Your Comments Needed

The two open forums held this week provided an opportunity to gather reaction to the draft University Environmental Scan report.  Thank you to those who participated.  The University Environmental Scan Team wants to make sure that it gathers any additional feedback before beginning work on revisions to the draft report.  If you have comments, please respond to this post by 4:00 PM on November 3.


Draft Environmental Scan Report

The first draft of the University Environmental Scan Team report is now available.  Click here.  Please note that this is “take one” and it is anticipated that the document will change as input is received and reviewed.

Environmental Scan Team Update, Sept. 10, 2010

The Environmental Scan Team met on Friday, September 10 to discuss the first draft of a report on key trends.  After further revisions, the report will be shared with the executive committees of the constituent senates for their review and comment.  After this iteration, the report will be made available to the University community and open forums will be held in October to discuss the University report and its intersection with the environmental scans from the planning units.  The report will be reviewed in light of the comments and suggestions heard at the forums and an initial draft will be shared in early November with the President and the Board of Trustees.

Brief Overviews from Planning Units

The following are brief descriptions of how some planning units are approaching their environmental scans.

Executive Vice President and Provost

Ohio University Chillicothe

Ohio University Eastern (Added 8-16-10)

College of Fine Arts

College of Health Sciences and Professions

Honors Tutorial College (Added 9-1-10)

Center for International Studies

Ohio University Lancaster

Vice President for Research & Creative Activity and Graduate College

Ohio University Southern (Added 8-20-10)

Voinovich School

Ohio University Zanesville (Added 8-12-10)

Environmental Scan Team Meeting, July 7, 2010

Update University Environmental Scan Team, July 7, 2010

On July 7 the University Environmental Scan Team met to discuss:

  • Preliminary findings relating to key trends in assigned areas that offer the greatest challenges and the greatest promise for the work of supporting a transformational learning community.
  • The type of analysis that will need to be done in relation to those key trends in order to better understand their implications for Ohio University within a 3-5 year planning window.

Areas discussed were culture and communications, regional issues, demographics, and infrastructure.

In the realm of culture and communications, the team discussed how the nature of the subject did not lend itself well to being captured in a typical database.  It is not easy to gather statistical information on questions such as how faculty envision their roles in a changing higher education environment or how the consumerism approach adopted by many incoming students has changed university culture.  It was suggested that fruitful avenues of further investigation might lie in attitudinal work that has been done on new faculty, annual surveys of student characteristics and expectations, and an examination of approaches used by institutions known to have strong and effective communication strategies.

On the subject of regional issues, matters such as how to understand and prioritize the diversity of educational needs in Ohio University’s service area were discussed along with how to project employment trends; how to anticipate the knowledge and skill set needs of future students; and how to make a convincing case in light of tight state resources and economic realities faced by families and individuals that quality matters at all levels.

In discussing demographics more in depth knowledge was called for of populations in the areas (both in-state and out-of-state) that we draw on most heavily for students.  We also must understand and project patterns relating to online learning.  Shifts in occupational growth are another area of demographic importance.  Finally, the team discussed what universities had profiles that were most similar to Ohio University—large public institutions with diversity in academic programs and structures, in a rural location, and in states with a large dominant land grant university.  Looking to these types of institutions, it was suggested would give us some important comparative options.  Randy Leite provided a list of potential demographic indicators that should be of use to planning units as they work on their environmental scans.

When it came to infrastructure, the discussion included some consideration of how the area needed to be subdivided into internal and external matters.  While external issues such as working with the City of Athens on issues of utilities, housing, and access were deemed to be vital, it was suggested that the greatest degree of cost control is to be had through the pursuit of our own “bricks and mortar”—understood in both the traditional sense and in the technological sense.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Provost requested that each member of the team provide by July 20 a written outline addressing the two bullet points cited in the first paragraph of this update.  For the August Environmental Scan Team meeting, she asked that each individual on the team select within their areas the three most important critical trends that are bound to exert an influence on the university’s ability to support a transformational learning community both near-term and long-term.

Initial Meeting, June 9

The University Environmental Scan Team met for the first time on June 9.  President McDavis provided the charge for the team.  The members of the team discussed how best to proceed with the research to be done over the summer.  They selected eight major categories with each member of the team taking responsibility for a category.

Cultural/Communication – Scott Titsworth

Demographics – Randy Leite

Economics – Joe McLaughlin

Higher Education – Kent Smith

Infrastructure – Terry Conry

Politics – Chris Knisely

Regional Issues – Rich Greenlee

Technology – Ralph DiCaprio

The team also put together an initial set of questions/issues that EVPP staff will help to research:

  • What students want to major in–trends over time
  • What matters to students and what matters to their parents
  • High school graduation and college eligibility trends
  • Historical information on where students are coming from
  • Accreditation trends
  • Completion/Graduation/Enrollments
  • Appalachian Ohio as an advantage for a public research institution
  • Trends that impact attracting the best and brightest students and employees (e.g., child care, quality housing, health care, etc.)
  • Enterprise risk management
  • The role of campus culture and communication issues
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Centralized/Decentralized structure; Organization of institutions
  • Organizations of curriculum-General education, etc.
  • The academic workplace-qualities in higher education institutions