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Board of Trustees receives update on OHIO Guarantee+ Graduation Plan

Published: August 20, 2021 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees received an update on the implementation of OHIO Guarantee+ Graduation Plan during its August meetings.

The Board also approved the FY22 budget, as well as a new six-year Capital Improvement Plan, during its meetings Aug. 19-20 in Athens.

Guarantee+ Graduation Plan

Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs and Associate Vice Provost Jen Murphy presented an overview of OHIO Guarantee+ Graduation Plan, which creates an individualized experience for each OHIO student with a clear timeline for degree completion. The OHIO Guarantee+, first announced last year, was launched in fall 2020 and will be rolled out fully over the next three years.

Throughout their college careers, students will meet regularly with a professional academic advisor — their success coach — who will help them integrate meaningful co-curricular experiences into their graduation plan and engage in the career exploration process. Three distinct areas – advising, career and experiential learning – will redefine the student experience at OHIO, creating a coordinated care approach that builds integrated teams around each student and individualized support structures for every OHIO student that opts into the program. These individualized graduation plans are customized to the program and the student.

Fiscal Year ‘22 budget

The Board approved the operating budget for FY22, which is aligned with the six-year Capital Improvement Plan and FY22 Capital Plan.

The budget continues to be impacted by the University’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Expense strategies adopted in the FY22 budget were presented in the context of the financial impact of COVID-19, as well as multi-year revenue assumptions from state operating support and net tuition and fees, as well as strategies to limit use of reserves.

As approved by the Board in June 2021, room and board rates for the FY22 Ohio Guarantee cohort were set by the President in consultation with the Board chair and the chair of the Resources committee, and in accordance with the state budget bill. The room and board fee schedule that was adopted provides students and their families more choices to self-select the room and board plan that suits them best; reduces the annual cost of a traditional single room, making it equal to the cost of a traditional double room; and aligns cost options and amenities to provide diverse choices for students and families while maintaining the quality of the residential experience.

Capital Improvement Plan

The Board approved an update of the six-year Capital Improvement Plan for FY23-28, as well as the FY22 annual Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The six-year CIP is a comprehensive prioritization plan of capital investments for our physical environment planned on all OHIO campuses. The CIP maps out funding strategies and dependencies that will guide capital investments over the course of the plan and includes a summary of major projects, areas of focus (such as programmatic and deferred maintenance) and aligns with University strategic objectives.

The biennial state capital budget projects for FY23-24 are embedded within the six-year CIP and will be submitted for approval in accordance with state submission dates and guidelines.

Capital projects

The Board approved four capital projects that address deferred maintenance needs. They include:

  • Phase II, HVAC and energy efficiency improvements at Ohio University Lancaster: This $3.7 million project will build upon work done during the first phase, including distribution ductwork and terminal devices, air handling units, and direct digital control upgrades.
  • Class Gate tunnel rehabilitation: This $2.6 million project, the University’s highest-priority deferred maintenance item, will address issues in the tunnel systems at the Class Gate and East Union Street area that are in dire need of repair. This project will include significant roadway impacts on East Union and College streets during construction.
  • Campus steam system repairs: This $600,000 project will address campus steam distribution and tunnel improvements to aging campus infrastructure.
  • Peden boiler and domestic hot water tank replacement: This $500,000 project will replace boilers and hot water tanks at Peden Stadium that are beyond their useful lives.

Marketing and enrollment update

University leaders provided an update on marketing and enrollment priorities for FY22, including ways University Communications and Marketing and Enrollment Management are collaborating to increase visibility for the University, along with improved efficiency and effectiveness.

Marketing and enrollment priorities impacting Athens, online and regional campus undergraduates and graduate and online professional programs were discussed.

Regional trustee proposal

President Hugh Sherman introduced a proposal to add a regional trustee to the membership of the Board of Trustees. The discussion included defining a “regional trustee,” determining the value of modifying the makeup of the Board, and the process for investigating a change in the Board.

In other business, the Board:

  • Approved the FY22 uses of Century Bond funding as included in the FY22 annual Capital Improvement Plan.
  • Received a maintenance, operations and sustainability update, an overview of Facilities Operations that included key performance indicators and an FY19 peer comparison. The presentation included the annual Sustainability Update, as well as a detailed analysis of utilities consumption.
  • Approved a 25-year easement for the Ohio Power Company for electrical transmission lines near the Elliot Substation in Athens. The Board originally approved the easement in 2020, but after further review, Ohio Power discovered that the easement area in the renewal easement was incorrect.
  • Received an update on the current status of union contracts, as well as key provisions of the recently-negotiated tentative agreement with AFSCME 3200.
  • Elected Deb Shaffer as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees from Aug. 21, 2021, until Aug. 29, 2021, and Joe Trubacz as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees from Aug. 30, 2021, until June 30, 2022.
  • Approved emeritus status for individuals upon their retirement from the University.
  • Received an update on the Ohio University Music Industry Summit, which has grown into a nationally-recognized event for industry education and engagement since its inception in 2018.
  • Received an update on student engagement for fall 2021, including Division of Student affairs objectives, plans for fall semester, and the Make Respect Visible campaign developed in conjunction with University Communications and Marketing and the Division of Diversity & Inclusion.
  • Received an update from Intercollegiate Athletics on local, state and national developments related to intercollegiate athletics. This includes a look at FY21 revenues and impacts from the pandemic, recent head coach transitions and the realignment of administrative staffing resources, and the national landscape of college athletics.
  • Presented a certificate of appreciation to Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Deb Shaffer for her service to the University.

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