Thursday, January 17, 2008

Updated Priorities for OU's Vision Ohio

The newly renamed Five Year Vision Ohio Implementation Plan is a collaborative effort of Ohio University's academic officers and executive staff to set the top priorities for accomplishing the goals of Vision Ohio. The plan lists six reshaped goals in priority order:

1. Strengthening undergraduate education,

2. Enhancing graduate and professional education and research,

3. Recruiting and retaining talented and diverse students, faculty, and staff,

4. Enriching the environment for students, faculty, and the region, which also reinforces the retention goal,

5. Fortifying and aligning infastructure to enhance the academic missions of instruction, research, and service,

6. Enhancing the university's prominence within Ohio, the nation, and the world.

Video: Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl discusses the importance of academics in the Vision Ohio plan

The next issue addressed by the committee is how these new goals will be paid for. In the first year, funding will come from institutional reserves and carryforward accounts. Between one and $1.5 million will come from base budget reserves and another three to four million dollars will come from one-time resources in order to start critical processes.

In years two through five, administrators hope funding will come from new revenues generated from recruitment and retention efforts combined with an effort to cut costs through productivity improvements. If not enough money is generated from additional revenue and cost reductions, reallocation and budget cuts will have to be made, but will be based on academic and support unit priorities.

As opposed to setting a budget for the next five years, the plan is to evaluate how much money is available as each year begins and then decide what processes are most important to implement with the money that is available at that time. The main goal is to link planning to budgeting.

Video: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Bill Decatur talks about funding for the new plan

In conjunction with a focus on academics, retaining students is a main objective of the five year plan. The committee believes the way to keep students at OU is to enhance their engagement on campus through learning communities and increasing participation in extra-curricular activities. The committee believes that by linking aspects of campus life, they can enrich the Ohio University experience and therefore increase retention rates. Learning communities will serve as a fundamental tool to accomplish this goal by giving first quarter freshman the opporunity to be around familiar people and offer unique experiences both inside and outside the classroom.

Video: Krendl and Decatur discuss the various ways to increase retention rates

Freshman enrolled in learning communities take a block of classes with the same people, including a University College course that introduces them to university life. Community teachers and peer mentors also set-up outside of class activities to relate to coursework and introduce students to other areas of life in Athens. Students who have previously been in learning communities have mixed feelings on their impact.

Video: OU senior Ellen Cox discusses her experiences in a learning community

The Five Year Vision Ohio Implementation Plan is very focused on making academics and retention rate top priorities at Ohio University.

No comments: