciate his leadership."

National Trustee Frank Krasovec echoed Harris' remarks.

"I've been involved with the University since 1998 and as a trustee for five years and this is the strongest that I believe that I've seen the University … And I think this is probably the strongest team in my history here," he said.

Related Links

Board of Trustees