Ohio University

Board of Trustees approves scholarship match program, temporary budget

Published: June 19, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved a continuing budget resolution for the beginning of Fiscal Year 2021, discussed plans for the fall semester and received key administrative updates during its meetings on June 18 and 19.

The Board also approved the Current-Use Scholarship Program and needed building repairs during the meetings. The meetings were conducted online in accordance with Ohio House Bill 197, which allows for public meetings to be conducted in an online environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic through Dec. 1, 2020.

Fall Planning

The administration shared recommendations from University work groups composed of students, faculty, and staff to prepare for a safe return to campus for the fall semester.

President M. Duane Nellis has accepted the recommendations, which are posted publicly and include scenarios that will enable the University to deliver on its academic mission and foster engaging campus life while also protecting the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and surrounding communities in the midst of a global pandemic. Plans call for significant collaboration across the University community, while leveraging vast expertise from across the University in everything from public health to innovative curricular design to research and experiential learning in a world of social distancing.

FY21 Continuing Budget resolution

The Board of Trustees approved a continuing budget resolution for the beginning of FY2021. A final budget recommendation will come before the Board in August.

This temporary budget allows University operations to continue uninterrupted beginning July 1. While the Board would normally consider the final budget at the June meeting, the multi-year impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet quantifiable, and projections for enrollments and state support remain dynamic and tenuous.

The University remains committed to limiting the uses of operating reserves and will prioritize the University’s student-centered mission in developing budget balancing strategies.

Current-Use Scholarship Program creation

The Board approved a resolution to create the Current-Use Scholarship Program to leverage institutional financial aid dollars to encourage current-use undergraduate scholarship gifts.

Current-use gifts are available to be used immediately to meet the University’s near-term financial needs and support recruitment and retention efforts. The new program will provide $1 in funding from the University’s unrestricted financial aid budget to amplify every $1 in donor gifts and pledge payments to accounts that meet established program criteria previously approved for The OHIO Match — Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program.

Individual, named current-use accounts will be established with a donor gift of at least $10,000. Donors of any amount may participate by contributing to pooled University-wide, college-wide or regional campus scholarship accounts created for the program.

These funds would be used before University general funds are used for the same purpose to provide additional flexibility and promote good donor stewardship.

Administrative update

Ohio University administrators provided updates on a variety of important topics.

  • President Nellis issued a statement recognizing Juneteenth, calling for it to be declared a national holiday.
  • As part of his report, President Nellis discussed the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining the outstanding work of faculty, staff and students. President Nellis also provided information on the new George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund, as well as Ohio University’s Commitment to Social Justice. With Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Brad Cohen, President Nellis briefed the board on key plans for reopening campus in the fall.
  • Vice President for University Communications and Marketing Robin Oliver shared an update on the progress of the strategic initiative to elevate the University’s marketing and branding, including visual concepts and information about new leadership and services within University Communications and Marketing and across regional campuses.
  • Director of Athletics Julie Cromer provided an update on Intercollegiate Athletics, including graduation and academic success, well-being initiatives, compliance and regulatory systems enhancements, and impacts of the ongoing evolution of the collegiate athletics landscape.
  • Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs shared details of OHIO’s new test-optional pathway, suspending the requirement of standardized test scores for incoming first-year students on the Athens Campus, and provided an update on the realignment of Regional Higher Education programs to academic colleges based on the Athens Campus, which take effect in Fall 2020. Alignments to academic colleges are based on discipline or area of expertise.

Expansion of Associate of Technical Study program

The Board approved the expansion of the Associate of Technical Study program on regional campuses to better meet educational and workforce needs for economic development and job enrichment. The program offers a degree option for students who complete a Career-Technical Credit Transfer program.

The expansion creates Associate of Technical Study programs in Building and Industrial Technology, Business Technology, Health and Allied Health Technology, Information Technology, and Service Technology.

Capital projects

The Board approved two capital projects to make critical building repairs.

  • Ping Center Roof Replacement: This project, estimated at $3.3 million, will replace the roof and associated roof drains that have deteriorated, creating a maintenance burden and requiring replacement. Ohio University’s Internal Building Assessment Team identified the project as the greatest remaining Athens Campus building envelope need.
  • Alden Chilled Water tie-in: This $1.25 million project will provide tie-in stubs to new campus chilled water distribution lines. This project is necessitated by failing cooling equipment of the primary and secondary chillers in Alden Library, which also feed Scripps Hall and Walter International Education Center.

Capital Improvement Plan update

Administrators presented the annual update on the University's Capital Improvement Plan, with a focus on FY21-22 projects. The University's review of capital projects includes any projects with expected expenditures in FY21-22, including those in design and under construction. The presentation includes revisions to the plan necessitated by financial impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The presentation covered the review process to determine which projects are critical and must continue, which can be delayed or canceled, and which require further review. University leadership re-examined deferred maintenance and programmatic priorities in conjunction with operating budget constraints and anticipates reducing scheduled FY21-22 project starts from $102 million to $13 million, an 87% reduction.

Classified Civil Service modernization

The Board approved a resolution to modernize classified civil service rules for Ohio University’s classified non-bargaining unit employees to more effectively respond to changing workforce needs. This will address outdated regulations regarding non-bargaining staff in order to achieve operational efficiencies.

Areas with rule changes include performance, discipline and termination processes, employee appointments and leaves, and the layoff and reduction-in-force process.

Title IX regulation update

Administrators provided an overview of changes made in the U.S. Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations, which were issued in May 2020. This includes details on the definition of sexual harassment, jurisdiction, definitions of and obligations related to complaints and more.

The presentation included the new regulations and changes from previous policies. The U.S. Department of Education has mandated that all institutions comply with new regulations by August 2020.

Other business

In other business, the Board:

  • Appointed the following individuals to Coordinating Councils of Ohio University regional campuses: Tiffany M. Baldwin and Pam Johnson (Chillicothe), Aaron Bruggeman, Jennifer Compston-Strough and Daniel C. Milleson (Eastern); Theresa Byers, Melissa A. Clum, David Scheffler, and Christopher Veidt (Lancaster); Marty D. Conley II and Jodi Rowe-Collins (Southern); and Angela J. DeRolph, Robert D. Kessler and Dana Matz (Zanesville).
  • Approved honorary degree awards to Dr. Jue Chen (Ph.D., Doctor of Science) and Dr. John A. Roush (Doctor of Humane Letters). Chen is a structural biologist and biochemist and a professor and head of the Laboratory of Membrane Biology and Biophysics at Rockefeller University. Roush is the 20th president of Centre College, Danville, Ky., a position from which he will retire after 22 years.
  • Changed the name of the Recreation Studies Program in the Department of Recreation and Sport Pedagogy in the Patton College of Education to Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies.
  • Changed the name of the Educational Administration program in the Department of Educational Studies in the Patton College of Education to Educational Leadership.
  • Changed the name of the Integrated Media program in the School of Media Arts and Studies in the Scripps College of Communication to Media Arts Production.
  • Placed the Master of Science program in Apparel, Textiles, and Merchandising in the Department of Human and Consumer Sciences in the Patton College of Education on suspended status. Current undergraduate course instruction will continue.
  • Approved program reviews for the following programs: Industrial and Systems Engineering (Russ College of Engineering and Technology); Nursing (College of Health Sciences and Professions); Applied Management and Applied and Technical Studies (Regional Higher Education); and Public Administration (Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs).
  • Approved Faculty Fellowship Leaves for FY20.
  • Approved emeriti status for faculty members upon their retirement.
  • Approved the proposed FY21 annual internal audit plan.
  • Appointed David Moore as secretary and Deborah Schaffer as treasurer of the Board of Trustees, beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2021.
  • Recognized Trustees N. Victor Goodman and Casey Christopher for their service and dedication to the Board and the University.

The full agenda for the June 18-19 Board of Trustees meetings can be found on the Trustees’ website.