Board approves faculty contract, administrative fees

The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees on May 6 approved the next collective bargaining agreement with the BGSU Faculty Association. The three-year agreement takes effect July 1, 2016. The faculty association had ratified the tentative agreement in April. President Mary Ellen Mazey and BGSU-FA President David Jackson signed it at the trustees’ end-of-semester meeting.

The University and the Faculty Association used the collaborative interest-based bargaining method to develop the contract, which provides for salary increases of 3 percent annually over the three-year agreement. It also addresses other issues such as shared governance, academic freedom, faculty review and professional development.

“We are extremely pleased, both with the collegiality of the process and the outcome,” President Mary Ellen Mazey said. “The agreement lays the foundation for closer collaboration with our faculty, which will strengthen our university and help us continue to meet the needs of our students.”

Also at the meeting, the trustees addressed academic, infrastructure and capital project matters. In addition to granting tenure and promotion and emeritus status to a number of faculty, they approved the naming of two campus areas.

Chief among them is the new name for South Hall. When it reopens in the fall as the extensively modernized and state-of-the-art new home of the School of Media and Communication, it will be the Michael & Sara Kuhlin Center. The Kuhlins met as BGSU students in the late 1960s and were married in Prout Chapel in 1971. Michael Kuhlin, who earned a degree in journalism, had a distinguished career in corporate communications.

The trustees approved an additional name for the new Kuhlin Center: the Stoddard-O’Neill Lobby, in honor of alumnae Eileen O’Neill and Karen Stoddard, who both graduated with degrees in popular culture. The couple has provided a gift for the renovation of the facility. O’Neill began work with the Discovery network while still a student at BGSU and went on to become an executive with the innovative company.  Stoddard has had a career in academia.

Effective fall 2016, the trustees approved a number of administrative fee changes for fiscal year 2017. In order to keep overall costs down, it has become necessary to institute additional fees for courses that are the most costly to deliver, particularly those that entail specialized services or resources. This strategic approach is a growing trend among Ohio public universities, said Dr. Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president, and BGSU’s new fees will be lower than other institutions’.

Additional $12.50 per-credit-hour fees for upper-level College of Business Administration undergraduate courses will be collected. The resources generated will help the college attract and retain high-caliber faculty as well as support high-impact student experiences such as the Business Accelerator lab course, the Bloomberg lab and the Career Accelerator Center. The estimated annual funds expected from the fees are $369,000.

Similarly, the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering will assess a per-credit-hour fee for upper-level undergraduate courses to help support the small class sizes necessary for some courses and the specialized equipment and technology needed. The expected annual revenue is $67,000.

An optional, $9-per-semester Student Media Fee for all students was approved to support three student media sources: the BG News, WBGU-FM and TV2. An opt-out fee like the Student Green Fee and Student Legal Fee, it is expected to generate about $225,000 a year if a similar 75 percent of students choose to participate.

BGSU Firelands will institute a technology fee of $4.50 per credit hour for freshmen and sophomores and $5 for juniors and seniors, both capped at 15 credit hours.

In infrastructure matters, the board gave its approval to proceed with the next step in the University’s sustainability plan to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs. A third centralized chiller plant is planned for providing chilled water to Olscamp Hall and the Business Administration Building, which both have aging cooling systems. The Olscamp basement was identified as the best location for the chiller, which will be designed with the capacity to support other nearby buildings.

The $2.5 million project will be paid for by state capital funds from the 2017-18 biennial budget.