By Brian Cook
The Board of Trustees set many different objectives for the year at its first meeting of the academic year last Friday.
One of the objectives set in the meeting, according to a statement to the faculty from university President Rock Jones is to increase retention rates and graduation rates, with a comprehensive report to be prepared for the Board meeting in May 2014.
In terms of facilities, the Board wants to start the restoration on Merrick Hall, as well as fundraise for the renovation of Edwards Gym and the Pfeiffer Building.
The Board officially passed a resolution to go forward with the restoration of Merrick Hall, with construction to begin in February.
Notably, no resolution was passed to fund the position of sustainability coordinator despite student protests.
However, Michael Long ’66, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, said he was pleased with the students who showed their support for sustainability. He said he also appreciated their respectful demeanor and their useful information on the issue.
The students held signs supporting a sustainability coordinator outside the Benes rooms in a demonstration during the Board of Trustees and Faculty dinner the previous evening.
Another talking point of the meeting was the need to improve student housing. According to Jones, the Board directed the administration to bring a plan to the winter meeting about implementing what the Board calls the “Student Housing Master Plan.” Some Board members recommended the administration consider debt as a way to finance the plan as quickly as possible.
The Board also charged the administration to consider how it distributed need-based aid versus merit-based aid.
“In the coming year, we will… (c)onsider the relationship between need-based and merit-based financial aid and the impacts of each on the composition of the student body and net tuition revenue,” Jones said.
The Board said it wants to improve technology on campus, and to that end they encouraged the administration to start a campus-wide conversation about the role of technology on campus.
They commended Rebecca Eckstein for her work as Vice President for University Enrollment and Communication. According to the Board, Eckstein plans on leaving the university in November.
To that end, Jones formally announced the hiring of Dave Wottle, Eckstein’s interim replacement, to university employees.
Wottle previously worked at Rhodes College for 27 years as Dean of Admission and Financial Aid. He also won a gold medal in the 800-meter run at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, tying a then-world record. He is the most recent American to win the gold medal in the Olympics in the 800-meter run.
Jones said the Board and he both agreed that the future at Ohio Wesleyan is bright.
“Clearly, we have an ambitious year ahead, and the Board commended all of you for helping to create such a wonderful beginning,” said Jones to the employees. “The Trustees also expressed their continuing faith—as do I—that together we can achieve our strategic objectives and establish OWU as an exemplar of liberal arts teaching and learning for this century—and those to come. As always, thank you for all you do that makes us distinctively Ohio Wesleyan.”
The Board also welcomed six new trustees at the meeting: Doreen DeLaney Crawley ’91, Jason Downey ’02, Kamila Goldin ’13, Rob Kail ’71, Jack Luikart ’71, and Frank Quinn ’78. Goldin is the class of 2013 Representative to the Board.
Additionally, the Board passed a measure that formalized how the university stores critical and non-critical documents.
“The Record Retention Policy is effective immediately, and all OWU employees are responsible for following its guidelines,” Jones said in a statement to employees. “The policy reflects good practice and also allows us to answer in the affirmative an important question on IRS Form 990.”