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OHIO trustees approve guaranteed tuition guidelines

Comprehensive rate model supports institutional and statewide priorities

The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved the framework of OHIO’s guaranteed tuition program and discussed strategies to support institutional priorities at meetings on the Athens Campus.

In a joint meeting of the Academics and Resources committees, Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit and Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding shared The OHIO Guarantee Program Principles. These guidelines outline a comprehensive model that includes rates for tuition, housing, dining and fees for degree-seeking undergraduate students beginning with the 2015-16 academic year.

The University will set these costs for each entering cohort of degree-seeking undergraduates and they will remain the same for that cohort throughout 12 consecutive semesters. The new guidelines also address how to handle unique student populations and stipulate exceptions to the 12-semester limit.

The comprehensiveness of the program makes it exceptional compared to other institutions with guaranteed tuition across the nation. According to Benoit, this added stability will give students and their families an advantage when planning how to finance their education, as well as providing incentive to graduate in four years.

The Board approved a resolution to adopt The OHIO Guarantee Program Principles and directed President McDavis to submit them to the chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents for final approval. The University is looking to implement The OHIO Guarantee Program starting in Fall 2015.

Benoit also unveiled the initial draft of the University Completion Plan for the Athens and regional campuses. The plan – mandated by the state and created using a template from the Inter-University Council (IUC) – incorporates strategies for increasing retention and graduation rates while acknowledging the challenges inherent in reaching those goals.

Strategies such as intervention for first-generation students, more focused advising for transfer students and increased access to mental health professionals are a few of the recommended enhancements to the University’s current retention-focused programs like learning communities and first-year seminars.

Input from Student Affairs and campus-wide discussions will help to refine the plan, with a final version to be presented for adoption by the Board of Trustees in March.

The Faculty Compensation Task Force and COMP 2014 were two other projects that took the spotlight during the joint committee meeting. The committees are tasked with ensuring effective total compensation for employees on the Athens and regional campuses in order to retain high caliber faculty and staff, respectively.  

The Faculty Compensation Task Force, after doing an in-depth analysis of faculty compensation among peer institutions, determined that Ohio University should aim to rank third among four-year public universities in the state for tenure-track faculty salaries. The committee would also like to see proportional increases for regional tenure-track faculty and Group II faculty on the Athens and regional campuses.

The draft plan calls for a total of $6.12 million invested in faculty salaries over three years. The University community will have the opportunity to review and offer feedback on the draft throughout the spring semester as part of the budget development process.

The COMP 2014 project aims to create consistent job classifications and clear career paths for all administrative, professional and non-bargaining unit classified employees and ensure that salaries are market-based. This project is in its third of five phases, with Human Resources currently working to develop job classifications and integrate existing positions into that structure. The COMP 2014 initiative is on track to be completed by December 2014.   

In other business, the Board approved:

  • A resolution to formally approve a 2.89 percent ($12,000) increase to President Roderick J. McDavis’ FY13 base compensation and a 3 percent ($900) increase for Deborah McDavis; a 15 percent ($62,250) bonus to be computed on the basis of the president’s FY13 base compensation; and an additional 1 percent ($4,270) increase for the president and a 1 percent ($309) increase for Mrs. McDavis consistent with the merit pool granted to all University employees at the Board meeting on Aug. 29, 2013. The compensation increases are effective from July 1, 2013.
  • A resolution to allow the University to accept and award contracts to undertake the schematic design for the McCracken Hall renovation and addition, the College of Business expansion and the Multiphase Corrosion Facility office addition.
  • A resolution to undertake construction for renovations to Bromley Hall (FY2014 phase) and the Central Food Facility (FY2014 phase); Lindley Hall rehabilitation; South Green Drive extension; South Green electrical substation replacement; Stocker air handler replacement (FY2014 phase); Treudley Hall and Ryors Hall cabinet refurbishment; and Tupper Hall rehabilitation.
  • A resolution authorizing the president to accept the property on 78 Columbia Ave., Athens, Ohio as a gift to the University from Dwight H. Mutchler. The property will be known as the Mutchler Home and will serve as an alternative housing option for visiting faculty and staff as well as other faculty transitioning into their positions in Athens. The resolution also stipulates that, if the property is sold at a future date, the proceeds will establish The Mutchler Painting and Drawing Endowed Scholarship.
  • A resolution authorizing the Department of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences in the College of Health Sciences and Professions to offer a Master of Physician Assistant Studies.
  • A resolution authorizing the Department of Health Sciences and Professions in the College of Health Sciences and Professions to offer a Global Health Certificate.
  • A resolution appointing Jeffrey D. Chaddock to the Kennedy Museum of Art Advisory Board for a three-year term.