The Ohio State Board of Trustees on Thursday unveiled a long-term strategic vision for the university, one that the Board’s chairman, Alex Shumate, called “the cornerstone of our institution for years to come.”
University President Michael Drake, while praising Ohio State and the improvements it has already made in many areas, called the freshly proposed strategic plan “the icing on top of the cake.”
The new plan, named “Time and Change,” laid out to a full room at a public Board of Trustees session, had five pillars: teaching and learning; access, affordability and excellence; research and creative expression; academic healthcare; and operational excellence.
Drake said these new areas of focus will help Ohio State continue to be a premier college in the country, and will push the university to new heights.
The new plan is a culmination of a year’s worth of work that saw administrators partner with the Wexner Medical Center and the Board to make a comprehensive plan for Ohio State to improve in several areas.
Shumate said input was received from several parties, such as Undergraduate Student Government, faculty and staff.
“The hotline was open for all Buckeyes to input their opinion,” he said.
USG President Andrew Jackson said he and his administration have had a conversation on a strategic vision with Shumate, though not extensive. However, last year’s USG General Assembly met with Ohio State administration for a meeting in which they discussed the strategic vision being developed, now called “Time and Change.”
Jackson added that the “Time and Change” name was introduced to him today shortly before the full-board session.
With many of the initiatives requiring funding to be achieved, the question of where the resources would come from was raised by the Board.
“During this plan, the first four pillars that President Drake talked about spend [university] money,” said Michael Gasser, chairman of the finance committee. “The fifth pillar is the one that focuses on how to generate more money and how we save more money to be able to afford the strategic plan. We need to be the leader in operational efficiency.”
The “innovative” resource management plan for the financial future was applauded by Board member and Battelle CEO, Jeff Wadsworth. Chief Financial Officer Geoff Chatas added that the university is in a “very good place to make this happen.”
Board member Alex Fischer expressed apprehensions for the plan due to what he said is a changing country. Fischer said he did not want Ohio State to be overly reliant on Washington D.C.
“I don’t think we are exempt from the massive changes going on in society today,” Fischer said. “I don’t worry about us, I worry about the world around us. The disruption that is happening.”
A major talking point heard across all five pillars was the Wexner Medical Center, which continues to be the largest source of revenue for the university.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, the medical center had an operating budget of $3.41 billion, netting a profit of more than $300 million.
Currently, the Wexner Medical Center makes up 48 percent of the university’s total budget, according to documents made available to the Board.
Drake said adding and retaining top scholars is key to keeping the medical center among the nation’s best.
Just recently, the Wexner Medical Center was named the top hospital in central Ohio by U.S. News and World Report.
Several Board members praised the new plan and expressed their enthusiasm, with member Janet Reid saying this is exactly what the Board is here to do.
“Now comes the time for implementation,” she added.
Vice President and Provost Bruce McPheron agreed, saying that the fun starts now in implementing this ambitious new plan.
“What a powerful place this is,” he said. “And to have a plan that enables all of the things we aspire to do is really invigorating.”