Ohio University

Board of Trustees to receive academic, financial updates during January meetings

Published: January 8, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees will meet Jan. 14-15 for its regular meeting. Agenda items include the approval of a new environmental science and sustainability degree program and discussion of new strategies for scholarship and aid optimization.

The Board will receive financial and academic planning updates. In addition, Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis will discuss the University’s COVID-19 response and plans for the spring semester as part of his report to the Board.

The meetings will be held from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 and 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Jan. 15 and will be streamed online for media and public access. The meetings will be conducted online in accordance with Ohio House Bill 404, which allows for public meetings to be conducted in an online environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic through July 1, 2021.

New environmental science and sustainability degree
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14

The Board will be asked to approve a new Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Sustainability degree in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Environmental and Plant Biology, in conjunction with the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

This multidisciplinary program provides scientific knowledge of the natural world and the living organisms that inhabit it, as well as the social sciences at the core of sustainability. Students will learn the scientific principles that underlie environmental issues, the impact of human actions, and the public policies and regulations that influence those actions. The program is unique in its inter- and multi-disciplinary approach and draws major requirements and electives from courses and expertise in 10 departments across the College of Arts and Sciences and the Voinovich School.

Present facilities and staff resources are sufficient to support 50 students in the program, which was approved by the University Curriculum Council in November.

Financial update
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee, 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15

University leadership will provide an update on OHIO’s FY21 budget forecast and multi-year budget planning. This will include emphasis on the impact of COVID on the University’s current-year revenues and expenses, including changes in state operating support and net tuition and fees.

Leadership will also provide the current state of OHIO’s incremental COVID budget based on changes in grant awards and allowable expenses. Other details include multi-year revenue assumptions through FY26, FY22 budget planning strategies and cash-flow modeling.

Academic Planning and Strategy update
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14

University leadership will provide an overview of academic planning and strategy initiatives that began in Fall 2020, which will culminate in March 2021 in a series of recommendations related to academic offerings, academic structure, and associated policy, process and practice, along with recommendations related to international programs and services.

This review will include an explanation of new strategies for scholarship and aid optimization adopted by the Strategic Enrollment Executive Committee. This will include discussion by national higher education experts.

Ohio University Completion Plan update
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14

The Board will be asked to adopt Ohio University’s strategic completion plan 2020 update. The plan includes updates to the University’s continued emphasis on first-year retention and graduation rates, attention to the OHIO Guarantee+ program, the reimagined OHIO BRICKS general education plan, and the Inclusive Excellence Campus Index Framework. If approved, the plan will be submitted to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Tuition, fee and rate increases
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee, 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 15

The Board will be asked to approve a fee schedule for a pair of programs in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. The schedule calls for fees for the Athletic Training Residency for Athletic Training Certificate and the Doctor of Athletics Training programs.

Retirement vendor change
Governance and Compensation Committee, 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14

Human Resources leadership will provide an update on the recent changes to retirement plan vendor options for the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP), 403(b), and 457(b) retirement plans.

Eligible faculty and staff may opt to enroll in alternative retirement plans in lieu of the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio or Ohio Public Employee Retirement System. Four vendors were recently selected to offer services for three retirement plans along with a fifth vendor remaining as an option for one of them. Faculty and staff who were not using one of the selected vendors were required to change to the new vendors by Nov. 1, 2020.

The full agenda for the Jan. 14-15 Board of Trustees meetings can be found on the Trustees’ website. The board meetings will be streamed here on Jan. 14 and here on Jan. 15.