At its Feb. 29 meeting, the University’s Board of Trustees, following its recent evaluation of President Sidney Ribeau, expressed its strong approval of his performance and extended his contract an additional year, through June 30, 2011.
The board also decided that, while tuition and general fees will not rise next fall, inflation necessitates cost increases in room and board. For instance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting a food inflation rate of 4-4.5 percent, with the greatest increases in eggs and dairy products, said Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance and administration.
The trustees approved an average meal-plan rate increase of 4.73 percent for the 2008-09 academic year. The fee increase was required for University Dining Services to achieve a balanced budget as well as provide adequate funds for re-investment in dining facilities and equipment, according to campus officials.
Students will still be able to choose from several meal-plan options. The bronze meal plan, the most commonly used, is currently $1,339 per semester. Next year the same plan will cost $1,400 per semester. Less expensive and more costly plans will be available as well.
The proposals had been reviewed and approved by the University Dining Committee and student leadership groups such as the Resident Student Association, noted Dr. Edward Whipple, vice president for student affairs, at the Financial Affairs Committee meeting. “While certainly no one wants to see prices increase,” he said, “students in leadership understand the need to reinvest in our facilities and to improve them in terms of recruitment.”
Residence hall room rates will increase by an average of 2.83 percent effective fall semester. Rates approved by the trustees vary by the room option chosen; some rates are staying the same or decreasing slightly, while others will cost more.
Stoll said the University is attempting to keep costs to students down by utilizing differentiated rates for different categories of room types. She indicated the rate changes were designed to be responsive to differing student needs and demand for particular room types and amenities. Additional considerations included comparing the University’s housing options and pricing to what is available at other public universities in Ohio.
“With these modest increases, the University will be able to meet mission-critical functions as well as continue ongoing efforts to address changing student needs,” Stoll said.
A case in point is the current trend of more students choosing to attend summer school. In response to that trend, for the first time BGSU will offer 12-month room contracts in some residence halls. In addition to having the convenience of on-campus living, students won’t be faced with the inconvenience of finding and moving into different accommodations just for the summer session.
Stoll added that the shorter-term improvements are “momentum maintainers.” She and her staff will be working on a 20-year master plan for capital improvements over the next 36 months, but “we can’t do nothing while we work on our plan,” she said. “We need to keep moving forward.”
Stoll also reported that the renovation and expansion of the Health Center is temporarily on hold while the University reassesses what programming it would like to see in the space. But the plan to replace the building’s aging chillers with one, central cooling unit is still in place as it is a stand-alone project.
Emeritus status granted
Dr. Leigh Chiarelott, School of Teaching and Learning, was granted emeritus status. A faculty member since 1978, he specialized in curriculum development both for K-12 classrooms and for higher education. He held numerous leadership positions during his tenure at BGSU, including, at various times, director of the School of Teaching and Learning and the School of Education and Intervention Services, and chair of the Division of Teaching and Learning and of the educational curriculum and instruction department. For 29 years, until his retirement last summer, he was a graduate program coordinator, first for elementary and secondary education and then for the program in curriculum and teaching.
Chiarelott also served two terms each as vice chair and chair of Faculty Senate, from 1990-92 and again from 1999-2001. He received several honors for his University service, including the Faculty Distinguished Service Award, in 1996.
In recognition of significant gifts to the University, the board approved the naming of the Robert W. Maurer Family Endowed Professorship in Accounting (See www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/monitor/02-18-08/page46221.html) along with names for several facilities, notably the new convocation center. The building will be called the Stroh Center in commemoration of the $7.7 million pledge from former BGSU Trustee Kermit Stroh and his wife, Mary Lu. See http:// www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/monitor/03-03-08/page46965.html
The large theatre that will be part of the new Wolfe Center for the Arts will be named the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre, and the former lounge on the second floor of the Business Administration Building will be known as the David J. Joseph Co. Business Hub. In addition, a number of rooms in the Sebo Center were named for donors.
J. Douglas Smith, vice president for University advancement, praised the efforts of several people in helping to shepherd the gifts over several years. Named were Marcia Sloan Latta, senior associate vice president and director of alumni and development, and Dr. Rodney Rogers, dean of the College of Business Administration, for their leadership in projects that “enhance students’ learning and life at BGSU.”
Catastrophic leave bank
Stephen Kendall, chair of Administrative Staff Council, reported that a proposal for a catastrophic leave bank is “on the verge of being ready to present to the board.” Kendall predicted the proposal, made possible by the recent passage of House Bill 187, would be ready by the next board meeting, in May.
The leave bank would enable employees to donate sick leave hours for use by those who have depleted their own.
Undergraduate Student Government
USG President Johnnie Lewis, in his update to the board, reported that USG will send a “happy birthday” email to students on their 21st birthday, encouraging them to have a safe celebration and providing contact information for campus safety and wellness resources. Lewis expressed disapproval of the increasing cost of meal plans and the planned discontinuation of the “rollover” of unused funds from semester to semester.
Graduate Student Senate
April will be Graduate Student Month, announced GSS President Jeannie Sabaroff, with a variety of events and activities. April 17 is Graduate Assistant Appreciation Day, a universitywide celebration of graduate students. Watch Monitor for more information.
WBGU-TV advisory committee
The trustees also approved the appointment of members of the WBGU-TV Public Advisory Council for Television. Jan Osborne of Lima was appointed for a second, three- year term ending in May 2010, while approved for first, three-year terms were Pat Good and Jeffrey Kirkman, Lima; Sarah Krupp, Fostoria, and Martin White, Archbold.