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Board of Trustees agenda for June 21-22 meetings released, University highlights key topics for discussion, consideration

The Ohio University Board of Trustees will convene June 21-22 for meetings on the Chillicothe Campus.

Key agenda items, efforts and initiatives that OHIO’s Board and senior leadership are scheduled to discuss include:

Fiscal Year 2019 budget
Resources, Finance and Affordability Committee, June 21

VP Finance and Administration Deb Shaffer and Interim Executive VP and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs will present the Ohio University operating budget for Fiscal Year 2019 to the Board for approval. The 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 includes planned use 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. This aligned with the Faculty Senate resolutions requesting proportionality over targets and timing.

Representatives from each facet of the University’s shared governance model also 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.

FY19 Annual Capital Improvement Plan Update
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee, June 21

Administrators will present 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 Projects
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee, June 21

The Board will consider several 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 Building. The total project budget is anticipated at $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 currently budgeted at $5.27 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 anticipated at $1.7 million. Of that, $1 million has already been funded and that work 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 currently anticipated at $3.5 million.
  • Facility site improvements, Heritage College, Phase I – This project will relocate assets that will be displaced by the future Heritage College building. The cost is anticipated at $2 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 currently projected at $584,000.

Strong Start to Finish
Academic and Student Success Committee, June 21

Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs will provide 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
Academic and Student Success Committee, June 21

Vice President for Student Affairs Jason Pina will present 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 will include an annual demographic report of division staff, 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.

Park Place Corridor Plan
Resources, Finance and Affordability Committee, June 21

Administrators will share the final version of the Park Place Corridor Plan with the Board of Trustees for their feedback.

A draft of the plan was shared with the Board of Trustees during its March meeting. The plan was created with representation from the City of Athens and OHIO’s student, faculty and administrative bodies, which engaged in a process to gather community feedback and analyze interior and exterior programmatic needs and ideas.

The final plan includes projects with short-, medium-, and long-term achievability, including: widening sidewalks, screening the Alden Library loading and dumpster area, increasing pedestrian safety and walking zones, a new Alden Library porch with a stepped seating area, community gardens behind 29 Park Place, and reduction of traffic to one road with two-way access.

Two elements of the plan are already in the works. Renovations of 29 Park Place into the Academic Engagement Center and the renovation of Konneker Alumni Center were approved during the March Board of Trustees meeting and are in the planning phase.

Future steps in the plan remain on hold until funding can be raised. Work will be done in collaboration with the City of Athens.