Faculty Assembly discusses long-term goals
Published: Friday, April 17, 2009
Updated: Sunday, February 14, 2010 23:02
Miami University President David Hodge urged faculty to continue to think about long-term goals at the final Faculty Assembly meeting of the year Wednesday afternoon.
The meeting covered the state financial situation, the Top 25 Initiative and the awarding of the Benjamin Harrison Medallion to Arlene Mickey Sarquis of the chemistry department.
David Creamer, vice president of finance and business services, addressed the current financial situation in Ohio, the new budget bill in the Ohio General Assembly and the implications for Miami in the future.
"We just don't know much," Creamer said.
Creamer said what is known for the 2009-10 academic year is that the university has finished addressing personnel issues and distributions from endowments will be lower next year.
"The next few weeks will inform us about what we can expect for next year," Creamer said.
The new bill in the General Assembly has large implications for students in colleges statewide. In the version brought to the House by Gov. Ted Strickland, tuition for public universities would be frozen for the 2009-10 academic year but would allow for a raising of tuition the second year of the biannual budget.
Hodge said the stimulus money from the federal government and taxpayers will help to relieve the university's financial burden.
Linda Marchant, chair of the anthropology department, agreed with both Hodge and Creamer's assessments.
"It's worse in other places," Marchant said. "We have a reasonable plan, but a lot of that plan is contingent on the class we bring in next year."
Creamer also said much of the financial situation is still up in the air pending the May 1 decision deadline for high school seniors to declare their college enrollment. He said if Miami were to lose 10 percent of tuition and enrollment funds, the university could experience a loss of $24 to $25 million. After that deadline, the budget will have a clearer picture.
The other major topic of discussion Wednesday was the Top 25 Initiative.
Jerry Stonewater, director of liberal education and assessment, said this plan has 30 courses that work to engage
students in the learning process more than other "traditional" sections of classes and provide methods for inquiry.
Stonewater and Beverley Taylor, who will assume Stonewater's position when he retires in June, presented statistics from studies completed in 2008 regarding the value of Top 25 courses.
Stonewater said the data shows students in Top 25 courses are doing more inquiry driven activities and melding together ideas from different classes for the Top 25 courses, which works toward meeting goals related to student inquiry.
Responses from the studies show students in the redesigned sections of Top 25 classes also said they feel more engaged with their peers and have more positive relationships with other students in their courses, Stonewater said.
Taylor said she hopes the Top 25 initiative does not become another administrative program that "came and went." She hopes in the future, students in these courses will be receiving instruction on how to work better on collaborative projects and assignments. Taylor said she also wants to increase the amount of work students produce.
Both Stonewater and Taylor said they were concerned students may try and go elsewhere for Miami Plan courses that are "easier" than the engaged classes.
Hodge closed the meeting by offering a challenge to the faculty in attendance.
"Do not proceed with fear," Hodge said. "We need to proceed by embracing this opportunity to think more creatively and out of the box."