Board of Trustees votes on tuition, arts and athletics


The Board of Trustees voted on arts, athletics and tuition at its meeting on June 5 in Elliott Hall.

The Oakland University Board of Trustees voted on a slew of things during its Monday, June 5 meeting. Among the topics were adding a Bachelor of piano performance and pedagogy, a Bachelor of dance education and performance, Athletics’ budget for the coming fiscal year and another tuition raise starting this fall.

Tuition raise

The vast majority of OU’s funding, like many Michigan schools, comes from tuition dollars. Currently, OU gives most of its state appropriation money to students through financial aid. OU also receives less state money per student than any other public university in Michigan.

The BOT pressed that money is needed to increase the size of buildings and hire more staff and faculty. This money has to come from somewhere besides the state.

As enrollment is expected to be down in the fall of 2018, the BOT proposed a 3.74 percent raise in tuition for this academic year. The raise was unanimously approved. However, the increase is not due to the current construction projects, such as the Oakland Center expansion and Southern Housing Complex.

The BOT also approved the addition of 15 new faculty positions and added staff positions. This will help combat OU’s position as Michigan’s university with the highest student-to-faculty ratio.

Bachelor programs

The Bachelor of piano performance and pedagogy and Bachelor of dance education in performance will allow students to study those arts with the pursuit of teaching when they leave college.

Dance education is currently offered as a minor but students cannot major in it. It must be paired with a major such as English, math or history that is universally transferable.

James Lentini, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, said adding the programs would add very few classes and therefore not cost the university a lot of money. This small addition will give students more options when they graduate.

“I think this is a great idea,” Lentini said. “Many of our students begin to teach once they graduate. So having this at the undergraduate level allows them to get teaching experience within a short timeframe.”

The proposal for the new majors was unanimously approved. OU will be the only school to offer a pedagogy program in Michigan. This approval also puts OU ahead of the academic trend in offering arts education majors, not just minors.

“This is a shift in the profession,” Mary Wiggins, professor of music education said. “Other schools nationwide will follow suit, but we’ll be one of the first.”

Athletics budget

The BOT also reviewed the budget presented by Jeff Konya, the director of Athletics. Konya began by celebrating Athletic’s growth and success in the last few years. He then moved to a budget that will replace some of the department’s old equipment.

The items needing replacement include the broadcasting equipment for games, pole vault equipment and a concessions tent. The largest request was for a new van for both the men’s and women’s golf teams. All items were approved.

As this was President George Hynd’s last meeting, Vice Chair David Tull ended the meeting by giving Hynd a formal farewell. Hynd and the BOT celebrated his accomplishments and the accomplishments they believe are to come.

“Oakland is headed in a terrific direction,” Hynd said.

The BOT will meet again on at 2 p.m. on August 7 in Elliott Hall. At that time, OU’s new president Ora Hirsch Pescovitz will sit with the BOT. She was present at June’s meeting via phone as it was the first meeting held following her appointment.