Ohio University

Board of Trustees to consider new programs, budget during June meetings

Published: June 10, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees will consider the creation of several new programs, as well as a number of budget decisions, during its meetings June 17-18 in Walter Hall on the Athens Campus.

The Board will also receive updates on key initiatives including the OHIO Honors Program and the Capital Improvement Plan during the meetings. President M. Duane Nellis will also present a report to the Board focusing on his term as president. In his report, he will discuss 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.

The Board will meet from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Thursday, June 17, and from 8 a.m. until 12:15 p.m., Friday, June 18. All meetings will be held in person in Walter Hall 104 or Walter Hall 215/217. In-person attendance is limited to Trustees, presenters and supporting staff; the meetings will be broadcast via an audio stream, and the main board meeting will be streamed live online. Those attending the meetings will be required to wear masks.

Key items for discussion include:

New program creation
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:45 p.m., Thursday, June 17, Walter Hall 104

The Board will be asked to approve 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 will also be asked to create the Department of Applied Sciences and Professions in University College.

Continuing FY22 budget, tuition and fees
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee, 8 a.m., Friday, June 18, Walter Hall 104

The Board will be asked to approve 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 will include resolutions for FY22 tuition and fees. It will also include an update on the budget impacts of COVID-19, an FY21 year-end financial forecast, and an update on the FY22-26 budget.

The administration will recommend constraining the Athens undergraduate rate increase to 1.8 percent for incoming FY22 students. 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 is recommending 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.

OHIO Honors Program update
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:45 p.m., Thursday, June 17, Walter Hall 104

Leadership of the Honors Tutorial College and OHIO Honors Program (OHP) will provide an update on the University-wide honors program. The first OHP graduate and a current OHP student will share their perspectives about how the program’s curricular and co-curricular experiences complement their OHIO degrees. The update will include 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
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:45 p.m., Thursday, June 17, Walter Hall 104

Representatives of a team of faculty and staff members working to increase retention and persistence will provide 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
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:45 p.m., Thursday, June 17, Walter Hall 104

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Brad Cohen will provide an update on recommendations from the Academic Planning 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 and departments for developing and implementing new or expanded academic programs. Following on the recommendations of the Policies, Processes, and Practices work group final report submitted in March, the accelerator will also streamline processes for new program launch.

Student Code of Conduct update
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:45 p.m., Thursday, June 17, Walter Hall 104

The Board will be asked to approve updates to the Student Code of Conduct. The Code 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
Academics and Student Success Committee, 1:45 p.m., Thursday, June 17, Walter Hall 104

  • Leadership will provide 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
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee, 8 a.m., Friday, June 18, Walter Hall 104

The Board will be asked to approve 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.

Capital projects/Capital Improvement Plan update
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee, 8 a.m., Friday, June 18, Walter Hall 104

The Board will be asked to approve 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 will be asked to add $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 will also review the FY22 annual and the FY23-38 six-year Capital Improvement Plan update process. The presentation will include 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.

The full Board of Trustees agenda is available at https://www.ohio.edu/trustees. While in-person attendance will be limited, the meetings will be broadcast via an audio stream, and the main board meeting, which will begin at 11:15 a.m. June 18, will be streamed live online.