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Ohio State Board of Trustees tackles scholarships, records requests

Ohio State’s Board of Trustees committees met throughout the day Thursday to discuss various university matters, including public records requests handlings, focusing more on increasing the number of scholarships and the creation of aWexner Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Audit and Compliance Committee Meeting

The Audit and Compliance Committee set a goal to improve the university’s standards on public record requests responses and waived a company’s audit requirement at its meeting.

Gates Garrity-Rokous, OSU’s chief compliance officer, said there are critical next steps involving the university’s Compliance Risk Assessment plan, which helps to identify and manage risks concerning OSU.

“It will cause a significant impact on the campus,” Garrity-Rokous said.

One of the objectives of the plan is to “ensure appropriate and timely response(s)” to all public records requests involving OSU.

Garrity-Rokous said a request currently takes an average of 19 days to fulfill, depending on the subject matter of the request.

The Board also decided to waive an audit requirement for the student loan company Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment.

OSU’s policy, as it previously stood, was to require a full audit of affiliates’ financial records but waived the current audit requirement for Campus Partners and replaced it with an “Agreed Upon Procedures” audit to specifically focus on rental income and selected expenditures.

A previous campus affiliate, Metro School, is currently considered to be in jeopardy in the most recent reports. Metro School is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based high school in Central Ohio.

OSU changed its internal auditing process regarding Metro School due to the school becoming a charter. The Board will vote at its Friday meeting about whether or not to accept the change.

Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee Meeting

Javaune Adams-Gaston, OSU’s vice president for Student Life, spoke about the university’s goals for the future at the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee Meeting, including enhancing the student experience, developing OSU’s initiatives process, developing eLearning, modifying the models of faculty evaluation and rewards, balancing affordability and access for students and enhancing the university’s connections with the Columbus arts community.

The committee specifically talked about the Second-year Transformational Experience Program, which currently has 1,000 second-year students living on campus and working closely with faculty to model the future of sophomores living on campus. The committee said it is working on using the program to further stress prevention efforts.

“We assess student needs and focus on (helping them have) an holistic student experience,” Adams-Gaston said.

The committee also talked about its efforts to incorporate technology into the classroom by creating hybrid courses that include in-class and out-of-class learning experiences and said it will continue expanding the program.

“We want to extend the footprint in this area,” said Joseph Steinmetz, OSU’s executive vice president and provost.

Of the faculty evaluation and reward system, Steinmetz said achieving success is going to be about focusing on teamwork.

“High collaboration and cooperation is what success will be dependent on,” Steinmetz said.

The committee also spoke about focusing on raising funds for more scholarships, including merit-based scholarships for students.

Adams-Gaston and Steinmetz later both said attracting more artistic talent will be beneficial for the OSU and the Columbus community.

Organizations to encourage the arts are emerging, such as “Arts Engine” which is an arts-based organization for engineers. Currently OSU is one of the leading institutions in this program.

Medical Affairs Committee Meeting

The Board’s Medical Affairs Committee had its last official meeting Thursday, as the Board plans to recommend the creation of a Wexner Medical Center Board of Trustees as a replacement for the committee Friday, committee chair Alan Brass said.

“We’ve been working on this as part of the strategic plan,” Brass said.

He said the highlight of the committee’s work has been the $1.1 billion expansion to the Wexner Medical Center that is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Jay Kasey, OSU senior vice president of Administration and Planning and the expansion project manager, said of the project’s total budget, $985.2 million has been committed in contracts to date, with $698.3 million of that spent so far.

College of Medicine Dean Charles Lockwood reported the college received 5,651 applications last year, about 750 more applications than the previous year. Lockwood said the school expects to receive 6,000 or more applications this year and elaborated on the significance of the numbers.

“It means that about one in eight undergraduates who apply to medical school apply to Ohio State,” Lockwood said.

The College of Medicine accepted 188 students last year, which is considered to be a large class size for a medical school, Lockwood said. One hundred and three of 1,143 applicants were accepted from in-state, while only 85 of 4,508 out-of-state applicants were accepted, for a total acceptance rate of about 3.3 percent.

Peter Geier, the chief executive officer of OSU Health System, said the Medical Center generated an overall income of $205.1 million for fiscal year 2013.

Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Schottenstein recommended a portion of the money be used to increase scholarship money awarded to incoming classes of medical school students.

“If every student was given another $10,000 a year, that’s $2 million,” Schottenstein said, taking into consideration the medical school class size is typically less than 200 students.

Governance Committee Meeting

The Board unanimously approved the Presidential Search Committee during its Governance Committee meeting Thursday.

After beginning the process in July, the search committee — tasked with finding a successor to former OSU President E. Gordon Gee — has met three times. It has divided its efforts into three areas: hiring a consultation firm (R. William Funk & Associates was chosen), establishing a selection subcommittee made up of five trustees and establishing an advisory subcommittee made up of faculty, staff and student representatives.

Some committee members felt the efforts are going well.

“Work is under way to bring this process to a successful conclusion,” Presidential Search Committee Chairman Jeffrey Wadsworth said.

The Governance Committee also approved the Wexner Medical Center Board’s bylaws. Concerns were raised about what would happen if that Board’s opinion differs from that of the OSU Board’s, since the Wexner Board has more non-trustee members than trustee members. However, the Medical Center’s Board can’t make a decision without the full Board of Trustees’ approval, as some trustees said.

“This (Wexner Medical Center) Board doesn’t really have any judiciary responsibilities,” trustee Christopher Culley said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following clarification:

Clarification: Aug. 30, 2013

An earlier version of this story stated the Metro School will no longer be an affiliate of OSU due to a change in administration on campus, when in fact, the two are still affiliated. OSU’s internal audit process changed due to Metro School becoming a charter school, however. 


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