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Trustees consider university's finances

12/12/2008

Reports to Miami University's trustees at today's (Dec. 12) board meeting focused largely on the school's financial situation. In regard to cuts made across university divisions (see www.muohio.edu/fiscal_update), Miami President David Hodge clarified the impact on staff.

Hodge said based on current projections, "we estimate up to 100 of our colleagues may lose their jobs. It's a sad thing to have to do." Hodge said three vulnerabilities continue to produce uncertainty: the investment environment, state support and enrollment.

The president again stressed that Miami's focus continues to be student success, which is at the heart of the university's mission, and that he recognizes the potential economic stress on families. 'We will do everything within our power to enable our current students and our new students to be able to enroll here."

Board president Richard Smucker reported that the board completed President Hodge's annual performance evaluation after its last meeting, and that the board viewed the president's performance as "extraordinarily positive." He explained that under the president's contract, the board has the option of paying him a bonus for exceptional performance of up to 20 percent of his annual salary, which for the 2007-2008 school year would have been $68,000. Smucker noted that, "Although the board concluded that Dr. Hodge's performance certainly merited this bonus, Dr. Hodge indicated to the board in September that he would not accept the bonus due to the university's critical budget outlook and the significant needs of the university."

Vice President for University Advancement Jayne Whitehead told the board that the For Love and Honor campaign has reached $346 million, which is near the original campaign goal of $350 million by Dec. 31, 2008. The revised campaign goal is $500 million by Dec. 31, 2010.

Whitehead added, however, that commitments have slowed considerably. "It's too early to tell any trends," she said. While the number of named endowments is the same as of this date last year, the annual fund has dropped $659,000.

In regular business, trustees adopted the Institutional Accountability and Institutional Affordability reports created by university staff for submission to the chancellor of the University System of Ohio to meet requirements for public universities and colleges in Ohio.

Trustees also approved dividing the department of mathematics and statistics into two departments beginning with the next academic year. Provost Jeffrey Herbst explained that creation of the new statistics department will allow Miami to pursue initiatives including efforts to promote quantitative literacy across campus.

In other action: trustees


  • approved a budget of up to $2.2 million from a combination of existing state, local and bond funds, for five new laboratories to be shared by botany, microbiology and zoology faculty in Pearson Hall.

  • approved replacement of the roof and exhaust fan system of Pearson Hall at a cost of up to $1.837 million, from existing state and local funds. It will replace the current 100 fans with a more efficient, unified system.

  • authorized purchase of furniture and equipment for the new Farmer School of Business building not to exceed $3.575 million.

  • approved spending up to $1.21 million to replace the fan coils, ventilators and water heaters of the HVAC system in Flower Hall, from funds designated for construction projects by the housing, dining and guest services department.

  • authorized a spending distribution formula from the university's endowment that remains unchanged from recent years, involving a market element with 30 percent weight of the formula and an inflation element with 70 percent weight in the formula.

  • elected new officers:
    chair: John S. Christie;
    vice chair: Donald L. Crain;
    secretary: S. Kay Geiger; and
    treasurer: David F. Herche.

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