Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mount Union's Micheli wins Gagliardi Trophy as Division III football's outstanding player

Mount Union quarterback Greg Micheli has been named winner of the Gagliardi Trophy, awarded each year to honor the outstanding NCAA Division III football player. Micheli emerged from a field of 10 finalists. Sponsored by Jostens and the Saint John’s University, Minnesota, J-Club, the Gagliardi Trophy recognizes excellence in athletics, academics and community service.

Micheli received the trophy Thursday night in Salem, Virginia, as part of the 2008 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl festivities. Mount Union and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater meet tomorrow for the second consecutive year in this bowl game, which decides the NCAA Division III national championship. The Purple Raiders of Mount Union hope to avenge last year's loss in the title game. The game begins at 11 a.m. EST; the cable channel ESPN2 will televise the game live.

Update: Mount Union also won the championship game Saturday, 31-26.

-- Bob Burke

Monday, November 24, 2008

NCAA Football Playoff Scores for Saturday, 22 November

Division II
Grand Valley State (Mich.) 40, Ashland 7

Division III
Mount Union 56, Randolph-Macon (Va.) 0
Franklin (Ind.) 62, Otterbein 45
Wabash 20, Case Western Reserve 17

Next weekend’s game
Hobart (N.Y.) at Mount Union, 12 noon
Ticket information

-- Bob Burke

Oberlin Senior Wins Rhodes Scholarship

Lucas Brown, a senior at Oberlin College from Leesburg, Va., is one of the 32 American Rhodes Scholars for 2009, announced this weekend by the Rhodes Trust.

The fellowship offers two or three years of graduate study at one of the colleges at Oxford University. The 32 American scholars join 48 scholars from other nations.

Brown was the only scholar chosen from an Ohio college or university, public or private. No resident of Ohio, regardless of college, received a scholarship this year. With three scholars nominated, Princeton University had the highest number of awards, followed by Harvard, M.I.T, Northwestern, and U.C.L.A. with two apiece.

-- Bob Burke

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New G.A. Legislative Leadership Teams Announced

House Majority Leadership Team

Speaker – Rep. Armond Budish (D – Beachwood)
Speaker Pro Tempore – Rep. Matt Szollosi (D – Toledo)
Majority Floor Leader – Rep. Jennifer Garrison (D – Marietta)
Assistant Majority Floor Leader – Rep. Tracy Maxwell Heard (D – Columbus)
Majority Whip – Rep. Jay Goyal (D – Mansfield)
Assistant Minority Whip – Rep. Allan Sayre (D – Dover)

House Minority Leadership Team

Minority Leader – Rep. Bill Batchelder (R – Medina)
Assistant Minority Leader – Rep. Lou Blessing (R – Cincinnati)
Minority Whip – Rep. John Adams (R – Sidney)
Assistant Minority Whip – Rep.-elect Kris Jordan (R – Powell)


Senate Majority Leadership Team

President – Sen. Bill Harris (R – Ashland)
President Pro Tempore – Sen. Tom Niehaus (R – New Richmond)
Majority Floor Leader – Sen. Keith Faber (R – Celina)
Majority Whip – Sen. Mark Wagoner (R – Toledo)

Senate Minority Leadership Team

Minority Leader – Sen. Capri Cafaro (D – Hubbard)
Assistant Minority Leader – Sen. Shirley Smith (D – Cleveland)
Minority Whip – Sen. Ray Miller (D – Columbus)
Assistant Minority Whip – Sen. Jason Wilson (D – Columbiana)

Monday, November 17, 2008

NCAA Football Playoffs: Ashland Wins in Division II 1st Round, Three AICUO Members Qualify for Division III

Billy Cundiff hit Joe Horn for a 66-yard fourth-quarter touchdown strike to lead Ashland over Minnesota State 27-16 in a first-round NCAA Division II football tournament game, November 15 at Ashland.

It was Ashland’s first postseason football playoff victory in four tries. The Eagles play at Division II power Grand Valley State (Mich.), a rival in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in a national quarterfinal game on Saturday.

In the meantime, other college football playoffs begin this weekend. Three AICUO members qualified for the 32-team NCAA Division III tournament. Ohio Athletic Conference champion Mount Union, who lost the national championship game last season, starts its postseason this Saturday at home against Randolph-Macon (Va.).

Two other AICUO members with at-large tournament bids host first-round games as well. Case Western Reserve, champion of the University Athletic Association, takes on Wabash (Ind.), the champion of the North Coast Athletic Conference, in Cleveland; and Otterbein, runner-up in the OAC, plays Franklin (Ind.), the Heartland Conference champion, in Westerville.

No colleges from Ohio qualified for the 16-team NAIA football playoff.

-- Bob Burke

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2008 Election Wrap-Up

The election is over, the confetti has been swept up and the ballots are mostly counted. This was one for the record books. As you are all aware, the United States has elected its first African-American President, Barack Obama, and the Democratic Party increased their majority in the US Congress. Results for some Ohio races are still unofficial as ballots continue to be counted. Below is a break-down of the US Congressional Races as well as the Ohio House and Senate.

Ohio House Races

At the state level, a huge shake-up occurred overnight. The Democratic Party took over the majority of the Ohio House of Representatives with an initial net gain of 7 seats. Seats that were Republican and switched to Democratic control:

District 19 – Marian Harris currently has a 12-vote lead over the Republican candidate, Brad Lewis.
District 18 – Matt Patten (51%) defeated Colleen Grady (49%)
District 20 – Nancy Garland (51%) defeated incumbent Jim McGregor (49%)
District 22 – John Carney (56%) defeated Michael Keenan (44%)
District 28 – Connie Pillich (54%) defeated Virgil Lovitt (46%)
District 42 – Mike Moran (56%) defeated incumbent Richard Nero (44%)
District 63 – Mark Schneider (54%) defeated incumbent Carol-Ann Schindel (46%)
District 85 – Ray Pryor (52%) defeated incumbent John Schlichter (48%)
District 92 – Debbie Phillips defeated Jill Thompson by 171 votes

Republicans picked up two Democratic seats - in District 16, Nan Baker defeated incumbent Jennifer Brady and Terry Boose defeated Terry Traster in District 58, formerly held by Matt Barrett (D).

Ohio Senate Races

Only half of the State Senate seats were up for re-election this term, the even numbered districts. Of those running, the incumbents were victorious in their pursuit to retain their seats. Districts that did see two new candidates resulted in the Republicans holding onto their highly indexed districts:

District 10 – State Representative Chris Widener (R) ran to replace Senator Austria (running for Congressional District 7) against County Commissioner Roger Tackett (D). Widener won handily with a 62% to 38% margin.
District 16 – State Representative Jim Hughes (R), a moderate candidate ran against new-comer Danielle Blue (D) to replace Senator Stivers (running for the 15th Congressional District). Hughes defeated Blue by a 58% to 42% margin.
District 20 – State Representative Jimmy Stewart, an atypical Republican in a heavily Democratic-indexed district, ran against Rick Shriver, Morgan County Commissioner, to replace retiring senator, Joy Padgett. Stewart won the position with a 55% to 40% margin and the Green Party candidate, Timothy Kettler, received 5.
District 22 – Bob Gibbs, Republican State Representative for the Ashland area, was running against James Riley (D) to obtain the Senate seat left vacant by term-limited Ron Amstutz. Representative Gibbs won his new seat by a considerable margin, 61% to 39%.
District 24 – Another State Representative, Tom Patton (R), ran against Gary Kucinich (D) for former Senator Bob Spada’s position. Senator Spada vacated his post due to term limits. Representative Patton defeated his opponent by a 69% to 31% margin.
District 26 – Karen Gillmor (R), the widow of respected, late Congressman Paul Gillmor handily assumes the post vacated by term-limited Senator Larry Mumper. Mrs. Gillmor won the seat by a 63% to 37% margin.

U.S. Congressional Races

One closely-watched race at the federal level was that of Congressional District 1 in Cincinnati. Steve Driehaus (D), a current state representative, took the seat from long-serving Congressman Steve Chabot (R). The race was one of the most tightly contested in the state with Driehaus accepting Chabot’s concession shortly after midnight. With all but 2 precincts reporting results, Driehaus won by 9,097 votes - 143,146 to 133,449 - or 52% to 48%.

Additionally, in southwest Ohio, incumbent, Jean Schmidt (R) held onto control of her District 2 Congressional seat by a margin of 143,287 (45%) to Wulsin’s 118,770 (37%). Independent candidate David Krikorian won 18%, or 56,633 of the votes.

North approximately 90 miles, State Senator Steve Austria (R) was vying for the seat of retiring Congressman David Hobson (R) of the Republican-leaning 7th Congressional District. Sharon Neuhardt (D) was closing in on her opponent up until the election. Austria won the seat with 58% of the vote.

Then in northeast Ohio, running to take over the post left vacant by the late Stephanie Tubbs-Jones was Marsha Fudge (D), hand-picked by the area Democratic leadership, and Thomas Pekarek (R). Fudge handily won this Democratic-leaning district (District 11) with 85% of the vote.

In central Ohio's 15th U.S. Congressional District, State Senator Steve Stivers (R) was running a very close race against Mary Jo Kilroy (D), who barely lost to incumbent Deborah Pryce in 2006. This race, according to all news outlets, for months was considered too close to call and could have gone to either candidate. After the dust finally settled late into the night, Steve Stivers prevailed with a 146,907 (48%) to 134,492 (44%) margin.

In another highly contested race, State Senators John Boccieri (D) and Kirk Schuring (R) were battling to obtain retiring Congressman Ralph Regula’s District 16 seat. This race, according to some, became one of the only truly negative campaigns in Ohio. In a political hot-bed area, State Senator and Air Force pilot John Boccieri won with 54% of the vote.

Incumbents in Ohio’s U.S. Congressional races who were safe this election day:

District 3 – Michael Turner (R) 60%
District 4 – Jim Jordan (R) 65%
District 5 – Bob Latta (R) 64%
District 6 – Charlie Wilson (D) 62%
District 8 – John Boehner (R) 69%
District 9 – Marcy Kaptur (D) 74%
District 10 – Dennis Kucinich (D) 57%
District 12 – Pat Tiberi (R) 59%
District 13 – Betty Sutton (D) 65%
District 14 – Steve LaTourette (R) 58%
District 17 – Tim Ryan (D) 78%
District 18 – Zach Space (D) 60%

AICUO would like to congratulate all those who were victorious and we look forward to working with you as the new year begins. Higher education will continue to be a go-to issue for many in the new General Assembly and we would like to offer our assistance to any who are interested in learning more about the benefit our institutions have on their respective districts.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Ohio Indpendent College Weekly Newspapers Best in State

At the 2008 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Awards, given Oct. 18 in Cleveland, Ohio, three Ohio independent colleges' weekly student newspapers were voted best in the state.

Sponsored by the Central Ohio (Columbus), Cincinnati and Cleveland SPJ chapters, the 12th Annual SPJ Awards ceremony honored the best of Ohio’s online, print, radio, television, trade and college journalism.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Michelle Obama Visiting Capital University

Capital University will host Michelle Obama on Friday, October 24. Mrs. Obama has been an integral part of her husband's campaign and has done a few solo visits.

The Change We Need/Get-Out-the-Vote Rally, sponsored by Obama ’08, will take place in The Capital Center Performance Arena. Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. The pre-program will begin at 11:50, and Mrs. Obama is expected to speak at 12:15 p.m. The program will last for about an hour. It is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Palin Returning to Independent College for Yet Another Rally

Vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska is scheduled to speak at The University of Findlay Wednesday, Oct. 22, in the Koehler Recreation Complex on North Main Street.

Doors will open at 7 a.m., and the rally will begin at 9 a.m.

Tickets are required. Members of both the campus community and the public are welcome. Tickets for community members are available from the county Republican headquarters. For those that are unable to attend, the University’s radio station, WLFC 88.3, will broadcast live. For directions to the University, please visit the college's web site. Information will be accessible from the home page.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Monday, October 20, 2008

Swing State Blues (and Reds)

Being in a swing state in this presidential election has its disadvantages — like the endless barrage of increasingly nega ... uh, comparative advertisements — but also one big advantage: we get to see the candidates in the flesh. You could almost call a visit to an independent campus a routine matter — yesterday Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, held a rally at the Otterbein College campus in Westerville just a few weeks after he came to the Capital University campus in Bexley.

But we have a unique perspective on another campaign visit to Columbus. On October 10, Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, held a rally at a park in downtown Columbus that is a clear sight from the association’s offices in the Huntington Center. Yes, he was far away, but so were we, as you can see from the news photo looking back at the candidate — and showing the windows of our office in the background.

— Bob Burke

Thursday, October 16, 2008

AICUO President Testifies at HEA Public Hearing

C. Todd Jones, AICUO President and General Counsel, testified Wednesday on behalf of Ohio's independent colleges regarding the general impact of the recently passed Higher Education Reauthorization Act. Specifically, Todd referenced the new, additional reporting requirements for institutions as well as suggesting that the US Dept. of Ed "embrace flexibility" while aligning accounting data and implementation of rules and regulations. A copy of AICUO's testimony may be found here. Any questions regarding this testimony may directed to AICUO's Ask Todd feature.

In addition to AICUO's presentation, a few Ohio independent colleges sent individuals to testify on their behalf. Nancy Hoover, representing Denison University and the National Direct Student Loan Coalition (NDSLC), discussed the need for a standard collection instrument for data among colleges and the need to simplify the private loan disclosure.

Karen Saracusa from Mount Union College, also representing the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), took the opportunity to discuss the need to increase preparation of teachers with regard to disabled students. She also advised on the creation of an advisory commission for textbooks as well as additional transition programs into higher education for students with disabilities to ensure they have the outlets necessary for a successful progression.

Case Western Reserve University was represented by their Chief Information Security Officer, Thomas Siu. Mr. Siu noted that "effectively combat" could be defined many different ways by institutions in regards to Peer-to-Peer file sharing and could create problems for institutions without the means to "effectively combat." He also discussed that for some colleges the tech-based deterrents could be another costly venture and should look to engaging their students with information and services to eventually cease all university broadband usage for file-sharing.

AICUO thanks all those who testified on behalf of independent colleges and would also like to thank the US Department of Education for holding these public hearings to ensure that colleges' voices are heard while the rule-making is being implemented.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, October 9, 2008

OWU Officially Welcomes New President

Ohio Wesleyan University will officially welcome to campus its new president, Rock Jones, Ph.D., with an inauguration ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in University Hall's Gray Chapel, 61 S. Sandusky St. Jones is the 16th president to lead the Delaware, Ohio, institution.

More than 100 delegates from colleges and universities across the nation are scheduled to attend this historic event and march in the academic procession.

Prior to the inauguration, Ohio Wesleyan will host a national forum titled "Whither the Liberal Arts” at 11 a.m. on the Main Stage of Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave.

Both events will be streamed online here. For more information about Ohio Wesleyan's inauguration celebration, click here.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university's 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit OWU for more information.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Former OWU Exec Installed as President of NY College

Beginning in 1988 Margaret Drugovich served as the vice president for strategic communications and university enrollment at Ohio Wesleyan University, overseeing integrated university-wide communications, as well as U.S. and international new student recruitment, admission, and financial aid programs.

Last week she was installed as president of Hartwick College, a private liberal-arts and sciences college of 1,480 students located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskills Mountains.

For more details, read the Columbus Dispatch's E-Team Blog.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Friday, October 3, 2008

McCain/Palin Ticket Visited Capital University

On September 28th AICUO was informed that the McCain/Palin ticket was planning to visit Capital University the next day. We knew they were interested in a Central Ohio location, but weren't sure where they would end up with all the options available to them.

Monday, C. Todd Jones (President) and Dustin Holfinger (Dir. of Govt Relations) were invited by a Capital University faculty member to attend the rally and sit behind the podium in the risers.

The atmosphere was lively even on a cool fall morning in Bexley and the protestors were really at a minimum compared to previously attended rallies for presidential candidates. The line to get in the facility wrapped up and around and over to the next road - but the wait was a mere 45 minutes. Once inside the crowd was electric, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Republican ticket. Speaker of the House, Jon Husted (R - Kettering) was the MC for the day, often reminding the anxious crowd that "they are on their way..."

All in all, the event seemed to be a success for the Republican cadidates and Capital University. The facility was perfect for the event, the entry process was seamless and organized. A simple example of how quickly an independent college can get things together to impress on a national level.

on behalf of the AICUO, I'd like to thank Capital for hosting this event and the presidential candidates from both sides for choosing our institutions to host their rallies in Ohio.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

'Obscure' Football Still Gets Notice at Lake Erie College

Even those colleges that are relatively recent arrivals at football have a chance for some national notice, as here during this week’s “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” on the web page:

Obscure College Score of the Week: California of Pennsylvania 54, Lake Erie 0. Occasionally I fret that someday the supply of obscure colleges will be exhausted. Thus my spirits rose when I came across this score, because I had never heard of Lake Erie College. Located in Painesville, Ohio, Lake Erie College is "one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the Western Reserve," the 18th century Connecticut land claim whose name lives on in Case Western Reserve University. Here are pics from the school's founding as Lake Erie Female Seminary. Lake Erie College says, "Over 10,000 individuals have graduated from this fine institution and all have left their mark on the campus in some way." That's a lot of initials carved into trees!

The entire column, by the author and Brookings Institute fellow Gregg Easterbrook, is at

-- Bob Burke

Friday, September 5, 2008

U.S. Senator to Speak at Franciscan University

Franciscan University College Republicans and Students for Life will host an event featuring United States Senator Sam Brownback. He will give a lecture on “Faith in Politics.” Senator Brownback has taken the lead in Washington on pressing issues such as abortion, marriage, bioethics, human rights, and religious freedom.

He will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 8, 2008, in the Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery, located in the J.C. Williams Center.

Admission is free, and the event is open to the public.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Coalition for Healthy Families Pulls Issue from Ballot

In a shocking turn of events, early this morning the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) and Governor Ted Strickland scheduled a press conference for 9:15 a.m.

Shortly after that announcement, Gongwer, a statehouse news service, reported at 9:20 that the SEIU has officially requested that their Healthy Families Act be pulled from the ballot. Their reasoning being "it became clear that a shrill and vitrolic ballot campaign marred by misinformation and disinformation would be impossible to avoid." This action comes after every poll on the issue showed that over half of Ohioans approved of the initiative.

Mr. Strickland had been a lead player in compromise talks on the issue, trying to get the business community (opponents) and the SEIU to find a common ground. No compromise was reached, but as a result of AICUO's advisory role, students and faculty were to be included within the proposed exemptions. Because a compromise couldnt be reached, Gov. Strickland and Lt. Gov. Fisher said they would oppose the issue in November.

In a time when Ohio needs all the new business it can get, pulling this issue from the ballot is a smart move.

Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LimaLand and UNOH Host Season Championships on Final Night

The University of Northwestern Ohio and Limaland, Lima's dirt oval track with competition of NRA 360 Sprint cars, modifieds and stock cars, will host the Seasonal Championships this Friday evening starting at 7:30 p.m.

This is your last chance this year to witness the thrill of racing in your own backyard. For more information, click here.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

AICUO Alumnae Making News

AICUO's former Director of Government Relations, Gena Miller Shelton, was in the news today while working at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Ms. Shelton spoke with Inside Higher Ed about the work she is doing as part of the National Democratic Law Students Council. (She is blogging from the convention.) The article also includes a quote from Atlantis Richter, a sophomore and Republican from Ohio Northern University.

—C. Todd Jones

Monday, August 25, 2008

Graph of the Week Blogpost

AICUO's Graph of the Week and its new weekly e-mail release received recognition this morning in the Columbus Dispatch's education blog, The E Team. Higher education reporter Encarnacion Pyle gave AICUO's new feature and website a dose of welcome notoriety. Thanks Encarnacion.

For those that would like to subscribe to the AICUO Graph of the Week, please e-mail Julia Arnott at

—C. Todd Jones

Thursday, August 21, 2008

ODU Lands Elizabeth Edwards to Speak at Lecture Series

Ohio Dominican University has announced that Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, will speak at its Presidential Lecture Series in October.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 9 at the Aladdin Shrine Center, 3850 Stelzer Rd. Mrs. Edwards will sign copies of her book, Saving Graces: Finding Solace and Strength from Friends and Strangers, after her presentation.

This excerpt and more information can be found here.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Friday, August 15, 2008

Witt Nation in The Chronicle

In case you missed it (and didn't read about it in AICUO's weekly E-mail Update), the Witt Nation van from Wittenberg University received a front-page profile in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education (password required). The road warriors received the multimedia treatment as well.

—C. Todd Jones

Attorney General Candidates Have Connections to Independent Colleges

The open office of Attorney General that resulted when Marc Dann stepped aside under cloud of scandal, will be filled by a mid-term election this November. The two major parties have chosen candidates to run for the two remaining years of Dann’s term, and an independent candidate has also qualified for the ballot.

The Republicans have selected veteran prosecutor Michael Crites. Crites is currently the managing partner at a Columbus-area law firm and served 21 years as a local, state, and federal prosecutor.

In 1990, Crites was the prosecuting attorney for the Pete Rose tax evasion case. Of the case, Crites states "wasn't a task that I enjoyed, but nonetheless I took my oath seriously and I did my duty." We wouldn't expect anything less from a United States Naval Academy and Ohio Northern University Law School graduate.

The Democratic candidate is Ohio State Treasurer and AICUO Art Award judge Rich Cordray has been selected to run for the Attorney General post. Prior to being elected as State Treasurer in 2006, Cordray had served as the Franklin County Treasurer since 2002. He also served one term as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1991-1993. His connection to independent colleges comes through his wife, Peggy, a law professor at Capital University Law School.

The independent candidate, and the first to file after the Dann resignation, is Robert Owens. Owens was a clerk for a federal judge in the U.S. District Court, then moved on to practice law at a large firm in Columbus. He relocated to Delaware County to serve as prosecutor in Sunbury. Owens is a limited-government advocate who reports he's endorsed by the Constitution, Reform and Libertarian political parties.

Mr. Owens is well versed in independent college life in Ohio; he graduated with honors from Ohio Wesleyan University and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Capital Law School.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Monday, August 11, 2008

McCain Visits Wilmington College

Not one to miss a chance to campaign in the Heartland, United States Sen. John McCain visited the Wilmington College campus last Thursday to meet with local citizens to hear concerns about the workforce reduction planned by DHL at the Wilmington Air Park.
After a roundtable discussion with local leaders and members of the task force — which has selected Wilmington College as the host site for its meetings — McCain spoke to local residents who gathered on the WC mall. The presidential hopeful’s hour-long visit to campus concluded, but not before McCain stopped to shake hands and pose for photos with people gathered along College Street.

Wilmington President, Dr. Dan DiBiasio greeted the presidential candidate and mentioned his pleasure with the Senator's concern for the area.

To see pictures of Sen. McCain's visit, check out Wilmington College's website.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Obama Makes Stop in Berea, Baldwin-Wallace College

On Tuesday Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama linked his energy proposals to new manufac- turing jobs while speaking to B-W students, NE Ohio citizens and Ohio-elected officials including Sen. Sherrod Brown and Governor Ted Strickland. Obama presented his proposals for investment in renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, as well as federal subsidies to American automakers for making environmentally-friendly cars. Obama touted the number of high-paying jobs that would be created by his plans and noted a possible tax credit to anyone who buys a high-tech car.

Before meeting with senior Ohio officials, Sen. Obama was greeted by future policy-makers from Baldwin-Wallace College, the president and vice president of the student body—Jamie Serenko and Ben Schaefer, respectively, as well as Baldwin-Wallace College President, Richard Durst.

Obama held two town-hall style meetings, one in Austintown, near Youngstown, and in Berea.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Memorable Quote

Today the Partnership for Continued Learning met, its first meeting since early spring. Chancellor Fingerhut had a quote that deserved a wider distribution than the PCL meeting attendees. With regard to the administration's stance on higher education policy:

"It is all for the students, what does the student want? If that's what they want, that's where they should be."

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Monday, July 21, 2008

Regents Organizational Chart On-Line

In early July, the Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) finally released a revised organizational chart. Considering that last year the Board and staff were completely reorganized, and numerous long-time staff members left, the release was appreciated by those of us who track the Regents for the work we do. For the benefit of those that do not follow the comings and goings at OBR as we do, since that time OBR has announced that it is adding Paolo DeMaria as Executive Vice Chancellor and Barbara Gellman-Danley as Vice Chancellor.

—Dustin Holfinger

University of Dayton: a "Great College to Work For"

Last week, The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) announced the results of its first “Great Colleges to Work For” survey. Based on the responses of over 15,000 administrators, faculty, and staff members, and modeled on ModernThink’s "Best Places to Work" surveys in various business sectors, the University of Dayton fared very well in numerous categories.

The survey only listed institutions alphabetically in the top five of various categories, after separating campuses into large, medium, and small groups. (UD is a medium-sized campus.) The Flyers scored in the top five in the categories for Professional/Career Development Programs, Tuition Reimbursement, and Disability Insurance. If you want to work there, visit UD's Website.

—C. Todd Jones

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Regents Discuss Ohio Public Institution Facilities

This morning the Ohio Board of Regents discussed the condition and funding of the public institutions' facilities and buildings. The major question at hand focused on the stability and capacity of the facility and technology infrastructure and whether they are sufficient to support the governor's proposed increase of 230,000 students.

The identification of buildings and systems in need of repair, restoration, and technology varies depending upon enrollments and ongoing construction funded by other sources. The questions for the state include: Where will the funding come from—taxpayers, fundraising, or nowhere? The chancellor stated that some state higher education institutions think funding should come from taxpayers through the legislature’s capital budget. Others prefer considerable autonomy and will assume the responsibility through private fundraising and the use of endowment funds.

Already an overwhelming share of improvement costs is funded by the state, and the amount needed continually increases on campuses with continual growth. The board discussed how this could pose a problem as Ohio's budget becomes tighter. The Ohio State University, Ohio's largest institution, has combated this issue with the creation of an endowment to pay for future renewal and replacement costs, an action most independent colleges already practice. Independent colleges also use current revenues to support repair and restoration, as they have no reason to count on the state to cover these expenses. This alleviates many issues caused by delayed building repair, decreasing the urgency and possibility of a major structural capital-budget gap.

Regents also discussed the contrast in age of public higher education buildings. Every two years, the board calculates the age of the instructional and general portion of public higher education's facilities. The table below, released at the meeting, outlines the results.

Under 40 Years Old
Technical college - 96.9%
State comm. college - 84.7%
Community college - 83.7%
University main - 71.7%
Regional campus - 62.6%

State inst. average - 73.4%
Over 40 Years Old
Technical college - 3.1%
State comm. college - 15.3%
Community college - 16.3%
University main - 28.3%
Regional campus - 37.4%

State inst. average - 26.6%

The increased age of regional campuses buildings could reflect main campus growth. Regional campus growth has tapered in recent years, leaving little need for newer buildings. Or, could it mean that regional campuses in Ohio receive less attention than their main campus counterparts?

A fair question for OBR and the chancellor is whether one solution to the state’s public sector building squeeze is partnerships. Innovative community colleges currently host independent college programs on their campuses, and vice versa. The state could save large sums by not constructing new buildings, and instead, encouraging public campuses to create collaborative programs at independent colleges, where buildings are raised at no cost to taxpayers.

Would taxpayers support saving money by moving public classes to private colleges? Or would students and taxpayers benefit by establishing new articulation agreements, allowing the free transfer of courses by public college students who take a few classes of their choice at local independent colleges? What about agreements between nonprofit Ohio colleges who offer on-line courses and their public sector counterparts allowing students to take credits through our robust, nonprofit on-line sector? Now that would be a fresh take on an old problem.

—Dustin Holfinger

Friday, June 27, 2008

OBR Announces Ohio Innovation Partnership Second Round Winners

Ohio's independent colleges are making a big impact on Ohio’s efforts to recruit and retain STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students under last year’s budget bill (HB 119). The second round of scholarships awarded was announced yesterday and five independent colleges along with their program collaborators received a total of $9 million.

The colleges selected include: Baldwin-Wallace College and Case Western Reserve University (Bioscience and Healthcare) to form a coalition of excellence to prepare students and current residents for scientific entrepreneurial opportunities; The University of Dayton and Wittenberg University (human effectiveness, IT) to help train individuals to fill an anticipated 1,200 jobs in the Department of Defense by 2011; and Muskingum College (STEM for K-12) to promote STEM outreach and education activities to expand the number of STEM students and provide research opportunities and mentorships.

We would like to congratulate each independent college for the hard work they do for the state of Ohio and their dedication to the future of our students.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Legislative Wrap Up

Capital Budget Passed and Sent to Governor

A bill incorporating the state’s two-year capital budget and revisions to biennial appropriations passed the Ohio House last night, with some provisions added by the House facing a threatened veto by Gov. Ted Strickland.As enacted in the evening session yesterday, H.B. 562 has only a few relevant provisions that affect independent colleges, which are summarized below. The numbers in parentheses refer to the section numbers of the bill.

1. Nursing Diploma Programs Added to OCOG (3333.122(A)(1)(c)(iii)). Nursing diploma programs are designated as eligible institutions under the Ohio College Opportunity Grant program.

2. Seniors to Sophomores (3365.15). The Seniors to Sophomores program "shall permit nonpublic school students to participate." In this context (the language is included in the existing Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program authorizing language), a "nonpublic school" is a private secondary school. In effect, the chancellor will be required to permit private secondary school participation in the Seniors to Sophomores program in the future.

3. Physician and Dentist Loan Repayment Program (3702.74 through 3702.95). Administration of the Physician and Dentist Loan Repayment programs was transferred from the Ohio Board of Regents to the Ohio Department of Health.

The bill was called up for a floor vote on the evening of May 22 and picked up a dozen or so rider amendments before clearing the House. Governor Strickland vowed to veto some provisions, mainly those that reversed his proposed budget cuts to agencies and various programs. The final floor vote was 94-2 with Republican members, Tom Brinkman (Cincinnati) and Diana Fessler (New Carlisle) voting in opposition.

The Senate passed their amended version 32-0 on May 28 after the House changes were removed, to ensure being signed by Governor Strickland. The insisted on their changes as the bill was sent back to the House for concurrence. The House, in turn, decided to not concur, making the rumors true and sending the bill to conference committee.

Conferees were named on June 5 with the House appointing Reps. Hottinger, Jones & Skindell, and the Senate naming Sens. Carey, Niehaus & Cafaro to hash out the differences. The process did not take long, as expected, and was passed out of the Senate on June 10 by a unanimous, 33-0 vote. The House had three members voting in the negative on the same day, Reps. Brinkman, Daniels, and Fessler.

The Capital Budget Bill, the last legislative effort of the General Assembly before summer recess was sent to the Governor yesterday for his signature.

Because of the bill's length, it is possible that there are other provisions that indirectly affect our campuses. If you have any questions about the legislation, please contact Todd Jones or Dustin Holfinger at (614) 228-2196.

Economic Stimulus Bill

The bipartisan economic stimulus bill (HB 554) passed out of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee on Wednesday afternoon (May 21) by a vote of 31-0. The Committee heard no testimony and accepted amendments pertaining to the Historical Preservation Tax Credit and the method which the Third Frontier dollars will be apportioned and by whom.

In addition, Democrats objected to another amendment, offered by Rep. Hottinger, that puts a name – “Choose Ohio First” – on the $250 million higher education internship and co-op component of the package. Saying the name was too similar to the Choose Ohio First Scholarship program that is focused on the “STEM” disciplines, all of the minority party members of the committee voted against the change. Chairman Hottinger maintained there was no requirement that the matching money go toward STEM initiatives, despite the similar names.

The bill presents a level playing field for all colleges seeking funds. The bill includes a provision to invest $250 million into a project to develop internships and co-op programs, and to retain students after graduation. The dollars in this portion of the bill are a one-to-one match to those put up by grantees. The higher education provisions aim to encourage partnerships to build co-op relationships for students between colleges and universities and the private sector. Independent colleges may apply for grants as lead grantee in collaboration with public institutions.

The Senate Finance Committee began hearings on the bill the very next week and unanimously voted it out with only a few changes, none to higher education provisions, on Tuesday (May 27).

The Senate's changes to the bill were concurred upon by the Lower Chamber on the 29th and Governor Strickland signed the bill into law on June 12th with an immediate effective date.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Friday, May 30, 2008

Spring Tournament Report

Ashland University’s run in the NCAA Division II College World Series came to an end Wednesday night with a 12-5 loss to Ouachita Baptist (Ark.), its second loss in three Series games. The Eagles defeated the University of Tampa (Fla.), the defending national champion, 6-5 in their first game in the double-elimination tournament; then lost 18-7 to no. 1 ranked Mount Olive (N.C) and finally to Ouachita Baptist.

In the Division III softball championships at Salem, Va., Muskingum College defeated Lynchburg but was eliminated by losing its next two games to branch campuses of the University of Wisconsin system, first Eau Claire and then Whitewater.

In the NCAA Division III track and field championships at Oshkosh, Wis., shot putter Dan Gund of Mount Union won with a toss of 17.44m; his team finished fourth in the meet. Ohio Northern finished in a tie for 29th place. In the women’s meet, Case Western Reserve, led by Esther Erb’s win in the 10,000-meter run (35:45.01), tied for 20th place. Capital was 30th, Mount Union 60th, and Wilmington 80th.

In the NCAA Division III women's golf tournament at Waverly, Iowa, Otterbein finished in fifth place, while in the men's tourney at Braselton, Ga., Mount Union tied for 12th place and Ohio Wesleyan finished 14th.

Findlay’s Kirby Blackley won two events at the NCAA Division II women’s meet at Walnut, Calif. She took the 100-meter hurdles in 13.29 seconds, and the long jump at 6.14m. Her team finished 14th overall, while Ashland’s women’s team finished 9th. In the men’s events, Ashland finished in third place while Tiffin was 34th.

Ohio Dominican’s visit to the NAIA baseball championship ended after two games, with losses in Lewiston, Idaho, to Bellevue (Neb.) and Azusa Pacific (Calif.). The Walsh softball team qualified for NAIA’s national championship tournament in Decatur, Ala., but after four losses did not continue on to the championship bracket.

At the NAIA golf championships at Plymouth, Ind., Malone’s men’s team finished 16th, while Ohio Dominican’s team qualified for the tournament but did not make the cut. Malone’s women finished 22nd at the NAIA tournament in San Diego.

Both Malone’s men and Ohio Dominican’s women lost in the first round of the NAIA tennis championships in Mobile, Ala.

In the NAIA outdoor track and field championships in Edwardsville, Ill., the women’s teams from Cedarville finished seventh and Malone 22nd, while Notre Dame was right behind in 23rd place. In the men’s meet, Malone and Cedarville exchanged finishes—Malone 7th and Cedarville 22nd—with Notre Dame in 57th place.

Bob Burke

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Legislative Update - Week of May 26

HB 350, Student Poll-Worker Bill

Sponsored by Rep. Larry Wolpert (R - Hilliard), HB 350 saw an abrupt change to the "meat" of the legislation. After briefly stalling in the Senate State and Local Government Committee, the bill was altered substantially to ensure passage by removing college students from those who could work as election poll workers. A significant number of the committee members were worried that allowing college students to work as election poll workers in their school-county, as well as their home county, would be grounds for expansion and would allow ANY Ohio citizen from ANY county to work in ANY county as a poll worker. They believed this could lead to election fraud.

As the bill currently stands, only the provisions permitting high school students to work as election poll workers remains in the bill. Given the opposition of the committee’s chair and several senators, the bill is unlikely to pass out of the legislature this session with an expanded college student eligibility, even if it were conferenced with the House version. AICUO would be pleased to see this issue revisited in a future General Assembly and will work with any sponsor on the matter.

HB 562, Capital Budget Bill

Having passed differing versions of a bill incorporating the state’s two-year capital budget and revisions to biennial appropriations, the Ohio House and Senate now must appoint a conference committee to agree on a single bill for each house to approve before it can be submitted to the governor.

Objecting to Senate changes, in particular language regarding local government restructuring and reform, the House refused to concur on Senate changes today, sending the bill into conference. The non-concurrence vote came as the House neared the end of a busy Thursday calendar. Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) had hoped to avoid a conference and wrap up the spring session by the end of this week, but the House nonconcurrence vote will force additional sessions to deal with this major legislation. Aside from a tentative Friday session set for the House, the next scheduled “if-needed” session date for both chambers is June 10.

The House version passed last week with some provisions added by the House facing a threatene d veto by Gov. Ted Strickland. As enacted in the House, HB 562 has only a few relevant provisions that affect independent colleges, which are summarized below. (The numbers in parentheses refer to the section numbers of the bill)

1. Nursing Diploma Programs Added to OCOG (3333.122(A)(1)(c)(iii)). Nursing diploma programs are designated as eligible institutions under the Ohio College Opportunity Grant program.

2. Seniors to Sophomores (3365.15). The Seniors to Sophomores program, "shall permit nonpublic school students to participate." In this context (the language is included in the existing Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program authorizing language), a "nonpublic school" is a private secondary school. In effect, the chancellor will be required to permit private secondary school participation in the Seniors to Sophomores program in the future.

3. Physician and Dentist Loan Repayment Program (3702.74 through 3702.95). Administration of the Physician and Dentist Loan Repayment programs was transferred from the Ohio Board of Regents to the Ohio Department of Health.
The bill was called up for a floor vote last Thursday evening in the House and picked up about a dozen amendments before clearing the House. The final House floor vote was 94-2 with Republican members Tom Brinkman (Cincinnati) and Diana Fessler (New Carlisle) voting in opposition. Gov. Strickland vowed to veto some provisions, primarily those that reversed his proposed budget cuts to agencies and various programs. A handful of these provisions were reversed by the Senate Finance Committee via an omnibus amendment. Last evening the Senate passed their version of the bill, including the removal of local government reform, and mandated divestment of Iran and Sudan holdings within the Ohio Police & Fire pension fund, both are provisions the House added. The Senate passed the measure 32-0.

Senate President, Bill Harris, was hoping to avoid a conference committee and to wrap up the spring session by the end of this week, but the House refused to concur on Senate changes today, sending the bill into conference committee. They cited the main reason being the language regarding local government restructuring and reform. The non-concurrence vote came as the House neared the end of a busy Thursday calendar.

Aside from a tentative Friday session set for the House, the next scheduled “if-needed” session date for both chambers is June 10.

HB 347, Praxis III

HB 347 bill was placed on the legislative shelf recently, waiting on a response from the Ohio State Board of Education. Tuesday it was dusted off again.

The State Board of Education, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), and Education Standards Board (ESB) now officially support the bill as revised to include the removal of a district-by-district assessment system and replacing it with an ESB/ODE created assessment system for entry-level teachers. The three entities had initially opposed the as-introduced language. In addition, two amendments were adopted—to add the word "consistently" to guidelines used across the state, and to allow ESB and ODE to jointly develop teaching standards.

In the House Education Committee yesterday, a representative of ODE's Center of Teaching Excellence testified, stating that the revised version would develop a stronger connection and create a better assessment tool for entry-level teachers even though other states have all but fallen over each other to obtain new education graduates from Ohio colleges.

Witnesses consistently testified yesterday on the purported position of the higher education community on the issue, stating that approximately 2/3 of the colleges were in support and the remaining 1/3 are skeptical. However, higher education, including public and private 4-year institutions, has token representation in K-12 educational stakeholder groups that were cited in testimony, and has not participated in the development of the revised provisions.

Since the General Assembly is planning to begin summer recess this week, the bill will return to the shelf to await further consideration. Fortunately, AICUO expects that ODE will spend part of the summer working with independent and public colleges, as well as the K-12 community, to form an actual consensus on revised legislation.

—Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Meet Acting Attorney General Tom Winters

With the resignation of Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, Ohio has a new attorney general until a replacement is formally appointed by the governor. That man, Tom Winters, is well known to AICUO and independent colleges. Serving until yesterday as Dann’s first assistant attorney general, Mr. Winters is a graduate of two member institutions. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Dominican University and a law degree from Capital University.

He also had the distinct pleasure of serving as the independent college representative to the Ohio Board of Regents’ Higher Education Funding Commission (HEFC) in 2003 and 2005. (That HEFC should not be confused with the other HEFC, the Higher Education Facility Commission, or the completely separate Higher Education Funding Study Council (HEFSC).)

As the only independent college voice at a table with three dozen others who primarily represented public colleges, his role was akin to that of Jeanette Rankin in 1917, albeit with stakes that were far, far lower. For his willingness to stand in front of a preordained bureaucratic process and to say for the record that Ohio deserves better higher education policies that focus on students needs and success, AICUO will always be thankful.

—C. Todd Jones

Thursday, May 8, 2008

AICUO Intern Natalie Melchiorre Receives Award

Last Sunday, AICUO Intern and Ohio Dominican University (ODU) Senior, Natalie Melchiorre, received an Award of Merit from ODU. Natalie received her award at ODU's Senior Art Show, held at the Wehrle Gallery.

At the show, Natalie featured graphic design work she had completed for a faux nightclub, including a Web site, letterhead, posters, business cards and other promotional materials.

Stacey Dorr

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ohio Research Scholars Bill Sent to Governor for Signature

Late last week, the House of Representatives concurred on the Senate's technical amendment to HB 381 (Rep. Shawn Webster, R - Hamilton), sending it to the Governor for his signature on Monday. The bill would increase the amount of funds appropriated to the Ohio Research Scholars program created within HB 119, the most recent Operating Budget. In addition, the bill would legislatively permit independent colleges to submit a proposal for inclusion into the research program so long as it is in collaboration with a state college or university. Gov. Strickland is likely to sign the bill shortly.

We commend the sponsor, Rep. Webster, and Chancellor Fingerhut and his staff for their work on this legislation; our institutions are look forward to participating in the program and future advancement programs as well.

Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Conceal-carry Exception for College Campuses Not at Risk

Earlier this month Sen. Keith Faber (R - Celina) introduced Senate Bill 318 before the Criminal Justice Committee. The bill is part of a series of efforts to “restore the proper recognition of the rights of Ohio’s citizens.” Faber’s bill had been described as a “firearms modernization” package due to the number of corrections it contains to some of the more technical areas of the Ohio Revised Code. Current law permitting licensed individuals to carry firearms in a concealed manner contains an exception for higher education institutions. Faber’s bill, as introduced, would eliminate that exception.

The bill was scheduled for its second hearing this morning until Chairman Tim Grendell (R – Chesterland) pulled it from the agenda saying, “Much more work needs to be done before we proceed further on this issue.” After a conversation with Senate staff, we learned that the higher education language in the Faber bill will be eliminated. AICUO was a moving force behind the creation of the higher education exception and continues to back the exemption.

—Dustin Holfinger

Monday, April 28, 2008

AICUO Student Lobby Day Draws Largest Number of Registrants in History of Event

April 23rd was a busy day around the Statehouse in Columbus. Senate Bill 221, the Energy Reform Bill, was voted out of the Senate, the House opened session with a gospel version of God Bless America, and 63 independent college students helped to raise awareness of the 52 AICUO member campuses. Sixteen campuses sent student representatives to the 2008 Student Lobby Day this year for an opportunity to meet with legislators and staff to discuss the importance of Ohio’s independent colleges and universities. The students attended scheduled meetings with their home and school representatives to better ensure that their voice is heard.

During lunch, the students heard from a panel of current and former Legislative Service Commission (LSC) interns who attended an Ohio independent college. The panelists gave their personal accounts of how their connections through the LSC internship, in school and through friends, family and local community leaders assisted them in following their career paths. In addition, the panelists were available for Q&A after the luncheon to discuss issues on a more personal basis with the students.

AICUO would like to thank all of the student advocates who took the time to travel to Columbus for the day and lobby on behalf of their independent institutions, the panelists, the state senators and representatives and their staff that met with the students.

Dustin A. Holfinger

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Georgia Wall Named First Grand Award Winner for the AICUO Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts (EVAs)

On Monday night, Oberlin College student Georgia Wall became the first student to win the EVA grand award. Ms. Wall, pictured at right with the award, received the grand award when it was announced on April 21 at a reception at Ohio Dominican University. Her work is primarily performance and installation art.

The awards for Excellence in the Visual Arts, or EVAs, are the nation’s first on-line college art awards. Ohio independent college seniors were nominated by the chair of their art department. Students presented their work on-line and included explanations and a short video for judgment by academic and artistic panels. All of the entrants, including this year’s winners, can be viewed on the awards Web site,

Following her nomination by the college, Ms. Wall was one of six students to win an EVA, chosen by a select panel of Ohio college art professors. The six award winners—Ms. Wall, Andreas Baumgartner of Bluffton University, Kristen Gillman of Ohio Dominican University, Heather Lynn Kyle and Kyle McMahon of Columbus College of Art & Design, and Mad Mohre of Denison University—were then evaluated by a select panel that included Ohio artists, an art journalist, the chair of the Ohio Arts Council, and State Treasurer Richard Cordray.

In addition to the Grand Award, Ms. Wall also received a $2,500 cash award. Fellow award winner Mad Mohre went home with two awards—both an EVA and the inaugural People’s Choice award, the larger of the two awards shown in her picture at right.

The EVAs evolved from the absence of art; AICUO’s offices were new last spring, and we wanted to display the variety of artistic expression that can be found on the majority of our member campuses. We also realized that presenting the wide variety of artistic expression at our campuses would help the public learn more about the colleges themselves. What started as an idea for an art show became this first of a kind competition. We have received overwhelming positive feedback on the awards, and look forward to their return next year. We will be improving the Web site, allowing everyone, instead of just our judges, to view the art in a larger size.

For the uninitiated, the videos are an easy way to enjoy the EVAs. The most popular videos have been Georgia Wall’s silent piece, Mad Mohre’s puppet show, and the creative destruction of Heather Lynn Kyle. You can view them all at

—C. Todd Jones

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Legislative Update - Week of April 14th

HB 381, Ohio Research Scholars Appropriation Bill

The Senate Finance Committee had no witnesses signed in to testify on Tuesday afternoon on HB 381, a bill to legislatively permit Ohio’s independent colleges to participate in the Ohio Research Scholars Program.

The program, a joint effort between OBR and the Dept. of Development, intends to attract and retain scientists from outside of Ohio and allure current college students to become future scientists in the state. Colleges can compete for grants to build new and/or develop programs within the STEM fields. Each school may receive up to $50 million. More information and a list of important dates may be found

The bill was voted out of committee unanimously and will be sent to the Senate floor for full consideration within the next two weeks.

HB 536, Healthy Families Act

The Ohioans for Healthy Families Coalition, comprised of over 200 groups including AARP, Nurses Association, NAACP, and metropolitan area city councils from across the state got the hearing they requested, though they weren’t informed of the hearing until 24 hours prior. With little notice, the room was filled, the witnesses were prepped and committee members were ready to listen and had questions drafted.

First to testify were the proponents. Brian Dunn, campaign manager for the Coalition, explained to committee members the ramifications of not passing this initiative. His
testimony included reference to the Harvard Business Review analysis that "offering paid sick days would save costs incurred when ill employees go to work.” He also ensured that “mom and pop shops” would not be adversely affected by this proposal, and it wouldn’t burden companies that currently offer equivalent paid sick days to employees. In addition, he noted that new employees hired within a 90-day start would not be eligible for the paid days off.

Fred Mills representing the Ohioans to Protect Jobs coalition, including such groups as the Ohio Retail Merchants, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, and National Federation of Independent Business, offered their opposition. He noted in his
testimony that costs incurred from passing the proposal will drive out employers from the state, leaving Ohio with more unemployment and blight. Mr. Mills also stated that the initiative will stifle job creation and expansion, noting that small businesses that are currently unaffected will be when they grow larger than 25 employees. In addition, the opponents declared that litigation is a likely possibility if enacted, and “litigation does not create jobs – except for lawyers.”

Because the initiative has become a very partisan issue, it will not likely receive another hearing, which would push the proponents to begin collecting a new set of petition signatures. If the General Assembly does not enact the initiative by the listed deadline of May 9th, the Ohioans for Healthy Families must obtain another 120,683 signatures to place it on the ballot.

AICUO will continue to monitor its movement or lack thereof. We will also be in contact with our members to receive thoughts for level of participation by our association.

HB 347, Praxis III Bill Revisited

Tuesday, the House Education Committee accepted a sub bill version of HB 347 introduced by Chairwoman Arlene Setzer (R – Vandalia) last October. The initially introduced version seeks to replace Praxis III, the assessment test used to award professional, 5-year teaching licenses to entry-year teachers with a “summative assessment” whose content is yet to be determined. The new assessment could be more or less complicated and burdensome than Praxis III. The bill’s interested parties have met only a handful of times to discuss other mechanisms for licensure revisions.

The adopted substitute pushes back the effective date for the elimination of Praxis III from July 2008 to July 2010. On or after that date, eligibility for a professional license must be based on a teacher's rating on the "summative assessment" approved by the State Board of Education and included as part of the teacher's "induction program." The summative assessment must require demonstrated relevance to the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession (OSTP).

The substitute requires the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to convene a committee of staff persons, educators, administrators and others with an interest in educator preparation to develop standards for an induction program. The requirements include mentoring, multiple formative assessments by more than one individual, use of OSTP and the application of the state academic content standards as performance measures, among other things. Any summative assessment after July 2010 must be approved by the State Board of Education.

Full implementation would begin with the 2010-2011 school years. ODE, during the 2009-2010 school year, would be required to select a sample of schools or districts to implement all components of the standardized induction program on a trial basis. The substitute also adds a new provision requiring ODE to continuously evaluate the effectiveness of induction programs and permits the department to contract with an independent entity to conduct the evaluations.

Additionally, the substitute version requires the department, in collaboration with the Chancellor of the Board of Regents, to convene a committee representing public and private teacher preparation programs and practicing teachers from all grade levels to develop a pre-service assessment system with standardized protocols and training for pre-service coursework and field experience.

HB 350, Student Poll Worker Bill in Senate Committee

The legislation that would permit college students to work as poll workers in the counties in which they attend school received its sponsor testimony in the Senate State and Local Government and Veteran’s Affairs Committee.
Rep. Larry Wolpert stated within his testimony that the legislation will help to combat a decrease in available poll workers on election days. In addition, it will help get the younger generation involved in civic policy.

The bill is expected to receive another hearing within the next couple of weeks.

Dustin A. Holfinger

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lt. Gov. Fisher Urges Independent Colleges to Establish Economic Development Focus

Economic development is such a key issue for the state of Ohio that colleges and universities should designate a senior official with responsibility in that area.

That was the message given by Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher to the AICUO-OFIC luncheon held Wednesday in Columbus.

“If you don’t have someone with those words—economic development—in the job title, you should,” he emphasized.

Concomitant with being lieutenant governor, Fisher serves in the cabinet post of Director of Development, currently the only person in the country holding these two specific offices. His predecessor, Bruce Johnson, also held both offices, and Fisher said other lieutenant governors have additional responsibilities beyond their elected office but that his combination of positions is unique.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Fisher was introduced by Oberlin Provost Alfred MacKay, the brother of former Florida Lieutenant Governor and Member of Congress Kenneth “Buddy” MacKay. Fisher, who also has a law and a graduate degree from Case Western Reserve University, noted that he, Governor Ted Strickland and Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut all are graduates of independent colleges.

Bob Burke

Monday, April 7, 2008

Strategic Plan Roundup II

Since the release of the Chancellor’s Strategic Plan for the University System of Ohio, and our strategic plan roundup, news articles have slowed to a trickle:
As might be expected, the editorial reactions were published in the days following the plan, but were thinner in number than news pieces following the Dispatch editorial that we noted in our first roundup:
  • Last Tuesday, the Akron Beacon-Journal called the plan “ambitious” but not “breathtaking.” The next day, ABJ editorial writer Steve Hoffman called the plan “a big win for those who believe the first priority should be to prime the economic pump with highly educated workers and cutting-edge research labs.”
  • On Thursday, the Newark Advocate, hometown paper of Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) Chairwoman Donna Alvarado, became the sole paper that we have seen editorialize on the strategic plan’s companion report from OBR on the condition of Ohio higher education. The piece was repeated today in the Mansfield News Journal.
  • Yesterday, the Hamilton Journal-News editorial board said that it looks forward to discussing the issues raised in the report.
  • The News-Herald also editorialized on Sunday by supporting the plan, particularly its focus on adult learners.
— C. Todd Jones

A Last Roundup of Winter Sports Results

Baseballs, softballs, and golf balls—among other things—are already in the hands of the athletes at AICUO member institutions, but there’s one last roundup of postseason tournament results before we close the books on the winter sports season.

Kenyon Men Are National Swim Champs—Again
Kenyon won its 29th consecutive NCAA men's swimming championship March 22 in Oxford, Ohio, and senior Josh Mitchell was named Swimmer of the Year.

Ohio Northern Hosts NCAA Division III Track & Field
On March 14 and 15, Ohio Northern hosted the NCAA Division III track and field championships, and finished 12th in the overall standings in the men's meet. Also with teams in the meet were Heidelberg and Defiance, which tied for 25th place; Mount Union, which tied for 46th; and Wilmington, which tied for 56th.

In the women's meet, Heidelberg's team finished tied for 15th position, followed among our members by Otterbein (tied for 25th), Case Western Reserve (tied for 38th), and Capital (tied for 51st).

Basketball: Xavier men bow out one step before Final Four; women lose first round squeaker.
Xavier’s men went all the way to the West Regional final in the Division I basketball tournament, where they lost 76-57 to UCLA, March 29 in Phoenix. Third seeded in the region, Xavier finished 30-7, the school’s best record ever.

A rally by Xavier’s women fell short and they lost 61-58 to Nebraska in the first round of the women’s tournament, March 23 in College Park, Md.

Other late season hoops news:

Dayton lost to Ohio State 74-63 in the quarterfinal round of the men’s National Invitation Tournament, March 26 at Columbus.

NAIA Track & Field
Malone's men's team finished 11th in a 48-team field at the NAIA indoor meet March 7-8 in Johnson City, Tenn. Malone's women finished 28th among 42 teams competing at the meet, while Notre Dame placed 37th.

Ohio Dominican requests transfer from NAIA to NCAA
Last week, Ohio Dominican formally applied to become a member of the NCAA’s Division II, where colleges and universities offer a limited number of athletic scholarships but not at the scale of Division I. If approved, ODU would leave the NAIA’s Division II and most likely join the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a sprawling three-state league with members ranging from Erie, Pa., to Marquette and Houghton in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Ohio members of GLIAC are Ashland, Findlay, and Tiffin.

--Bob Burke

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Economic Stimulus Package Unveiled

This morning, AICUO and roughly 60 other stakeholder representatives were invited to attend an informational session at the governor’s Cabinet Room in his Statehouse office. The meeting was led by the governor’s policy director, Janetta King, and the House of Representatives’ budget director, Ray DiRossi, with special appearances by the Governor and Lt. Governor.

The news was significant. Just today, the Governor, Speaker, and the Senate President announced an agreement on the Governor’s Building Ohio Jobs Bond Initiative. As outlined in February’s State of the State address, Governor Strickland’s original proposal called for a $1.7 billion bond package to assist Ohio create at least 80,000 new jobs in five years. The legislative leadership balked at this initial number, and expressed concern that the bonds would inappropriately burden the state with further debt. After voicing their opposition, talks began to find a compromise the “big three” could agree on.

What resulted from the talks was a plan to borrow only $400 million and rely on other funding sources, including future general-revenue fund transfers, Ohio Turnpike excess revenue, and Ohio Tobacco Prevention funds. While the initial proposal was intended to be on the November ballot, the new plan will only “ballotize” the $400 million Clean Ohio programs. The rest will be appropriated by the legislature.

Over the next few weeks or months, legislative action will set guidelines for distribution. Higher education institutions are able to apply for all areas within the program, but there is a specific carve-out for colleges and universities under the Higher Education Workforce Development Initiative. This program offers $50 million per year over five years to retain college-educated citizens by “linking them with good internships, cooperative education programs, and jobs while they earn their degrees.” This initiative is a match-proposal, calling for the private sector stakeholders to invest in their future employment.

Additional information is available from
today's Columbus Dispatch.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Student Poll Worker Bill Passes House Floor

Today, the House of Representatives unanimously (94-0) passed the Student Poll Worker Bill (HB 350), sponsored by Rep. Larry Wolpert (R - Hilliard). The bill would allow up to two high school students to work as poll workers in their hometown. It would also permit college students to work in the precinct in which they attend school. Current law allows students to work as election officials only in the precinct where they are registered. The bill was previously voted out of the House State Government Committee unanimously. It is expected to be referred to the Senate for consideration within the next week.

- Dustin A. Holfinger

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Strategic Plan Roundup

Yesterday, Chancellor Eric Fingerhut released "The Strategic Plan for Higher Education: 2008-2017." Also released yesterday from the Ohio Board of Regents was the "Report on the Condition of Higher Education in Ohio: Meeting the State’s Future Needs." The plan offered more than simply plans for the public system, however, with a significant section on independent colleges as well. Independent colleges certainly appreciated the chancellor's recognition of the role of independent colleges, and look forward to working with him on the state's efforts to utilize all of the state's higher education infrastructure.

The report received widespread play in our state's newspapers and other media. Here's a roundup:

Janet Okoben reviewed the plan in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, emphasizing that the purpose of the plan is to build a system, drive down costs and encourage more Ohioans to pursue college degrees.

Encarnacion Pyle and Jennifer Smith Richards had a lengthy piece in The Columbus Dispatch that noted the chancellor’s plans “wants to force tuition down, bring college closer to students, trim duplicate programs and make sure good jobs – and qualified workers – exist to keep graduates and employers in the state.” The editorial board focused on the state’s kickoff this summer of a pilot program that will allow students to obtain certifications that will count toward a college degree, making the prospect of attaining a college degree much less daunting.

Other articles from Ohio newspapers covering the plan’s release:

The Enquirer
The Toledo Blade
The Dayton Daily News

Stacey Dorr

Thursday, March 20, 2008 Regional Honors: Wooster's Cooper is men's Player of the Year

Here are the Great Lakes Region's all-stars and award winners from among our member institutions, as named by the popular website


Regional Player of the Year: James Cooper, Wooster

Rookie of the Year: Kodey Haddox, Kenyon

First team: James Cooper, Wooster;
Dustin Rudegeair, Ohio Wesleyan
Second team: Nate Stahl, Capital; Terry Walsh, John Carroll; Andrew Lemmon, Heidelberg
Third team: Ross Banaszak, Otterbein; Steve Kyser, Capital


Rookie of the Year: Lee Jennings, John Carroll

First team: Katie Streck, Wilmington
Second team: Laura Roth, Otterbein; Jessica McKenzie, Muskingum
Third team: Lee Jennings, John Carroll; Anne Dugan, Kenyon

-- Bob Burke