Mazey addresses students, faculty

Seth Weber and Seth Weber

President Mary Ellen Mazey addressed staff and students about plans to improve the University in her State of the University address Tuesday.

The address took place in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center at 11 a.m. and was opened by Board of Trustees Chair Francis Voll, who introduced Mazey to the stage.

“We truly have the right person to guide the University,” he said.

Mazey began her address by setting the theme of building the University’s future. She said changes to the University need to be made through financial and academic means, much of which will be informed by the recent Accenture report.

Fall of 2013 saw the University’s “best academically-prepared class,” Mazey said. However, this record was surpassed this fall by the class of 2018, which had an average GPA of 3.32, she said.

This incoming class will see new opportunities for internships.

“Beginning with the class of 2018, we’re guaranteeing students the opportunity to participate in an internship or other experiential learning opportunity during their undergraduate career,” Mazey said.

If a student wants an internship, they can go to the Career Center, where they will get help finding one, she said.

As part of the University’s “strategic plan,” it will focus on the “BG Experience,” Mazey said. This experience involves BG Perspective courses as well as linked courses.

“This unique learning experience allows us to provide a very supportive environment to our students when they arrive on campus or online,” she said.

Another goal of the plan is to put emphasis on graduate education and research. Mazey said graduates can strengthen the University by serving the region and meeting “global demand.”

An example she gave was George Bullerjahn and Mike McKay, who research algal blooms in Lake Erie.

“Their expertise has been sought after recently and their work will gain more recognition and importance in the future,” Mazey said.

Building partnerships with outside resources is also essential, Mazey said. She mentioned the University’s partnership with the Wood County Hospital to create the Falcon Health Center, as well as the upcoming Buerau of Criminal Investigation lab that was given by Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Other goals include focusing on international students, “celebrating and appreciating” diversity and inclusion and improving the quality of life for those at the University.

Mazey outlined a “financial strategy” that includes making University operations more efficient and looking for philanthropists.

“We will continue to implement the Accenture recommendations to ensure greater efficiency of our operations,” she said. “We will continue to re-invent how BGSU operates.”

Mazey said the University must “ensure our financial future is built on a strong endowment.” This means looking for donations from “alumni and friends.”

One example of philanthropy was Bill Frack, who donated $20 million to the men’s basketball team in April, the largest donation the University has ever seen.

“Private support will be extremely important in positioning us for our future,” Mazey said.

Mazey ended her address by speaking about student success and how they can help Ohio’s economy.

By 2020, it is predicted that 60 percent of jobs in Ohio will require postsecondary education, she said, but only 37 percent of adults in Ohio have an associate degree or higher. To address this problem, she said the University “must play a major role in preparing skilled thinkers for the 21st century economy.”

Mazey also mentioned “spiraling” student debt, but said college education is a “tremendous investment.” Those with bachelor’s degrees earn about $30,000 more a year than those with only high school diplomas, she said.

Voll took the stage again after Mazey’s address and said students are the “bottom line” of anything the University does.

“One thing that I remind myself is that it’s all about the student,” he said. “Let us be known at Bowling Green as a University that cares.”

After the address, Graduate Student Senate President Mike Smith gave his thoughts on what was said.

“I think [the University is] going in a good direction,” he said. “I like the idea that we’ve raised our academic standards for undergraduates.”