Trustees name centers of excellence, honor Ribeau

The BGSU Board of Trustees worked through a lengthy agenda at its April 23 meeting, taking action on items from the granting of promotion and tenure (See related story) to the upgrading of campus utilities.

Centers of excellence
The trustees approved two additional proposed centers of excellence, as presented at the last board meeting, in 21st Century Educator Preparation and Developing Effective Businesses and Organizations. (See for full descriptions.)

Also at the meeting, trustees heard a proposal for a fifth center of excellence in Sustainability and the Environment. (See related story.) Already approved for presentation to the Ohio Board of Regents have been centers of excellence in the arts and Health and Wellness across the Lifespan.

New architecture department, degrees
BGSU’s architecture program will be substantially strengthened and expanded following action by the board. The trustees voted to convert the College of Technology’s current Architecture and Environmental Design Studies Program to the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design.

The board also approved changing the name of the undergraduate degree to a bachelor of science in architecture. Currently, architecture students in the program receive a bachelor of technology with a major in architecture. The new name more accurately reflects the content and orientation of the major and is consistent with what other pre-professional architecture programs in the country call their degrees.

“The architectural/environmental design major is a pre-professional degree that prepares students for continued education in a professional degree program in architecture or a related field, or for employment in architecturally related occupations,” reads the new catalog description.

Also approved was the addition of a professional master’s degree in architecture. Having the graduate degree will significantly raise the identity of architecture studies at BGSU and allow the University to pursue scholarship and development opportunities and accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB). The plan must be approved by the Ohio Board of Regents.

The current undergraduate degree has been in place since 1990. It has undergone significant revisions aimed at enhancing the quality of the program and aligning it with the curriculum in the proposed master of architecture program, which in turn is structured to integrate criteria established by the NAAB and the norms of professional organizational structures and operation in peer programs.

Ribeau honored
A naming and a renaming in honor of former BGSU President Sidney Ribeau were approved by the trustees. The entrance plaza in front of the soon-to-be-built Wolfe Center for the Arts will be called the Ribeau Plaza, in recognition of the longtime president’s “commitment, dedication and accomplishment.”

Trustee Michael Marsh, who made the motion in favor of the plaza naming, said it was appropriate that an outdoor space was chosen. Describing the former president as a “unique person,” he recalled that when Ribeau was inaugurated, rather than a formal, black-tie event, “we had a picnic. . . . And when he left, we had a picnic. That was his style.” Marsh praised Ribeau for inspiring the University’s values initiative, learning communities, the new student union and for setting the goal for the recently concluded and successful capital campaign.

In addition, a program closely identified with Ribeau, the President’s Leadership Academy (PLA), will be renamed the Sidney A. Ribeau President’s Leadership Academy. Ribeau conceived of the academy in 1997 and, that same year, contributed a $15,000 bonus from the board of trustees to help launch the initiative.

The goal of the PLA is to support students who show leadership potential in their personal growth by engaging them in a curriculum that includes classes, workshops, experiential learning and community service. Since 1998, 313 students have been admitted to the academy.

The renaming of the PLA for Ribeau was suggested to the trustees by a joint resolution from Classified Staff and Administrative Staff councils, Faculty Senate, Graduate Student Senate and Undergraduate Student Government.

Energy efficiency projects
The board approved the upgrade of campus lighting for greater energy efficiency, part of the campus Energy Conservation Master Plan. BGSU will replace a number of older lighting fixtures and retrofit others. The University will install occupancy sensors, replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent units and replace incandescent exit signs with LED units, which are much more efficient and have a longer life.

In related action, the trustees voted for a campuswide HVAC control upgrade that will include “air-side economizers” to save energy, and automatic night and/or unoccupied setback of temperature and HVAC equipment in individual spaces.

“The system can be overridden at individual buildings if they’re being used past the set time,” explained Trustee Robert Sebo.

The project is projected to cost almost $6 million, with a savings payback time of only about 2.4 years, Sebo added.

The measures are in keeping with Ohio House Bill 251, passed in 2008, which set goals to reduce energy consumption and promote renewable, alternative and sustainable energy sources. It called for universities to develop a plan for energy conservation and efficiency.

In other action, the trustees gave official approval for construction of the Stroh Center, to be located on the site of parking Lot 6, near the Visitor Information Center.

The last board meeting of the fiscal year will be held June 26, when trustees will consider University budgets.

April 27, 2009