Since he came to Ohio State 18 months ago, President Michael V. Drake has learned what it truly means to be a Buckeye.
"Each day, our faculty, staff and students are hard at work demonstrating the creativity and commitment that it takes to be one of the nation's top universities," Drake says.
In his State of the University address, Drake reflected on Ohio State's progress and shared what's next in the three areas of focus of his 2020 Vision – access, affordability and excellence; community outreach; and diversity and inclusion.
Access, affordability and excellence
"Education transforms lives, but only if we can deliver on our promise of access to an excellent and affordable education."
Drake is a champion of affordable excellence: He envisions a high-quality Ohio State education that is within the reach of all students, regardless of income. Here's how the university is making that happen:
Affordable excellence: This fall, Ohio State's Affordability Grant program meant 12,000 Ohio State students from low- and middle-income families received much-needed scholarship funding – $15 million total. Next fall, that program will expand, serving 15,700 undergrads, including more than 3,000 on Ohio State's regional campuses. That brings the Affordability Grant total to $35 million in two years.
Groundbreaking partnerships: Ohio State Athletics has long had a relationship with Nike. An innovative expansion of that relationship sets a new standard for how a collegiate contract can benefit the entire student body. More than $40 million will go to student-focused programs including scholarships, internships and academic programs – a key milestone in Ohio State's goal of generating $200 million in new resources dedicated to access, affordability and excellence by 2020.
Excellence in education: After a spring Teaching and Learning Summit, an interdisciplinary network of faculty worked to create the Teaching and Learning Institute, which will support faculty, share innovative teaching methods and serve as a clearinghouse for teaching and learning resources. This fall, Ohio State will launch a program to help new faculty develop best practices for teaching.
"We must recommit to our university motto of Education for Citizenship, engaging with our community partners to extend our scholarship with the full force and precision of one of the most powerful institutions in the world."
Ohio State was founded as a land-grant university, with a mission of service. Today, Drake calls for the Ohio State community to work together to tackle complex issues:
Addressing food security: Together with community partners, Ohio State researchers and students are working to address hunger. The university has invested nearly $15 million in new faculty experts in the areas of food production and security – and has plans to commit nearly $100 million in this area over the next 10 years.
Collective change: What happens when Buckeyes take on a global challenge? At the Buckeye Summit this spring, an Ohio State network – including alumni, volunteers, expert faculty, business and community leaders, and students, staff and friends – will spend the day discussing how to addressing hunger at home and around the world.
Diversity and inclusion
"We must lead in exemplifying what it means to be an inclusive university, a place where diversity is a defining characteristic and source of strength."
Diversity, Drake says, "is more than a goal or aspiration." By 2020, he says, Ohio State "must be a national model of inclusiveness and diversity."
Students setting a new standard: Ohio State's first-year class is not only the most talented in university history, but also the most diverse. Enrollments among Hispanic and first-generation students are record-breaking. "It is wonderful to see our diversity rise along with our academic profile," Drake says.
Celebrating success: This fall, the White House recognized Ohio State's Latino and Latin American Space for Enrichment and Research program as one of the best in the country in helping Hispanic students reach their full potential. The university also has been named among the top-25 friendliest colleges in the country for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students, among the top-10 for study abroad experiences and the No. 1 university in the country for veterans.
Translating vision into action: A university-wide task force has developed recommendations for inclusive excellence – and Ohio State has implemented a number of those suggestions. A first step: a commitment to advancing faculty diversity through search committee training, with hiring through our Discovery Themes initiative identified as a key opportunity.
Read the full speech.