Jan 24, 2014
By Katie Quaranta
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: