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Board of Visitors Discuss Budget Priorities, Efficiency at Quarterly Meeting

At the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors quarterly meeting, held Thursday, Sept. 24, President John R. Broderick updated the panel on budget and capital project priorities in coming years as well as the results of an efficiency review that examined the state's higher education institutions.

In his report to the Board, Broderick outlined a total of $79.1 million in initiatives for 2017-18. Included in the University's budget priorities were:

  • $29.4 million, in 2017; and $49.6 million, in 2018 to increase faculty and staff salaries;
  • $10.7 million, in 2017; and $21.5 million, in 2018 to increase base funding to 94 percent of the funding guideline;
  • $1 million, in 2017; and $2.1 million, in 2018 to increase the number of full-time teaching and research faculty;
  • $726,630, in 2017; and $1.4 million, in 2018 to increase the number of full-time faculty administrators;
  • $499,200, in 2017; and $409,200, in 2018 to create the Center for Sea Level Rise and Coastal Resiliency;
  • $2.4 million, in 2017; and $2.4 million, in 2018 for creation of the Virginia Consortium for Public Health and Population Health Sciences;
  • $3.7 million, in 2017; and $2.6 million, in 2018 for the non-information technology portion of expansion of the University's online program;
  • $1.1 million, in 2017; and $1.1 million, in 2018 for a technology component of the online program expansion;
  • $613,111, in 2017; and $1.2 million, in 2018 to increase the number of classified support staff;
  • $856,640, in 2017; and $856,640, in 2018 to expand the 4-VA Collaborative;
  • $250,000, in 2017; and $250,000, in 2018 to enhance the University's technology infrastructure; and
  • $1.2 million, in 2017; and $3.9 million, in 2018 for additional institutional student financial aid.

During the presentation, Broderick also noted the University reinvested $1.6 million over the past three years in a technology transition and in 14 full-time positions, valued at $574,000, that were abolished through restructuring of the distance learning organization. During that time online enrollments increased by 68 percent and costs per student were reduced by 29 percent.

Additionally, $1.2 million was reallocated over the past four years to support the creation of 101 new faculty positions; $350,000 was reallocated to support graduate student assistants; $226,000 was reallocated to support operating cost increases; and 19.7 vacant positions were eliminated, and duties reallocated to existing staff, to meet the University's budget reduction target. Further, Student Engagement and Enrollment Services' operation was restructured to meet student needs, $319,000 was reallocated for student retention and success initiatives and $175,000 was reallocated to establish the University's Military Connection Center.

"We're making notable progress in a lot of key areas," Broderick told the Board. "That's a good cause for why we need more funding."

Broderick outlined the top three capital project priorities in the University's 2014-2020 Six Year Capital Plan. Included in those projects is construction of phase 1 of a new 110,510 square foot, $70.9 million, chemistry building to replace the existing Alfriend Chemistry building and provide consolidated programmatic space for science disciplines; construction of a 126,154 square foot, $74.2 million, health sciences building to address the rapid growth of concentrated STEM-H initiatives within the College of Health Sciences; and construction of a 158,462 square foot, $62.7 million Student Services Building that is needed to support integrated student support services and enhance the highly successful Student Success Center.

During the meeting, Broderick also highlighted for the Board the results of a 2014 report by the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission that examined support costs and staffing at the state's higher education institutions.

In regards to Old Dominion, the report concluded:

  • There are 6.7 support staff members per 100 full-time equivalent students, which falls below the state median of 7.4;
  • Support function spending and staffing totals $5,387, which is $1,020 below the state median;
  • The University falls 20 percent below the Carnegie group median in comparison spending on support functions;
  • Comparison spending on academic support at ODU falls just over the baseline of the Carnegie group median;
  • Comparison spending on top administrators salaries was nearly 10 percent below the public Carnegie average; and
  • Comparison of mid-level support staff salaries were nearly 10 percent below the public Carnegie average.

"By and large, we don't have a problem demonstrating our efficiency," Broderick said. "We do, despite the amount of resources we don't have, put resources as much as possible toward academic support. I hope to continue to grow that."

In other business, the Old Dominion Board of Visitors unanimously approved the creation of a Master of Science degree program in Maritime Trade and Supply Chain Management that will be administered by the Strome College of Business.

A resolution of support by the University's Academic and Research Advancement Committee noted that the "program is on the cutting edge of supporting industries involved in port and supply chain management. It is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia - and in the United States - and has been designed specifically for managers and supply chain professionals to expand their knowledge, update their skill sets, and enhance their work with transportation carriers, shippers, sourcing agents, warehouse managers as well as third parties and governments directly or indirectly involved in the movement of cargo and material flow."

The Board also unanimously agreed to the recommendation of the University Academic Advancement Committee to rename the Albert Brooks Gornto Jr. TELETECHNET Center to Albert Brooks Gornto Jr. Hall, effective Sept. 24, 2015.

The renaming proposal was made to better align the building naming convention to those applied across the campus community. Additionally, the referenced TELETECHNET term referred to the satellite broadcast system, previously used to distribute course content to ODU classrooms at partner community colleges and military installations, which has been replaced by Internet-based delivery options and web conferencing. The name change will reduce confusion for students, staff and partners working with the Office of Distance Learning, which is housed in the building.

During the meeting it was also noted that, as part of Old Dominion's 85th anniversary celebration, students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the University were challenged to donate $850,000 in an 85 hour period, to support student scholarships, programming, build state-of-the-art classrooms and research facilities. That effort, which took place earlier this month, raised $1,104,700, surpassing the goal of the fundraising campaign by nearly 30 percent.

The next quarterly meeting of the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 3.

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