Ohio University Board of Trustees review vision for improvements to facilities across the College of Fine Arts, new app geared toward enhancing student experiences
Ohio University’s Board of Trustees reviewed an extensive plan to improve the College of Fine Arts’ facilities, a key priority in the University’s overall Six-Year Capital Improvement Plan effort, during meetings April 6-7 on the Athens Campus.
The Board also received an enrollment update from Vice President for Enrollment Management Candance Boeninger and learned more about the development and functionality of the new “Go OHIO” app that is aimed at connecting students to personalized information and support resources.
Highlights from the April Board discussions included:
'Go OHIO' Web and Mobile App Update
Chief Information Officer Chris Ament shared an update on the app development and overall vision for “Go OHIO,” an official, University-led mobile and web app that will improve student connections to key academic and campus support services, increase engagement with their courses and faculty advisors and provide personalized real-time information and updates.
The app will include a personalized dashboard that includes key information like class schedules, GPA details, final grades, advisor information, account balances, meal plan information, financial aid and more. The app will also make it easier for students to access important systems like Catmail, Blackboard, My Ohio Student Center, BobcatConnect and more.
The mobile app, which will continue to be guided and developed through student feedback, is currently being tested by a select group of diverse students in a live beta phase; it will be incrementally shared with a broader audience before its official launch this fall. The beta phase provides OHIO an opportunity to both elicit and respond to student feedback early and often and make immediate improvements before it is released to all students this fall.
Vice President for Enrollment Management Candace Boeninger shared an enrollment update with the Board ahead of Decision Day and wrapping up the 2022-2023 academic year.
During her presentation, she highlighted the Spring 2023 preliminary census enrollment data, noting that Ohio University landed at 26,190 students across all careers, colleges, and campuses. She also included how the total Athens undergraduate enrollment increased 3.3% over Spring 2022; the fall-to-spring return rate increased by 2%; and how the University saw year-over-year growth of new online undergraduate students in both the RN to BSN program and non-nursing programs.
OHIO Online Strategy
Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs, Vice Provost for OHIO Online Kari Lehman, Vice President for Enrollment Management Candace Boeninger and Vice President for University Communications and Marketing Robin Oliver provided the Board with an in-depth look into the market for online programs and shared updates on the OHIO Online strategy. Ohio University has made a strategic commitment to optimize its portfolio, infrastructure and student support services to enhance the University’s high-quality online education opportunities.
During the presentation, the presenters also spoke about the significant proportion of OHIO students who are enrolled in fully online programs and how the OHIO Online Strategy aims to ensure that OHIO is the top choice for students across the state of Ohio who are seeking a quality online education and attract students beyond Ohio.
A testimonial video that included the experiences of a variety of OHIO Online students and shared how OHIO Online has helped them accomplish their educational goals, overcome barriers and further their careers helped to underscore the increasing importance of online learning in the context of meeting students' diverse education and lifestyle needs.
The Board approved to proceed with the design and construction of several new capital projects, including:
- Bird Arena Ice Rink Floor System Replacement: The Board approved a resolution to replace all components for making and maintaining ice in Bird Arena, including chiller equipment, pumps, condenser and associated piping. This $1.9 million project is funded by department reserves.
- Aquatic Center Mechanical and Chemical Systems Replacement: The Board approved a resolution to replace all mechanical and chemical systems in the Aquatic Center that maintain and operate the pool. The approximately $1.3 million project is funded by department reserves.
- Convocation Center West Pedestrian Bridge Repairs: The Board approved a resolution for a $735,000 project that will repair the west pedestrian ramp into the Convocation Center. The ramp is critical to maintaining safe egress and entrance to the Convocation Center for students, faculty, staff and visitors. This project will include repairs to the concrete structure and re-support of the utilities while maintaining the functionality of the space. This project is funded by century bond and central university funding.
Designation of the Proctorville Center as surplus property
The Board approved a resolution to designate the Proctorville Center property in Proctorville, Ohio as surplus property. With the approval of this resolution, the location’s surplus designation allows for the University to explore the sale of the property; however, no sale is imminent.
Following the announcement, University leadership reiterated their commitment to ensuring that the generosity of the facility’s donors continues to support members of the Proctorville community for years to come.
OHIO has stated that any potential sale of the Proctorville facility would include multiple deed restrictions on the building that would require it to be sold to other educational entities for educational purposes and ensure that the naming rights of the original donors would be preserved, should the donors wish.
Six-year Capital Improvement Planning Update
Associate Vice President for University Planning Shawna Wolfe and Interim Associate Vice President of Design and Construction Jonathon Cozad shared an update with the Board on the progress of OHIO’s six-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and provided an overview of the Campus Space Optimization Initiative, which is currently studying how existing spaces across all OHIO campuses can be utilized to provide the best possible learning experiences.
The presentation also featured an overview of the nationally recognized College of Fine Arts (CoFA), its ongoing space renewal planning efforts and how the College is working to develop and embrace new concepts that can help lead to improved space utilization and provide opportunities for increased interdisciplinary engagement across the University.
On Thursday, April 6, the Board was provided an on-site, guided tour of CoFA facilities to learn more about their existing condition and the future vision for their core academic spaces. Additionally, the Board met with select CoFA staff and students during their visit.
In other business, the Board approved:
- A resolution to change the Russ College of Engineering and Technology Department of Engineering Technology for Technical Operations Management program to the Project Management program.
- A resolution to suspend the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies College of Health Sciences and Professions Medical Assisting Technology program.
- A resolution to suspend the Patton College of Education’s Department of Teacher Education Family and Consumer Science program.
- A resolution to accept program reviews for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Osteopathic Medicine program and the College of Arts and Sciences’ History and Psychology programs.
- A resolution to elect Peggy Viehweger as chair of the Ohio University Board of Trustees beginning May 14, 2023 and ending May 13, 2024.
- A resolution to elect Steve Casciani as vice chair of the Ohio University Board of Trustees beginning May 14, 2023 and ending May 13, 2024.
- A resolution to increase the program fee for the Doctor of Clinical Audiology from $50 to $63 per credit; increase the Masters of Sports Administration fee from $100 to $125 per credit hour
- This approved resolution also included an increase in the optional accompanying fees for instrumental (from $180 to $225) and vocal from ($270 to $335) for studio music courses, creating a similar $17 optional accompanying fee for studio dance and musical theater courses, and increased the course fee for flight courses in Aviation by 5% to cover inflation. As part of the resolution, the Board also approved to maintain the current reduced instructional, general and non-resident fee rates for certain undergraduate eCampus and dual degree programs and to reduce graduate non-resident fee for students who have received their bachelor’s degree from an Ohio institution of higher education. These items will now move forward for the review and approval of the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education following the Board’s approval.
- A resolution to approve a 25-year easement for the Chillicothe Telephone Company for fiber optic lines along South Shafer St. in Athens, Ohio, to connect a site behind the Russ Opportunity Center (ROC).
The complete Board of Trustees agenda from its April 6 and 7 meetings is available online at www.ohio.edu/trustees.