The Ohio University Board of Trustees met with alumni, toured the new CoLab, and approved several key resolutions during its meetings last Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18-19.
The Board also heard an update on the new OHIO Honors Program. The board approved changes to the Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program and an easement for the Richland Avenue pedestrian passageway project, according to a news release.
Revisionsto the Undergraduate Scholarship Match Program will provide for more flexibility in meeting student needs, the release said.
The changes include:
• Abolishing a rule that limits available match funding to pre-determined colleges at OU, instead allocating them on a first-come, first-served basis.
• Donors can designate a preference for scholarship funds to be directed to particular academic departments, programs or majors. However, if students who meet the donor’s preference cannot be identified in a given year, the university can now utilize the scholarship dollars for other eligible OU students.
• Other donor preferences, such as geographic restrictions, may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Those preferences must be broad enough to ensure an ample number of eligible recipients.
The Board approved several capital project budget expenditures, among them:
• Ryors Hall lobby renovation, which will cost $800,000. This will update the lobby of Ryors Hall on West Green, including office renovations and new furniture.
• An additional $400,000 was approved for repairs to the West Green Chilled Water Plant. The improvements in the design of the plant will allow for automated operation, which will improve energy efficiency, function and operating efficiency.
Richland Avenue easement
The Board of Trustees approved a resolution to grant the City of Athens an easement for construction of a roadway and pedestrian passageway on university land under Richland Avenue near Porter Hall.
The proposed roadway and pedestrian passageway will provide significant benefits to the University and its students, the release stated, including improved traffic flow and enhanced safety for pedestrians and drivers. The Richland Avenue roadway will be raised and a dedicated passageway beneath will allow for safe crossing between Porter Hall and Grover to West Green and vice versa.
OHIO Honors Program progress
During Dr. M. Duane Nellis’ Presidential Spotlight, representatives from the OHIO Honors Program highlighted the early progress of the program. The new program, created to offer innovative honors learning experiences to undergraduates from all university majors, accepted its first cohort this fall semester.
The Honors Program offers an alternative to the Honors Tutorial College’s 38 tutorial-based degree programs that enable students to become accomplished artists, scholars and professionals. Honors Tutorial students take a small group or one-on-one tutorial with a faculty member each term and produce a thesis, creative, or professional project that makes an original contribution to their discipline.
The new OHIO Honors Program is designed to supplement undergraduate study in any non-tutorial degree program, the release explained, allowing highly engaged students to focus on experiential learning and application.
CoLab tour, alumni meeting
The Board of Trustees toured the CoLab, a new space designed as a physical hub for student innovation and entrepreneurship activities, on Thursday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held as part of the CoLab’s grand opening that day.
The OU news release explained that the CoLab aligns with President Nellis’ strategic pathway of incentivizing interdisciplinary collaborations to enhance the university’s research and creative profile. The CoLab will support campus-wide student innovation, creativity, and social and public innovation efforts that will have a broader impact on OU and the community.
Oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics
The Board of Trustees passed a resolution to implement recommendations of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges regarding the governance and oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Under the resolution, the university president and Intercollegiate Athletics will provide an annual report to the Board of Trustees on the status of Athletics’ finances, academics, and student-athlete welfare and compliance. The board is ultimately responsible for Athletics policy, and new Trustees will receive training as part of their orientation about the governance and oversight of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The associate athletic director will now have “dotted-line” reporting to the university’s general counsel, who will provide legal advice and assistance as needed.