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The Ohio State University Academic Plan 2005 Update

Areas of Priority Focus

As we move into the second five years of our Academic Plan, President Holbrook has identified three areas of priority focus for realizing its goals:

  • providing distinctive education for our students;
  • facilitating cutting-edge interdisciplinary research; and
  • supporting 21st-century outreach and engagement.

While our aspirations for academic excellence will be advanced by other initiatives as well, we expect that these three priority areas will be among the most critical to improving Ohio State's performance over the next five years-and, so, its reputation, nationally and internationally.

That improvement will be hastened by an institutional culture that is dynamic and collaborative, accountable and transparent. As our college and department leaders integrate the three priorities into their units' action plans, they are doing so in the spirit of promoting such a culture.

The areas of priority focus are described below. Our successes to date in delivering on these priorities are reported in this document.


Barbara Snyder Signature
Barbara R. Snyder
Executive Vice President and Provost



1. Distinctive Educational Experiences and Opportunities for Students

The Academic Plan is predicated on the commitment to enhance the quality of the student experience. For 11 years in a row, Ohio State has been privileged to welcome incoming classes of increasingly well prepared students. To foster this trend and to serve these students, we must provide them with first-rank classroom, research, and service opportunities. We must do our utmost to enhance the education of every undergraduate, graduate, and professional student on our campus. Accordingly, we are revising our General Education Curriculum; implementing a system to support the highest quality doctoral programs; expanding our recruitment and financial aid efforts; taking steps to further diversify our faculty, staff, and student populations; and investing in technology to enrich our teaching and learning environment.

2. Cutting-Edge Interdisciplinary Research for Short- and Long-Term Societal Benefits

A clarion call of the Academic Plan is that we develop academic programs that uncompromisingly define Ohio State as the nation's leading public land-grant university. Accomplishing that goal means that we must provide new opportunities for interdisciplinary scholarship, which is essential to understanding complex problems and mastering highest-order learning. Our distinction as a research university rests in no small measure on our ability to help our faculty and students make connections between fields of study and bring to bear the insights from many disciplines in seeking solutions to hunger, disease, illiteracy, resource usage, threats to the environment, and other issues facing the global community. To meet these challenges, the Office of Research established the Large Interdisciplinary Seed Grant Program to spur the development of extramural grant proposals for major interdisciplinary initiatives. Increasing the number of interdisciplinary research institutes will foster collaborations among our most distinguished disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholars as well as leading scholars from other institutions.

3. Outreach and Engagement Initiatives that Connect Areas of Academic Excellence with Societal Needs

To discharge the Academic Plan mandate that we "set the standard for the creation and dissemination of knowledge in service to [our] communities, state, nation, and the world," we must increasingly deploy our academic excellence in response to societal needs. One concrete example of our commitment is our Early Childhood Development Center, now under construction at Weinland Park. When it opens in fall 2006, the center will be the first university-based early childhood laboratory school in the nation to be built in a neighborhood of documented need. It will serve up to 88 children, assist their parents in their roles, allow our faculty to conduct research about early childhood education, and provide state-of-the-art training for our students. To date, Ohio State's database of such outreach and engagement activities includes more than 860 entries. In addition, we offer nearly 50 service learning courses that integrate community service projects with classroom learning. This year, to further underscore our responsibility to the communities beyond our campus, we have asked each college and regional campus to include in its pattern of administration a statement that articulates how outreach and engagement activities are embedded in its teaching, research, and service.

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