BOWLING GREEN — Mary Ellen Mazey, president of Bowling Green State University, praised recent university accomplishments and hinted at potential projects Tuesday in the annual State of the University Address.
Speaking to hundreds of attendees at the Donnell Theatre at the Wolfe Center for the Arts, Ms. Mazey acknowledged challenges that BGSU faces, including a rise in student debt.
“Simply put, the current operating model for higher education and Bowling Green State University is unsustainable,” she said.
Ms. Mazey mentioned a possible dual enrollment partnership with Owens Community College, which would save students some in tuition. Provost Rodney Rogers said the two institutions are in preliminary talks about a partnership.
She said this year’s freshman class was the most academically prepared in 25 years, with the highest grade point average in school history. She cited retention efforts, including a program to link freshmen in up to three classes with other freshmen to develop peer relationships.
Ms. Mazey said the university should more than double the number of international students on campus in three years, from about 640 to 1,500.
She also called for more opportunities for students to participate in co-ops, internships, and other forms of experiential learning.
University officials pointed to the new Falcon Health Center as a cost-savings measure. The $5 million health center is owned and operated by Wood County Hospital, replaces a university-run health center, and is expected to save BGSU about $1.6 million a year in operating costs that came from student fees.
But instead of reducing the $747 in fees students pay each semester, BGSU chose to pay off debt on a $13 million renovation of the Student Recreation Center, which should be complete next fall.
Chief Financial Officer Sherideen Stoll noted the building had significant deferred maintenance, the amenities provided at the center rate high on students’ priorities, andt BGSU managed to do the maintenance without raising fees.