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Ohio University President Hugh Sherman meets with local media on Thursday, July 8, 2021, for a question-and-answer session to discuss priorities and concerns for the upcoming school year.

OU President Hugh Sherman to focus on student success, financial health of OU during term

Ohio University President Hugh Sherman outlined his goals for the next two years of his term Thursday, which include enacting a university-wide advising program and stabilizing the financial outlook of the university. 

Sherman entered office June 14 after former President Duane Nellis announced he would resign from the position May 13. In January 2021, Sherman stepped down as the dean of the College of Business and in May 2021 it was announced he would be OU’s next president. 

Sherman said he plans to implement the same advising structure that existed within the College of Business  during his time as dean across the university. This system includes hiring professional academic advisors and career counselors to help students secure jobs and internships post graduation, as well as support students academically. 

“We would need to make investments to be totally focused on student success,” Sherman said. 

In order to implement this program, the university reorganized some of the student affair groups under the Office of the Provost, Sherman said. This reorganization resulted in the abolishment of 13 positions. Despite cutting these positions, 34 new positions were created, Sherman said. 

Sherman also addressed the recent signing of Collin’s Law by Gov. Mike DeWine July 6. Collin Wiant was an OU freshman who died of asphyxiation at the unofficial Sigma Pi annex house in November 2018. 

Sherman said OU provided a scorecard for fraternities and sororities to incoming freshmen and parents at Bobcat Student Orientation. 

“I don’t want to be a president when somebody dies,” Sherman said. “I just can’t take that.”

Additionally, Sherman said he will focus on enrollment and recruitment. According to a previous Post report, Fall Semester enrollment numbers are looking stronger than anticipated. In recent years, the university's enrollment had been declining and in 2020 — under Nellis’ leadership — the freshman class was only about 3,100 students. 

“The marketplace in higher education is very competitive,” Sherman said. “The positive is that it forces all the universities to develop a better product, in a sense. We have to be able to justify why a student would come to Ohio University. What’s the return for their investment?”

Sherman said the university will have to look for ways to “be more efficient” in financial adjustments within the administration and faculty.

The university submitted a request for proposal to Deloitte Consulting to perform a review of the university’s administrative staff. Sherman said he expects to receive the audit by the end of August.

Sherman said he does not intend to be considered for the open presidential position after his term ends in 2023. 

“I’ve only got two years,” Sherman said. “I have to be concerned about the long term financial sustainability for the university.” 


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