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Board of Trustees approves new programs, FY22 budget continuation during June meetings

Published: June 18, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees voted to continue the University’s FY22 budget until August when the state biennial budget will be finalized during its meetings June 17-18 in Walter Hall on the Athens Campus.

The Board also approved several new programs and received updates on key initiatives including the OHIO Honors Program and the Capital Improvement Plan during the meetings.

Outgoing President M. Duane Nellis presented a report to the Board focusing on his term as OHIO’s 21st President. In his report, he discussed topics such as One OHIO, the strategic framework and initiatives, leading the University during COVID-19, revitalization of the Ridges, and the OHIO Honors Program. Dr. Nellis concluded his remarks with a welcome of new President Dr. Hugh Sherman.

Trustees also approved a resolution to recognize Juneteenth as a federal holiday at Ohio University.

Other actions taken or updates received by the Board include:

New programs approved

The Board approved several new academic programs, reflecting the University’s commitment to reimagining the academic enterprise to meet student demand. The programs are:

  • Bachelor of Sport Management in the Honors Tutorial College, in collaboration with the Department of Sport Administration in the College of Business,
  • Master of Communication in the Scripps College of Communication, and
  • Accelerated Graduate Pathway Environmental Nutrition in the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. Students in this program would have an early assurance pathway for the Master of Science in Food and Nutrition Sciences.

The Board also approved the creation of the Department of Applied Sciences and Professions in University College.

Continuing FY22 budget, tuition and fees

The Board approved a continuing Fiscal Year 2022 budget, with a commitment from the administration that a final FY22 operating and capital budget will be presented to the Board for approval during its August meeting, after the state of Ohio’s biennial budget process is complete.

The budget presentation by University leadership included resolutions for FY22 tuition and fees, as well as an update on the budget impacts of COVID-19, a FY21 year-end financial forecast, and an update on the FY22-26 budget.

The administration recommended constraining the Athens undergraduate rate increase to only 1.8 percent for incoming FY22 students, and the Board approved. Through the OHIO Guarantee, this rate will be fixed for four years for incoming students, for a distributed annual increase of less than 0.5 percent. Under the proposed state operating budget, the undergraduate tuition cap currently allows for rate increases of up to 2 percent, as well as a 1.8 percent Consumer Price Index increase, for a total of 3.8 percent. OHIO recommended only the 1.8 percent CPI increase, a year after it was the only public institution in Ohio to freeze tuition for the 2020-21 academic year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All undergraduate rate increases will be presented to the Board contingent upon the finalization of the FY22-23 Biennial State Operating Budget.

The Board also adopted reduced tuition and fee schedules for specific undergraduate and graduate program, which must align with the upcoming state operating budget.

OHIO Honors Program update

Leadership of the Honors Tutorial College and OHIO Honors Program (OHP) provided an update on the University-wide honors program. The first OHP graduate and a current OHP student shared their perspectives about how the program’s curricular and co-curricular experiences complement their OHIO degrees. The update included the fall launch of an OHP pilot on the regional campuses, a collaboration with the Office of Global Opportunities for virtual international experiences, and more.

Retention and persistence update

A team of faculty and staff representatives working to increase retention and persistence provided an update on several University initiatives at three levels of impact: those that are systemic; address policy, process, and practice; or target specific populations. OHIO has increased its retention and graduation rates over the past several years, and additional data are being analyzed to determine the next areas of focus.

Academic planning and strategy update

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Brad Cohen provided an update on recommendations from the Academic Planning and Strategy group and the International Opportunities Think Tank, including the launch of a new initiative, the Program Innovation Accelerator. The accelerator is designed to help remove barriers and provide support to faculty as they develop and implement new or expanded academic programs. In response to the recommendations of the Policies, Processes, and Practices subcommittee report submitted in March, the accelerator will also support streamlined processes for new program launch.

Student Code of Conduct update

The Board approved updates to the Student Code of Conduct, which is reviewed every two years, or more frequently if changes in the law require it. This is the regularly scheduled biannual review.

Fall enrollment update

Leadership provided an update on projections for incoming Fall 2021 students. The class is currently on track to surpass Fall 2020 enrollment levels and previous revenue projections.

In March 2020, OHIO was tracking ahead of the Fall 2019 cohort, signaling a potential rebound of freshman enrollment. But the pandemic and other shifts in a highly competitive market have impacted that progress. While ongoing impacts are still unknown, a variety of strategic initiatives have led to higher enrollment confirmations and stronger projected performance for the incoming Fall 2021 Athens undergraduate class.

Sustainability and Climate Action plan

The Board approved 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 neutrality commitment and OHIO’s strategic priority of enhancing the University’s national position as a leading-edge laboratory for sustainability.

The plan was developed through a series of comprehensive meetings and engagement with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

Juneteenth National Independence Day holiday resolution

The Board approved a resolution that allows Ohio University to observe the anniversary of Juneteenth as an official paid University holiday. Due to Juneteenth falling on a Saturday this year, the University recognized the holiday today, June 18.

Capital projects/Capital Improvement Plan update

The Board approved an amendment to an existing project to replace windows in Porter and Lindley halls. The project was originally budgeted at $2.9 million, and the Board added $500,000 to that total. The change was required due to material price escalations and increased lead times for the project. The project includes addressing deferred maintenance and energy efficiency needs by replacing the windows, including remediation of lead paint and asbestos glazing in the materials around the windows.

The Board also reviewed the FY22 annual and the FY23-28 six-year Capital Improvement Plan update process. The presentation included an overview of past strategic decisions, current funding strategies, as well as a highlight of major projects, areas of focus and alignment with strategic objectives. The plan will be presented to the Board again in August for consideration of approval, after the state of Ohio’s biennial budget process concludes.

In other business, the Board:

  • Named Associate Professor of History Brian Schoen as the James Richard Hamilton/Baker and Hostetler Professor of the Charles J. Ping Institute for Teaching of the Humanities.
  • Approved faculty fellowship leave awards for 2021-22.
  • Approved emeriti status for a number of employees upon their retirement from Ohio University.
  • Approved members for the Coordinating Councils of the regional campuses. They are Richard Rooney and Heidi D. White, Chillicothe; Ashley Doren and Heidi Porter, Eastern; Chris Briggs, Debra Connell, Nathan Hale and Mary Snider, Lancaster; Evan Hall, Katrina Keith and Tyler Walters, Southern; and Floyd Allen Fraley, Diane Jones, Robert Kessler and Shannon Nezbeth, Zanesville.
  • Approved name changes of several programs:
    • In the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Geological Sciences, the Bachelor of Science program in Geological Sciences-Environmental Geology was renamed Geological Sciences-Environmental Water Resources.
    • In the Patton College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education, the Bachelor of Science in Education in French was renamed the Bachelor of Science in Education in French Education, and the Bachelor of Science in Education in Spanish was renamed to the Bachelor of Science in Education in Spanish Education.
    • In the College of Fine Arts’ School of Music, the Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Performance Major-Contemporary Music Technology was renamed the Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Performance Major-Contemporary Music and Digital Instruments.
  • Placed the Bachelor of Art degree in French in the Honors Tutorial College on suspended status.
  • Accepted program reviews for the following programs: Linguistics (College of Arts and Sciences); the College of Business; Health and Consumer Sciences (Patton College of Education); Aviation, Civil Engineering, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Russ College of Engineering and Technology).
  • Approved the merger of two departments, the Department of Recreation and Sport Pedagogy and the Department of Human and Consumer Sciences in the Patton College of Education, into the Department of Recreation, Sport Pedagogy, and Consumer Sciences.
  • Received an update on new certificates approved by the University Curriculum Council.
  • Received the results of the promotion and tenure review process, effective for the FY22 academic year.
  • Approved the appointment of David Moore as Secretary to the Board for a term running from July 1, 2021, until June 30, 2022, and Deborah Shaffer as Treasurer of the Board for a term running from July 1, 2021, until Aug. 20, 2021.

The full Board of Trustees agenda is available at https://www.ohio.edu/trustees.