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Ohio University Board of Trustees approve FY19 budget, review Capital Improvement Plan


Ohio University’s Board of Trustees approved the University’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget during its meeting June 22 on the Chillicothe Campus.

Fiscal Year 2019 budget

OHIO’s approved FY19 budget includes operating revenues of $749.1 million and GAAP (inclusive of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles adjustments) revenues of $811 million, as well as operating expenses of $742.2 million and GAAP-adjusted expenses of $770 million. The budget includes the planned use of reserves of $17 million, which will be utilized for capital improvements, funding of strategic priorities and programs, bridging toward reduction strategies and a new Regional Campus strategy.

The budget was crafted in alignment with Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis’ strategic pathways. These include becoming a national leader for diversity and inclusion, enhancing the overall academic quality of the University, building a University engagement ecosystem, and becoming a place where dialogue and rigorous, civil debate are institutional hallmarks.

Included in the budget forecasts are the three-year (FY18-20) 5.2 percent averaged reduction in total Administrative budgets (7 percent for all units excluding Information Technology and Diversity and Inclusion) and a proportional 5.2 percent impact from Academic Colleges and Units to be achieved through revenue generation or cost reductions over a three-year period (FY19-21). Collectively, these actions are projected to have a $21.2M favorable impact to the University’s bottom line by the end of FY21. The actions also aligned with the Faculty Senate resolutions that requested proportionality over targets and timing.

Representatives from each facet of the University’s shared governance model provided input to the budget. More than 100 leaders across the University participated in two separate sessions during the past year in the Breakfast for Progress program established by President Nellis to listen, discuss, and challenge one another on important topics facing the University. The University has established long-term investment goals to address deferred maintenance on its campuses and will establish new goals for faculty and staff compensation during FY19.

All budget decisions have been made within the financial context of constrained resources, as Fiscal Year 2019 marks the fourth year of zero percent tuition caps and the second year of zero percent statewide appropriation growth to universities. As a result, a series of principles were established to govern decisions toward maintaining a balanced budget:

  • Every area of the University will focus on ways in which they can contribute to being part of the solution. This includes executing on the revenue growth/cost reduction goals discussed above.
  • Auxiliary operations will continue to increase their support for undergraduate financial aid.
  • Academic unit strategies will focus on promoting and preserving student success; program and revenue preservation, innovation, and growth; expense management; and efficiency.

Capital Improvement Plan

Administrators presented an update of the Capital Improvement Plan, a multi-year planning document to illustrate the University’s project priorities. The FY19-FY24 six-year Capital Improvement Plan was approved by the Board of Trustees in June 2017 and included the FY19 capital needs and priorities.

FY19 projects planned from the approved FY19-FY24 CIP include several that were delayed from FY18 with a combined projected budget of $7.2 million, as well as those originally planned for FY19 with a total estimated budget of $72.9 million. A complete list can be found in the Board of Trustees agenda.

Capital Improvement projects

The Board approved several new capital project budget expenditures. They are:

  • Clippinger Hall, Phase I – The first phase of the renovation project is construction of a new laboratory building to create swing space for subsequent renovation projects and to ultimately vacate space on the ground floor of the existing Clippinger Hall building. The total project budget is $42.6 million, a portion of which had been previously approved.
  • Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Utilities, Phase I – This project will provide utility infrastructure in support of the upcoming Heritage College, Phase I, and Russ Research Opportunity Center construction projects. The utilities project is budgeted at $5.27 million.
  • Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, facility site improvements, Phase I – This project will relocate assets that will be displaced by the future Heritage College building. The cost is $2 million.
  • James Hall masonry repairs – This project is to stabilize exterior structural masonry, repair deteriorated mortar joints and make other repairs. The total project cost is $1.7 million. The first phase, which has already been funded, is ongoing. The second phase is scheduled for Summer 2019.
  • Convocation Center residential restrooms – This project will replace failing plumbing systems into the third floor restrooms and provide a more efficient layout. The cost is $3.5 million.
  • Athens Campus roadway mill and overlay – Prioritized campus roads will be repaved in collaboration with the City of Athens. The University’s cost is $584,000.

Strong Start to Finish

Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs provided an update on the Strong Start to Finish Grant. The Ohio Department of Higher Education was awarded the $2.1 million grant to support college completion while also addressing attainment gaps for historically underserved populations. OHIO joined 11 other Ohio public four-year colleges and 18 community colleges in the grant application. The Ohio grant was one of four sites funded nationwide, chosen from a pool of 47.

The state’s overall goal is to increase the percentage of students completing gateway math and English courses in their first year from 33 percent to 50 percent. Ohio University’s goals are to increase those percentages in the first year from 65.8 percent to 72.7 percent on the Athens Campus and from 37.3 percent to 49.8 percent on the regional campuses.

Student Affairs Strategic Plan

Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina and Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jenny Hall-Jones presented the Strategic Plan for the Division of Student Affairs. The plan, drafted over a 15-month planning process, provides a blueprint for the future of Student Affairs at Ohio University.

The plan ensures that a framework of equity and social justice is embedded into the division’s day-to-day work. It includes an annual demographic report of division staff, will build cultural competency into the job description of all employees, and include a professional development goal for all employees based on equity and social justice. A learning outcome audit will be conducted to ensure Student Affairs is meeting learning outcomes of adaptability, innovation, intercultural competency, interpersonal communication, problem solving, self-awareness, team development and wellbeing.

Other Board Business

In other business, the Board:

  • Reviewed the final Park Place Corridor Plan, which includes a variety of changes and upgrades to the corridor between Baker University Center and University Terrace. While the first two projects, renovation of 29 Park Place into the Academic Engagement Center and the Konneker Alumni Center, are already under way, the remainder of the projects will not begin until funds have been raised to complete them.
  • Approved a resolution establishing a new base salary for President M. Duane Nellis of $482,125 and a new base salary for First Lady Ruthie Nellis of $35,525 for Fiscal Year 2018-19. These 1.5 percent increases are consistent with merit increases allocated to University staff in FY18-19. The Board also approved a bonus of $71,250 for the president.
  • Authorized negotiations to restructure leadership of the the Muskingum Recreation Center. The University has identified potential partners to manage the facility while creating and offering programming for the community, as well as engagement opportunities for Ohio University students.
  • Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree to Robert Paul Kirshner. Kirshner has made groundbreaking contributions in several areas of astronomy, including the physics of exploding starts seen as supernovae, supernova remnants, the large-scale structure of the cosmos, and the use of supernovae to measure the expansion of the universe. He conducted a lecture at Ohio University in 2002, served as a mentor to faculty member Dr. Ryan Chornock when Chornock was at Harvard University, and has collaborated with Ohio University Interim College of Arts and Sciences Dean Joseph Shields. He co-authored 50 articles with Chornock and three with Shields. Kirshner also led the development of the 2.4-meter Hiltner Telescope in the MDM Observatory at Kitt Peak, Arizona. OHIO joined the observatory as a partner in 2005.
  • Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree to Sir Venkatraman “Venki” Ramakrishnan. Ramakrishnan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2009 for his work on the atomic structure and function of the ribosome. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Physics from Ohio University in 1976, and is one of the few American-educated Nobel laureates to hail from outside the Ivy League schools. He is currently the president of The Royal Society, an organization founded in the 1660s to recognize, promote and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. Past presidents include Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton.
  • Approved the Faculty Fellowship Leaves for the 2018-2019 academic year.
  • Approved emeriti status for retiring faculty and staff.
  • Approved new members to the Coordinating Councils at each of the regional campuses of Ohio University.
  • Adopted the Ohio University Completion Plan Update 2018, designed to increase the number of degrees and certificates awarded to students.
  • Approved revisions to the Faculty Handbook regarding the addition of a pathway for commercialization as a criterion that can be considered in promotion and tenure.
  • Approved the creation of the following new programs:
    • Master of Science in Nursing – Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
    • Master of Science in Management in the College of Business.
    • Bachelor of Applied Human and Consumer Sciences degree in Human Services in the Patton College of Education.
    • The Interdisciplinary Arts Bachelor of Fine Arts in the College of Fine Arts.
  • Approved changing the names of the following programs:
    • Nurse Administrator to Nurse Leader in the School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
    • Master of Science in Business Analytics to Master of Business Analytics in the College of Business.
    • Department of Management Information Systems to Department of Analytics and Information Systems in the College of Business.
  • Approves program reviews for the following programs:
    • College of Arts and Sciences: Economics, Geological Sciences, Sociology and Anthropology, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
    • University College: Criminal Justice and Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC).
  • Adopted fee schedules for the Athens Masters of Financial Economics.
  • Approved Fiscal Year 2019 use of Century Bond funding toward deferred and preventative maintenance projects.
  • Approved the establishment of the Heritage College Scholarship Match Program. The program provides an additional $1.5 million toward the matching program that will provide quasi-endowed scholarship funds for every dollar given to eligible scholarship endowments in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Authorized an annual audit plan, which will be conducted between July 2018 and June 2019.
  • Elected Vice President for Finance and Administration Deborah Shaffer as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for the year beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2019.
  • Elected Dr. David Moore as Secretary of the Board of Trustees for the year beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 30, 2019.
  • Approved amending the Administrative Senate bylaws as approved by the Administrative Senate.