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President Michael Drake to announce $400 million plan during investiture

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President Michael Drake speaks to the Lantern staff during a Jan. 26 interview. Credit: Jon McAllister / Asst. photo editor

President Michael Drake speaks to the Lantern staff during a Jan. 26 interview.
Credit: Jon McAllister / Asst. photo editor

Ohio State President Michael Drake is set to announce a five-year, $400 million initiative Tuesday that will redirect funds — through cost-cutting and “innovative financing strategies” — to fund academics, investments and need-based scholarships.

While addressing the common themes of affordability and excellence, Drake is set to highlight the plan this afternoon during his investiture — a ceremonial installation of his presidency at Mershon Auditorium.

The university aims to fund $100 million for need-based scholarships over five years, with $15 million allocated to that purpose during the plan’s first year, according to a university summary of the initiative.

Specific uses for the other $300 million have not been revealed, but the summary said it plans to fund academic programs and “support investments in the best new ideas.”

The university plans to foot half the bill by cutting administrative expenses and “efficiency measures aimed at the academic side,” including cost-sharing, strategic procurement and “HR policies that balance competitive packages with the need to be responsible stewards of our resources,” the summary said.

Executive Vice President and Provost Joseph Steinmetz told The Lantern on March 24 that the Board of Trustees is sensitive to concerns about administrative salaries, and that it plans to institute new guidelines that could alter compensation norms. While current employees are not necessarily immune to those guidelines, no changes would be made to standing contracts, Steinmetz said.

For the new initiative, OSU plans to generate the other $200 million from methods akin to the university’s privatization of parking and contracts with companies including Huntington Bank and Coca-Cola.

OSU is currently seeking to privatize its utilities — including natural gas, electricity and the heating and cooling of water — although it was unclear as of Monday evening if those revenues would be used to fund Drake’s initiative.

The university won’t rely on taxes or tuition to fund the new initiative, the summary said.

11 comments

  1. One should always be suspicious when the University wants to talk about what it will do with the money but avoids dealing with the issues surrounding how it gets (or saves) the money. This was the problem with the parking transaction.

    Tell us where the spending cuts will be made. Be specific. What is the ratio of teaching and research employees to total employees and how will it change? How much does it cost to run the Compliance Office and what are we getting for it? What changes will be made in athletics as antitrust and labor law developments alter the economics of big time sports?

  2. Talking circles. The ‘cutting administrative expenses’ and ‘efficiency measures aimed at the academic side’ are not reductions at the admin/vp level, it’s a slash and burn of the rank and file who support the academic programs these reductions are supposed to fund.

    You want to reduce the cost of higher education? Start with a little spring cleaning in Bricker Hall. Better yet, lease Business and Finance to QIC for fifty years.

    Better start putting janitorial and maintenance concepts in the doctoral curriculum so our graduates can properly maintain the buildings when we hire them as adjuncts. We’re going to need them when our world-class faculty flees Wexner State University for higher ground.

  3. The antics of the administration are so much fun!

    Let’s look at The Ohio State Statistical Summary, shall we?

    Autumn 2014 (http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo.php):
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty FTEs: 2,831.83
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty Headcount: 2,844
    Administrative and Professional Staff FTEs: 17,129.03
    Administrative and Professional Staff Headcount: 18,182
    Civil Service Staff FTEs: 4,811.58
    Civil Service Staff Headcount: 4,954

    Autumn 2013 (http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo13.php):
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty FTEs: 2,835.37
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty Headcount: 2,848
    Administrative and Professional Staff FTEs: 17,008.95
    Administrative and Professional Staff Headcount: 18,090
    Civil Service Staff FTEs: 4,996.64
    Civil Service Staff Headcount: 5,150

    Autumn 2012 (http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo12.php):
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty FTEs: 2,887.73
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty Headcount: 2,903
    Administrative and Professional Staff FTEs: 16,129.19
    Administrative and Professional Staff Headcount: 17,161
    Civil Service Staff FTEs: 5,064.98
    Civil Service Staff Headcount: 5,211

    Autumn 2011 (http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo11.php):
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty FTEs: 2,915.87
    Regular Tenure Track Faculty Headcount: 2,930
    Administrative and Professional Staff FTEs: 15,668.37
    Administrative and Professional Staff Headcount: 16,710
    Civil Service Staff FTEs: 5,116.34
    Civil Service Staff Headcount: 5,277

    So what do we see here?

    The Regular Tenure Track Faculty has done down, both in FTE and headcount, every single year (-84.04 FTEs and -86 headcount since 2011). This is funny because as of Autumn 2012, when the CampusParc contract went into effect, the University is supposed to have been hiring 500 additional faculty over the next decade as the bribery to the faculty to pass the parking contract (http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/08/22/OSU_parking.html). Meanwhile the University’s managed to ditch 59 faculty members since Autumn 2012. We’ve got a bit more than 7 years left on that promise and they need to hire 559 faculty now? Everybody knows that faculty governance at the University is a joke though—the most protected, highest-paid, most-educated, and entitled class (i.e. the tenured faculty) at this University doesn’t appear to be able to protect anyone’s interests much less their own.

    Civil Service, generally paid a pittance, has also gone down every single year (-304.76 FTEs and -323 headcount since 2011). This is no surprise since we have a union-busting Governor though.

    Meanwhile Administrative & Professional (A&P) Staff has gone up every single year (+1,460.03 FTEs and +1,472 headcount since 2011). This is despite the 70 employees we managed to ditch in the CampusParc contract(http://thelantern.com/2012/10/some-ohio-state-employees-lost-in-parking-switch/). I have no clue where these hires are taking place since most Colleges and Departments that I’m aware of have squeezed budgets and are performing cuts. Even the College of Business, a long-time favorite of Provost/President Alutto (their former Dean), had 13 staff cuts (http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/news/2014/06/11/ohio-state-fisher-college-of-business-eliminates-6.html). Perhaps it’s in the new medical center expansion where in 2010 they claimed 6,000 new medical center jobs by 2015 (http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2010/12/29/Ohio-State-wins-$100-million-medical-expansion.html), but have since reduced that to “hundreds” (http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2014/11/23/the-james-is-hiring-hundreds-of-workers.html)?

  4. I feel like if you’re going to announce a program to spend $300 million, a few more specifics would be nice, more than ‘it plans to fund academic programs and “support investments in the best new ideas.”’

  5. So, cutting administrative expenses like the announcement at last weeks Senate that the VP of Communications is splitting into TWO upper level VP positions now?

  6. “[I]nnovative financing strategies” is almost certainly a bad idea. Undoubtedly they involve selling future rights (apparel, parking revenue, etc.) for a cash payment now. And that means robbing future students and administrations of future funds, to pay for extravagances now. The guys who get to spend now, and of course the bankers who get big fees for facilitating the schemes, are the only winners.

    Also, be suspicious of the “$100 million for need-based scholarships.” Is “need-based” really a full description, and thus race, orientation, compelling personal background, etc. won’t be factors? Highly doubtful.

    Cut costs (beginning with administrators), focus on academics, maybe get some edible foot in the dining halls, and increase campus and near off-campus safety.

  7. How about we let the world class researchers we have do their work without their budgets getting slashed every year?

  8. better than best new idea

    Cut the number of administrators in half, cut the salaries of the rest of the administrators in half, and return all of the savings to the students (and leave the budgets of the “world-class researchers”(?) alone.)

  9. This is complete bullsh!t. They can talk all they want but the truth is that they have absolutely no intentions whatsoever to reduce the costs. It is despicable that these supposedly honorable people can put on a dog and pony show like this and nobody asks questions. There’s a reason they aren’t specific about their actions, they are liars.

  10. Re 12:09

    Notice what category is missing? Adjuncts. That’s because they’re counted in the ever increasing professional category.

  11. In regards to increase in A&P jobs. Athletics hires almost all A&P and FOD (Facilities) has been transitioning Civil Service jobs to A&Ppositions, sometimes at a ration of 1:2 (Mainly the supervisors and other non union jobs). Two reasons for this. 1. More pay 2. More vacation time/perks (bonuses). Also an A&P Job has no civil service protection so the University can change job duties at anytime and fire you whenever they want.

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