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President Roderick McDavis Speaks about the future goals of ohio University during his state of the University address, which he delivered to assembled faculty and staff during the Faculty and Staff Convocation ceremony on Aug. 28.

Photographer: Ross Brinkerhoff


Russ College dean Dennis Irwin socialises with newly appointed Director of the Edison Biotechnology Institute Shiyoug Wu before the Faculty and Staff Convocation.

Photographer: Ross Brinkerhoff


Faculty and Staff Convocation was Aug. 28.

Photographer: Ross Brinkerhoff

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President welcomes faculty, staff to OHIO for Ohio

With an eye toward the changes of the past year and a vision toward the future, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis welcomed faculty and staff to the new academic year Tuesday during the annual Faculty and Staff Convocation.

Distinguished Professor John Kopchick opened the event and introduced a multimedia presentation, "Highlighting the Green: Faculty and Staff Convocation" produced by University Communications and Marketing.

President McDavis took to the podium and offered a warm greeting to all new faculty and staff as well as members of the Scholars Learning Community who attended.

"Since the fall of 2004, my first year as president of Ohio University, it seems that every year we have met for this annual event, the subject has been 'change,'" said President McDavis. "Change in state support, change in the economy, and change in the demographics of our students and those we serve. However, the changes we are witnessing this year are historic and transformative."

This Aug. 27 marked the start of the first fall semester in more than 40 years. President McDavis recognized the tremendous effort and coordination that was required to complete this conversion.

"Much work was required to successfully complete our transition to semesters in time for the beginning of the 2012 fall semester," he said. "I again want to thank the leadership of Pam Benoit, Jeff Giesey, Gary Neiman, and the many faculty and staff members who worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition for our students, faculty, staff and community."

The president also recognized another highly visible change happening at OHIO; the conversion to a Responsibility Centered Management budget model (RCM). He commended Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit and Vice President for Finance and Administration Stephen Golding, academic deans, budget unit managers, and others for their efforts.

"The model aligns authority with responsibility, and increases transparency and accountability," he said. "Successfully developing and implementing this new model will strengthen our ability to focus on our academic priorities with keen attention on the mission and vision of Ohio University."

Policy has not been the only change happening at the University. New deans have been appointed to two colleges and several members of the Ohio University faculty and staff have taken on new roles and responsibilities.

"We often say that change is the only constant in higher education," said President McDavis. "What doesn’t change is our commitment to student success and transformation. There is one change we always embrace: The fact that Ohio University changes lives for the better."

According to the President, that effort to better OHIO's community was most recently seen in the University's outpouring of time, work and support for our city and county in the wake of June's devastating storms. President McDavis commended and recognized the above and beyond efforts of members of the Critical Incident Response Team.

Outreach from the university went beyond shoring up the region during a crisis, but to helping it blossom all year. The President shared the myriad of ways OHIO sponsors and engages higher education in underserved communities.

"Today, I want you to think about another step we can take along that bold path to a transformational university. It’s what I call 'OHIO for Ohio: Ohio University for the state of Ohio,'" said President McDavis. "Public investment may diminish, but our core value of public service must remain strong. The over-arching theme, OHIO for Ohio, links our transformative learning community with our state’s economic progress and vitality. OHIO for Ohio reflects the fact that everything we do elevates Ohio’s potential for economic development and cultural fulfillment. "

The President pointed to OHIO's recent commitment to create a venture capital fund with The Ohio State University, OHIO's technology transfer commercialization success, and the expansion of The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

"By making osteopathic medical education more accessible, we are addressing the pressing need of a predicted shortage of primary care physicians for Ohio communities," said President McDavis.

Further examples of the University's altruistic spirit could be found in UCM's internationally recognized series "Appalachia Rising," which is now being turned into a book through collaboration with Ohio University Press.

"I am very proud of this collaboration, because its result is a work that tells the story of 'OHIO for Ohio' in very human terms," he said. "It puts a face on the work we as a university do to make our region a better place and to transform the lives of those who live in it."

President McDavis then looked to the future within the University that will be discussed at the upcoming Board of Trustees retreat.

"We will talk about our Total Compensation Plan. Our Total Compensation Plan acknowledges that recruiting and retaining excellent employees is a priority for any institution that wants to be transformational," he said. "A faculty compensation plan was included in Vision Ohio but could not be fully implemented with the budget pressures created by the economic downturn. With updated information, we will review faculty compensation and create a multi-year, competitive total compensation plan for our faculty. We also are currently engaged in developing a new compensation plan for classified and administrative employees."

The President then shared the foreseen impact of a $100 million investment plan.

"This investment plan will provide one-time funds for initiatives to promote vitality, attract partnerships, advance Ohio University’s competitive position among peer institutions, and enhance its position as an economic engine in southeast Ohio," President McDavis explained.

He then continued.

"We will discuss our 2010-16 Strategic Enrollment Plan, which covers enrollment trends, influences on enrollment, enrollment goals and revenue assumptions. The plan confronts the challenges of declining demographic projections for graduating high school seniors, and provides multiple pathways to access an Ohio University degree, such as regional campuses, community college partnerships and e-learning."

As OHIO enrolls students, it will improve the way they are housed through the Residential Housing Plan.

"This plan will transform our quality through programming and academic engagement in residential housing to assist student success for our first- and second-year students," said President McDavis. "This plan also will bolster our current first-year undergraduate experience that has been developed over the last eight years and of which we are very proud."

And the President looked to OHIO's growing technology transfer operations.

"Sixth and finally, we will discuss our Technology Commercialization Plan. We have long been a leader in technology transfer and commercialization, which is an Ohio Board of Regents priority. The Regents technology transfer report is a blueprint for interaction between higher education and industry for the commercialization of a university’s intellectual property," he said.

The President then stepped back from discussing master plans, budgets and handling of crises to share the reason all of these are possible.

"With all the talk of enrollment trends, infrastructure needs, and commercialization of ideas, it is easy to lose sight of what makes it all come together. We succeed because of your dedication and passion for your work," he said. "Every day, OHIO performs miracles on behalf of Ohio. I have no doubt that we will continue to lead our state forward, and that you will continue to work hard for Ohio University, our students, and for Ohio."

Archive of Convocation Available

If you missed the Faculty and Staff Convocation on Aug. 28, you can still view it online. It is available here.