President search update part of busy trustees meeting

The board of trustees at its Oct. 3 meeting heard an update on the president search process from Trustee William Primrose, chair of the search committee.

After campuswide meetings with search consultants Witt/Kieffer, a presidential profile is being compiled and will be posted on the University presidential search site. The document will help inform potential candidates about Bowling Green’s history, community, its stakeholders’ vision for what the University can be and what qualities it seeks in its next president.

Advertisements will be posted next week, and the committee anticipates about 100 initial candidates, with about 10-12 selected for “airport interviews,” Primrose said. Eventually, in late February or early March, finalists will be brought to campus for more extensive interviews. He encouraged the campus community to submit names of potential candidates, either to the search committee or directly to Witt/Kieffer.

Police contract unresolved
After reviewing a fact-finder’s report on the BGSU police collective bargaining unit’s request for a wage increase, the trustees voted to reject the findings, which called for a 19 percent increase over three years. The police had asked for a 22 percent increase over that time period.

Following an executive session, the board passed a resolution stating that, while it values the service the police provide to safeguard the campus and students and is committed to attracting and retaining quality personnel, it is constrained to act within the best interests of the University in the current economy and cannot in good faith accept the 19 percent recommended in the report.

Rebecca Ferguson, vice president for human resources, and James Wiegand, head of campus safety, explained after the meeting that the police contract expired last April and the force has been paid under the terms of the old contract. While there is no legal time frame within which the University must act, Ferguson said, she expects that negotiations will resume early this week.

In the meantime, the police continue to provide campus protection as always.

Athletic facilities named
The board honored two longtime supporters of Falcon athletics with the naming of Lee and Marge Meserve Field at the softball complex. The Meserves have supported University sports for many years, both financially and through their volunteerism and attendance at athletic events. Dr. Lee Meserve, a Distinguished Teaching Professor of biological sciences, has also been the Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA for a number of years.

Also, in appreciation of a $100,000 gift from Irwin Belk for a 23-foot, bronze Falcon statue to be located at the Stroh Center, the board voted to name the track room at Perry Field House in his honor. “What a great entrance to the Stroh Center this falcon will be,” exclaimed Trustee Robert Sebo.

Other action
Following recommendations from the Academic and Student Affairs and Financial Affairs committees, the trustees:

• Approved an agreement with CrossHairs Technologies Inc. (CTI) to negotiate an exclusive license for commercialization of a mammal hair detector invented by Drs. Robert Vincent and B.B. Maruthi Sridhar, both geology.

CTI, created by St. Marys businessman Frank Murray, would like to develop and sell products using the technology, said Dr. Deanne Snavely, interim vice provost for research and acting dean of the Graduate College. Detectors would be developed for law enforcement and search and rescue professionals, and for the field sports market.

Under terms of the agreement, CTI would pay BGSU a license issue fee of $5,000 and an annual license maintenance fee of $10,000. The company would also have to meet several “milestones,” including a requirement that it raise at least $210,000 in working capital within six months of the license’s effective date.

• Approved the transition of the BGSU Research Institute to the Office of Technology Transfer and Services (OTTS), which will be a University entity in contrast to the more autonomous research institute.

The office will report directly to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and will direct technology transfer and commercialization and intellectual property management. The institute’s board of directors has become a board of advisors to OTTS.

OTTS will work with the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research to identify programs and projects with the potential for developing intellectual property. It will also collaborate with the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration to develop business cases and plans for selected BGSU intellectual properties.

“We will continue to offer the same services and promotion toward commercialization of BGSU intellectual property,” Snavely said, predicting more commercialization will result.

• Authorized the vice president for finance and administration to negotiate a joint-use agreement with the Wood County General Health District to ensure that University faculty and students have continued access to the facility for activities related to public and environmental health and water issues, and for laboratory and fieldwork experiences for students.

In June, the state legislature approved a capital bill that included $1.2 million for expansion of the Wood County facility, in addition to $700,000 for the Wood County Environmental Health Project, which BGSU students have been involved with. The joint- use agreement is required in order for the state appropriation to be released. The new construction will include expanded office and laboratory space as well as public meeting spaces for instruction and training, and a field staging dock. The board also approved the University’s role as administrator of the capital project funds and as overseer of the project.

• Agreed to accept on behalf of the BGSU Foundation Inc. a donation from Huntington National Bank of a building at 1851 N. Research Drive, which is part of the research park on the east side of Interstate 75. The acceptance is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a “phase 1” environmental assessment. The process is still under way at the state level; the board’s action will allow the transfer of ownership to go forward once all legal steps, and the assessment, have been completed. No determination has been made yet as to the best use of the facility. (See related story.)

•  Authorized the University to proceed with a project to create a backup site in Kreischer (to be called the Main Distribution Frame Room) for campus telephone and data network systems currently housed in Hayes Hall. In the event of damage to the Hayes facility, the University would not be as vulnerable to loss of service. The redundancy project will allow continuation of communications with the outside world, and maintain phone and data service to the eastern two-thirds of the campus. It will also provide a four-hour, uninterrupted power supply system and a fire suppression system, among other upgrades. The state has appropriated $548,837 in basic renovation funds for the project.

* Adopted a resolution honoring the late Clarence Terry, a longtime BGSU administrator who died in May. A 35-year University employee, Terry, as director of multicultural recruitment, was instrumental in raising the percentage of multicultural students on campus to more than 17 percent.

Enrollment among discussion items
Leading the discussion items in the Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting was an update on enrollment, which, as of the official 15th-day headcount, was 20,228, down from 20,684 a year ago. Both the number of freshmen and seniors were down by about 5 percent and the number of sophomores, by 8.5 percent.

The good news, noted William Knight, assistant vice president for planning and accountability, is a 14 percent rise in enrollment at BGSU Firelands, to a record 2,354 students, and a 5.3 percent increase in off-campus extension students.

He also pointed out that the number of distance learning student credit hours has reached 4,651, up from 2,771 only two years ago and 803 hours in fall 2003. Distance learning, said Trustee Michael Marsh, could be the way to meet the state call for producing more degree earners.

Gregory Guzmán, interim vice provost for enrollment management, outlined efforts under way with Noel Levitz, the enrollment management firm hired last April. The key, he said, is to land more students to whom financial aid offers are made. Offers may be made to more prospective students using a rating scale that employs a formula taking high school grade point average and ACT scores into account, he added.

A goal of 3,500 new, incoming freshmen has been set for fall 2009, Guzman said. That number was 3,198 this fall.

On another matter, Trustee John Moore said the board intends to form a committee with faculty membership to discuss faculty salaries. A report by Knight indicated that, in comparison with a list of peer institutions defined by the Ohio Board of Regents plus Kent State, Miami and Ohio universities, BGSU’s average faculty salaries are in the 40th percentile at the professor rank, the 53rd percentile at the associate professor rank and the 33rd percentile at the assistant professor rank.

CFO Sheri Stoll also provided an update to the Financial Affairs Committee on House Bill 251, which calls upon public universities to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent by the end of fiscal year 2014 and to develop and have approved by the trustees a 15-year plan for energy efficiency/conservation projects by this December.

At the same time it makes upgrades to increase energy efficiencies, the campus will have a good opportunity to address the deferred maintenance issues facing campus, Stoll said.

October 6, 2008