Ohio University Board of Trustees met in committees and conducted a main Board session Tuesday morning. During the meeting, the Board approved several resolutions, received a report from OU President Hugh Sherman and was updated on OU’s current housing master plan.
Sherman presented the Board with a university update on the previous academic year, enrollment status and investment plans for the upcoming year.
Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sherman said many students had trouble adjusting from virtual to in-person learning, which required going to class daily and turning in assignments and engaging in campus and education.
During the Spring Semester, OU had the most students it has ever had on academic probation, Sherman said. The number of students who were on academic probation indicates to the university that it needs to invest more in its students' experiences this fall, Sherman said.
Sherman also said the total enrollment of students in the class of 2026 is about 4,400 to 4,500, which allows OU to enhance the student experience.
The key four areas OU plans to invest in next year include academic advising, tutoring, experiential learning and internships.
“We will double down on increasing the amount of academic advising that's available and the tutoring and supplemental instruction,” Sherman said. “In addition, we will continue to emphasize experiential opportunities for every student.”
Next Fall Semester, OU is also going to begin implementing its new housing plan for the future, which aims to address the wants and needs of students living in campus residences.
Sherman also emphasized the need for campus mental health resources and the university's commitment to its Make Respect Visible campaign targeted toward increasing diversity and inclusion on campus.
Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee
The Resources, Facilities and Affordability Committee met to review the university’s financial standing, discuss housing plans and passed two resolutions that were sent to the full Board for approval.
According to the committee's presentation, the university will end the fiscal year with a surplus of $33.9 million. The university’s COVID-19 expenses for Fiscal Year 22 are forecast to cost $11.7 million. Next year, the university is setting aside $1 million for COVID-19 expenses, though the university is no longer requiring masking and testing on campus.
The two resolutions passed regarded fee and tuition changes. Of those changes, Bobcat Student Orientation will increase guest fees from $20 for a one-day stay to $35. It will cost guests $60 for two days.
Aviation course fees will also increase due to fuel and flight instructor costs. The second resolution increased instructional fees for eCampus undergraduate courses from $237 per credit hour to $304.
The Board also approved four projects to address deferred maintenance on campus that will target the needs of the spaces and its students. Those projects include a $14.7 million project to Stocker Center for updates to the building’s HVAC and plumbing systems and a $6.5 million renovation project in Boyd, Sargent, Treudley and Tiffin halls, which will update the lobbies of the four residence halls.
Audit and Risk Management Committee
The Audit and Risk Management Committee met to discuss upcoming audits that it would be performing during FY 23.
The committee’s plan included an audit of the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s body donor program and Global Affairs.
The audit was approved to be sent to the full board.
Main Board Meeting
The Board of Trustees concluded their meeting by urging the university community to keep an open discussion with board members about any future concerns and thanking guests and members in attendance.
Molly Wilson and Maya Morita contributed to this report.