By Leah Miza, Photo Editor and Olivia Lease, Transcript Reporter
In his opening comments, President Rock Jones urged the Board of Trustees to think “strategically about the long-term for Ohio Wesleyan.”
On Oct. 7, the Board of Trustees sat down to discuss a variety of issues that would impact the campus. Gathered for lunch on the third floor of Merrick Hall, it was a snug fit but almost all the members were all there.
Chairperson Thomas Tritton ’69, led the meeting during which everything from new classes to the the cost of tuition were discussed.
Liberal arts schools only make up 200 of the 3,036 four- year colleges in the U.S. That means only about 15 percent of four-year institutions are liberal arts in the United States.
“That represents a really, really tiny sliver of the number of students who are college students,” Tritton said.
“Even those at the very top are having problems because they become increasingly expensive and generally inaccessible to large segments of the population. So we’re really all in this together,” said Tritton in regards to increasing enrollment and making a liberal arts education more affordable.
Enrollment is up by about 50 students this year, which means the preliminary school budget had be adjusted to account for the extra $2.2 million. The funds were distributed across a few areas, one being the food budget, which increased by 2 percent.
Despite this higher enrollment, the board voted to increase tuition, room and board by 1.5 percent for the 2017-18 school year. This is roughly $833 per residential and international student (off-campus and commuter students will see a lower amount).
In an email, Jones noted that this increase is lower than in many past years in an effort to hold down costs for students and for the school to continue providing an outstanding liberal arts education.
The board also addressed the importance of improving OWU’s retention rate and the effectiveness of academic ad- visers. An online catalogue and a new app will be introduced to help students track their classes and the progress of their major(s) and/or minor(s).
With this technology, advisers could focus on helping students pursue their interests and different opportunities without being bogged down by prerequisite courses neces- sary for graduation.
New housing opportunities were also explored during the meeting. A motion was made for the construction of a new Honors House to be located on Oak Hill Avenue, next to the House of Peace and Justice.
An anonymous $2 million donation was made for the space that may be able house 30 students in comparison to the 11 students the Honors House currently holds.
The motion passed with no objections. “We have the money; let’s go for it,” said Tritton. Plans to start construc- tion are being laid out and students should be able to move into the house in the fall of 2017.
One of the Small Living Units (SLUs) in an older house on campus will be eligible to move into the current Honors House which is located at 123 Oak Hill Ave., a few doors down from the president’s house. Plans for housing that is specifically for first-year students is also in the works.
The process of finding a broker for the New York Arts building started over the summer and the school-owned property is expected to be listed as for sale soon. Funds from the possible sale would go to other departments such as maintenance, which, on average, the school spends $1 million on annually and it is usually, “cobbled together funds,” as Trustee C. Paul Palmer IV ’96 said.
Trustee Colleen Nissl ’72, gave marketing and enrollment report to the board. She started by congratulating the Communications Office, which launched the new website in November 2015. In the past six months, the website has had over a million hits, Nissl said.
In terms of enrollment, Nissl said the school is now 52 percent male and 48 percent female, the exact opposite of surrounding schools and might partially be due to the recruitment for sports.
With this incoming class, the percentage of multicultural and transfer students are down while Ohio and Chicago-based students are up.
Both Jones and separate members of the board addressed that while the 2020 plan is on course, it’s important to keep in mind long-term goals.
The next time the Board of Trustees will meet is during their retreat in Naples, Florida in February 2017.