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Ohio University Board of Trustees discusses academic planning strategies, enrollment projections, and dynamic budget planning for FY22 during virtual April meetings

Published: April 9, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees received an update on the University’s academic planning strategy, One OHIO initiative, and diversity and inclusion plans during its April meetings.

The Board also approved capital projects and received a budget update during the meetings, which were held April 8-9. In addition, President M. Duane Nellis gave a presentation on University updates, including the institution’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diversity and Inclusion strategic plan

Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Gigi Secuban reviewed the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan framework, which outlines OHIO’s core principles, strategic goals and action steps that will guide OHIO to an inclusive and equitable future.

The plan focuses on inclusive excellence, grounded in principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. Inclusive excellence promotes greater student achievement, faculty and staff satisfaction and retention, and lifelong ties between OHIO and its graduates. The document was developed since Spring 2019, including campus-wide conversations, feedback sessions with campus constituencies, and input from the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council and Diversity Leadership Institutes.

Academic Planning and Strategy

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs was joined by faculty and dean’s council academic planning co-leads to provide an update on the integrated priorities and timeline for the University’s academic planning and strategy initiative. The presentation included recommendations to strengthen and refocus Ohio University’s academic core as identified by the Academic Planning and Strategy Group, which has been meeting since November 2020 and comprises 36 faculty and Deans’ Council representatives.

Provost Sayrs also shared recommendations of the International Opportunities Think Tank, co-chaired by Purba Das, associate professor in communication studies at OHIO’s Southern Campus, and chair of the University International Council, and Donal Skinner, dean of the Honors Tutorial College, which was charged to explore, project, and make recommendations for the future of international teaching, learning, research, recruitment, and student support services. 

One OHIO update

Executive Dean Nicole Pennington and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Bradley Cohen reviewed the final report of the One OHIO integration strategic initiative. The Trustees were informed of accomplishments and positive outcomes, including the creation of administrative and instructional efficiencies and the introduction of new leadership for each regional campus to foster an inclusive campus culture and to cultivate community relationships. In addition, Executive Dean Pennington shared emerging opportunities on our regional campuses as they align with future planning efforts.

Marketing/enrollment update

Trustees received an update on University enrollment projections, including a discussion about the impact of COVID-19 on enrollment, preliminary Spring 2021 highlights and Fall 2021 projections. University leadership provided a comprehensive overview of active efforts to recruit and retain students, including multiple new visit strategies, such as expansion of COVID-safe in person campus visits through the new “OHIO Pawprint Tour.”

Vice President Candace Boeninger briefed the Trustees on work of the Strategic Enrollment Executive Committee (SEEC) to engage in strategic enrollment planning exercises that will respond to, reflect, and align with other key strategic initiatives.

Vice President Robin Oliver updated Trustees on expanded marketing strategies, such as an increase in targeted yield marketing, a new online undergraduate recruitment campaign, and an investment in layered digital advertising strategies. 

Budget update

Trustees received a report on the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; a forecast of the FY21 results of operating performance; and FY22-26 budget planning. Senior Vice President Deborah Shaffer provided an update on revenues highlighting state operating support, net tuition and fees, and federal and state stimulus support, as well as institutional operating expenses. In addition to discussion about current FY22-FY26 budget assumptions, financial trends and evolving information that will impact these assumptions, University leaders demonstrated a new interactive tool that has been developed within the University Budget Office that enables integration of scenario analyses across multiple budget assumptions to determine impact on future year budgets. 

Space planning initiative

Associate Vice President Shawna (Bolin) Wolfe updated Trustees on OHIO’s Reimagine Space Utilization and University Footprint strategic initiative, which seeks to meet evolving University needs for increased flexibility and optimization of its system-wide physical portfolio, including integration of OHIO’s digital and physical environments. The Trustees heard an overview of the initiative’s focus areas to optimize utilized space in areas such as learning spaces, office and meeting spaces, and research space. Additionally, a proactive plan of divestment for long term space-related cost avoidance was shared, which provides more flexibility for the University to invest in the utilized portfolio. A preview of near-term opportunities was shared and approval for investment as projects are ready will be forthcoming in future meetings.

Academic health system presentation

Kenneth Johnson, D.O., OHIO’s chief medical affairs officer and executive dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, discussed the College’s vision of a new “health systems” approach to medical education that formally integrates internal and external institutional partners. The goal is to operate as an academic health system that incorporates partners in a more strategic way.

The Heritage College has undergone transformational growth over the past 10 years, empowered by a $105 million gift from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. The college’s three academic campuses and prestigious health system partners across the state give OHIO a statewide footprint.

Virtual reality and game development program

The Board approved a new degree program, the Bachelor of Science in communication in virtual reality and game development.

The program, including business and communications courses, will prepare students to become effective leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative problem-solvers in a wide variety of industries. The program will operate with existing facilities and staff, with an annual cohort of about 20 students.

Fee approvals

The Board approved course and broad-based fees, as well as graduate program tuition and fees, for Fiscal Year 2022.

Program fees for master’s programs in the College of Health Sciences and Professions, College of Business and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs were approved. In addition, broad-based fees including super single and super double room rates for Housing and Residence Life were approved.

Capital projects

The Board approved budget amendments to ongoing projects, as well as several new projects.

The budget amendments are:

  • Clippinger Renovation: This will increase the budget for the Clippinger Renovation Phase 2 by $4.98 million, to a total of $38.6 million, and the Clippinger Renovation Phase 3 by $5.66 million to a total of $34.3 million. These changes are to cover recent increases in the construction market and cost estimate uncertainty. Phase 2 addresses deferred maintenance and programmatic needs in part of Clippinger. Phase 3 addresses deferred maintenance and programmatic needs in the remainder of Clippinger.
  • Alden Library: The chilled water tie-in budget will be reduced by $400,000 to a total of $850,000, while the budget for replacing two air handlers will increase by $400,00 to $1.4 million. The chilled water project will address failing cooling equipment in the library, while the air handlers will maintain the proper humidity and temperature necessary for a library environment.

New projects include:

  • Heating plant switch gear: This $8.8 million project will address critical deferred maintenance needs for equipment that is well beyond life expectancy in a major electrical distribution hub for campus.
  • Weld House demolition: This $2.5 million project includes demolition of Weld House and the catwalk and utilities connecting to Nelson. The space will be utilized as recreational green space.
  • Chubb Hall HVAC: This $2.2 million project includes a renovation of the HVAC systems in Chubb Hall.
  • Aquatic Center roof replacement: This $2 million project will replace the roof of the Aquatic Center, which is beyond repair and must be replaced to avoid further damage to the building.
  • Bush Airport apron rehabilitation: This $1.68 million project will reconstruct the existing ramp at the airport to meet current standards and handle heavier aircraft.
  • Shannon Hall HVAC (Eastern Campus): This $1.57 million project will modernize HVAC components in Shannon Hall.

Human Resources updates

University Human Resources presented an update on significant compensation projects in the department, including the 2020 biennial equity review. The review is conducted by a third-party expert to ensure that administrative, classified and professional employee compensation has been determined on a non-discriminatory basis.

The Board also received an update on the compensation five-year market study, a large-scale review of benchmark job descriptions and market data. As part of the review, the pay structure was aged and widened, and several positions were moved into different pay grades to ensure alignment with market.

In other business, the Board:

  • Approved emeriti status for several employees upon their retirement from Ohio University.
  • Changed the name of the Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Strategic Leadership to the Bachelor of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership and Management in the Department of Management in the College of Business.
  • Changed the name of the Bachelor of Science in Applied Management to the Bachelor of Science in Business in the Department of Management in the College of Business.
  • Accepted the program review of the Applied Health Sciences and Wellness program in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
  • Placed the Bachelor of Science degree programs in Long-Term Care Administration and Occupational Hygiene and Safety in the Department of Social and Public Health in the College of Health Sciences and Professions on suspended status.
  • Issued a resolution of support for the Kennedy Museum of Art as a valued contributor to the educational mission of the University.
  • Approved the extension of a previously approved 25-year easement for National Gas & Oil Cooperative for placement of a pipeline on the Ohio University Zanesville Campus.
  • Approved additions to a pair of quasi-endowments, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Student Scholarship Matching Fund and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Primary Care Endowed Scholarship.
  • Received the 2021 OHIO Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, a road map for the next five years of progress toward the carbon neutrality and academic requirements of the president’s carbon commitment and the OHIO strategic priority of enhancing the University’s national position as a leading-edge laboratory for sustainability.
  • Approved a resolution to revoke the tenure of Dr. Yusuf Kalyango.
  • Elected Cary Cooper as Chair and Peggy Viehweger as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for the year beginning May 14, 2021 and ending May 13, 2022.
  • Passed a resolution honoring service in memory of former Board of Trustees Chair and member M. Lee Ong.
  • Passed certificates of appreciation for outgoing student Board member Justin Kelly and outgoing past Board Chair Dave Scholl.

The full agenda for the April 8-9 Board of Trustees meetings can be found on the Trustees’ website.