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Published: Saturday, 2/2/2008

Ribeau is upbeat for BGSU in State of University talk


BOWLING GREEN - In a world filled with so much turmoil and uncertainty, it's that much more important to have a clear direction, Bowling Green State University President Sidney Ribeau said yesterday.

During his State of the University address, Mr. Ribeau talked at length about Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut's master plan for higher education in the state.

He pointed out aspects of the plan suggested by the BGSU administration, such as graduation rate compared to expected graduation rate being included in the quality measurement.

A University Strategic Planning Group of BGSU faculty and staff is being formed, Mr. Ribeau said, to compile a universitywide strategic plan to make sure it coincides with what the state is looking for - not just for right now, but for 10 years into the future.

"Planning can be really idealistic and pie in the sky. But unless it's grounded in reality, it takes you nowhere," Mr. Ribeau said.

He said the administration will make sure the goals match up with structural reality and are in line with what the community, students, trustees, and everyone else interested in the university want to see it become.

BGSU Trustee John Harbal said he commends state leaders for putting the spotlight on higher education and the university for its response.

"Whether it's at BG or other institutions across the state, this focus on each campus is going to help us identify high points and some inefficiencies," he said.

Mr. Ribeau's address also noted that the university's enrollment took a dive this school year, which was predicted because of financial aid changes. However, for the coming school year, more students are showing an interest in attending BGSU.

Mr. Ribeau also commended the hard work of those involved with the university's capital campaign, which surpassed its $120 million goal a year ahead of schedule.

While noting some uphill battles, such as impending budget crunches with state and national economies the way they are, Mr. Ribeau kept a positive, optimistic message throughout the address.

"Dr. Ribeau always presents challenges as opportunities," Mike Marsh, chairman of the BGSU board of trustees, said. "He always manages to keep and project a positive vision that carries forward across campus."

Contact Meghan Gilbert at: mgilbert@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.

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