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
- 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
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
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
- Encourage faculty entrepreneurship through opportunities for seed
grants and other small grants to faculty, particularly in areas where
external funding sources are limited.