Trustees approve construction contracts
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 00:02
The Board of Trustees meeting was called to order last Friday morning, and a recital of accomplishments, reports and resolutions ensued. Along with approving nearly $20 million in construction contracts, trustees reviewed an update to Miami’s 2020 Plan, approved faculty promotion and tenure, and said farewell to student trustee junior Lot Kwarteng.
The Board of Trustees approved nearly $20 million in contracts for seven construction resolutions in the meeting Feb. 8 to build and renovate Miami housing and facilities. The majority of the cost will go to the renovation of East Quad, a project which will eventually cost the university $84.4 million.
James Kiper, chair of the 2020 Planning Committee reviewed the plan’s primary and supporting goals, which he and College of Arts and Science Dean Phyllis Callahan collaborated on.
“There’s a little reorganization in that we initially had five different goals divided into teams,” Kiper said. “We realized, under really the president’s direction and I think he was right about this, the primary goal was crucially that first goal to promote a learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary students and scholarly outcomes and improves our larger world communities.”
The redesigned 2020 plan incorporates one primary goal and three supporting goals that encompass four objectives each.
The first supporting goal promotes student learning, faculty research, co-curricular participation and curriculum flexibility. In addition, Kiper said the goal is to equip students, staff and faculty with a working environment that promotes creativity, evaluates productivity and rewards success through accountable governance structures.
The second supporting goal focuses on creating a diverse culture of inclusion by bringing in a wide variety of Miamians capable of working cooperatively, and educating students to promote understanding and cultural competency.
The third and final supporting goal aims to forge partnerships with other educational institutes and corporations and ultimately positively influence the state of Ohio.
Kiper stressed the importance of metrics such as graduation rates in judging the success of the 2020 Plan.
President David Hodge applauded the work of Kiper, Callahan and the entire 2020 Planning Committee.
“Of course as we move forward now, the world is not standing still and neither can we, so this 2020 planning process is enormously important to make sure that we as a community understand the future, embrace the future and position ourselves to be even more impressive,” Hodge said.
Chair of the Board of Trustees Sharon Mitchell also thanked a number of individuals and highlighted the university’s recent accomplishments including the record-breaking number of applicants for fall 2013, student athletes earning an all time high average GPA, the recent JANUS Forum, various positive media mentions and the marching band’s performance in the inaugural parade.
According to Mitchell, the First Lady’s recent visit to Miami prompted a request.
“When the parade director asked [Michelle Obama] if she had any requests regarding the inaugural parade, she responded that she only wanted two things, a warm place to sit and the Miami University marching band,” Mitchell said.
Hodge also acknowledged the many accomplishments of Miami groups and individuals and commented on the state of the university as a whole.
“Let me be very clear on this, I believe that Miami is a much stronger and better university today than we were at the start of the recession, and that is a remarkable accomplishment,” Hodge said.
The Board of Trustees later approved the recommendations of promotion, tenure and award of continuing contracts, and Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Bobby Gempesaw listed the many accomplishments of a number of included faculty.
Student Body President John Stefanski addressed two issues he’s making the center of his campaign for the final months of his term—academic advising and medical amnesty.
“The first-year girl whose first-year advisor put her on a hard path that seemed as if her only option was to fail; the first-year guy who was baffled as to why he was penalized for calling help when his friend had too much to drink one night,” Stefanski said. “These were the stories that motivated us to run, that motivated us to win.”
Stefanski recognized efforts to revamp the academic advising program, and promised the board to push for medical amnesty to ensure students legal safety in the event they call police for others while under the influence.
“We shouldn’t penalize someone for trying to save a person’s life,” Stefanski said. “If the culture that we have in place is a hazard to student’s safety, then we need to work to change that culture but meanwhile adopt policies that are cognizant of that reality we live in.”
To conclude, Stefanski thanked Kwarteng for his service over the past two years, and wished him the best in his future endeavors. Kwarteng later addressed the Board of Trustees, noting the honor and thanking them for the experience.