The Ohio University Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2020 Operating and Capital budgets, the second phase of the Clippinger renovation strategy, and the Richland Avenue Pedestrian Crossing during its meetings on June 20 and 21 at the Ohio University Eastern Campus in St. Clairsville, Ohio.
The Board also heard an update on the One OHIO implementation and took action on capital and planning projects.
University budget approval
The Board of Trustees approved the Fiscal Year 2020 Operating budget and a number of corresponding fee adjustments. Fee approvals are related to graduate programs and career services associated with online programs.
The FY20 Operating budget was developed in concert with a campus-wide multi-year (FY20-FY25) planning effort, with the goal of ensuring a sustainable financial future for Ohio University. Budgets are aligned to support the University strategic priorities outlined by University President M. Duane Nellis in the Pathways to Prominence, which were developed after extensive feedback of our University community.
The budget was developed concurrently with ongoing deliberations on the FY20-21 State of Ohio biennial budget. At this time, the state’s operating budget and higher education budget have not been finalized. OHIO’s FY20 budget assumptions are based on the latest information available, but the University may need to amend the budget in order to incorporate any impacts of the final language of the state’s budget bill.
The Board approved a resolution for five construction projects, including Phase 2 of the Clippinger Renovation Strategy. The Clippinger strategy, which began with construction on the new Chemistry Building (Phase 1), will continue with the renovation of the east side of Clippinger (Phase 2), which will be occupied by the Geology and Geography departments. The conceptual cost estimate for the renovation is $33.6 million, with design work beginning in Fiscal Year 2020 and construction beginning late in Fiscal Year 2020 and wrapping up late in Fiscal Year 2022.
Other capital projects approved include:
- Richland Avenue Pedestrian Crossing sidewalk realignment: This is a collaborative project with the City of Athens’ Richland Avenue Passageway Project. The project will elevate Richland Avenue between West Green Drive and Bobcat Lane and address pedestrian safety concerns by creating a pedestrian passageway under the road. Bobcat Lane will be modified to allow for left turns and the bus stop will be enlarged. The cost to OHIO is estimated at $768,000, while the overall project is estimated to cost $3.3 million. The city of Athens has obtained a $1.8 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation toward the project. Construction is expected to be completed in September 2020.
- Gamertsfelder Hall restroom/HVAC upgrades: This project, originally approved at $2 million, will expand to $7.6 million with increased scope to replace the failing existing heating hydronic system with the installation of a new four-pipe system to connect the building to the campus chilled water loop. This would result in a reduction of future utility costs and provide better temperature control and air quality for residents. The project is estimated to be complete late in FY2021.
- Grosvenor Hall administrative relocation renovation: This project addresses prioritized deferred maintenance needs, including select window and door replacement, elevator maintenance, and limited HVAC air handler maintenance. The $1.8 million project will be completed in time for occupants from the West Union Street Office Center and Human Resources Training Center to move into Grosvenor by late 2020, ensuring that the start date for the future Russ Opportunity Center project is not delayed. Construction is expected to begin late in FY20 and be completed early in FY2022.
- Brown House and Edgehill Maintenance Demolition: This $815,000 project includes demolition of Brown House and the Edgehill maintenance buildings. Brown House has significant structural and cosmetic issues that warrant its demolition. Edgehill Maintenance also has maintenance issues, and its roof elevation creates a safety concern.
The Board also approved a resolution approving the FY21-FY26 Capital Improvement Plan, including FY21-FY22 State Capital Appropriation project requests, the FY20 Annual Capital Plan and approved the use of Century Bond funding to support the respective deferred maintenance projects.
The Capital Improvement Plan includes a comprehensive capital investments prioritization plan for Ohio University, including the facility, infrastructure and deferred maintenance investments planned at all locations, as well as funding for information technology and University initiatives.
Approval of this resolution does not authorize the University to proceed with individual projects. Each project over $500,000 will be presented to the Board of Trustees for consideration prior to execution.
One OHIO update
Executive Vice President and Provost Chaden Djalali, Interim Executive Dean for Regional Higher Education Nicole Pennington and Senior Vice Provost for Instructional Innovation Brad Cohen led the discussion of the One OHIO strategy, including the integration of our multi-campus regional locations, and supporting enrollment and retention data. Since the Board endorsed the One OHIO concept at the March 2019 meeting, the University has continued planning efforts, begun transitioning into implementation and the action necessary to strengthen the connections between all of OHIO’s functions and campuses, and to break down internal barriers to the innovation necessary to make supporting critical changes.
OHIO Honors Program update
Honors Tutorial College staff members provided an update on the OHIO Honors Program pilot, which launched in Fall 2018. The pilot’s success led the University to recruit a University-wide cohort for FY20. The innovative experience-based honors program will welcome an inaugural cohort of 375 students from all colleges, and the longstanding tutorial-based degree program will welcome its largest cohort of 79 students in Fall 2019.
The OHIO Honors Program provides an experience-based complement to any major, and students can earn an honors transcript designation by completing curricular and co-curricular experiences. The pilot cohort of 48 students had an average GPA of 3.43 at OHIO, as well as an average high school GPA of 3.81 and an average ACT composite of 29. Nearly a quarter of the students were first-generation.
Student Code of Conduct amendments
The Board of Trustees approved a resolution to update language in the Student Code of Conduct. The Board requires the Code to be reviewed every two years. It was last reviewed in 2017.
Key changes include a shift in the sexual misconduct process, some of which were made to comply with recent Sixth Circuit court decisions. Others include a change in the definition of a hearing officer, the addition of a sanction-only hearing option, and a lengthening of the appeal deadline. Student Senate, Graduate Student Senate and Faculty Senate were all given the opportunity to provide feedback, and the proposed revisions were available for public comment online.
Investment advisor update
Ohio University administrators will provide an update on the search process to retain investment consulting and advisory services. A request for proposals garnered proposals from 17 firms, and through a round of reviews, that list was narrowed to three finalists. As long-term investment oversight has been delegated by the University Board of Trustees to the Ohio University Foundation Board, they considered and recommended approval of the selected firm, Fund Evaluation Group, LLC, contingent upon successful negotiation of terms, at their June 8 meeting.
In other business, the Board:
- Conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree to Francis A. Papay, M.D., an Ohio University alumnus who has driven fundamental advances in plastic surgery and facial reconstruction. He is the Institute Chair at the Cleveland Clinic Health System Dermatology and Plastic Surgery Institute and a professor of surgery at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Papay served as the chief craniofacial plastic surgeon during the first face transplant in America in 2008, among many other accomplishments.
- Conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Richard A. Vincent, president/chief executive emeritus of The Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, Columbus. Vincent retired in 2018, leaving a legacy of significant contributions to the advancement of osteopathic medical education, Ohio University, and the health and care of vulnerable populations in Appalachia and Central Ohio. Mr. Vincent and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations have worked to increase the educational quality, research ability, and influence of OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. He worked to develop the Academic Research Center, a shared facility of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as the Clinical Training and Assessment Center, the J.O. Watson Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research and Diabetes Research Center. He also provided significant funding for the founding of the Dublin Extension Campus and for a new campus for the Heritage College in Athens.
- Approved a 1.5 percent salary increase for President M. Duane Nellis and First Lady Ruthie Nellis, effective July 1, 2019, and a bonus of $72,319 for President Nellis, equivalent to 15 percent of his annual salary. Further, the board amended President Nellis’ contract so he will be eligible for a performance bonus of up to 20 percent after his performance review for the 2019-20 academic year. The Board recognized that President Nellis has enhanced the legacy of the University through effective outreach and visible stewardship and passion for OHIO, as well as recruiting new members of his leadership team and advancing the One OHIO strategic plan.
Approved faculty fellowship leaves to 50 faculty members to allow them to focus on their research and scholarly activity.
- Approved emeritus status for 19 individuals who are retiring from Ohio University, including Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin, Regional Higher Education Executive Dean William Willan, and University Libraries Dean Scott Seaman.
- Approved the appointment of the following individuals to Coordinating Councils at OHIO’s regional campuses for three-year terms, unless otherwise noted. All terms begin July 1, 2019:
- Chillicothe Campus: Matt Thornsberry, Brian White
- Eastern Campus: James Carnes (second term), Terry Lee (second term), Melissa Stimpert, Dianna Vargo (second term)
- Lancaster Campus: Rick Szabrak (second term), Steve Wigton (third term)
- Southern Campus: Jennifer Hellmich (one-year term)
- Zanesville Campus: Eric D. Martin, Patrick Nash (second term), Brian Wagner (second term)
- Approved the creation of the following new programs:
- Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Meteorology in the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences. The degree will enable students to graduate with the requirements for obtaining the American Meteorological Society’s Certified Broadcast Meteorologist title.
- Master of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in the Department of Linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program will address the shortage of highly-trained English language-teaching professionals and a lack of accelerated master’s programs in the United States.
- Bachelor of Applied Business in the College of Business. This is intended to be a degree completion program initially offered online but with a program manager, advising and other support staff as the program grows, located on the Dublin Campus.
- Master of Arts Administration in the College of Fine Arts. This provides a value-added opportunity for students and working professionals who want to pursue leadership positions in the arts.
- Master of Arts in Community Dance in the School of Dance in the College of Fine Arts. This degree emphasizes the creative process as a form of research of collaboration, through which dance is an adaptable, inclusive, socially relevant practice.
- Master of Integrated Health Studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Studies in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. This degree will allow students to fulfill diverse roles in high-demand areas of healthcare settings through customizable stackable credential options.
- Approved the suspension of the following programs:
- The Master of Arts program in French in the Department of Modern Languages in the College of Arts and Sciences. This is due to recruitment, enrollment and retention difficulties and decreasing faculty available to offer graduate-level courses.
- Associate of Applied Science in Electronic Media at the Zanesville Campus. This is due to a lack of resources and a need to evolve into more modern technologies, as well as declining enrollment.
- Approved name changes for the following programs:
- Changed the Master of Arts in Linguistics to the Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics in the College of Arts and Sciences.
- Changed the Associate of Applied Business Degree in Computer Science Technology through the Regional Higher Education campuses to Computer Technology.
- Changed the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunications Systems in the Scripps College of Communication to the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies. This will allow moving the Gaming Research and Design (GRID) Lab into the School.
- Approved program reviews for the following six programs: Geography and Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Accounting Technology, Business Technology Management, Computer Science Technology, and Electronic Media through Regional Higher Education. All were considered viable except Zanesville’s Electronic Media program, which was found in jeopardy. That program was suspended in another resolution above.
- Approved the extension of the Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program, which was originally scheduled to end on June 30, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
- Approved the eCampus Career fee of $3 per credit hour, to a maximum of $36 per semester per student. The fee is contingent upon final language in the state budget and the review and approval of the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education. The program will be operated through the Office of Instructional Innovation in partnership with the Career and Leadership Development Center and be assessed to students enrolling after the state approvals are received.
- Approved a resolution to extend a $50 million line of credit, originally approved by the Board in August 2016, for a minimum of two years with extensions up to six years total to take the University through the FY21-26 Capital Improvement Plan. The original line of credit terminates Dec. 1, 2019.
- Approved a resolution to transfer a 3.25-acre parcel of land at 30 Home Street, Athens, which houses the Athens County Public Library, to the library system, and to release an easement the University has on land owned by the City of Athens directly south of the library building so the city may also transfer that land to the library. Further, OHIO will split a 1.82-acre parcel of land to the south, with 0.72 acres being transferred to the library and OHIO retaining an 80-foot-wide strip, with a land use agreement for the library. Ohio University has leased the land to the library since June 1992 for a one-time consideration of $1. The provisions of the transfer restrict the land to be used as a public library. In the event the primary use is no longer for a library, the land will revert back to Ohio University.
- Approved an easement along Moore Avenue to American Electric Power for the purpose of rerouting an existing overhead power line that must be removed due to the construction of the new Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine building. The new line will be underground along the edge of the parking lot of the West Union Street Office Complex.
- Approved the renewal of an easement for the Athens Bike Path. The original 25-year easement began in 1993 for the total sum of $1. The new lease to the Athens County Board of Commissioners is for a further 25 years with a one-time payment of $1.
- Approved the Office of Internal Audit’s FY20 proposed audit plan.
- Reappointed David Moore as Secretary and Deborah Shaffer as Treasurer of the Board of Trustees for one-year terms beginning July 1, 2019.
- Presented a resolution of appreciation to outgoing General Counsel John Biancamano.
- Presented a resolution of appreciation to outgoing Trustee David Pidwell.
The full agenda for the June Board of Trustees meeting can be found on the Trustees’ website.