June 29, 2007
By Mary Alice Casey and Tom Bosco
In the final board meeting of the fiscal year with a packed agenda, the Ohio University Board of Trustees today approved a $540 million budget for fiscal 2008. It also unveiled a positive annual evaluation of President Roderick J. McDavis and re-elected him for the coming year.
The budget, which includes $350.5 million for the Athens campus, calls for no increase in undergraduate and graduate tuition as a result of the state budget, which just went to the governor this week. The budget also provides an additional $1.2 million for faculty compensation and a $2 million boost to meet information technology needs.
In reporting on McDavis' evaluation, newly elected board Chair C. Daniel DeLawder said the trustees considered both solicited and unsolicited input from a wide array of campus constituents.
"We were mindful of the agenda the president was asked to follow when he came to the university three years ago," DeLawder said of trustees' approach to the evaluation. "The president has met the objectives as outlined for this year. We believe we're on the right path for moving this university forward."
The trustees' letter to McDavis on the evaluation praised progress and gave direction for ongoing improvements on seven specific goals: improving communication and collaboration with faculty; implementing the recovery process for information technology; implementing a comprehensive strategy to reduce high-risk drinking among students; improving academic integrity; implementing the top priorities of Vision OHIO; raising funds to support strategic priorities; and strengthening financial control.
The board also gave the go-ahead for several construction projects, none of which incur long-term debt for the university:
- An $8.8 million renovation of Lincoln Hall in 2007-08 and an $8.1 million renovation of Shively Hall in 2008-09. The opening of a new East Green residence hall this fall will provide student accommodations as other halls are taken off line in coming years for renovations.
- A $30 million Integrated Learning and Research Facility for the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, contingent on the commitment of an additional $2 million in private donations.
- The $2.5 million renovation Ohio University-Lancaster's Brasee Hall library and gymnasium.
- A $425,000 Hudson Health Center roof improvement project, which was brought before the board again to cover an additional $125,000 in increased materials costs.
- A $160,000 runway and taxiway project and a $300,000 storage facility at the Ohio University Airport.
- A new $367,400 research facility in Hebbardsville.
In the president's report, McDavis told the board a five-year implementation plan for the Vision OHIO academic plan is in progress. Input will be sought from campus constituents, and the board will receive a working draft at its August retreat.
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl's report to the board noted renewed emphasis on the academic mission through, among other projects, ongoing reorganization of her office; increased communications with faculty, staff and students; and a commitment to several academic projects. She noted that a conservative 2007-08 enrollment target of 4,050 first-year students has been exceeded and that incoming students' academic profile is strong. Krendl also noted recent successes in faculty recruitment and retention.
The board heard a summary of the January 2007 Advancement Audit, which outside firm Bentz Whaley Flessner conducted. The purpose of the audit was to assess key individuals' roles in fundraising and external relations; review Vision Ohio as it relates to advancement; and evaluate the readiness of Ohio's Development, Alumni Relations and other programs for a new comprehensive campaign. Vice President for Advancement Howard Lipman acknowledged the value of the recommendations and pointed out some significant strengths the report revealed. For instance, the alumni participate rate in giving is 13.3 percent, putting Ohio University fourth among 11 aspirational peers.
In other formal action, the board:
- Elected DeLawder as its chair and M. Marnette Perry as its vice chair for 2007-08.
- Recognized board secretary Alan Geiger, who is retiring after 40 years with the university, 23 of those as assistant to the president.
- Approved the creation of a bachelor of arts degree in dance, which will have a liberal arts emphasis to complement the School of Dance's existing performance-focused bachelor of fine arts in dance.
- Approved the creation of a graduate certificate in African community health services. The program will provide students with specialized training to help citizens of African countries address severe health problems and will focus on research into health care, disease prevention, sanitation, politics, economics and communication systems to promote community health.
- Ratified a three-year labor agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents members of the Ohio University Police Department. The contract provides for raises of 3 percent in each of the contact's three years.
- Authorized University Human Resources to review and recommend changes to university policies and procedures governing civil service employees in accordance with a change in state law.
- Named the new residence hall on South Green in honor of Alvin C. Adams, the first African-American graduate of the Ohio University School of Journalism.
- Renamed Baker Center's Student Help Center in honor of William Allen, a longtime academic adviser, director of advising, assistant dean and associate dean.
- Officially named a conference room in Baker University Center the Women in Philanthropy Room.
- Approved an operating agreement between the university and the Center for Student Legal Services through 2012.
- Confirmed the honorary degree conferred on Jennie S. Hwang, an entrepreneur, executive, author and scientific pioneer who spoke at the June 9 undergraduate commencement ceremonies.
- Appointed two alumni from outside of Ohio to be nonvoting national trustees on the board. Charles Stuckey, BSME '66, of Carlisle, Mass., was appointed to a two-year term, and Frank Krasovec, BB'65, MBA '66, of Austin, Texas, was named for a three-year term. J. Michael Lawrie, who is leaving the board after four years as a national trustee, was commended for his service.
- Approved the promotion and tenure of 50 associate and full professors.
- Accepted internal reviews of the Department of Philosophy, the J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems, and the School of Visual Communication.
- Appointed two members to the Ohio University-Lancaster Coordinating Council: Robert J. Thiede, replacing Bill Hendren, and Carri L. Brown, replacing Cheryl Payne.
- Posthumously named Lacey S. Curtis Associate Professor Emerita of Education, Southern Campus. Curtis, died of cancer last summer, was named an Outstanding Professor for Regional Higher Education in 2003 and was faculty coordinator for Ohio University-Southern.
- Authorized an annual internal risk audit to be conducted from July 2007 through June 2008.
- Approved a change to the working capital pool allocation strategy to allow the university to invest more of its available funds.
The board deferred action on a proposed 10-year capital plan until a five-year financial plan is presented. Vice President for Finance and Administration Bill Decatur said a draft of the financial plan will be provided to the board at its Aug. 3 retreat, with additional details available at the September meeting.
The board committees heard informational reports Thursday on such topics as information technology planning, critical incident preparedness, internal audit plans and the improved health of Ohio University Foundation investments.
The board will meet five times in the next academic year: Aug. 3 (a board retreat); Sept. 27-28; Feb. 7-8, 2008; April 17-18, 2008 (at Ohio University Eastern); June 26-27, 2008.