A renaissance in the making: Miami regional campuses in midst of transformative mission upgrade

President David Hodge wrote a guest column about the evolving structure of the regional campuses. An edited version of the column was published in the Monday, Jan. 26, issue of the Journal-News. The entire column appears below.

Almost 50 years ago, Miami’s Middletown and Hamilton campuses were established to provide affordable, open-access options for associate degrees and a pathway to bachelor’s degrees in Oxford for area students bound by location, circumstance, or economics. This mission changed dramatically in 2008 with the formation of the University System of Ohio, in which the Governor and the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents directed that the state’s regional campuses shift to offering primarily four-year bachelor’s degrees with a particular emphasis on the educational needs and career opportunities in each campus’ respective region. This shift recognized that a system of complementary higher education institutions provides more and better options for students, that baccalaureate degrees are important to individual success, and that Ohio – which lags significantly in four-year degree attainment – needs a more educated workforce in order to be competitive in a global marketplace.

As a result of this change, Miami University has been working to evolve the structure and operations of our regional campuses to better meet and succeed at this new mission. In 2010, we merged the regional campuses under one administrative function in order to provide more seamless and cost-efficient opportunities and internal structures. In 2013, an academic division was created on the regional campuses to allow more autonomy in creating four-year degrees that better meet the demands of both students and the region.

As a natural part of the progression, we are now involved in a process that will create further autonomy and allow the Miami Regionals to more fully embrace its mission as a flexible and highly-accessible baccalaureate institution.

Last fall, I convened a task force of faculty, staff and students – representative of all of Miami – to look at university models in Ohio and throughout the United States that might be applicable to the Miami context. The task force identified alternative structures and strategies for fiscally viable growth in four-year degree programs at the regional campuses and presented options for clearly differentiating the Miami Regionals while maintaining a Miami identity. The task force report and other documents related to this process can be viewed online at

Building on the report, and in keeping with Miami’s core value of transparent and inclusive governance, a Process Committee was established to make final recommendations as a blueprint for the transformation of the Regionals into campuses with a four-year institutional framework that will meet the needs of our region for the 21st century and beyond. This committee is tasked with engaging the broader communities, as well as the university, in discussions about the future of the Miami Regionals. I encourage interested individuals to attend the open forums and/or to submit their thoughts to the committee’s website. The Process Committee will report its recommendations to the Miami University Senate on April 13, and I will submit final recommendations to the Board of Trustees at the May 1 meeting.

The key recommendations under review will give the Miami Regionals more autonomy in curriculum development and modification, new degree development options, and a governance structure that fully enfranchises current and future faculty and staff members on the regional campuses. Under the resulting new structure, the leader of the Miami Regionals will be part of the president’s senior leadership team, reporting directly to me.  

At the end of the process, students will have more options for completing bachelor’s degrees – and a limited number of master’s degrees – entirely at the regional campuses. At the same time, the Miami Regionals will continue to provide an accessible and affordable pathway to the Oxford campus for students who seek a broader set of academic choices.

As with all changes, there will be challenges in the transition period. We will work to make any adjustments as painless as possible, and we assure all students who start in any current academic program at Miami that they will be able to finish that program regardless of any changes that are put in place.

The Miami Regionals are extremely important to Miami University and to the region, and we are committed to their long-term success and viability. We view the evolving opportunities as a renaissance for the two oldest regional campuses in Ohio. With these advances, Miami is taking a leadership role in defining and operating regional campuses that we believe will serve as a model for other institutions in Ohio and elsewhere.

David Hodge
Miami University President