The OBU Board of Trustees approved a $69.6 million operating budget and the tuition and fee structure for the 2015-16 academic year, approved a name for one of the new residence facilities, approved a recommendation to launch a physical therapy assistant program, and approved a new scholarship for incoming freshmen during the fall Board of Trustees meeting on the OBU campus in Shawnee Oct. 3.
Trustees approved a new scholarship which will award all incoming freshmen a minimum of $2,000 in scholarships. The new scholarship comes as OBU was recently ranked second in affordability for all private colleges in the Midwest on Great Value Colleges list of 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest.
"OBU's rankings on the Great Value Colleges list confirms what we already knew," said OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock. "The price students pay to attend OBU is more affordable than many people realize. In fact, we are ranked second on the list of best affordable colleges, public or private, in all of Oklahoma. When students go through the process, apply for admission and fill out their financial aid application, they see that an OBU education truly is within reach."
Tuition and fees were approved for the 2015-16 academic year. OBU's tuition for full-time students will increase from $20,600 for the current academic year to $21,630 for the 2015-16 academic year. The overall costs, which include tuition, fees, room and board, will increase by 4.98 percent, from $29,320 for 2014-15 to $30,780 for 2015-16.
Trustees approved a recommendation to name building three in the Student Residential Village J.W. Jent Hall. The third building in the residential village was completed and opened in time for the fall semester and accommodates 46 students in 12 apartments. The original Jent Apartment building was built on the OBU campus in 1937 for faculty housing and was used in the 1980s for student apartments. It was later renovated for alumni and advancement offices and named the Jent Alumni Center. In May 2014 the alumni and advancement offices relocated to the Cargill Center and Jent Alumni Center was removed to make way for construction of the new main campus entrance and future Student Services Center.
Trustees approved a recommendation to launch a physical therapy assistant program in the OBU College of Graduate and Professional Studies through a partnership with Gordon Cooper Technology Center. OBU will offer academic support and award the Associate of Applied Science degree for successful completion while Gordon Cooper Technology Center provides the technical instruction and hands-on training component pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.
In other action, trustees approved OBU's 2015-16 annual objectives which are designed to accomplish the initiatives developed in the university's long-range strategic plan, OBU 2020.
Trustees approved the contracts of seven new faculty members: Stephen Draper, instructor of broadcast journalism and mass communication; Justin Pierce, instructor, instrumental music; Dr. Kathy Scherler, assistant professor of music education; Tricia Hansen, assistant professor of education; Dr. Gerard Dumancas, instructor of chemistry and stockroom manager; Brittany Noble, instructor of mathematics; and Dr. Matthew Arbo, assistant professor of biblical and theological studies.
David Lawrence, chair of OBU's 31-member board of trustees, moderated the board's plenary session. Lawrence is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Weatherford, Oklahoma.
Board officers for the 2014-15 year were elected. They are Jarrod Frie, chair; Allison Huebert, vice-chair; Skip Robinson, secretary; and Bob Troester, treasurer.