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Ohio University President Duane Nellis opens the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 19, 2018. (FILE)

What to expect from this week's Board of Trustees meetings, including potential tuition increases

The OU Board of Trustees will consider raising tuition, housing and dining fees for undergraduate students for the 2020 fiscal year during its meetings Thursday and Friday.

For Ohio residents, annual tuition would increase from about $12,192 to about $12,618 annually. Housing would be about $7,060 and dining would be about $5,905, according to a previous Post report.

The board will review the operating reserves and financial position of the university.

OU was originally budgeted to draw $17 million from its reserves. However, the university is predicting that there will be $25.7 million drawn from reserves for operating units.

The net undergraduate tuition and fees was $235.8 million, while OU only has $233.6 million in revenues forecasted. The agenda attributes that to a decline in freshman enrollment, declining non-resident headcounts and a “significant decline” in summer credit hour production results.

There are certain construction and design projects that the board will vote on. All construction and renovation projects that have a budget of $500,000 or more need to be approved by the board, according to the agenda.

The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Phase 1 Academic Replacement Space is a project that will consist of construction of a four-story building in the Union Street Green. The project will cost $65 million; the money will come from the HCOM department reserves and external funding.

Another project that is up for approval is a chilled water plant. The $16 million project would be paid by utility distribution costs. There would also be $15.6 million for associated utility distribution costs. The plant would contain equipment that is capable of producing 2,500 tons of chilled water, but the building would be designed so that, in the future, there can be construction of equipment to produce 7,500 tons of water as well as hot water boilers.

The Konneker Alumni Center could receive funding of $1.7 million to, among other things, add provisions with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The university could also repair the roofs of Buildings 33 and 37 at The Ridges. Both of those buildings are beyond repair. Building 33 would cost $925,000, and it would remove abandoned equipment that is currently on the roof. Building 37 would cost $850,000 to replace the roof.

There will also be a $1.1 million project to upgrade Sargent Hall’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

OU President Duane Nellis will give a report including topics such as Fall Semester commencement, 2018 Homecoming, and student recruitment in Malaysia and Japan.

Nellis will also report on some “Bobcat Beacons of Excellence,” including The Chronicle of Higher Education naming OU as one of six institutions that encourage innovation in teaching, according to the agenda.

Additionally, one of the areas that Nellis will recognize is that OU has joined a movement with other universities to eliminate the achievement gap and award more degrees by 2025.

Nellis will also discuss OU’s football team and its 2018 season, as well as Tim Albin, offensive coordinator and running backs coach, who was named the 2018 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year by Astroturf.

Jim Schaus, OU director of athletics, will present an update on the intercollegiate athletics dashboard, according to the Board of Trustees agenda.

In the agenda, Schaus said all 16 athletics teams have a score of 970 or higher on the academic progress rate (APR). There are 12 teams that earned a perfect 1,000 for the 2017-2018 year. That is a decrease from 2016-2017, when the APR was at 992. According to the agenda, the average APR for Division 1 schools is 987.

Schaus will also report that student-athletes increased their average GPA from 3.195 in 2016-2017 to 3.204 in 2017-2018.

Another topic being presented is a discussion on regional higher education by Chaden Djalali, executive vice president and provost.

“We need renewed focus as a unified university system on serving an educational access and workforce development mission with distinctive quality, affordability, and student success,” the agenda reads.

One recommendation Djalali included in the agenda is that the administration at regional campuses should work closely with Athens campus leaders. That includes having executive leadership more visibly engaged for university operations and communication between campuses.

Djalali recommended programs at regional campuses should be aligned with programs with the colleges on the Athens campus. 

OU Student Senate plans to request the ability to present to the Board of Trustees on an annual basis and to establish an autonomous constitutional process for Student Senate’s constitution.


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