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Board of Trustees approves budget approves budget and views strategic plan

ATHENS, Ohio (June 24, 2005) -- Provost Kathy Krendl presented an overview of "Vision Ohio," the university's strategic plan, during Ohio University's Board of Trustees meeting Friday, June 24.

During the past nine months, committees of students, faculty and staff have worked to develop a strategic plan to guide the university's decisions and investment priorities over the next five years. The strategic plan sets forth a vision, guiding principles, goals and measurements to gauge the results.

The strategic plan is a product of the Presidential Task Force on the Future of Ohio University, which was charged with developing a road map for achieving the four goals set forth by university President Roderick J. McDavis in his inaugural address: to become a nationally prominent research university, to increase the diversity of the university community, to expand the university's base of financial support and to increase partnerships regionally, statewide, nationally and globally. The plan also outlines a new budget process designed to align resources with institutional goals.

Vision Ohio sets forth advances that are necessary toward achieving these goals and specific steps that must be undertaken. Open forums to discuss the strategic plan will continue through the summer and until Oct. 15.

"Vision Ohio offers a forward-thinking plan of action to provide the necessary blueprint to ensure that Ohio University reaches its full potential and continues to provide its students with the best possible learning environment," Krendl said. "It is a well-designed strategic plan that includes broad-based input from constituencies from across the university and positions Ohio University to assume its rightful place as a national leader in higher education. The plan is both visionary and practical and will set the course for the institution for the coming years."

In presenting the budget report, Board of Trustees Treasurer Larry Corrigan noted that, while current projections for Fiscal Year 2006 are healthier than previously anticipated, planning units at the university will need to continue to look for opportunities to save money to offset anticipated losses in state funding.

Early projections suggested a budget shortfall of between $12 million and $13 million for FY 2006. The anticipated shortfall has been reduced to $7.2 million based on a number of factors, among them an additional $l.7 million in state support, salary increases of 2 percent instead of 3 percent, health care benefits for FY 2005 being $900,000 less than projected and cutting $1 million in centrally budgeted costs that will be eliminated or absorbed by planning units.

The Strategic Planning Task Force's Resources Subcommittee has produced a paper to ensure the university's approach to budgeting is aligned with the university's strategic priorities. The 21-member Budget Planning Council has helped guide the budget process in gleaning university-wide input to share in the decision-making process and sharing recommendations with the university's cabinet.

President McDavis shared some of the successes and achievements that marked the 2004-05 academic year, noting that students are the heart and soul of the university.

"I am gratified with the advances the university has made during this past year and excited about the opportunities of the upcoming year," McDavis said.

In other board action:

  • The board approved the offering of three new degrees: doctorate in civil engineering, bachelor of arts in women's studies and master of science in biomedical engineering.
  • The board approved joint associate of arts and associate of science degree programs between Ohio University-Eastern and Belmont Technical College. The initiative underscores President McDavis' commitment to forming partnerships that serve individuals of the southeastern Ohio region by offering educational opportunities that benefit area residents.
  • Daniel Vincent of Zanesville was named to a nine-year term on the Coordinating Council at Ohio University-Zanesville. Vincent, a graduate of the Zanesville regional campus, is currently a project consultant with Genesis HealthCare and a member of the City of Zanesville Council.
  • The board gave approval to revise the lease with Wesam Construction to renovate and manage Mill Street Apartments by extending the agreement from 30 years to 40 years to enable Wesam to finance the project through taxable bonds rather than with conventional bank financing.
  • The trustees approved hiring consultants and developing construction documents for a renovation of the second floor of Lin Hall, the final phase of the Lausche Heating Plant rehabilitation project and the construction of the Lancaster Community Events and Conference Center at Ohio University-Lancaster.
  • An amendment to the Student Code of Conduct, which allows the provost or other designee to issue a presidential interim suspension in the event the president is away from campus or otherwise unavailable, was approved.
  • The board approved a resolution that declares the university a hybrid entity for purposes of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.
  • The board approved the annual audit plan proposed by the Office of Internal Audit.
  • The board elected Gregory Browning as chairman for 2005-06 academic year. It also re-elected Daniel DeLawder as vice chairman, McDavis as president, Corrigan as treasurer and Alan Geiger as secretary.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793; Pager: (740) 290-4479

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