Keeping tuition at current levels, the BGSU Board of Trustees approved an educational budget of $263.7 million for the main campus and $12.7 million for BGSU Firelands at its June 22 meeting.
The budget contains a 3 percent increase in the pool for faculty and staff wages and benefits, and a 3 percent increase in funding for graduate student stipends.
The budget is based on projections of the University receiving state funding consistent with the Ohio Senate’s budget proposal for higher education. The proposal is under consideration by a joint Senate-House conference committee. Approval of the state’s next two-year budget is expected before the new biennium starts July 1.
The trustees praised government leaders for recognizing the substantial impact of higher education on state economic development efforts.
“Clearly the governor and legislators on both sides of the political aisle see the importance of higher education and are working together to finalize a budget bill with much-needed support for the state’s universities,” said Michael Wilcox, chair of the trustees. “We commend their commitment to higher education, their commitment to keeping a higher education affordable for students and their commitment to the future of our state. We are extremely proud of our institution and the value that our faculty and staff bring to our students.”
In addition to the educational budget, the BGSU trustees approved auxiliary, dining hall and residence hall budgets for the coming academic year.
The cost of room and board will increase by 3 percent, leaving total tuition, room, board and registration fees for the coming academic year for an Ohio undergraduate student at $15,938. That’s a $194 increase, or 1.2 percent, over last year. There is no increase in the general fee.
The faculty and staff salary increases were made in spite of serious budget challenges resulting from eroding state support over the past five years and escalating costs for health care, technology and energy.
“Despite having little cushion in the budget, our board of trustees and administration remain dedicated to maintaining a strong faculty,” President Sidney Ribeau said. “The 3 percent increase in the pools for salaries is consistent with the board’s longstanding resolve to improve faculty and staff compensation.”
To continue to attract and retain faculty who are among the nation’s finest, in 1999 the trustees resolved to improve faculty compensation. Since that time, annual salary increases for continuing faculty have averaged 4.94 percent annually, compared to a 4.18 percent average for all Ohio state universities.
The approved budget also calls for $3 million in cost reductions, including $1.4 million in cost efficiencies required by the proposed state budget. A strategic plan for achieving those efficiencies is now being developed, Sherideen S. Stoll, the University’s chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration, told the board.
In other action, the trustees:
• Approved two changes to the Academic Charter that had been recommended by Faculty Senate, addressing nontenure track faculty and amorous relationships between employees.
The first creates a career ladder for nontenure track faculty and charges the departments with devising appropriate procedures by which individuals can be appointed as instructor and promoted to lecturer and senior lecturer.
Bowling Green has many long-serving instructors and lecturers whom it wishes to retain and recognize, according to Executive Vice President Linda Dobb. In creating the policy, the senate sought to provide some work stability and equity for those faculty who are not eligible for tenure.
The Consensual Amorous Relationship Policy states that faculty and supervisors are not to have an amorous relationship with anyone who reports to them or with whom they have a teaching, coaching, advisory or evaluative association.
The goal is to “provide a place to study and work free of situations that may be construed as abuse of authority, an inappropriate conflict of interest, preferential treatment or other unprofessional and unethical conduct.”
It states that if an amorous relationship exists or develops, it must be disclosed to the immediate supervisor immediately, who must take steps to make alternative arrangements to discontinue any supervisory or instructional connection between the two parties, ideally with equity for both. Applying to faculty and staff, the policy also calls for disciplinary action to be taken against anyone who fails to abide by it.
• Approved full implementation of the BG Experience program, which has received national attention as a leader in helping students explore their personal values and strive for ethical behavior, and has become one of BGSU’s signature programs.
• Decided not to pursue the Dunbridge Road project further at this point. The project was a proposed mixed-use development at Dunbridge Road and I-75. Added Ribeau, however: “We’re still looking at the connection between new technologies, entrepreneurial ventures and the University.”
• Named the large theatre within the planned Wolfe Performing Arts Center the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre, in honor of the Findlay couple who recently gave $750,000 for the project.
• Elected Michael Marsh as chair and John Harbal as vice chair of the trustees for 2007-08.