Ohio University

Board of Trustees approves regional higher education recommendations during March meetings

Board of Trustees approves regional higher education recommendations during March meetings
Published: March 22, 2019 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved the extension of the University’s nursing program to the Eastern Campus during its meeting March 22.

During meetings March 21 and 22, the Board heard updates on University financial and enrollment activities and approved several capital projects.

Regional Higher Education recommendations

The Board of Trustees approved a series of recommendations made at the January meeting by the Regional Higher Education Study Committee. The broad recommendations call for restructuring regional campus administrative and academic operations to create a required focus on a unified, One OHIO University system.

The Board expressed its support for University leadership as they develop a plan for implementing the one-university model. The administration will take appropriate measures aimed at achieving efficiencies and consolidation where needed, generating new revenue streams, encouraging innovation in academic and administrative activities, and engaging with communities and the Chancellor’s Office for the purpose of ensuring the long-term viability of OHIO’s regional higher education impact.

Eastern Campus Bachelor of Science in Nursing program

The Trustees approved a resolution to extend the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to the Eastern Campus as a satellite program of the degree offered in Athens, pending approval by the Ohio Board of Nursing. An analysis of the Belmont County/Upper Ohio River Valley region demonstrated the need for the degree program, and area hospitals have already offered their support.

An application to the Ohio Board of Nursing will be initiated in Spring 2019, with the goal of receiving Ohio Board of Nursing approval to begin admissions to BSN pre-nursing in Fall Semester 2019 and a first selection to the BSN major planned for Spring Semester 2020.

Capital projects

The Board approved the following capital projects:

  • Trisolini House renovation for Auxiliaries: The $1.5 million project will convert the house from academic use to administrative offices as part of the Administrative Relocation Strategy. The house will be repurposed for Culinary Services, which is currently housed in the West Union Street Office Center. The project is among the final recommendations made as part of the Small House Planning Strategy.
  • Respecting the principles outlined in the Ridges Framework plan, the Ridges utilities decentralization and site preparation $2.6 million project includes demolition of Ridges Buildings 29 and 15, which will eliminate structures in poor condition and improve access to surrounding buildings, and the addition of building-based systems for Ridges Building 21.
  • Lindley Hall roof replacement: The Board authorized adding $907,000 to the budget, previously approved at $500,000, to address significant issues with leaking.
  • Ohio University Lancaster Campus infrastructure improvements: This $500,000 project will improve concrete sidewalks, steps and handrails across the Lancaster Campus, as well as repair a concrete surface drive and parking area and repave the asphalt parking lots on the east side of campus.

Financial and enrollment updates

The Board approved tuition, fee and rate increases for the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, consistent with legislation enacted by the Ohio General Assembly later this year. These include 2.5 percent increases in Heritage College instructional fees, technology fees and non-resident surcharges.

Administrators also provided financial and enrollment updates. They provided an update from the January budget planning conversation, including employee compensation, revenue enhancement strategies, cost reduction plans and enrollment strategies. An overview of OHIO enrollments over the past decade, as well as efforts in place to affect student yield and a look at the most recent fall progression numbers, was also included.

Administrators also discussed the upcoming FY21-26 Capital Improvement Plan. The plan is a projection of the University’s priorities at a point in time. It is updated annually and formally updated every other year. The plan this year will reflect priorities for FY21-26, including FY20 annual priorities and the FY21-22 state capital request.

Sustainability update

Sustainability administrators shared details of the new sustainability model launched across Ohio University. The structure was developed through an ad hoc Sustainability Committee with feedback gathered from campus groups and other sustainability experts.

The faculty coordinators of the three new hubs, the Sustainable Infrastructure, Sustainable Administration and Sustainable Living hubs, shared their new sustainability initiatives with the Board as part of the presentation.

Engagement ecosystem update

Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali led the Board in a discussion on building and enhancing the University’s engagement ecosystem. The discussion included an overview of OHIO’s approach toward a common and expanded understanding of what constitutes the “engagement ecosystem” by aligning our definitions with national trends, focusing particularly on the definition of community engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

A panel of faculty and staff whose work represents several different kinds of engagement also presented to the Board.

School of Dance, Film, and Theater deconsolidation

The Board reviewed a proposal to de-consolidate the School of Dance, Film and Theater in the College of Fine Arts. The three individual programs were originally consolidated in 2012, but faculty, staff and administrators prefer to split them into their original schools to provide improved curriculum and create budgetary efficiencies.

There will be no change to any current degrees, minors or certificates offered through the existing school. The move will restore school identities, improving morale, and they are expected to be more desirable to future students.

New national Trustee

The Board also appointed John P. Gainor as a National Trustee for a three-year term expiring May 14, 2022.

Gainor, who received a bachelor of science in communications from Ohio University in 1978, is the former president and chief executive officer of International Dairy Queen. He is a 2016 recipient of the Medal of Merit from Ohio University, an award given to alumni who have achieved high distinction in their chosen professional fields.

In other business, the Board:

  • Reviewed final recommendations on the University’s Small House Planning Strategy. The administration has been studying the houses that surround the Athens Campus to develop a strategy for their use since late 2016. Prior recommendations can be found on the Trustees’ March 2019 agenda, page 140. Besides the Trisolini House renovation, the administration recommended:
    • Moving forward with process to sell Pilcher House for non-University use, as the facility is not needed for university programmatic needs and the site is adjacent to uptown business district.
    • Removal of Brown House due to its poor condition and structural damage, with the site retained by the University.
  • Agreed to purchase property at 66 University Terrace for $375,000. The University intends to use the facility as temporary housing for visiting scholars and recruits.
  • Approved resolutions reappointing Dave Scholl as Board chair and Janelle Coleman as Board vice chair, with terms beginning May 14, 2019, and ending May 13, 2020.
  • Approved a resolution authorizing the sale of property at 300 Main Street, Hanging Rock, Ohio, which houses the Ohio University Southern Child Development Center. The center has been operated independently since 2004 by the Ironton-Lawrence Community Action Organization. As part of the partnership, Ohio University had the ability to use the property as an on-site laboratory for its two- and four-year early childhood education programs, but no longer does so. The property will be sold to the Lawrence County Port Authority.
  • Approved the change of the name of the Bachelor of Science in Recreation Studies to the Bachelor of Science in parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies, and the Master of Science in Recreation Studies to Master of Sciences in Parks, Recreation and Leisure Studies. Both are in the Patton College of Education’s Department of Recreation and Sports Pedagogy.
  • Placed the Associate of Applied Science degree program in Health Technology at the Southern Campus, as well as the Russian program in the Department of Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences, on suspended status due to low enrollments. Students currently enrolled in the programs will be provided with a transition plan toward degree completion.
  • Heard an update from University Advancement officials on potential components of a revised Ohio University Foundation funding model. The revised funding model will seek to support an increase in gifts to the University, an improvement in the Foundation’s fund balance without donor restrictions, and achievements of intergenerational equity within endowment funds.
  • Received an update from the Division of Student Affairs on its external review process, which began in spring 2018 in an effort to better align University resources and priorities work to support the division’s strategic plan and the University’s presidential pathways. The update included recommendations and a strategy for their implementation.
  • Received an update on the phase-out of the Academic Quality Improvement Program accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, OHIO’s regional accreditor. OHIO is in the third year of a 10-year accreditation cycle. The presentation focused on the University’s transition to a new pathway, changes that are anticipated, and next steps.
  • Received an update on the Career and Experiential Learning Fee, which was implemented for Fall Semester 2019. This included an update on the Capital Internship, the purchase of a mentoring platform, and new personnel.
  • Approved a resolution changing the emeritus status title for Dr. Frank W. Myers to Dean and Trustee Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine.” Dr. Myers served as dean of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine from 1977-1993 and was previously Trustee Professor Emeritus of Family Medicine. He died Nov. 19, 2018.
  • The Board reviewed a request for the creation of the non-profit Ohio Rural Health Association, which will position OHIO as the leader in addressing rural health in the state. The Appalachian Rural Health Institute in the College of Health Sciences and Professions facilitated a statewide effort to create the association. Some financial support has come from the National Rural Health Association. Affiliating the new association with Ohio University will provide networking opportunities, educational resources and health equity advocacy for rural Ohioans.