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The Ohio State University Academic Plan First Year Report

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June 2002

Academic Plan
Table of Contents


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


The Academic Scorecard

Print Out The Academic Plan
(pdf file)

Create A Diverse University Community

Academic Plan (Power Point Presentation)

Academic Highlights

  • Profile of incoming freshman class has improved dramatically over six years:
    -Average ACT score has risen from 22.8 to 25.2
    -Percentage of entrants ranking in top 10 percent of high school class has risen from 21 to 32
    -One entrant in five is a minority.
  • Freshman retention has risen from 77.7 percent in 1995 to 86 percent last fall.
  • Research grants have increased by 34 percent (to $329M) over the past two years.
  • Ohio State ranks among U.S. News & World Report's Top 25 Public Universities in America and is number one in Ohio.
  • From 1994 to 2002, Ohio State doubled its number of National Academy members from eight to 16. Currently, there are five members of the National Academy of Sciences, eight members of the National Academy of Engineering and three members of the Institute of Medicine.
  • This year, there are a record-breaking 366 scholar-athletes, up from 263 just six years ago. Almost 40 percent of all student athletes have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • U.S. News ranks many graduate/professional programs tops in the nation.
  • Ohio State ranks 20th in the nation in the number of national merit scholars, ahead of Vanderbilt, Duke and UCLA.
  • The Council for Advancement and Support of Education ranks Ohio State 10th in fund raising among nation's public universities.
  • Students have been recipients of such prestigious recognition as: British Marshall Scholars, College Bowl, Fulbright Fellows, Goldwater Scholars, Mellon Fellowships, NSF Graduate Fellowships, Truman Scholars and Finalists and Udall Scholars.
  • The successful Affirm Thy Friendship campaign created 79 new endowed chairs and added more than $105 million to the university's scholarship fund.

Areas of Current Focus

Restore Compensation to Competitive Levels

To attract and retain a top-flight faculty supported by a first-class staff necessitates compensation levels that compete favorably with those at peer institutions. Due to inadequate state support, our average salaries have fallen behind our benchmark peers, and today our faculty salaries rank 8th out of 10 peer institutions while staff salaries are below market overall and in some cases significantly so. One year ago, the President announced that correcting this inequity was our highest priority and that we would increase compensation to benchmark mean levels over the next three or four years. The first payment on that promise will be made July 1, 2002, when average compensation will rise by approximately 4.5 percent, 1 percent above the estimated increase in our external market. We have also included Graduate Associates in our benchmarking and multi-year compensation initiative while also increasing their minimum stipend and beginning to phase in a health care subsidy.

Given that over the past year state support has eroded further, it was necessary to generate much of the funding for this competitive, merit-based plan internally. We did so through a combination of increased non-state revenues and budget reallocations. Specifically, we increased tuition, private fund raising and grants; reduced centrally funded initiatives by 10 percent; asked academic support units to re-program up to seven percent of next year's budget; and asked our colleges to re-program up to five percent of next year's budget. As a result, approximately 600 positions are being eliminated, approximately 120 of which involve layoffs.

Strengthen the Undergraduate Experience

Ohio State has made great progress in attracting better-prepared students and enhancing their experience once they arrive. We now seek to shift our emphasis from retention to more advanced academic achievement and accelerated graduation timetables. To help sustain this progress, the Offices of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs have strengthened existing initiatives and created new initiatives. Examples include:

  • Smaller classes, more openings in high-demand courses and curricular enhancements that respond to student needs, e.g., a new minor in Business and a proposed general Health Sciences major. Under review are ways to better integrate the General Education Curriculum into overall student programs and to more effectively integrate courses within the Colleges of Arts and Sciences.
  • A new First Year Experience program that offers small seminar courses and other programs to ease the transition of first-year freshmen and transfer students into the University community.
  • More and better academic and career advising for students.
  • More and better classroom teaching development programs for faculty and graduate associates.
  • More living-learning and other such special academic interest-based activities. Today, there are 41 living-learning communities of which nine are Scholar programs. Four in five incoming freshmen participate in such programs. (Living-learning Programs allow students who share academic and other interests to live together and participate in service learning, workshops and other enrichment activities.)
  • New student housing for upper division undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
  • Increased opportunities for undergraduates to incorporate research experiences into their learning.
  • Recommendations to enhance the contribution of regional campuses to the mission of the University by better integrating them into the University and enhancing their role as a portal to the Columbus campus.

These and other enhancements were made possible through a combination of earmarked tuition revenues (with the impact for economically disadvantaged students softened and all students getting more for their money), improved management efficiencies and reorganizations and greater accountability.

Make Ohio State a Leader in Biomedical Research

Biomedical research is growing in importance as a national priority with technological advancements and successes brought about by the sequencing of the human genome. Ohio State has made a major commitment to become a leading player in this national arena, a commitment that is facilitated by the University's existing strengths. These strengths include interdisciplinary programs; broad research interests that range from cancer and heart disease to agriculture, biological sciences and pharmacy; and facilities such as the world's only 8 tesla MRI human magnet. A Biomedical Research Plan was developed to facilitate and leverage discovery across different types of research areas. That plan links researchers in seven different areas: Mechanisms of Health and Disease, Biomedical Informatics, Technology, Risk Factors, Assessment, Intervention and Health Outcomes. The goals of the plan are to create synergies across disciplines, link basic science researchers with clinicians and apply new technology and information to medical problems.

Groups of faculty, clustered in the seven focused areas of expertise, have been preparing inventories of existing strengths, identifying key assets and opportunities and recommending strategies for progress and collaboration. In addition to tapping into the vast expertise of current faculty, several new faculty members are playing key roles in the development of the Biomedical Research Plan, including: Joel Saltz, Medicine, who was recruited from Johns Hopkins and is leading the Biomedical Informatics component; Wolfgang Sadee, Pharmacology, who was recruited from the University of California-San Francisco and is playing a critical role in the area of Disease Intervention; and Avner Friedman, Mathematics, who was recruited from the University of Minnesota and will link his current efforts in mathematical biosciences, where he is working with the National Science Foundation, with Biomedical Informatics.

To facilitate the expansion of biomedical research, the University is planning to construct a state-of- the-art Biomedical Research Tower. This building is projected to open by late 2006 and will nearly double the assignable square footage devoted to biomedical research. It will be funded by the University Medical Center through the sale of capital bonds, repaid from private fund raising and increased grant awards, and by investments from the President's Strategic Investment Fund. The initiative is consistent with the high level of growth in the NIH research budget and could perhaps receive funds from the State of Ohio's tobacco settlement fund and the Governor's Third Frontier Project. Apart from its major contributions to medicine and health, the biomedical research initiative will become the focus of new faculty hires, thus creating intellectual capital, stimulating the commercialization of discovery and benefiting the Ohio economy. In addition, the Biomedical Research Plan and Tower will contribute substantially to all six Academic Plan strategies.

Create an Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Americas

Many consider race to be our nation's greatest domestic problem, a pivotal issue that in turn affects many other societal challenges such as housing, public health, education, labor supply and social justice. Given that universities exist to create knowledge and to prepare students for the world that awaits them, an institute to study race -- and the related subject of ethnicity -- provides a meaningful opportunity for discovery and scholarship, teaching and service. It will also contribute to intellectual life on campus and foster a University environment that will attract and retain faculty and students of color.

Founded by the Colleges of Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Law, the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Americas offers several unique features. These include its focus on ethnicity as well as race, its emphasis on the Americas and the fact that it begins with more than $1 million in annual institutional investment -- funds that were set aside prior to the budget cuts and which are expected to stimulate considerable grant activity. The presence of this initiative on campus will not only prepare students for a more diverse life, it will provide useful information and policy guidance for the community. This spring, following a national search, the University recruited john powell, a nationally known scholar now serving as executive director of the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota, as the Institute's director. He will assume this position during the upcoming academic year.

Overall Academic Plan Progress

The following information highlights major areas of progress on the Academic Plan's six strategies and 14 initiatives.

Build A World-Class Faculty

1. Over the next three to five years, recruit at least 12 faculty members who have attained or have the potential to attain the highest honors in their disciplines, concentrating these appointments in areas of strategic focus.
  • In July of 2001, the Ohio Board of Regents awarded Ohio State four of the state's seven new Eminent Scholar positions, providing up to $750,000 per position in endowment support to be matched by new University fund raising. Work is under way to identify candidates for these positions and to raise the necessary funds.
  • In winter quarter 2001, a faculty committee recommended pursuing proposals for nine distinguished faculty hires, four of whom have already accepted offers and are actively engaged in teaching and scholarship. Discussions are under way with three other eminent faculty while two declined our offers.
  • Among the outstanding individuals recruited to play prominent roles in the success of the Academic Plan and not otherwise cited in this report are: Martha Chamallas, Robert J. Lynn Chair in Law; Ann Hamilton, Art; Chris Hammel, Physics; Winston Ho, Engineering, Center for Materials Research; Alastair Minnis, English; and Jay Zweier, Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.
2. Implement a faculty recruitment, retention, and development plan -- including a competitive, merit-based compensation structure that is in line with peer institutions.
  • The "competitive, merit-based compensation structure that is in line with peer institutions" is discussed above. That plan was developed by a Competitive Compensation Oversight Group appointed by the President to advise the Provost and Senior Vice President for Business and Finance. All faculty and staff are eligible for the resulting increases and merit is the primary determinant of specific levels of increase. In addition, Colleges/Units are encouraged to make additional one- time cash payments to a limited number of faculty and staff to reinforce outstanding performance, retain individuals whose salaries are behind market or aid the lowest paid individuals to help offset fee increases.
  • The Offices of Academic Affairs and Research joined with a wide variety of Colleges in funding two dozen successful counteroffers to retain valuable Ohio State faculty.

Develop Academic Programs That Define Ohio State As The Nation's Leading Public Land-Grant University

3. Continue the Strategic Investment approach by competitively funding initiatives that build programmatic strength and open new fields. Build on existing capabilities and capture opportunities specific to Ohio State and to Ohio. Maintain ongoing multidisciplinary initiatives where appropriate and develop new initiatives that draw on University-wide strengths to attack major problems of the next quarter century. Create multidisciplinary centers that can attract additional faculty in key areas, helping reduce student-faculty ratios in high demand fields.
  • The Office of Academic Affairs continued to support the 13 Selective Investment programs, Academic Enrichment commitments and other targeted central initiatives, acknowledging our desire to build excellence despite budget difficulties. We also began to realign base budgets consistent with each college's financial performance and needs of the Academic Plan, completing 16 percent of the re-basing process during FY02 and anticipating continued progress in FY03. In all, almost $5.2 million in continuing funds were distributed to colleges for targeted purposes this year. The extent to which funds have been used for focused purposes is reflected in the fact that five of the 18 colleges received 73 percent of strategic investment funding.
  • The Office of Research made significant multi-year commitments to a number of large-scale initiatives that show great potential to enhance the level and quality of research activities at Ohio State. Major commitments have been made to the Bioinformatics and Drug Delivery initiatives in the College of Medicine and Public Health and to the Math-Biosciences initiative in the College of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Another significant commitment is marshalling a University-wide research response to counter terrorist activities and enhanced homeland security.
  • Two major interdisciplinary initiatives -- the University Medical Center's Biomedical Research Plan and the Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the Americas -- are discussed above.
4. Significantly increase space dedicated to funded research beyond what is currently planned. Include a multidisciplinary building devoted to high quality research space as well as to office and meeting space.
  • As already noted, the new Biomedical Research Tower will nearly double the assignable square footage devoted to biomedical research in the Medical Center. Plans call for a 422,000 square-foot building with 10 stories and state-of-the-art facilities, including an animal-imaging center. The $120 million facility will be financed largely with bonds, repaid with grant growth from increased faculty productivity.
  • The Office of Research has developed a plan to convert a renovated Smith Laboratory to a multidisciplinary research facility that could accommodate faculty from a variety of colleges focused on a central research theme.
  • In partnership with the Office of Facilities Planning and Development, the Office of Research has commissioned a benchmark analysis of the campus' long-term research space needs.
  • Significant private funding contributed to many new research facilities, including the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, Ross Heart Hospital, Parker Food Science Building and Wildemuth Optometric Research Center as well as research facilities in Veterinary Medicine, Neuroscience and wetlands.

Enhance The Quality Of The Teaching And Learning Environment

5. Transform the library into a 21st century Information Age center within the next five to 10 years.
  • An architectural feasibility study to identify programmatic needs, architectural options and costs to renovate the Main Library has been completed, and planning continues on an option that will cost $98 million -- roughly the mid-point of four options. The project is expected to be financed with 70 percent state funds and 30 percent from private fund raising. A detailed fund-raising plan is now being developed by the Director of Libraries in consultation with the Office of Development.
6. Upgrade the quality of our classroom pool space and enhance the appearance of the campus facilities and grounds.
  • Several projects to renovate large lecture halls with state funding are in the planning stages while the renovation of second-floor classrooms in Denney Hall have already been completed. In addition, many classroom projects are included in large capital projects now under way, including a new physics building, renovation of Hagerty Hall as the location of the new World Culture and Media Center, renovations for Page Hall as the home to the John Glenn Institute for Public Service and Public Policy and the construction of the signature facility for the Knowlton School of Architecture. These facilities will be flexible and appropriate in size and design for their specific use and will include state-of-the-art equipment as well as gathering spaces that encourage out-of- the-classroom learning experiences among students.
  • Construction began in February for the first new student housing since the late 1960s, a facility at Neil and 10th that will house about 500 graduate and professional students as well as honors/scholars undergraduates.
  • Ground will be broken in November 2002 for the first phase of a $140 million, 634,000 square-foot recreation and physical activity center. This Larkins Hall renovation is a joint project of Student Affairs, the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services and the Department of Athletics.
  • Campus Partners began demolition this spring along North High Street to make way for construction of a University Gateway Center. The Center will be a dynamic blend of entertainment, retail, office space, rental housing and parking that is likely to cost more than $100 million. It will better serve Ohio State students and other area residents and will become a catalyst for renewal of the entire High Street corridor.
7. Provide faculty, staff, and students with the latest technology tools for leadership in teaching, research, and career development within the next five years.
  • A distance-education committee recently recommended ways for Ohio State to proceed more strategically and effectively with distributed learning and distance-education initiatives. Susan Metros, a nationally recognized leader in this field, was hired as deputy CIO for Educational Technology and Distributed Learning to provide the needed vision, leadership and expertise.
  • To improve the technology infrastructure for teaching and learning, 13 new central classrooms were technology-enabled for a total of 76; 13 existing technology-enabled central classrooms were upgraded; and 228 computers were upgraded in student labs. A new classroom support web site was developed to provide faculty with access to comprehensive information on each room's technology resources.
  • A Pew Foundation grant will support the redesign of Statistics 135, a chronically-closed GEC course that enrolls 3,250 students annually. The methodology developed potentially can help redesign other large courses.

Enhance And Better Serve The Student Body

8. Within the next three years, make admission to Ohio State selective throughout the year for new freshmen and for all transfer students.
  • Thanks to competitive admissions in the fall quarter, the University continues to recruit an increasingly better-prepared freshman class. This is already leading to increased retention rates, with positive implications for the budget and for improved graduation rates. Extending competitive admissions to winter and spring quarters is the next step that needs to be taken so that our entire student body enters the University well prepared.
9. Create a rich educational environment for undergraduates. Increase course accessibility, reduce class sizes, and establish at least 10 Scholars Programs within five years -- expanding opportunities for students to live with those who share common interests and enhancing students' academic success and sense of community. Provide academic programming, advising, and career counseling within these communities.
  • In addition to our current focus to strengthen the undergraduate experience (described above), we have completed the transition to direct enrollment, developed a computerized course monitoring program and created a program to prepare students for post-baccalaureate fellowships.
  • Today, we have nine scholars programs.
  • Student Affairs has developed an array of late-night alternative programming, taken measures to enhance safety in the East-of-High area and conducted educational programs to discourage dangerous behavior. In addition, the Jesse Owens recreation facility has been enhanced.
  • A new Multicultural Center opened in 2001 to promote intellectual and cultural enrichment, programs, services and facilities for students, faculty, staff and community.
10. Provide ample need-based and merit-based aid for undergraduates and a competitive financial aid and fellowship support package for graduate and professional students to improve Ohio State's graduate and professional matriculation rate.
  • The University has maintained its tradition of softening the impact of tuition increases for needy students. Over the past two academic years, approximately 20 percent of such new fee revenue was earmarked for additional undergraduate student financial aid percent. As a result, Ohio State provided more need-based aid than other Ohio public colleges and universities.
  • Graduate student stipends were increased beginning in August 2001. And as noted above, GAs are now included in benchmarking and the competitive compensation initiative. In addition, the University is phasing in the subsidization of health care insurance costs for graduate students.
  • The Research Commission Report advocated increasing the number and value of fellowships to recruit outstanding graduate students to Ohio State and for funds to support interdisciplinary programs. The G-QUE recommendations included various ways to increase support for graduate students. The current financial climate is limiting our ability to implement these recommendations.

Create A Diverse University Community

11. Hire at least five to ten women and five to 10 minority faculty at a senior level each year for five years through the Faculty Hiring Assistance Program (FHAP) and other initiatives.
  • Fourteen women and four minority faculty members, one of whom is female, were recruited into senior-level faculty positions and arrived on campus for the 2001-2002 academic year. Two of these individuals received some funding through the Faculty Hiring Assistance Program.
  • More broadly, we continue to progress in meeting the goals of the Diversity Action Plan. The President and Provost have repeatedly articulated the importance of our diversity initiative. Accountability measures are in place. Each college was required to develop its own diversity plan and to report annually on its progress, which is reviewed by the Diversity Council.
  • The President's and Provost's Diversity Lecture series has brought 12 well-known diversity scholars to campus for stimulating discussions of diversity issues.
  • Critical to future success will be effective retention strategies since we have done better in hiring women and minorities than in retaining them.
12. Recruit, support and retain to graduation larger numbers of academically able minority students.
  • Admission data show that we have continued to increase the racial and ethnic diversity and enhance the overall academic preparation of our entering freshman class last fall. Approximately one freshman in five from that entering class was a member of a minority group.
  • The Office of Minority Affairs instituted a program focused on the retention of African-American male students.
  • The Office of Student Affairs has a very active commitment to diversity programming, encompassing hundreds of events, activities and organizations designed to support minority students, educate the campus community and create a welcoming environment for all students. Students of color are well represented in such University- wide activities as Welcome Week, Homecoming and student government as well as in activities targeted to minorities. A 2001 Campus Climate for Diversity study provides valuable data for developing programs and services that respond to student diversity issues.

Help Build Ohio's Future

13. Become the catalyst for the development of Ohio's technology-based economy. Increase collaborations with the private sector to enhance research, successfully transfer University technology and provide experiential learning and career opportunities for students.
  • Scitech, the University-affiliated research and technology campus, completed Science Village Phase 1, including the Ohio MicroMD Laboratory. This multi-user, academic and industrial BioMems R&D Center will help bring Ohio State and Central Ohio into worldwide prominence in utilizing nanotechnology to improve health care. Phase 1 also includes space for Honda R&D Americas, iMEDD, the Columbus Technology Leadership Council and Battelle Technology Fund.
  • The Business Technology Center (BTC) incubator now houses 16 companies. It started and/or invested in seven companies and developed space for Leadscope, a bioinformatics company.
  • The pieces are coming together for an effective pipeline that connects the University to the commercial world. Besides Scitech and the BTC, it includes the Technology Commercialization Corporation, which helps new companies get started.
  • Industry-sponsored research continues to grow, and a host of University research centers contribute to economic growth, examples being the Center for Advanced Polymer and Composite Engineering, the Center for Excellence in Manufacturing Management and the Food Industries Center. Other academic-industry partnerships help prepare students for industrial jobs. Now in its second year, the Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade Project has created the Learning Bridge, a neighborhood schools initiative that includes the Columbus Public Schools, Columbus Education Association, and agency and community representatives.
14. Significantly strengthen the scope and effectiveness of our commitment to P-12 public education, with a special focus on the education of underserved children and youth. In so doing, work with the State of Ohio and selected local school districts. This initiative will be a University-wide partnership with the College of Education in the lead college role.
  • Working with the Service Learning initiative and Student Affairs, the P-12 Project has created the Community Connection, a web-based volunteer matching and training system that will be available to the University and the community next autumn.
  • It also created the Ohio Collaborative -- Research and Policy for Schools, Children, and Families, a statewide research and policy center to coalesce higher education faculty throughout Ohio to provide research and policy support for the Ohio General Assembly, Governor's Office, Ohio Board of Regents, and the Ohio Department of Education. The Ohio Collaborative is already assisting the Governor's Commission on Teaching Success, the Ohio Families and Children First initiative and the Columbus Public Schools.
  • In addition, the P-12 Project helped support the formation of the University Teacher Education Council, a structure comprised of equal numbers of education and arts and sciences faculty to strengthen the initial preparation of education professionals.