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September 21, 2023

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GSS meeting dispels concerns over higher education plan

The Graduate Student Senate met last week to continue discussions about reforms in graduate programs.

The dean of the Graduate College, Heinz Bulmahn, spoke at an earlier meeting to highlight a new plan Ohio has for universities across the state.

Essentially, the new plan would call for each school to declare a specialty, and most funds would be geared toward that specialty. Toledo, for example, is the medical specialty of the state.

This idea raised some questions, said Representative-at-Large Dan Carr.

Some departments feel worried that their funding will be cut if their program is not the specialty.

At last week’s meeting, however, University President Sidney Ribeau dispelled that claim after a visit from Chancellor Eric Fingerhut a few weeks ago.

“I don’t think the Chancellor’s plan calls for anybody getting axed,” he said.

The way the national level rates graduate education is by how much money they bring in, Ribeau said, and “if you look at the 13 universities [in Ohio], we’re four from the bottom.”

Ribeau also said a new University master plan was in the works for the future.

The cornerstones of the plan, which include academic excellence, diversity, access and affordability, will be completed by spring 2008.

One of the factors that could use improvement, Ribeau said, was that the University should know where students are going after school and a bit about what they’re doing and how they’re doing. That way they can compare to other universities in Ohio.

“How do … universities contribute to the economic development of the state?” Ribeau said. “If computer science is really good, why is it really good? And how do we know that?”

Ribeau also said affordability and access alone weren’t enough to succeed in their plan. They must be balanced with quality.

“Run [freshman classes] all at 500. It would be cheaper, voila!” Ribeau said. “But, would you learn anything?”

New business at Friday’s meeting also consisted of a first reading of a spring break legislation.

Academic Affairs Represen-tative Ann-Gee Lee and Student Affairs Representative Erin House introduced a resolution to oppose a legislation by Michael Ginsburg, the associate dean of students, to move spring break back a week or two.

“Spring break is a mental health break,” House said.

As a first reading, the legislation was only introduced, and further discussion will take place in future meetings.

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