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Five-Year Academic Action Plan Committee completes report

Nov. 16, 2007
From staff reports

The Five-Year Academic Action Plan Committee provided its report Thursday to Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl.

President Roderick J. McDavis charged the committee in September with helping to gather broad feedback on the draft Five-Year Academic Action Plan (FYAAP), assembled last summer and presented to the Board of Trustees at its August retreat. At the time, McDavis and board Chair C. Daniel DeLawder both stressed that the plan was a working document and that input from faculty, staff, students and other stakeholders would be essential before it was finalized. 

The 17-member FYAAP Committee consists of representatives from each of the university's constituent groups along with deans and vice presidents. 

The FYAAP covers the current academic year through 2011-12. Drafted in response to a June request from the Ohio University Board of Trustees, the plan covers six Vision OHIO goals: strengthening undergraduate education; enhancing graduate and professional education and research; improving the quality and diversity of faculty, staff and students; enriching the campus environment; fortifying the technological and financial infrastructure; and enhancing the university's national prominence.

In reviewing the plan, constituent committee members actively sought responses and suggestions from their respective groups. Each senate provided a written report to the committee summarizing the feedback received, and Student Senate, Graduate Student Senate and Faculty Senate also passed related resolutions. The FYAAP committee also held four open forums and established a Web site to provide the broader university community with an opportunity to share input. 

In its report, the committee identified four major themes in the feedback it received:

  • Questions and concerns about where the money would come from to fund the initiatives
  • The difficulty of being able to discuss the relative strengths of the proposed initiatives without knowing more about the sources of the funding
  • How and why athletics was included in the plan
  • Difficulties inherent in the expectations, timing and timeline set by the Board of Trustees for the creation and vetting of the plan.

The FYAAP committee noted in its report that other than these areas of agreement, response to the plan tended to reflect the unique concerns of each participating group. The senates focused primarily on the areas they knew best and the goals and strategies that would have immediate impact on their own situations. 

Chuck McWeeny, chair of the committee and dean of the College of Fine Arts, noted that members of the FYAAP committee had to deal with a complicated document under a tight timeline. "They were unified and worked hard at getting the feedback that was needed." 

Krendl will review the report and make recommendations to the president based on the conclusions of the FYAAP committee before Nov. 28. The FYAAP committee recommended that McDavis then work with Krendl, the deans and vice presidents during winter break to redraft the plan. The committee also suggested that in January, the redrafted plan be submitted to a joint committee of the FYAAP committee and the Vision OHIO Executive Steering Committee for review and additional recommendations. 

The Budget Planning Council has begun to analyze the assumptions used in putting together the five-year financial plan that accompanied the draft FYAAP. Discussions of enrollment projections, compensation and benefits, and other major "drivers" of the budget, independent of the FYAAP, have dominated the BPC's work thus far. Krendl said once the group has finalized its recommendations on the basic working financial assumptions, its goal is to align the financial plan with the results of the final FYAAP. 

Krendl thanked the committee for its work and expressed optimism about next steps. "I am confident that, based on the work done by the FYAAP committee, we will be able to put forward to the Board of Trustees a strong and viable plan," she said.

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