Friday, November 09, 2007

Fingerhut: NEOUCOM Rootstown Campus Will Stay

In his most strongly worded statement on the subject, today University System Chancellor Eric Fingerhut stated today before the Akron Press Club that the Rootstown campus of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine is an "important institution" that will remain in place. The status of NEOUCOM's current facility in Rootstown has been the subject of speculation for some time. Fingerhut's statement appeared aimed in part at resolving those questions.

Fingerhut was in town to discuss the University System of Ohio. The System is working on a ten-year Master Plan to reform the system to encourage collaboration and to improve efficiency and capacity. Since talk of possible mergers broke, the Chancellor has been saying that all ideas are subject to discussion.

As he began his speech, Fingerhut aknowledged "the kangaroo in the room" and assured the audience that "Zippy is safe." Previewing the end point of the speech, he said that the goal is to expand the both the teaching and research capacities of schools in the University System. The overall goal is to increase the number of students in the university system by 230,000 in the next ten years. At the same time, Fingerhut spoke of individual schools "thinking in a collaborative way" instead of competing with one another.

Aside from the reassurances about Rootstown, Fingerhut offered little specific information about where the process might be going. He said that Ohio will not copy a university system model from another state, but will "create a new prototype." He also said Ohio will not create a new bureaucracy and will not "abandon the commitment to local governance."

With regard to NEOUCOM, Fingerhut said that students at the Rootstown school might benefit from expanded opportunities to study in Akron or Cleveland, but that the Rootstown facility will remain.

Referring to discussions of possible mergers, Fingerhut said that they are examining every idea as it is advanced. The philosophy of the university system is to "stop putting individual institutions and cities first." When asked why mergers are necessary, he stated that he doesn't know that they are, but that all options are being considered. He also suggested that mergers should be a last resort.

Fingerhut spoke a great deal about the importance of state universities attracting more research grants, particularly in engineering and medicine. At the same time, he said that every university must provide a comprehensive education, including liberal arts, so no university will be without humanities and social sciences departments.

The University System is now posting components of the Master Plan as they are developed. The Master Plan Forum also includes fields to allow users to leave comments. The deadline for submitting the Master Plan to the Governor and General Assembly is March 31, 2008.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to be off topic, but:

What ever happened to Megan Pappada? Re:

Did the Dem party ever apologize? Did she end up finding another decent job?

That story just sort of faded into the ether.

Pho said...

I don't know. I know she had some nibbles, but hadn't heard what she may have landed.