The Ohio State University at Marion

Ohio State Marion 3.0 Strategic Plan 2019-2024

Developing the Ohio State Marion Strategic Plan began by situating it within the larger context of university-wide and regional campus planning. Accordingly, we have consulted Time and Change, the university’s strategic plan, as well as the Regional Campus Vision and Goals document. Through careful deliberation, we aligned our vision of Marion’s future with these plans where most appropriate, while also considering the unique elements characterizing the Marion campus mission and the campus’ role in the surrounding community. Taken together, these documents helped define the Guiding Principles for Ohio State Marion 3.0: Opportunity Campus.

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Vision, Mission, Guiding Principles

Developing the Ohio State Marion Strategic Plan began by situating it within the larger context of university-wide and regional campus planning. Accordingly, we have consulted Time and Change, the university’s strategic plan, as well as the Regional Campus Vision and Goals document. Through careful deliberation, we aligned our vision of Marion’s future with these plans where most appropriate, while also considering the unique elements characterizing the Marion campus mission and the campus’ role in the surrounding community. Taken together, these documents helped define the Guiding Principles for Ohio State Marion 3.0: Opportunity Campus.

Our vision is to be the destination of choice for those seeking a university education at a campus recognized for excellence in teaching, research, community outreach, and global citizenship.

Our mission is to provide an affordable education combining the rigor and opportunities of a leading research university with the support of a small campus to prepare our students for their professions within a global society.

The following Guiding Principles constitute the foundational cornerstones upon which rests the next five years of campus development. In each of our Strategic Focus Areas, we have kept these principles in mind while determining the priorities of our plan.

  • To an affordable education
  • To engaging, inclusive learning experiences
  • To nationally and internationally renowned scholars and researchers
  • To award-winning, innovative teaching methods
  • To the global community

In the spirit of fulfilling Ohio State’s land grant mission, access is our foremost value. We are committed to providing open access to the university by offering an educational experience that is both affordable and inclusive, available on a campus that represents the rural, urban, and suburban areas of North Central Ohio and beyond. We strive to make college affordable through generous scholarships and financial aid packages, as well as initiatives to reduce students’ overall costs. Our affordability does not undercut The Ohio State University excellence and experiences that we offer to our students. We provide students access to faculty who are nationally and internationally renowned scholars and researchers, many of whom work directly with students to develop honors theses and other undergraduate research projects. In the classroom, students have direct access to award-winning instructors who are university leaders in developing innovative teaching methods to provide productive, engaging, and inclusive learning experiences. Ohio State Marion also supplies students with access to their community beyond the campus through hands-on experiences such as internships and service-learning courses. Finally, with opportunities ranging from international study travel to field research, Ohio State Marion provides students with access to the world.

  • In impactful research, scholarship, and creative work
  • In imaginative, effective, and high-impact teaching practices
  • In direct involvement of students in knowledge-making processes
  • In meaningful engagements with local, national, and international communities

Ohio State Marion is driven by a spirit of innovation that infuses every aspect of the academic experience. As members of a tier-one research university, our faculty conduct impactful research, scholarship, and creative work in their respective disciplines. They bring imaginative, high-impact teaching practices into the classroom as well, using state-of-the-art technology and new course designs that feature flipped, blended, and hybrid learning models. In areas ranging from cancer research, the psychology of eating disorders, digital literacy studies, and poetry, students actively participate in developing and disseminating knowledge through faculty sponsored and supported student research. The results of this culture of innovation and excellence yield meaningful benefits for local, national, and international communities.

  • Through student-centered learning methods
  • Through undergraduate research and honors opportunities
  • Through partnerships and collaborations with community, businesses, non-profits, and leadership organizations
  • Through partnerships with K-12 schools and area technical and vocational institutions

Ohio State Marion strives to create a variety of opportunities for rich and meaningful engagement both in and out of the classroom. Active learning is facilitated through student-centered teaching and learning methods, including service-learning, co-ops and internships, undergraduate research, and honors opportunities. Beyond these learning experiences, we also engage with area businesses, non-profits, and leadership organizations by participating in various community development projects. We work to maintain productive, ongoing educational partnerships with area K-12 schools and technical and vocational institutions from the area. Finally, students, faculty, and staff alike regularly reach out to the community through mentoring, volunteerism, and continuing education.

  • By exercising respect, efficiency, and fiscal responsibility for people, resources, and environment
  • By making decisions that positively model and foster local and global sustainability
  • By being increasingly energy efficient and cost effective
  • By supporting the professional development of our faculty, staff, and students

Ohio State Marion is committed to taking good care and stewarding the resources entrusted to us. Respect, efficiency, and fiscal responsibility for people, resources, and the environment are paramount to everything we do, and so we utilize these resources strategically based on our core values, culture of care, in which we look to our students as partners in creating a lasting culture of sustainability. We encourage open and honest communication, fairness and courtesy, and truth and accountability, valuing the unique perspectives of everyone as together we advance our campus mission. In every area, we aim to make decisions that positively model and foster local and global sustainability. From campus-wide LED lighting to rooftop solar panels, we deliberately build, develop, and maintain our campus footprint to be increasingly energy efficient and cost effective. We consistently pursue new ideas that will support growth while keeping tuition affordable. We promote an academic climate that fosters the professional and educational growth of our faculty, staff, and students.

Strategic Focus Areas

Ohio State Marion welcomes the opportunities and challenges posed by its dual role of being an open access campus within a tier-one research university. Our hope is that successful implementation of The Ohio State Marion 3.0 Strategic Plan will increase the number of Ohioans with bachelor’s degrees, and that it will assist in bringing higher education opportunities to a broader range of citizens, not only in our traditional service areas, but throughout Ohio and beyond. In developing this plan, we identified four strategic focus areas:

1. Excellence in Student Achievement and Leadership
2. Student-Focused Infrastructure and Services
3. Diverse and Inclusive Campus
4. Sustainable Campus

We see these four areas not as distinct and separate, but rather as deeply interdependent—work in any one of these areas will inevitably require connecting with the people and projects in other areas. Putting our plan into action will require the active, collaborative commitment of our campus community and an annual assessment of our progress to date. We pledge our commitment to work together as a team to make significant advances in the areas that follow.

Excellence in Student Achievement and Leadership

Priority: To develop meaningful academic and extra-curricular opportunities that build connections among our students, faculty, staff, and community

Priority: To promote and support the successful matriculation of all Ohio State Marion students

Key Initiatives:
  • Enhance 4-year Degree Opportunities on Campus
  • Promote Increased Engagement in Research, Internships, Service-Learning, and Volunteer Opportunities
  • Develop Community of Scholars Program
  • Develop Education for Citizenship Program


  • Collect and utilize data to set campus retention & graduation goals and priorities
  • Provide individualized support to our most vulnerable populations through intentional success planning
  • Connect students to resources in support of the Culture of Caring

Foremost among the strategic focus areas is the pursuit of a truly excellent experience in student achievement and leadership for everyone who chooses to attend Ohio State Marion. That pursuit begins with a strong academic base, and to that end, we have developed a strategic sub-plan in the area of academics. Here, we intend to build on the strength of our established four-year programs through more effective promotion of our various majors and minors, highlighting their value for students anticipating potential career paths. We likewise intend to build and promote high-impact opportunities for students who have reached junior and senior ranking, providing them with service-learning, internships, and research experiences specifically geared toward their professional goals and interests. We also intend to offer students meaningful academic and extracurricular experiences that will transform how they see their place in academia and in their larger communities. Such experiences will include the Community of Scholars program that supports various research and thesis-writing activities, the CYE (Culminating Years Experience) Program that continues the same sort of support and community seen in already successful university-wide programs such as FYE (First-Year Experience) and STEP (Second-year Transformational Experience Program), and the Education for Citizenship Program, which will encourage student participation in projects and activities centered around issues of social justice, food security, and outreach and engagement.

The second strategic sub-plan developed in this area focuses on student success, retention, and graduation. Strengthening and expanding academic opportunities for students requires the presence of effective initiatives and programs aimed at ensuring our students’ ultimate success throughout the matriculation process. Here, we plan to develop a more responsive, targeted approach to retention and graduation, developing tools and procedures that more effectively utilize student-centered data. Such solutions will allow us to better identify students who might benefit from additional support at various stages of their matriculation, which will, in turn, allow our network of support services to better serve the student body.

Student-Focused Infrastructure and Services

Key Initiatives:

  • Construct On-Campus Housing
  • Provide Expanded Services
  • Construct and Renovate Supporting Infrastructure (Alber Student Center, Morrill Hall Auditorium, and Library Facilities)

Succeeding in the area of student achievement and leadership starts with a close examination of how we can provide a campus environment that is conducive to our students’ needs. To this effect, over the next five years, we plan on placing particular attention on our facilities, infrastructure, and services.

One of the more ambitious key initiatives in this focus area is the construction of on-campus student housing. Research has shown, the presence of on-campus housing correlates strongly to student success, as it mitigates commute times, provides greater access to support resources (e.g., library, tutoring, etc.), and generally cultivates a stronger sense of community among all members of campus. Introducing an on-campus residential experience will offer our students greater opportunities to participate in campus life and realize greater success during their time here. This development will lead to several possibilities for student leadership positions in areas such as residence halls, student organizations, and student services, among others.

Bringing on-campus housing to our campus will necessitate expansion of the hours and variety of our support services to better and more fully serve a 24/7 on-campus presence of students. Relatedly, we also plan to re-energize our existing infrastructure to better serve our residential and commuter students alike. This will include a renovation of the Alber Student Center to include updated exercise facilities, increased space for student activities and organizations, and improved dining options. We also plan to modernize the auditorium in Morrill Hall to create an improved performance space that will better serve students participating in local theatrical or musical productions. Moreover, this will be a space for our entire Marion community to enjoy. Additionally, our campus library will undergo a dramatic refresh to create the kind of learning, research, and collaboration space that will serve scholars in the 21st century. To establish steps and outcomes for this focus area, we will develop a Student-Focused Infrastructure and Services Strategic Sub-Plan.

Diverse and Inclusive Campus

Priority: To create and cultivate a campus-wide Culture of Care

Key Initiatives:
  • Provide an environment where underrepresented students can succeed and graduate with an Ohio State degree
  • Integrate academic programming and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and efforts
  • Engage in community outreach that addresses social justice, educational, health, and economic disparities
  • Refresh existing and implement new innovative programming and practices

Access to an Ohio State education goes beyond gaining entrance to the university Now more than ever, many of our college students are experiencing anxiety, depression, and stress at unprecedented levels. Often these are experienced at a higher level by our students of color, who likely face additional stressors such as discrimination, imposterism, stigma, cultural mistrust, and feelings of isolation. As a result, students of color are less likely to seek out and thus receive assistance, which may be a major contributor to lower graduation rates among this group. With all of this in the forefront of our minds, we aim to provide all of our students with an environment that is conducive to their goals of success, allowing them to graduate with an Ohio State degree. A safe and welcoming campus environment where everyone feels respected and valued and trust is paramount to that end.

Ohio State Marion is committed to building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive campus culture of care that empowers all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community so that they can thrive and contribute in meaningful ways to an increasingly diverse world. To that end, we are developing the INCLUDE Project (Inclusive Nondiscriminatory Campus Leader in Unique and Diverse Experiences), which will enable Marion to become a model for other campuses. Not only will this program be instrumental in creating and cultivating the kind of inclusive campus climate that will attract and support a rich and diverse community of students, faculty, and staff, it will also provide the kind of community outreach that addresses educational, health, and economic disparities. Additionally, we plan to bring to the Marion campus two established Ohio State certifications that focus on diversity concerns: DICE (Diversity, Intercultural and Community Engagement) and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). Ultimately, as we continue to cultivate an on-campus living and learning environment where all students can interact with and learn from one another during their time on campus, we are hopeful that they will take those valuable lessons with them as they go on to become active and conscientious citizens. To establish steps and outcomes for this focus area, we will develop a Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Sub-Plan.

Sustainable Campus

Priority: To become a regional leader and role model in sustainability practices

Key Initiatives:
  • Develop and Implement Additional Environmentally Friendly Infrastructures, Policies, and Practices
  • Partner with Community to Develop Sustainable Campus Agriculture/Microfarm
  • Develop Sustainable Community Connections Integrate Academic Programming and Sustainability
  • Enhance and Increase Yoder Prairie Accessibility
  • Develop New Responsible and Responsive Fiscal Stewardship Initiatives

Ohio State Marion is committed to increasing the sustainability of campus operations and the environmental consciousness of our faculty, staff, students, and communities. In every area, we aim to make decisions that positively model and foster sustainable practices. For example, Yoder Prairie and our campus garden offer multiple opportunities to engage with the broader community on issues such as ecosystem preservation, food security, and environmentally friendly agricultural practices. Designing our Science and Engineering Building to be energy efficient, installing several electric vehicle charging stations, and upgrading our outdoor lighting with LEDs, are also recent examples of this commitment. In the coming years, we look to develop a more environmentally conscious infrastructure by, for example, installing an array of rooftop and canopy solar panels around campus as well as focusing on our natural features, specifically Yoder Prairie and Grave Creek. These latter two venues serve as educational spaces and living laboratories for our students and the surrounding community. Because of this vital function, we are exploring the option of restoring and expanding these two natural spaces in the coming years. Beyond the emphasis on sustainability in our campus infrastructure, we are also working with our students to emphasize issues related to sustainability and stewardship of our planet, in disciplines as varied as English, Anthropology, Geography, Biology, Earth Sciences, and Physics. We look forward to creating partnerships with Ohio State Mansfield’s microfarm, the City of Marion, Ohio State Extension, and others to promote healthy communities through healthy foods.

To more efficiently and effectively coordinate our sustainability initiatives and efforts, our campus intends to establish an Office of Sustainability. The focus of this office is to exercise best practices in sustainability and fiscal stewardship as we work to achieve a greener and more efficient campus. Such practices include strengthening and building partnerships including those with Marion Technical College, Ohio State’s Sustainability Institute, and the Regional Sustainability Hub, a consortium of area colleges and universities collaborating to address economic, social, and environmental challenges of the area. In tandem with this focus on environmental concerns, we also strive to manage responsibly the money and resources needed to keep our campus operating efficiently and effectively. Finally, to establish steps and outcomes for this focus area, we have developed a Sustainability Strategic Sub-Plan.