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Ney Center renaming approved
Ohio University Board of Trustees also address student-athlete discipline, presidential performance goals, funding priorities

ATHENS, Ohio (Dec. 1, 2006) -- Ohio University's Board of Trustees met on Friday, Dec. 1, in Columbus, Ohio, where it approved renaming the Robert W. Ney Center for Health and Physical Education at the Ohio University Eastern campus in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

Ohio University will remove U.S. Rep. Ney's name from the center. It becomes the Ohio University Eastern Campus Health and Education Center. 

The Ohio University Eastern Campus Coordinating Council recommended the name change after Ney pleaded guilty in October to corruption and conspiracy charges. Additionally, in November Ney wrote Ohio University Eastern Dean Paul Bibbins to request his name be taken off the building. 

The facility was named for Ney in 1997 in honor of his efforts to obtain funding for the building project. He was the region's state legislator at the time. 

In other business:

The board reconfirmed its commitment to lease 16 acres to National Church Residences for construction of a retirement center on Stimson Avenue in Athens. The board approved the original resolution for a lease agreement to NCR in June 2004. The lease is for 80 years at $1 per year, with terms and conditions subject to the university president's approval and execution according to Ohio law. The board noted that if NCR ever drops its nonprofit status, the university reserves the right to renegotiate the lease.       

The board approved appointment of six new members to the Ohio University Eastern Coordinating Council. They are Deborah R. Hanson, Tracey L. Lloyd, John S. Mattox, Gerald L. Narcisi, Keith A. Sommer and Mike Staggs. All six terms begin on March 1, 2007, and end June 30, 2010.

Each of Ohio University's five regional campuses has a nine-member Regional Coordinating Council. These advisory bodies make recommendations to the university regarding academic programming, land use, capital projects and similar issues.

The board also heard a report from Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Kirby Hocutt outlining the newly amended student-athlete disciplinary code. The policies will provide standardization for all of the department's teams and athletes regarding behavior and discipline. 

The revised Student-Athlete Code of Conduct and Discipline Policy defines five levels of violations, lists sanctions and sets enforcement policies. It sets the bar high for all athletes and standardizes policy, regardless of sport. The levels of offense range from a level 1 violation, involving a minor judiciary citation on campus, to a level 5, involving a felony charge or conviction. The revised policy goes into effect Jan. 3 when winter quarter begins. 

"This brings clarity and consistency to our athletic discipline policy with all 531 athletes," Hocutt said. "I am confident that this standardized policy is the correct approach for our university and will become a national model."

During his board report, President Roderick J. McDavis provided an update on his progress toward seven presidential performance goals, which are:

  • Improving his communication and collaboration with the faculty: McDavis has met with faculty in 52 schools and departments and all five regional campuses, attended luncheons with faculty and Faculty Senate, sent presidential messages to all faculty and hosted a town hall meeting for the entire campus.

  • Implementing the recovery process for Information Technology: The president has chaired regular meetings of the IT Oversight Committee, been involved with the search for a new chief information officer, met regularly with the provost and vice president for finance and administration to discuss IT issues, and provided campus updates on the IT recovery process.

  • Implementing the comprehensive strategy to reduce high-risk drinking: The president has monitored progress on intervention strategies' and implementation of a comprehensive strategy, and promoted civic and personal responsibility in all of his speeches.

  • Improving the university's academic integrity: The president meets with the provost regularly to discuss the Academic Honesty Committee's work, is exploring the development of a Campus Honor Code and is promoting the importance of academic integrity in all of his speeches. He also told the board that to date, the Academic Honesty Hearing Committee has examined 14 cases and the Russ College Research Integrity Committee has reviewed 26 of 111 identified documents.

  • Implementing the top priorities of Vision OHIO: This has involved identifying three top priority investment areas (undergraduate education, graduate education and research, recruitment and retention of faculty), establishing a Vision OHIO Steering Committee and developing a list of learning outcomes for general education.

  • Raising funds to support university strategic priorities: The president and his staff are raising $10 million to build a new Integrated Learning and Research Facility and raising more funds to support the Urban Scholars and Appalachian Scholars programs. His staff also is concentrating on improving relationships with state and national policymakers in order to secure more funding for university programs and projects.

  • Strengthening the university's financial control environment: The president's staff is developing and implementing multiyear strategies to strengthen the university's balance sheet. President McDavis also authorized the appointment of a multidisciplinary team, which has identifying higher education best practices as one of its charges.

McDavis also discussed the possibility of adopting university performance goals that would focus on enhancing the university's overall academic performance and its research, scholarship and creative activities performance.

Provost Kathy Krendl updated the board on Vision OHIO strategic plan implementation. She discussed the university's plan to invest approximately $6.3 million in undergraduate education, graduate education, and research and faculty compensation. 

Krendl said department planning units must submit requests for funding for undergraduate priorities to the university's budget office by Jan. 1. Recipients will be announced in March. 

The provost added that the Graduate Education and Research Board is conducting three competitions for investment funds. The Major Program Initiatives competition is designed to help already strong academic areas reach national prominence. The other two competitions are Strategic Investments in Future Growth and Program Enhancement. They were created to provide money for new initiatives or unique opportunities. Two winners of the latter awards will receive an investment of $250,000 each. 

Another goal, according to Krendl, is to create by January a multiyear plan for increasing faculty salaries. The Faculty Compensation Task Force is charged with constructing the plan, which will help bolster faculty retention. 

"The colleges of business and fine arts have experienced the most turnover, each losing 10 percent of their faculty," Krendl said. "Two reasons are a lack of research start-up funding for new professors, and salaries. Overall issues appear to be personal reasons and salaries. We will think more strategically about investing in faculty development and create a more coherent and systematic approach."

Krendl also shared ideas on the university's enrollment goals, desired learning outcomes in general education and the latest plans to enhance the students' first-year experience. 

Vice President for Finance and Administration Bill Decatur reviewed the campus master plan study. He said campus master planning is being driven by the Vision OHIO academic plan and the implementation stage is underway. 

"This has been an 18-month process," Decatur said. "This is a tremendous plan." 

"We are tying facility planning to academic priorities," Krendl said. "The planning process translates core values and guiding principles of strategic planning into the physical realities of the campus. The planning tool kit identifies the core values and principles." 

The next board of trustees meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15-16 on the Ohio University Chillicothe campus.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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