November 2019

By now I’m sure that all of you have had a chance to read the message from President Nellis and Provost Djalali addressing the need to reimagine the academic enterprise at Ohio University to maintain a strong commitment to students, offering outstanding academic programs, all while also developing a sustainable future for the University. Some of you have even had the opportunity to discuss those issues in faculty meetings.

In addition to highlighting 5-10% reductions across nonacademic units, their message also highlighted the need for academic units to rapidly identify ways to become more efficient in how we perform our activities. The Scripps College has already enacted some of what we are charged to do. For instance, our move to an integrated business service center proactively addressed elements of what all units are now being required to do. However, the specific charge from the provost also tasks us with examining each academic unit, calibrating teaching workload to conform with University Policy 18.009, and—in a large, more generalized category—improving efficiency in our curricular offerings. The expectation from the very highest levels of University leadership, including the Board of Trustees, is that we act swiftly and decisively.

I have convened a special taskforce comprised of the school directors and representatives elected to the Dean’s Faculty Advisory Committee. In our first meeting, I told that group that I wanted their help in setting possible “end states” for the college that build on our strengths and capitalize on our opportunities. In short, my charge was to help envision what we want to be known for in the future as a center of excellence in communication education. We will continue to address that fundamental question. We met again last week to discuss the message from the president and provost.

Along with the president and provost’s message, the provost charged deans with conducting a comprehensive review of all programs and taking initial steps to create efficiencies that can be realized as soon as August, 2020. One of those initial steps will be a revision of the college workload document, and subsequently, school workload documents. Although we are being asked to deliver plans in a very short timeframe, I will make every effort to keep the taskforce informed and involved wherever possible. This week I am meeting individually with school directors to discuss how these steps might be taken within individual schools.

Last, the president has asked that Deb Shaffer, vice president for Finance and Administration, conduct town hall-style “Money Matters” forums in each academic college. The Scripps College forum is scheduled for Thursday, December 5, from 11:30 until 1:00, in Scripps Hall room 111 (Anderson Auditorium). Deb will answer questions posed by faculty at the forum. You can submit questions in advance by sending emails to .

Despite the rapid change that will confront us, I have nothing but respect and admiration for what we do as leaders in our fields and as members of our University community. We will not yield excellence, and we should all be resolved to come out of this process as one of the very best colleges of communication in the world.

Community engagement and experiential learning are significant elements in the Scripps College, and OHIO wants to put them in reach of even more students. Toward that end, there is a new cycle of Experiential Learning Awards coming up that will support undergraduates pursuing experiential learning opportunities and support faculty and staff in providing those opportunities. There are a wide range of eligible experiences including internships, apprenticeships, fellowships, cooperatives, field work, practicums, community engagement (service-learning, community-based research, volunteering), interactive simulations, role-playing, performance, study abroad/cultural immersion, research (basic, applied, lab, industry, community), live case studies, job training, place-based education, and student organization leadership.
The application window for students will run November 1 to November 29. Note that the application must be completed in one sitting; but you can preview the required information so you’re prepared. For faculty and staff, look for an RFP at the end of fall semester, with submissions due by January 24, 2020.
For more information, visit the university’s Experiential Learning page .
Upcoming casual Friday office hours with Greg Newton:
November 15, 2:30 - 3:30 p.m., at Brenen’s Café
November 22, 5 - 6 p.m., at West End Cider House
December 6, 9 - 10 a.m., at Court Street Coffee

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