Otterbein's President's Cabinet began the process of looking into various innovative proposals at the most recent Senate meeting Feb. 4.
The university plans to allocate $200,000 to $250,000 for the latest initiatives in hopes of a better investment return. The six proposals combined are requesting over $520,000.
"We will not be approving all of these; we will have to make some choices," said John Comerford, Otterbein President.
A new nutrition major at the graduate level was presented as an addition to the health and sports sciences department. A three-year visiting professor would be hired to instruct the new Master of Sciences in nutrition and dietetics program. The major would support Otterbein graduates in becoming registered dietitian nutritionists.
Assistant Professor of Communication Mike Moon proposed Collegeview Creative Media. The professional studio would provide a place for students to create multimedia productions for the community. Collegeview Creative Media would be in partnership with the Point and will generate income via the Otterbein Communication Department.
Student Success and Career Development (SSCD) Jen Bechtold, Kate Lehman and Lisa Byers provided a retention strategy that will help support 60 first-year students. Otterbein has seen a successful increase in retention over the past ten years. The additional funding would benefit first-generation, low-income students who bring no previous college credits and academically lower-ranked students.
From the business, accounting and economics department, Don Eskew introduced three ideas: creating entrepreneurship, an MBA designed to address social impact and social justice from a non-profit perspective and undergraduate analytics. Eskew also addressed the need for increased faculty, more online courses and increased efforts in reaching out to more advertising markets.
Gina Calcamuggio from the Office of Marketing and Communications communicated a need for more temporary staff and material resources including print and postage.
"We can use some design support and some writing support to focus solely on the academic message," said Calcamuggio
Director of Athletics and VP for Student Affairs Dawn Stewart and Associate Athletic Director Connie Richardson requested an athletic roster increase of 77 students across all teams that would generate $500,000 in net revenue.
"I'm really pleased by how the innovation fund process has gone," said Comerford. "Most importantly, I think this is a way to engage the whole campus in the process – anyone can have an idea, we can get input from every group on campus, and Senate can prioritize the results."
The planning committee has now made their recommendation to the University Senate to choose which plans will move forward in the decision process.