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The Ohio State University Academic Plan

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October 2003

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Academic Plan
Table of Contents

Preface

Executive Summary

The Ohio State University Vision

Setting the Stage: Context and Strategies for the Academic Plan

Strategies and Initiatives:

  • Build a World-Class Faculty
  • Develop Academic Programs that Define Ohio State as the Nation's Leading Public Land-Grant University
  • Improve the Quality of the Teaching and Learning Environment
  • Enhance and Better Serve the Student Body
  • Create a More Diverse University Community
  • Help Build Ohio's Future

->Facilitating Actions:

  • Obtain Increased State Support
  • Improve the Organization and Delivery of Instruction
  • Increase Organizational Flexibility
  • Improve the Faculty Work Environment

Continuing Activities

Resources

The Academic Scorecard

Print Out The Academic Plan
(pdf file)

Create A Diverse University Community

Academic Plan (Power Point Presentation)

Facilitating Actions

Facilitating Actions describe changes that are necessary if the University is to successfully implement the strategies and initiatives that are listed above. At this time, we have identified four such Facilitating Actions, each of which is described briefly in this section:

  • Obtain increased state support.
  • Improve the organization and delivery of instruction.
  • Increase organizational flexibility.
  • Improve the faculty work environment.

Obtain Increased State Support

As described earlier in this plan (Setting the Stage), Ohio devotes proportionately less in State funds to higher education than many other states. To become a great University, we will need additional funding as well as greater productivity and budget restructuring. This funding must come from a variety of sources, e.g., government, industry, private donors, tuition, and increasing entrepreneurial activity on our part. But it all begins with the level of State support and the flexibility to better control our own destiny.

Therefore, working individually and in concert with other Ohio colleges and universities, we will endeavor to:

  • Achieve a State subsidy that is at least at historical levels;
  • Enhance performance funding through the Research Challenge and Success Challenge;
  • Obtain relief from the State tuition cap;
  • Attract strategic investments in technology-related research and development (the Ohio Plan); and
  • Obtain reimbursement for debt service in life sciences and biomedical research (tobacco fund and DOD initiative).

Improve the Organization and Delivery of Instruction

To improve students' academic experience, we must also reexamine our academic timetable, our undergraduate curriculum, course availability, and majors. Several structural changes are important in this regard. For example, of 88 Research I universities, only 15 use the quarter calendar. The trend is toward semesters, which give students more time for in-depth study, ease the transfer process, provide efficiencies, and save money. Faculty who have taught under both systems report many operational benefits under the semester system. While opinions vary on this issue - especially among students - many faculty and administrators believe that this change should be implemented. In addition, the extensive and complex General Education Curriculum, which was appropriate for an open-admissions university where many students arrived with educational deficits, may no longer be appropriate for today's better-prepared students. A thoughtful redesign of the curriculum, the enrollment of more freshmen directly into academic colleges, and a First-Year Experience program that coordinates support for students in their early months at Ohio State will help students get the courses they need and want, make transfers from one major to another as seamless as possible, and help students graduate within four years. Such changes are best accomplished as part of the quarter-to-semester shift. Thus, we will:

  • Subject to appropriate consultation, shift from quarters to semesters within four years and work with the faculty to undertake a concurrent simplification and streamlining of the General Education Curriculum (GEC) process.

Implementation: Undertake a thorough review of the academic calendar and the undergraduate curriculum: majors, the GEC, and the individual courses that make up both.

Increase Organizational Flexibility

The forces of change described in Setting the Stage require today's institutions to be more flexible and capable of responding more quickly to internal and external events. In the case of Ohio State, implementation of this Academic Plan would be significantly enhanced by greater flexibility in four important areas:

  • Continue to rationalize college and departmental organization on an ongoing basis to assure an optimal organizational structure to serve our students and operate as effectively and efficiently as possible.
  • Move toward compensation systems offering greater variability according to the individual competitive needs of a department or college.
  • Allocate faculty positions in line with current needs, e.g., allowing units to utilize clinical faculty.
  • Restructure the budget process to more clearly align resources with academic goals.

Implementation: The President and Provost will work with the University's governance structure over the next 1-2 years to seek greater flexibility in all four areas. The University Senate is already considering the rationalization issue.

Improve the Faculty Work Environment

To be as productive as possible in their research, and perform at an outstanding level in the classroom, faculty need a supportive environment and a minimum of impediments. To improve the faculty work environment, we will:

  • Encourage individualized faculty work loads.
  • Recognize work load efforts of faculty who supervise large numbers of doctoral students (already done in some departments).
  • Enhance professional leave opportunities by encouraging faculty participation in the leave system and rewarding faculty who use this time productively.
  • Encourage faculty entrepreneurship through opportunities for seed grants and other small grants to faculty, particularly in areas where external funding sources are limited.

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