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Board of Trustees approves capital projects, reviews key program reports

Board members meet with alumni, tour CoLab during October meetings


The Ohio University Board of Trustees met with alumni, toured the new CoLab, and approved several key resolutions during its meetings on Oct. 18 and 19.

The Board also heard an update on the new OHIO Honors Program. The board approved changes to the Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program and an easement for the Richland Avenue pedestrian passageway project.

Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program

The Board approved revisions to the Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program to provide for more flexibility in meeting student needs.

The changes include:

  • Abolishing a rule that limits available match funding to pre-determined colleges, instead allocating them on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Donors will be able to designate a preference for scholarship funds to be directed to particular academic departments, programs or majors. However, if students who meet the donor’s preference cannot be identified in a given year, the University can now utilize the scholarship dollars for other eligible Ohio University students.
  • Other donor preferences, such as geographic restrictions, may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Those preference must be broad enough to ensure an ample number of eligible recipients.

Capital Projects

The Board approved several capital project budget expenditures.

The projects include:

  • Herrold Hall (Zanesville), infrastructure and interior improvements, which will cost $1.046 million. This is the second phase of renovation to Herrold Hall, and includes updates to the HVAC, electrical, lighting and interiors in the library area.
  • Ryors Hall lobby renovation, which will cost $800,000. This will update the lobby of Ryors Hall on West Green, including office renovations and new furniture.
  • An additional $400,000 was approved for repairs to the West Green Chilled Water  Plant. The improvements in the design of the plant will allow for automated operation, which will improve energy efficiency, function, and operating efficiency.

Richland Avenue easement

The Board of Trustees approved a resolution to grant the City of Athens an easement for the construction of a roadway and pedestrian passageway on University land under Richland Avenue.

The proposed roadway and pedestrian passageway will provide significant benefits to the University and its students, including improved traffic flow and enhanced safety for pedestrians and drivers. The Richland Avenue roadway will be raised and a dedicated passageway beneath will allow for safe crossing between Porter Hall and Grover to West Green and vice versa.

OHIO Honors Program Progress

During Dr. M. Duane Nellis’ Presidential Spotlight, representatives from the OHIO Honors Program highlighted the early progress of the program. The new OHIO Honors Program, created to offer innovative honors learning experiences to undergraduates from all Ohio University majors, accepted its first cohort this fall semester.

The OHIO Honors Program offers an alternative to the Honors Tutorial College’s 38 tutorial-based degree programs that enable students to become accomplished artists, scholars and professionals. Honors Tutorial students take a small group or one-on-one tutorial with a faculty member each term and produce a thesis, creative, or professional project that makes an original contribution to their discipline.

The new OHIO Honors Program is designed to supplement undergraduate study in any non-tutorial degree program, allowing highly engaged students to focus on experiential learning and application. Students choose honors-level courses and out-of-class opportunities that facilitate a deep exploration of the relationship between theory and practice. OHIO Honors students who complete the honors experiences receive an honors designation on their transcript and diploma.

CoLab tour, alumni meeting

The Board of Trustees toured the CoLab, a new space designed as a physical hub for student innovation and entrepreneurship activities, on Oct. 18. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held as part of the CoLab’s grand opening that day.

The CoLab aligns with Dr. Nellis’ strategic pathway of incentivizing interdisciplinary collaborations to enhance the University’s research and creative profile. The CoLab will support campus-wide student innovation, creativity, and social and public innovation efforts that will have a broader impact on Ohio University and the community.

The Board of Trustees attended an alumni reception that evening, followed by a luncheon and strategic planning session with alumni on Oct. 19.

Oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics

The Board passed a resolution to implement recommendations of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges regarding the governance and oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Under the resolution, the University president and Intercollegiate Athletics will provide an annual report to the Board on the status of Athletics’ finances, academics and student-athlete welfare and compliance. The Board is ultimately responsible for Athletics policy, and new Board members will receive training as part of their orientation about the governance and oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics.

The associate athletic director will now have dotted-line reporting to the University’s general counsel, who will provide legal advice and assistance as needed.

Other Board business

In other business, the Board of Trustees:

  • Approved student fees for the Online Masters of Social Work program in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
  • Accepted the 2017-18 five-year review of Centers and Institutes. The action recommended continuation of the following:
    • Center for Advanced Systems and Transportation Logistics Engineering
    • Avionics Engineering Research Center
    • Institute for Corrosion and Multiphase Technology
    • Center for Scientific Computing and Immersive Technology
    • Diabetes Institute
    • WOUB Center for Public Media
    • Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics
    • Center for Intelligent Chemical Instrumentation (one-year extension)
    • George Hill Center for Counseling and Research (one-year extension)
    • Center for Public and Social Innovation (one-year extension)
    • Appalachian Rural Health Institute (one-year extension)
  • Appointed Patrick L. Nash and Shannon Nezbeth to the Coordinating Council for the Zanesville Campus of Ohio University.
  • Approved three new academic programs:
    • A bachelor of fine arts in film degree within the Division of Film in the School of Dance, Film, and Theater in the College of Fine Arts.
    • A bachelor of arts in global studies degree through the Center for International Studies in the Honors Tutorial College.
    • A professional tennis management master degree track within the Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Sciences through the Department of Recreation and Sport Pedagogy in the Patton College of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Sports Administration in the College of Business.
  • Approved a change to the easement process to grant the authority to execute easements essential for project completion to the Vice President for Finance and Administration at the time of major capital project approval.
  • Approved a 25-year utility easement for the City of Lancaster Municipal Gas Department to install new service lines at the Lancaster Campus and take over maintenance of those lines from Ohio University.
  • Approved a 25-year utility easement to Columbia Gas on Ohio University land on East State Street. The line will service Muntean Health Care on East Park Drive.
  • Approved a 25-year utility easement to Columbia Gas on Ohio University land along South Green Drive as part of the Sook Center project. The project will also enhance service to the Walter Field House and future Ohio University needs.
  • Approved a 25-year utility easement to National Gas & Oil Cooperative to allow for necessary pipeline upgrades to fix regulatory, safety and reliability issues on the Ohio University Zanesville Campus at no cost to Ohio University.
  • Accepted audit financial statements as presented by management of the University, Foundation and subsidiaries for the year ending June 30, 2018.
  • Presented a certificate of appreciation for the efforts of Dr. Elizabeth Sayrs, Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Student Success and Dean of University College, for her service as Interim Executive Vice President and Provost.
  • Presented a certificate of appreciation to Dr. David Thomas for his time as a faculty representative to the Board of Trustees.