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Information items dominate trustees' agenda

Sept. 28, 2007
By Jennifer Krisch and Katie Quaranta

In two days of meetings that concluded this afternoon, the Ohio University Board of Trustees moved efficiently through action items on the agenda and spent most of its time discussing information items. These included the university's five-year academic action plan, the University System of Ohio (USO), the status of the fiscal 2009 budget and the university's new marketing campaign, "The Promise."

Vice President for Finance and Administration William Decatur told Resource Committee members on Thursday that the five-year financial plan, which is tied directly to the academic action plan, will serve as the starting point for the fiscal 2009 budget. It takes into account, Decatur said, inflationary increases in wages, benefits and utility costs; $30 million worth of Vision OHIO strategic priorities; and $30 million to strengthen the university's financial position.

"Budget reallocations and revenue enhancements will be necessary to accomplish these goals," Decatur said. "Additional options to generate revenue are absolutely essential. ? The state biennial budget has already dictated FY09 tuition rates, state investment in instruction allocations and efficiency targets."

Decatur noted an early projected fiscal 2009 reallocation and revenue enhancement target of $7.5 million. Throughout the year, the university's Budget Planning Council will focus on strategies to reduce that gap.

The board also heard from Howard Lipman, vice president for university advancement, who presented a strategic plan to increase private contributions to the university. The Ohio University Foundation, he said, hopes to nearly double giving over the course of the five-year plan, Lipman said. Additional staff will be needed to develop the personal relationships that will bring in large gifts, he noted.

"Each college has a goal," he said. "The goal is $18 million for this year, but we would like to take giving to $30 million (annually) within five years."

Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl spent time in committee answering questions about the University System of Ohio. She and President Roderick J. McDavis emphasized that USO is only in its formative stages and that Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut is not looking to dictate its form but instead create the plan with wide input. They told the board that Ohio University is ahead of many others because of the strategic planning it had already begun. They also endorsed the overarching goals of the system ? to improve the access, affordability, prominence and quality of Ohio higher education.

"The chancellor has very high aspirations for the institutions of Ohio, and as an academic, that is a challenge I'm happy to take," Krendl said.

In his report, McDavis focused on the stated goals and performance objectives of the five-year academic action plan and discussed how these will help position Ohio University within the University System of Ohio.

"The success of Ohio University and the success of the system are closely tied," he said.

Krendl also covered the five-year academic action plan. She stressed that it is still a working document, currently being vetted by the Five-Year Academic Action Plan Committee and the campus community.

Krendl's report highlighted several strategic initiatives, including the planned establishment of a graduate college, saying the university is on course to reach many of these goals over the next five years.

The board got a preview of three 30-second commercials that are part of the university's new marketing campaign, launching next week in the Columbus area and Southeast Ohio. Jointly funded by the offices of the president, the executive vice president and provost, the academic deans and University Communications and Marketing, the campaign showcases Ohio University's academic excellence.

"After viewing it, I just got a PhD in goosebumps," said Frank Krasovec, one of the board's two national trustees.

Senior Director of Marketing Communications Gina Calcamuggio, who spearheaded the project, met with a standing ovation. Board members expressed that this is exactly the kind of thing they want to see.

The board also heard a presentation from Sergio Lopez-Permouth, who shared two key areas the faculty feels need to be emphasized -- shared governance and manageable workloads ? and requested that trustees place a non-voting faculty member on the board.

"If you're going to remodel someone's house, you should consult with them," he said of shared governance.

DeLawder asked him to provide metrics that would indicate how Ohio University stood in comparison to its peers in regard to workloads so the board can get better perspective on the issue. He said after the meeting that Lopez-Permouth's recommendation on a faculty board member would be referred to the governance committee.

Lopez-Permouth said he believed the university had made strides in the right direction.

"I'm look forward to a productive year as we tackle the challenges ahead," he said.

Jim Kemper, associate vice president for finance and administration for human resources, summarized the preliminary results of the Early Retirement Incentive Program. He said 133 eligible employees chose to participate in the program. Even though that fell below the stated goal of 150, the overall plan achieved its objectives by trimming the university's workforce by 79 positions.

A final information item of note involved the presidential evaluation. DeLawder noted that an ad hoc committee would thoroughly review the presidential evaluation process in light of concerns expressed by the university's constituent senates. The committee, after gathering feedback and investigating best practices at other universities, will report its recommendations to the board at the next meeting.

In official action, the board approved:

  • The six-year Board of Regents biennial capital plan for all campuses. The plan, which provides $91 million in state funding over a 10-year period, encompasses priority improvement projects. Funding for the Athens campus will provide a portion of funds for completion of Lausche Heating Plant renovations, phase I of a Clippinger Laboratories renovation and phases I and II of the conversion of old Baker Center for the College of Communication, among others.
  • An increase in the construction budget of the Hebbardsville Large Animal Research Facility from $367,400 to $453,595 to comply with state codes and EPA requirements. Researchers will use the facility for the study of animal locomotion, anatomy and physiology.
  • A budget increase for the Porter Hall addition project to allow the university to build out the 5,100 square feet assigned to the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology. This will provide space that is already needed at a more favorable price ? while the building is under construction -- than the university would pay later.
  • Advertising for bids for the installation of an elevator and connecting ramp in Chubb Hall
  • A resolution congratulating coaches and student-athletes on receiving the Jacoby Trophy for having the best overall women's athletics teams in the Mid-American Conference last academic year
  • Election of Thomas E. Davis as interim secretary of the Board of Trustees
  • Continuation of multiple centers and institutes, including the Appalachian Rural Health Institute, the Center for Advanced Materials Processing, the Center for Ring Theory and Its Applications, the Edison Biotechnology Institute, the George Hill Center for Counseling and Research, the Institute for the Empirical Study of Language, the Institute of Applied and Professional Ethics, the Institute of International Journalism, the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics, the Nanoscale and Quantum Phenomena Institute, and the T. Richard and Elenora K. Robe Leadership Institute
  • Discontinuance of the Center for Automatic Identification
  • A resolution allowing the College of Osteopathic Medicine to increase its nonresident surcharge by 5 percent, effective winter quarter
  • A resolution to re-issue $5.65 million in bonds to fund the Enterprise Project that standardized database software and tools
  • A resolution of participation in the Local Administration Certificate for Capital Improvement Projects
  • Emeriti awards for Richard Moffitt, assistant dean emeritus of lifelong learning; Connie Perdreau, director emerita of education abroad; and Rebecca F. McNeer, associate dean emerita of Ohio University-Southern
  • James P. Feldner's appointment to the Coordinating Council at Ohio University-Zanesville for a three-year term
At this meeting the board resumed a past practice of visiting colleges across campus. On Thursday they visited with faculty, staff and students at the Honors Tutorial College and the College of Business and returned to the meeting with high praise for both.


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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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