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Strategic priorities plan is set

12/10/2010

Miami University President David Hodge presented to university trustees today (Dec. 10) a list of 36 recommendations for a five-year plan meant to lead to increased national prominence for Miami while maintaining a sustainable budget in difficult financial times.

The recommendations include ideas to improve efficiencies while retaining highest quality academics and student support, reduce budgets and add revenue sources.

They are the result of a seven-month intense study by a university task force, input from the entire university community via forums and a blog and final review by several university groups and President Hodge.

Trustees accepted the recommendations and formally recognized the 18-member task force for its dedication and long hours of service. Several recommendations may be implemented beginning in 2011. Among significant goals are

  • increasing our already high retention and graduation rates, which means enhanced student success, reputation and income
  • increasing scholarship fundraising by $50 million and fundraising overall
  • recruiting more out-of-state and international students
  • modifying the faculty retire/rehire program and hiring more long-term clinical and lecturing faculty
  • evaluating majors, under-enrolled class sections and Miami Plan foundation courses for effectiveness and viability
  • reducing institutional support for intercollegiate athletics and for student affairs each by 2 percent per year over the five-year period
  • Reviewing and possibly eliminating some graduate programs and assistantships
  • Identifying savings in energy and space utilization efficiencies

The strategic priorities task force recommendations and background on them are online.

Trustees approved increasing the $25 per credit hour fee premium currently assessed to courses in the Farmer School of Business (FSB) to $50 per credit hour for academic year 2011-2012; to $75 per credit hour for academic year 2012-2013; and $100 per credit hour for the 2013-2014 academic year. The fee would only be assessed to courses typically taken by FSB majors and not Miami Plan foundation courses in the FSB, workshops and courses on the regional campuses. The increases will help programs, faculty and students in the nationally ranked school remain competitive among other top business schools. Many of the FSB’s peer universities charge similar fees.

Trustees also approved increasing the Professional MBA program fee from $750 per credit hour to $780 per credit hour, effective with the fall 2011 cohort. The program is experiencing a high caliber and high number of students.

Sue Henry, chair of the board’s academic and students affairs committee, reported on an increase of 17 percent in applications compared to this time last year. Applications are up significantly from the East and West coasts, where Miami hired recruiters this year.

In other action, trustees
  • named Debra Allison, who has served as interim vice president for information technologies for three years, as vice president for information technologies and chief information officer beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
  • authorized issuing and selling bonds not to exceed $125,000,000* to fund six construction projects related to the student housing master plan and other financial obligations:
    - up to $5.6 million for contracts to improve fire safety and security via keyless entry locks on residence hall room doors.
    - up to $3 million for housing fire suppression and electrical upgrades to Morris, Emerson and Tappan halls.
    - up to $9 million for renovations to Elliott and Stoddard halls to include mechanical, electrical, data, fire suppression and accessibility installations.
    - up to $1,850,000 for HVAC and fire suppression work in Havighurst Hall.
    - up to $5.6 million to renovate and add rooms in Marcum Conference Center to offset reassignment of Miami Inn rooms as student housing.
    - up to $1.5 million to replace the 49-year old HVAC system in Harris Dining Hall.
  • approved through state and local funds up to $3,379,930 for complete renovation of five instructional laboratories for advanced chemistry and biochemistry courses in Hughes Hall
  • approved an endowment spending formula
  • approved increasing the endowment administrative fee from .50 percent to 1 percent of the previous fiscal year’s March 31 value of the endowment assets.

The board elected officers for the calendar year thus: Donald Crain as chair, Sharon Mitchell as vice chair, Dennis Lieberman as secretary and David Herche as treasurer. The board’s next meeting is Feb. 4, 2011.

* This is an update to a resolution approved in September that allows Miami to take advantage of a change in available finance rates.

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