Hearing positive reports about Ouachita Baptist University’s recent enrollment and endowment growth, the university’s Board of Trustees addressed a variety of budget, personnel and facility-related issues during their quarterly board meeting held Sept. 21 on Ouachita’s Arkadelphia campus.
Citing Ouachita’s 17.9 percent growth in first-time freshman enrollment for the fall semester and an endowment increase of more than $7 million to a total of $108 million, Ouachita President Ben Sells told trustees, “We are stronger because of enrollment growth and endowment growth.”
Affirming efforts to “grow undergraduate enrollment to capacity” over the next five years, Dr. Sells added, “If we can grow to 1,750 students compared to 1,500 and can do that for 10 years in a row, over those 10 years we would graduate at least 1,000 more students than we otherwise would. More importantly, we will be extending the impact of our mission.”
Among actions taken during the meeting, trustees:
Dr. Sells also reported a $1 million gift to the President’s Innovation Fund from a first-time Ouachita donor interested in providing resources to help fund the university’s strategic growth plans. “I believe Ouachita is rising, going from strength to strength, building on our wonderful heritage and history,” Dr. Sells noted.
Trustees also heard reports highlighting Ouachita’s quality and accountability, including receiving an update on the university’s strategic planning efforts, adopting 2017-2018 university priorities and preparing for a Higher Learning Commission accreditation site visit in December.
Ouachita’s new strategic plan, scheduled to be finalized in December, includes such strategic directions as sustaining the university’s Christ-centered identity, supporting committed faculty and staff, ensuring transformative learning experiences, expanding beyond the residential undergraduate model and strengthening partnerships with alumni and friends.
Emphasizing the significance of Christ-centered identify and transformative learning, Dr. Sells said, “Those twin commitments are important and we must excel at both.”
The 20-point university priorities approved by trustees include an expanded focus on high-impact learning opportunities, launching a program to benefit multicultural students, initial preparation for developing a campus master plan and continued emphasis on increasing new student enrollment and retention.
In personnel-related actions, new coaches and staff members approved by trustees include:
By Trennis Henderson, vice president for communications // Download full Berry Bible rendering
September 26, 2017