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Ohio State Provost Joseph Alutto gives final University Senate speech

Andrew Bruening / For The Lantern

An administrator gave his final annual address to the University Senate after working at Ohio State for more than 20 years.
Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Alutto spoke about some of the major changes that have shaped the OSU community over the past few years as well as upcoming plans that will encourage further improvements.
The provost spoke for about 20 minutes in his last State of Academic Affairs address at Drinko Hall at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. He is expected to step down from the position on June 30 and will be replaced by College of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean Joseph Steinmetz on July 1.
Alutto began his address by giving an overview of how far OSU has advanced academically over the last 20 years. In the early 1990s, OSU was ranked as both “not elite” and a “second-tier” university, Alutto said.
“Today we have advanced to 18th in the nation, which is very significant movement in a system that is characterized by stasis rather than change,” Alutto said.
Alutto referenced some of the important changes put in place in order to bring OSU to where it is today, including the conversion from quarters to semesters.
“We must continue to invest, to adapt and to assess as we improve the quality and the difference-making potential of such commitments,” Alutto said.
Alutto also looked forward to some of the programs being implemented at the university, including the Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) that will start Fall Semester, as well as increased financial aid programs.
The STEP program aims to reward students who live on campus for two years with a $2,000 university stipend they can put toward research, study abroad or internships.
Alutto attributed OSU’s rising success to the university community.
“This progress, of course, has been driven by an increased quality of our faculty and our students, both having made great strides over the last 22 years,” Alutto said. “Clearly we have been and we are on an upward trajectory.”
Alutto received a standing ovation from the University Senate as he finished his address and said he hopes OSU will one day be a top-10 ranked school.
Several other issues were discussed at the meeting, including an in-depth look at the STEP plan. An associate professor in the Department of African American and African Studies, Leslie Alexander, said STEP aims to encourage more interaction between faculty and students and foster more educational opportunities.
Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology Ken Lee spoke about a proposal to support an increase in tenure track faculty members. The proposal would give OSU the potential to hire about 500 high-level faculty members over the next 10 years.
An interim policy was discussed that will require a background check and required training for all employees and volunteers of any OSU summer camp programs. The university is aiming to further protect the children of the 660 youth programs at OSU.
The meeting concluded with a proposal to move OSU from a smoke-free campus to a tobacco-free campus. This plan could be implemented as early as Fall Semester.
The next University Senate meeting is scheduled to be held April 18.

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