Dr. Carol Cartwright and President Sidney Ribeau

Dr. Carol Cartwright and President Sidney Ribeau

Trustees approve budgets, upgrades

The board of trustees approved the 2009 fiscal year budgets, including a $275.7 million educational budget for main campus and a $13.5 million educational budget for BGSU Firelands, when it met yesterday (June 25).

The educational budget contains a 1.5 percent increase in the salary pool for faculty, administrative and classified staff as well as a $500,000 pool for promotion, tenure and market-pool adjustments.

For the third year in a row, annual tuition and fees for an entering first-year student remains at $9,060.

Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer, said the University is “pleased and appreciative” that the governor and state legislature have maintained their pledge of support for higher education in Ohio.

During the coming fiscal year, state support for main campus is projected to increase by $7.3 million, or 9.5 percent. However, a drop in enrollment of about 400 undergraduates as compared to 2008 has contributed to a decrease in University revenue of $3.3 million for fiscal year 2009. When added to last year’s drop of 350 undergraduates from 2007 numbers, BGSU has lost more than $6 million in instructional support over the two-year period, Stoll said.

“We’re now at about 63 percent of our budget coming from tuition and fees,” she said.

For the first time in many years, public higher education in Ohio was spared a midyear reduction in fiscal year 2008, while other state agencies did see their budgets trimmed due to the difficult economic times.

“The state is doing what it can to help our students and their families afford a college education, and we are deeply appreciative. We share the same goal, and that is to enable more families to send their children to college,” Stoll noted.

She warned, however, that the national and state economic situation remains uncertain, citing rising unemployment and gas prices and a sharp drop in consumer confidence and retail and industrial output. The greatest challenges facing the University, Stoll said, are keeping salaries competitive and dealing with increased costs for health care and purchased utilities, primarily natural gas and electricity.

The University is required to have a balanced budget, so divisions must all find areas in which to cut back, she said. Reductions made for the coming year will be permanent, she noted.

President Ribeau said. “We’re in very, very difficult budget times in the state of Ohio, and I don’t expect we’ll see any immediate improvement. We need to find ways to generate revenue and keep costs down. (Incoming interim president) Dr. Cartwright has all the information and will be working with the leadership team.

“We’ll balance the budget, but at great pain,” he said, predicting there will be faculty positions unfilled and graduate assistantships reduced, among other results of the deficit.

Upgrades and renovations planned, fees approved

In addition to the educational budgets, the trustees approved $34.7 million for general fee and auxiliary budgets, $29.9 million for residence halls, dining halls and the Residential Computing Connection, and $15.3 million for other miscellaneous budgets for main campus. 

Among special fees okayed by the board is a $10 annual increase, from $70 to $80, for auto registration. Revenue generated by the increase will fund parking repairs and cover greater operating costs for the University shuttle system. “Parking rates at BGSU are extremely modest and way at the low end compared to our sister institutions,” Stoll commented.

Also, a new, $50 vending fee per semester, equivalent to approximately $3 per week, will provide residential students with unlimited laundry service. The pre-paid laundry fee eliminates coin collection and expensive capital outlay for electronic point-of-sale devices and ongoing transaction fees associated with that equipment, while enhancing convenience for students.

Modest fee increases for residence hall and dining services for the 2008-09 academic year were set by the board in February. Students continue to have a variety of options to choose from, with rates depending on the options selected.  Room rates increased by an average of 2.83 percent, while meal-plan rate went up an average of 4.73 percent.

The trustees also approved:
• Upgrades to the 11 small Greek units on the northwest side of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, budgeted for $3,200,000.
• Improvements to public spaces in Harshman/Kreischer residence halls, predicted to take place over the course of the next two summers (2009 and 2010). The estimated cost of the project is $1,650,000.
• Other special fees, including a $35 graduation fee, bursar-related fees, and an $8 increase in the technology fee for residential students. In addition, there were special fee increases for special courses or travel.

Academic Charter amended

The board approved three amendments to the Academic Charter, as recommended by Faculty Senate. The amendments:

• Link tenure and promotion to associate professor, eliminating the need for two separate actions. The move was proposed by Provost Shirley Baugher and passed by Faculty Senate April 1.

• Call for the provost/vice president for academic affairs to be copied on communications any time an interpretation of the charter has been requested and whenever violations of the charter have been alleged. The senate passed the measure on March 11.

For interpretations, a written request must be submitted to the senate chair, who will provide a copy of the request to the provost. The opinion arrived at by the Senate Executive Committee, in consultation with the president, will then also be provided to the provost as well as to the Committee on Amendments and Bylaws.

For violations, the chair of the senate will provide a written copy of the alleged violation to the provost. If the Senate Executive Committee, in consultation with the president, determines a violation has indeed occurred, the appropriate action to achieve compliance with the charter will be communicated to the person in violation of the charter and to the provost.

• Substantially revise the current Grievance Arbitration Procedure in the charter to make it more clear and user-friendly. The move was passed overwhelmingly by the senate on April 29.

New director named

The hiring with tenure of Dr. Derek Mason as director of the School of Social Work in the College of Health and Human Services was also approved by the board. An associate dean and division head for the Central and Northern Region (Edmonton) faculty of social work at the University of Calgary, Canada, Mason has also taught at Utah State University (where he was president of Faculty Senate) and at Nebraska State University.

Mason follows Dr. Glenn Shields, who recently retired, as director of the school.

Dobb honored

Also at the meeting, the title of University Trustee Professor was conferred on Executive Vice President Linda Dobb, who is also secretary to the board. “It’s greatly deserved,” commented Michael Marsh, board chair.

Officers elected

Trustee John Harbal was elected chair of the board, Robert Sebo vice chair and Dobb re-elected secretary. The board executive committee will comprise Marsh, Harbal, Sebo and John Moore. Outgoing chair Marsh has another year on his term; the meeting was the final one for Trustee Michael Wilcox.

June 23, 2008