President's Welcome Message
Tuesday, August 21, 2019
I hope you had an enjoyable and productive summer. As always, we have an exciting year ahead.
Throughout 2019--20, we will celebrate the university's sesquicentennial, marking 150 years since our founding. We have awarded scholarships to 150 students from all levels and campuses to serve as sesquicentennial ambassadors. We will release a docu-series on WOSU that traces the evolution of the university. And we have a full calendar of programs and events, including academic summits and an online Ohio State history course open to all. I look forward to celebrating together.
We continue to advance the focus areas of the university's Time and Change strategic plan and strengthen Ohio State's position as a leading national flagship public research university.
Some notable highlights:
Yesterday, the university welcomed another highly talented incoming class at Convocation -- projected to be among the most prepared, most diverse and largest in our history. And our retention and graduation rates have increased to historic highs in recent years. This success is due in large part to your dedication to students in and out of the classroom, and we are deeply grateful for your efforts.
This year will mark the second for our Buckeye Opportunity Program, which ensures that Ohio students who qualify for Pell grants receive an aid package that covers at least the full cost of tuition and mandatory fees. We also welcomed an additional 176 students benefiting from the Land Grant Opportunity Scholarship. Both programs are part of a more than $150 million commitment in additional need-based aid made by the university since 2015 -- with an expected impact for 42,000 Buckeyes and their families.
We are committed to further strengthening teaching and learning at Ohio State. We have had great feedback on our Teaching Support Program, a professional development opportunity offered through the University Institute for Teaching and Learning. The aim is to advance classroom outcomes, and we encourage all eligible faculty to participate.
This is the second year for our Digital Flagship initiative. To date, over 300 faculty and staff have participated in our Digital Flagship Educators cohorts to enhance digital literacy. And we are offering a four-course App Development and Coding Certificate program for all faculty, staff and students. The first course is currently available, and the additional courses will be released later this fall. Once again, we are grateful for your engagement.
In 2019, we established the Office of Institutional Equity, a centralized office responsible for support of our students, faculty and staff and the university's compliance with Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state laws and university policies. And, for the first time, this year, staff became voting members of the University Senate. The University Staff Advisory Committee selects five senate staff members to serve two-year terms.
Through it all, we remain committed to our founding land-grant mission to uplift lives and advance human potential. We do this through education and by addressing the greatest challenges facing our communities. In April, the university was awarded a $65.9 million research grant to lead a consortium of partners in reducing opioid deaths in Ohio. This marks the largest-ever grant for a research project at Ohio State and joins efforts from our colleges throughout the university, medical enterprise and Ohio State University Extension to combat substance abuse and the opioid crisis.
Finally, a quick but important reminder to be extra careful as you navigate around campus this semester, as pedestrians, cars, bikes and scooters all share the road.
Thank you for the many different passions and talents you contribute to shaping a better tomorrow. Best wishes for a wonderful year.
Michael V. Drake, MD