BGSU trustees use February meeting to set future path for academic programs, approve Slater Family Ice Arena renovation, honor faculty

Bowling Green State University on Friday continued to plan for future success, paid homage to faculty excellence and committed to changes that will keep the campus functional and formative for years to come. 

During the first BGSU Board of Trustees meeting of 2023, members positioned the University to best meet the needs of current and future students, honored several faculty members, alumni and friends for their contributions to BGSU, approved campus upgrades and voted to make sure BGSU stays affordable for the next cohort of students and families. 

Academic Program Updates 

The board approved five new Bachelor of Science programs and expanded the delivery method for two other bachelor’s programs to include a 100% online option — changes that will position BGSU to continue offering in-demand majors in growing industries. 

Earlier this fiscal year, board members voted to reconfigure the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering (CTAAE) to create a School of Engineering and a School of Aviation that will join CTAAE along with the existing School of the Built Environment. 

In line with prior actions, members on Friday formally added five new bachelor’s programs: Aviation Management; Aviation Flight Operation; Robotics Engineering; Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering; and Electronics and Computer Engineering.  

Previously, Aviation Management and Aviation Flight Operations were two specializations within a single bachelor’s degree; now, each program will be its own distinct bachelor’s degree. Similarly, the new engineering degrees are a transition from the previous engineering technology degrees, which will now be standalone engineering degrees. The program change includes the program name, revising the curriculum check sheet, updating existing classes and adding new engineering courses. 

The board measures Friday further commit to areas in which BGSU already possesses expertise. BGSU engineering technology programs are accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), while the BGSU Aviation program – the largest in the state of Ohio and one of the largest in the nation – recently was ranked No. 4 in the nation by FLYING Magazine. 

The changes, which have the overwhelming support of the Faculty Senate, will continue to position the University to meet projected workforce needs in aviation and STEM fields and train students for promising careers. 

“As a public university for the public good, Bowling Green State University has a responsibility to ensure its academic programs are relevant for the 21st century, supporting both our students in their success and the economic needs of our region, state and nation,” said BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers. “With this transition, BGSU will continue to align its already established and successful engineering and aviation programs to support industries in high demand in Ohio and beyond.”  

The board also approved changes to delivery methods for the Bachelor of Science in Resort and Attraction Management (RAAM) and the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science, both of which will now include a 100% online option.  

Medical Laboratory Science students who have an associate degree may take coursework for the bachelor’s degree 100% online, which allows medical laboratory technicians to complete the degree and obtain certifications to become medical laboratory scientists, helping meet a workforce need for more laboratory professionals in the field. 

The RAAM program, the result of a public-private partnership with Cedar Fair, is the only degree of its type embedded in a theme park. By offering the program online, current resort and attraction employees and place-bound students can take courses, allowing for a more skilled workforce. 

The changes to both programs will allow for additional flexibility to meet the needs of students, many of whom are already working in the field.  

“As BGSU continues to offer innovative degree programs, we also have to consider that students can be successful through many different forms of instruction,” said Dr. Joe B. Whitehead Jr., Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. “Flexibility in delivery modes is among the top priorities for students, and thus BGSU is responding to the needs of many students who require asynchronous online delivery that meets their lifestyles.”

Redefining Student Success 

Board members were present on Feb. 23 for the dedication of the Geoffrey H. Radbill Center for College and Life Design in the Mathematical Sciences Building.

Radbill’s transformative gift helped the University take the next step for its innovative Life Design program, which aims to transform higher education with a design thinking framework that allows students to shape their own college journeys. 

Supporting Campus Improvements  

The Board on Friday approved a number of campus changes, including naming a room in Central Hall after longtime supporters of BGSU, supporting upgrades to the ice arena on campus and signing off on the new master plan for information technology network infrastructure. 

The upgrades are consistent with new additions to BGSU that include the debut of Kokosing Hall later this year, which is the home of the School of the Built Environment, as well as the new BG Flight Center that was unveiled in June 2022. 

A Simulation Lab and Control Room in Central Hall will be named after Albert G. and Olive H. Schlink, whose private foundation in Sandusky, Ohio, supports education and charitable endeavors. Their foundation made its first gift to BGSU in 1986 and has funded multiple scholarship programs that touched the lives of hundreds of BGSU students. 

Board members also approved a $5.75 million renovation to the Slater Family Ice Arena, home to the BGSU Division I hockey team. More than two-thirds of the funding — $3.88 million in total — came from private donations, with deferred maintenance reserves accounting for the remaining $1.87 million. 

The building, originally opened in 1967 and renamed in 2017, needs facility upgrades that will improve performance and functionality. The funds will go to making necessary upgrades to accessibility, existing building systems, life safety and daily function, including updating locker rooms and restrooms. 

Additionally, the renovations will include creating a mezzanine and elevator on the south end of the main rink where the Falcons compete, which will expand the main entrance and create additional club-level seating, concessions and private suites.  

Construction is expected to begin during summer or fall of 2023 and will be completed in several phases. The entire project is expected to be completed by the start of the 2024-25 hockey season. 

Further, board members approved relocating the Hiroko Nakamoto Room for Japanese Studies to a more accessible and prominent location in University Hall adjacent to the International Student Services Office. This relocation enabled Trustees to also approve a renovation to the vacated 11th floor of Offenhauer West converting the 10,000-square-foot 11th floor from conference space into student housing. The changes will allow living space for 40 more students in single and double rooms and construction is expected to be complete by Fall Semester 2023.  

The Board also approved the ITS Network Infrastructure Master Plan 2.0, which will increase security, improve connectivity and upgrade the overall efficiency of the physical network infrastructure. The original investment from the first Master Plan, which began in 2000, has components now reaching the end of life as parts of the system have grown outdated for meeting the connectivity demands of today’s higher education classrooms. 

The 2.0 plan, scheduled to be completed in five phases, is estimated to cost an estimated $59 million.  The work phases will take more than 10 years to complete and individual project phases will be brought separately to the Board for approval in the future. 

Keeping Education Affordable 

As the University plans for its sixth cohort of students under the Falcon Tuition Guarantee — through which incoming students are assured the same room and board rate through all four of their undergraduate years — the board on Friday set rates for room and board for the 2023-24 academic year. With the changes, BGSU remains among the most affordable options in Ohio.

Board members approved an average room rate increase of 2.7% for its four-tiered system, which includes basic, deluxe and two tiers of premium housing. The new rates represent a change of $100 from the 2022-23 academic year rates. 

The board also approved a meal plan rate increase of 4% for the Bronze Plan, an average weekly increase of $4.73.  

Honoring Distinguished Faculty, Alumni 

Also during the meeting, board members honored three faculty members for their contributions to BGSU, research excellence and commitment to students. 

The BGSU board recognized Dr. Janet Hartley as a distinguished university professor, Dr. Edgar Landgraf as a distinguished research professor and Dr. Philip Peek as a distinguished teaching professor. 

All three have served BGSU for at least 25 years, during which time all have been recognized for research expertise in their respective fields, received acclaim for their published works and served as exemplary mentors for generations of BGSU students. 

The board further approved a resolution renaming an Alumni Gateway trellis seating area after Dr. Hiroko Nakamoto ’54, ’92 (Hon.), a previous recipient of the BGSU Distinguished Alumni Award.  

Nakamoto, who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University, established Hiroko Nakamoto Interior Design Studio, becoming owner and president, and maintained a lifelong connection to BGSU, designing the Japanese Ceremonial Tea Room in the Fine Arts Center, gifting many pieces of traditional Japanese artwork to the Fine Arts Gallery collection and serving as director of the BGSU Foundation board, among other roles.

Updated: 02/24/2023 04:32PM