Ohio University

Board of Trustees updated on Strategic Framework, approves building name

Published: January 17, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees received an integrated strategy update, including discussion of budget planning, enrollment and progress on the University’s Fearlessly First Strategic Framework during its meetings Jan. 16 and 17.

University leadership also provided an update on alignment plans for Ohio University’s Regional Higher Education in support of the One OHIO Strategy. In addition, the Board also approved a name for the new Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine building and new capital projects during the meetings.

Budget Planning, Enrollment and Strategic Framework Update

The Board of Trustees heard an integrated strategy update from University leadership that includes a review of current and forecasted enrollment projections and the budget position generated by these projections, immediate and near term actions to close the current year deficit with a controlled use of reserves, and longer term plans to reduce costs.

The presentation featured progress updates for several Strategic Framework initiatives aimed at repositioning the University as a nimble 21st century public university of choice. It also included new data that will inform our marketing strategy, and an update on additional strategies for marketing and student recruitment in the near term.

The presentation included information on the new OHIO Guarantee+ program, launched earlier this week to expand the University’s fixed tuition guarantee and ensure a new level of cost transparency and degree affordability.

Regional Higher Education program alignment

The administration announced the Regional Higher Education alignment plans in support of the One OHIO Strategy and the OHIO Strategic Framework.

The plan aligns Regional Higher Education programs to appropriate academic colleges beginning with the 2020-2021 academic year. Implementation of the plan will begin during Spring Semester 2020. Program alignments are based on discipline or area of expertise.

The realignment plan was put forward as a recommendation in the Regional Higher Education Task Force report from November 2018.

Voluntary Separation or Retirement Program/Early Retirement Incentive Plan

The Board authorized a resolution to allow the president or his designees to develop and implement a voluntary separation or retirement program and/or an early retirement incentive plan to eligible tenured professors, tenured associate professors, and administrative staff with the academic rank of tenured professor or tenured associate professor. This will be available on all University campuses, excluding the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The Board also authorized the development of an early retirement incentive plan for custodial and residential custodial staff from the Vice President for Finance and Administration and Vice President for Student Affairs planning units for employees who are eligible to retire.

Plan designs have not yet been finalized but will be shared with faculty and staff in early February.

Heritage College building name

The Board officially named the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s new medical education facility Heritage Hall in honor of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation (OHF), which provided a $105 million grant to the Heritage College in 2011, $21 million of which supports the construction of the building.

Located on the University’s new Union Street Green, Heritage Hall will house all medical education curricular activities on the Athens campus, as well as faculty offices and several of the college’s administrative units. The facility will enable the Heritage College to achieve parity in state-of-the-art learning environments across its Athens, Dublin and Cleveland academic campuses, including the technology integration necessary for medical education and research collaborations across the campuses, and will bolster recruitment of outstanding, diverse faculty and students.

Capital projects

The Board approved six new capital projects, including four on regional campuses. The projects are:

  • Dublin Medical Education Building 2 renovation: This project, estimated at $6.8 million, will address deferred maintenance needs of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, building envelope and existing elevator, as well as interior programmatic improvements. Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2020 and be complete in March 2021.
  • Lancaster Campus HVAC and energy efficiency improvements, Phase I: This project, estimated at $1.73 million, will be the first phase of HVAC and energy efficiency improvements at the Lancaster campus. Brasee Hall improvements include replacement of a boiler and related hot water piping and controls, while Herrold Hall will have its air handler and controls replaced. Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2020 and be complete by November 2020.
  • Innovation Center infrastructure upgrades: This project, estimated at $1.4 million, will update the existing redundant heating systems that are no longer functional, along with air filtration, security key swipe installation, and the conversion of office spaces into lab space to be used by tenants. Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2020 and be complete by December 2020. The majority of this project is grant-funded.
  • Chillicothe Campus Stevenson Center roof replacement: This project, estimated at $832,000, will replace the existing roof. Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2020 and be complete by January 2021.
  • Scripps Hall ground floor esports renovation: This project, estimated at $650,000, is part of a presidential initiative to bring multi-dimensional scholarship through video gaming to OHIO and will create an esports facility in Scripps Hall. The space will include a competition room, club practice room, social gaming area, office space and a broadcasting booth. Construction is scheduled to begin in May 2020 and be complete by August 2020.
  • Eastern Campus Health and Physical Education Center roof replacement: This project, estimated at $642,000, will replace the existing roof and other associated repairs. Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2020 and be complete by October 2020.

Investment, sustainability updates

The Board received a preview of the updated Sustainability and Climate Action Plan in advance of public forums scheduled for the spring semester. This included a new proposed carbon neutrality date, a proposed five-year target for emissions reductions, and 32 additional proposed goals across 16 areas.

The Board also approved a new Investment Policy Statement. The Ohio University Foundation’s Investment Committee oversees the University’s long-term investment portfolio, and the investment policy is used to guide the investments of the portfolio, which is comprised of the University’s and Foundation’s endowments and quasi-endowments, along with a portion of their working capital. The Board reviewed and recommended the adoption of the statement at its October meeting, and the Ohio University Foundation Board approved the statement at its November meeting.

College Credit Plus presentation

Administrators provided an overview of the College Credit Plus program and its impact on Ohio University. The presentation included an overview of the history of the program, how it works, and how it is different from earlier dual-enrollment programs. The discussion also included opportunities for OHIO to incorporate College Credit Plus into meaningful programming.

Other business

In other business during the meetings, the Board:

  • Approved the creation of the Bachelor of Science in Education in Early Childhood and Elementary Education in the Patton College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education. The program replaces the Early Childhood Education program, which is no longer permitted to offer licensure per Ohio Senate Bill 216 starting in the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Approved the creation of the Doctor of Athletic Training program in the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. The program is part of the College’s transition of its athletic training degrees as mandated by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education.
  • Renamed the Applied Communication major to the Communication major in the Scripps College of Communication.
  • Changed the name of the Department of Family Medicine to the Department of Primary Care in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Abolished the Department of Geriatric Medicine/Gerontology in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. There are no faculty in the department, and faculty specializing in the area are not required by college accreditors. Education of physicians in care of an aging population remains an important component of primary care training.
  • Approved the program review for the Environmental Studies program in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.
  • Approved a resolution declaring Pilcher House, 10 E. Union St., as surplus property. The University has issued a request for proposals to identify an entity that would lease, renovate and reuse the property in a timely manner. If that request for proposals is unsuccessful, the resolution authorized the President or his designee to negotiate, evaluate and transact the disposition of the property, including deed restrictions to ensure its use is limited to those compatible with the mission and strategy of Ohio University.

The full agenda for the January Board of Trustees meeting can be found on the Trustees’ website.