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BOWLING GREEN — After her first full year as president of Bowling Green State University, Mary Ellen Mazey raised the bar Wednesday, announcing ambitious goals for increasing enrollment, retention, and outside funding sources.
“Like our peers in higher education in Ohio and throughout the world, we do face significant challenges, but I’m confident that together we can make this great university even stronger,” Ms. Mazey told faculty, staff, and students during her annual State of the University address in Donnell Theatre at the new Wolfe Center for the Arts.
Among the goals she laid out were:
●Increase enrollment to 25,000 students by 2020 at the main and Firelands campuses and online. Currently, BGSU has just under 20,000 total students.
●Increase the average ACT score of incoming freshmen from 22 to 24 and the average grade point average from 3.27 to 3.4 by 2020.
●Expand online and distance learning.
●Intensify efforts to recruit international students.
●Add an average of 50 additional graduate students a year so that by 2020, BGSU has 400 more graduate students.
●Have every student complete an internship or co-op before graduation.
●Increase outside grants and funding to $30 million by 2020.
Toward that goal, Ms. Mazey announced that the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education at BGSU learned Monday that it landed a five-year, $7 million grant from the National Science Foundation — the largest federal grant ever to come to BGSU.
Bob Midden, an associate professor of chemistry and director of the center, said the funds would pay for a learning project for students in grades 3-8 at Sandusky city and Perkins Local school districts in Erie County in which they would take part in research projects that would overlap into all subject areas — math, science, social sciences, art, and language arts.
Under the program, teachers from different schools and school districts would share ideas that work and overcome challenges together.
“Our goal is to create a strategic plan for advancing science, technology, engineering, and math education for the northwest quadrant of Ohio – the 29-county area we serve,” Mr. Midden said.
Also during her address, Ms. Mazey said she was “committed to investing in our faculty” and considers it a top priority to finalize a contract with the BGSU Faculty Association that provides “market salaries.”
The faculty union and the university have been at the negotiating table, trying to hammer out a first-ever contract since July, 2011. Ms. Mazey said afterward that the two sides are “75 percent in agreement” but are still working on compensation and benefits.
Among the guests in the audience were Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards, who appeared with Ms. Mazey last week to announce efforts for BGSU and the city to work together more closely, including plans for a city-university visitor center and a new student health center to be built and operated by Wood County Hospital. She said the health center could open by the fall of 2013.
The mayor said he was impressed with her remarks.
“I’m encouraged by all the good news despite the tremendous cutbacks from the state,” Mr. Edwards said.
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