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Ohio University President appointed to head Higher Education Commission

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Ohio University President Roderick McDavis heads the Higher Education Funding Commission that advocates for the University System of Ohio and carries out state higher education policy. The commission has been charged with a list of capital projects that they can propose to Gov. John Kasich, who will then submit that to Ohio legislature by July 1.

The commission is responsible for developing a joint list of capital budget projects that could be funded for the two year community colleges and four year universities in Ohio.

Ohio University is not immune to debilitated buildings, and the funding from the planned capital projects will certainly serve to benefit the university in a number of ways.

“As an 1804 institution that is a sweet spot for us because we have a lot of buildings that have been around for a long time and need some upkeep,” McDavis said.

By upgrading buildings on campus, a better learning environment is inherently created. By bringing new technologies and different configurations into the classroom that was not there previously, it has a positive impact on students and teachers alike.

Another benefit that universities will also enjoy from upgraded facilities is improved safety conditions.

With repaired buildings comes a focus on energy saving technology: “If you can take your building where it is today and renovate it, not only are you saving energy but saving money as well and reducing your carbon footprint,” McDavis said.

The Higher Education Commission certainly has students at a top priority when developing its agenda. They hope to identify new construction projects that center on economic development or jobs in demand.  If the jobs were built on either two- or four-year campuses, they would serve to benefit students looking for jobs in Ohio in the not-so-distant future.

Last year marked the first time Kasich asked for a commission of university presidents to undertake the allocation of funding for the projects. Former President of Ohio State Gordon Gee led last year’s efforts that resulted in a two-year $400 million budget.

The commission is planning to finalize the project list and submit it at the beginning of the year. Kasich’s budget director, Tim Keen, said that if all goes well, the construction projects will be undertaken by the early summer.

The budget for this year’s commission has not been reported, but Keen said he is confident that the amount will match last year’s spending formula, if not more.

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