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Several business programs receive high continental and global rankings from Eduniversal

Eduniversal, a global ranking and rating agency specializing in higher education, has again repeatedly included The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation in its latest listing of Best Business School programs.

The just-published results of the Eduniversal ranking for the 4,000 best masters and MBAs in 32 fields of study worldwide ranks the UT College of Business and Innovation in these programs:

• Master of Business Administration, ranked No. 35 in General Management, North America;

• Human Resources Management, ranked No. 30 in Human Resources, North America;

• Marketing and Professional Sales, ranked No. 37 in Marketing in North America;

• Master in Supply Chain Management, ranked No. 93 in Supply Chain and Logistics, worldwide; and

• Executive MBA, ranked No. 47 in Executive MBA and MBA part time, North America.

In announcing the rankings, Eduniversal stated: “This recognition acknowledges the quality and success your institution has achieved over the past year, to which we measure across three main criteria: The reputation of the programs: highly recognized by recruiting companies and have an active approach toward them; the salary of first employment after graduation: placement of your graduates in the best job positions on the market; and student satisfaction: working to improve your programs by taking into account feedback from your students.”

“We are very excited by these prestigious rankings, which validate the high quality of our faculty and students, as well as the significance of our curriculum,” Dr. Gary Insch, dean of the College of Business and Innovation, said. “The fact that our Supply Chain Program ranked No. 93 in the entire world is a truly remarkable achievement.

“These significant recognitions are among the reasons that many well-known companies come to the UT College of Business and Innovation to find the talent they need,” Insch added. “It reflects very positively on our outstanding quality, and demonstrates the extremely dynamic and mutually beneficial relationship enjoyed by our college and the business community.”

The Eduniversal Evaluation System compiles and analyzes hundreds of data about business schools from global, national and regional higher education systems, taking into account the accreditations, the results of other rankings, and the distinctions obtained in the country of the schools analyzed.

Eduniversal (best-masters.com) has been working since 1994 to provide schools and students with the best information possible in the higher education sector. The Eduniversal ranking is published once a year and was announced at its recent annual world convention.

Sign up for Student Recreation Center, Morse Fitness Center memberships

As previously announced, membership plans for UT recreation and fitness facilities will change beginning July 1, when memberships will be available for purchase.

The employee, retiree, alumni, community and family memberships provide access to the Student Recreation Center on Main Campus and the Morse Fitness Center on Health Science Campus.

Memberships can be purchased annually or by semester.

The new annual rates are:

Throughout the year, family hours for minors will be expanded to 9 p.m. daily. All RocketEx group classes will continue to be offered to members at no additional cost. 

Full-time employees can sign up for an annual membership with payroll deduction using the myUT portal. Go to Other HR Information in the left-hand column of the Employee tab and click on Rec Center Access to specify a plan.

The sign-up period for payroll deduction is July 1 to Aug. 6. All current memberships will be honored through the sign-up period.

All other employees, retirees, alumni and community members can purchase memberships starting July 1 in person at either the Student Recreation Center or Morse Fitness Center.

Faculty who are part of an existing collective bargaining agreement are required to complete an annual digital waiver beginning July 1 at the Student Recreation Center or Morse Fitness Center.

The new membership plans are among the budget initiatives adopted by the University to reduce costs and generate new income.

For more information on memberships rates, hours and programs, go to utreccenter.com or contact the Office of Recreational Services at 419.530.3700.

UT Upward Bound receives $2 million federal grant

The U.S. Department of Education renewed funding for The University of Toledo Upward Bound program for the next five years.

The program that has been helping local high school students prepare for college and succeed for more than five decades will receive $417,693 a year through 2022 for a total of approximately $2 million.

Students studied Spanish phrases and then played charades, acting out those phrases for their classmates to guess.

“The University of Toledo is committed to helping low-income and first-generation college students succeed,” Pamela Rogers, director of UT Upward Bound, said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to continue impacting the lives of Toledo’s students and plant seeds for higher education. After all, today’s student is tomorrow’s leader.”

The funding allows the program to serve 100 high school students a year.

Rogers said for the last 24 years, 97 percent or more of participants have graduated high school, and the majority go on to college.

UT Upward Bound offers a six-week summer program on campus where students attend academic classes. This year 68 students are enrolled, and last year 60 students participated. Students also will travel to Washington, D.C., this summer to visit colleges and cultural sites.

During the school year, the Upward Bound program offers workshops on taking tests, study skills and interviewing, as well as tutoring and financial aid advice.

“We want to raise high school GPAs to levels that make college entry possible,” Rogers said. “Our goal is to help these students and their families follow their dreams.”

Class of a lifetime: Studying coral reef ecosystem in the Bahamas

Last month, our Ecology Field Study class traveled to the Bahamas to examine coral reef ecosystems. There were nine excited students on the learning excursion led by Dr. Tom Bridgeman, professor of environmental sciences, and Dr. John Turner, professor of physiology and pharmacology.

Coconut palms and tropical Abaco pines resembling Dr. Suess’ truffula trees filled the gaps between the three houses rented for our research team. The cottage I stayed in is everything one might imagine a beach house should be. Conch shells line the sandy path toward the blue water. The beach sits not even 20 feet from the house and stretches for miles in both directions. The soft white sand is finer than any Floridian beach I have ever been to, and there are no other people in sight. The crystal blue water is mesmerizing.

Students in the Ecology Field Study class posed for a photo on the beach on Great Abaco Island. They are, from left, Matthew Bender, Sarah Carter, Wendy Stevens, Bianca Caniglia, Jordan Penkava, Jessica Duez, Katie Condon and Brittany Layden. Dr. Rick Francis, director of research advancement and information systems, also a member of the class, shot photos and video during the trip.

For our first snorkel, Dr. Turner took us to a private beach access point called Mermaid Reef. The water was warm (78 degrees maybe) and does not require the use of wet suits or weights. Mermaid Reef is a calm, clear location ripe with parrotfish (of various species), queen angelfish, and swarms of sergeant majors. We saw a few spiny lobsters hiding beneath the smaller reef shelves. If it weren’t for their long antennae protruding from the rock, we might not have even noticed they were there. Blue tangs (Dory fish), schools of yellowtail snappers, and a few shy squirrel fish swam to try to hide from us along the reef sides. After a few hours, everyone was hungry, and we left the site to stock up on groceries, make lunch, and recharge.

After lunch, we head out to a patch reef just beyond the beachfront cottages we’re staying in. Most of the students swam out in a small school. Some of us paddled out on a small zodiac boat a few hundred yards out into the blue. I am nervous. I don’t like to admit that I am afraid of anything, but I am eager to see my first reef shark, so I scan the horizon looking for any gray triangles breaking the surface. I’ve been fascinated and fearful of sharks for the better part of two decades. However, I know that I have greater odds of dying by a cow tipping over on me or possibly getting struck by lightning. Despite my fears, I plunge into the ocean with the others.

A hawksbill sea turtle hiding on the patch reef was spotted on the first day of the trip.

Enormous purple sea fans, rusty-orange sponges, and sea kelp cover the live rock. The top of the reef is only a foot or two below the surface, and I find myself being pushed and pulled gently by the waves. I am trying — and failing — not to go directly atop the reef. Meanwhile, my fins are killing the tops of my feet. I swim toward the others so I don’t feel exposed or alone. After about 10 minutes, the paranoia subsides. I calmly start to visually scan every nook and cranny I see. There are so many things moving in and out of the little coral reef niches that I have a hard time focusing on any single fan or fish.

Then I see it! A mottled oval with two eyes, but I am unsure. I intently stare at the reef until the outline of a shell and flippers emerge from its camouflage. I burst toward the surface and shout “Sea turtle!” It wasn’t actively swimming, just sitting there patiently waiting for us to leave, I imagine. It wasn’t unusually large or small, but it is hard to gauge size and distance underwater. That hawksbill sea turtle made the first day of our trip very special.

Students snorkeled at Mermaid Reef.

After a late dinner, the whole team gathered to record all the species of fish that we could confirm we saw throughout the day. I think there were close to 20 different fish recorded. We projected some of Dr. Rick Francis’ pictures onto a large white sheet for all to see.

On the second day, Dr. Turner and Dr. Bridgeman coordinated an exciting boat day. We had to organize our gear and leave early in the morning to meet our captain and guide. Tim is an islander whose family originally settled on Great Abaco Island back in the 1600s. He told me he was a professional fisherman who fishes for mahi mahi (dolphin fish), red snapper and spiny lobsters. However, that day he was taking us to some special reef sites: Snake Key, a national Abaco-protected marine reserve, as well as an open-ocean drop with gorgeous reef wall. We boarded around 9 a.m. and motored out a few miles away to the first location, a historical shipping channel.

The shipping channel, otherwise known as Snake Key, has a fast current. The plan was for Tim to drop us off far upstream and allow us to drift to a pickup site farther downstream. The channel wall had some nice corals and a few spiny lobsters, but the quick current made it challenging to photograph. Tim picked us up and then drove us back upstream to do it again. There were some large rays that were seen from the boat — a few outlines and shadows moving under the surface and away from the boat.

Dr. Tom Bridgeman examined a live conch with, from left, daughter Mirabel Bridgeman and students Jordan Penkava, Matthew Bender and Katie Condon.

After that, we trolled along the waters of the key. There were small mangrove islands and many rocky, seemingly uninhabited mini-tree isles all around us. The water was crystal clear and shallow. I saw cushion sea stars (starfish) from the boat and sea turtle shadows darting away from our path. We stopped the boat atop a blue hole, where the shallows disappeared and a deep dark hole (which I chose to avoid) was located. Rick launched his remote-controlled camera drone to get aerial footage of our snorkeling. I think most of us were betting on spotting sea turtles, but instead I mostly saw only sea cucumbers.

Once all the students were back on board, we headed out into the blue toward the protected marine preserve. As we navigated toward the site, I became awestruck with how the ocean changed color. Growing up and around Lake Erie for most my life, I have never seen so many shades of blue in a single body of water. It turns from teal to clear, then aquamarine to a deep blue and then back to teal again; it was breathtakingly beautiful.

Dr. Rick Francis took an aerial shot by quadcopter of the patch reef.

As we approached the Pelican Cay marina park, I noticed a couple other boats had snorkelers in the water. Dr. Turner told us where to head once we were in the water. He prefaced our swim with descriptions of large elkhorn and staghorn corals, and Tim reassured us that if we were in any distress to wave to him and he would bring the boat to pick us up. Here the water was nearly true blue, and I definitely could not see the bottom.

When I finally got my mask to seal tight and put my face down, I saw a great expanse of coral and life that I could only describe as an endless reef filled with color and fish everywhere! The fish were so numerous and the mass of reef so long that I became somewhat disoriented underwater as my eyes tried to adjust focus. I don’t remember how long we were in the water here, but I could have stayed much longer.

I was most excited to see my first French angelfish! It was so pretty, its grayish body covered in bright yellow scales. I have yet to see another one, but I don’t think I will ever forget how gracefully it moved below me. I tried to free-dive down for a better look, but I was far too buoyant to get any closer than about 4 feet. Additionally, I saw a chubby porcupine fish (puffer) hovering at the reef’s edge nearer to the bottom. He wasn’t inflated; to me, he seemed kind of adorable, doe-eyed with a big ol’ mouth. But it was the elkhorn coral that took my breath away. I never thought I would get to see a coral reef the way it looks in my dreams. Its color and vastness were overwhelming, spiritually uplifting, and magical. I have to go back there — before it disappears forever.

Various sea fans were seen on the coral reefs.

By the time the last snorkel site of the day, I was exhausted. The open-ocean drop-off was a destination I knew we were going to get to snorkel, but I didn’t realize we were going to see so many locations in a single day. I counted eight snorkel drops in six hours. My back, ankles and arms were sore, and I really did not want to wear my wetsuit any longer, so I removed it thinking I was done. Little did I know that we were about to snorkel the largest wall of coral imaginable.

The first one in the water was Brittany Layden; within minutes, she came to the surface and said, “I just saw a barracuda!” It didn’t take long for everyone else to grab their gear and jump into the dark water. I asked Dr. Turner if we would see another site like this on the trip, he said, “No,” and I realized I had to go in.

Students also saw this spotted trunkfish with a remora hitching a ride.

Putting a wet wetsuit on after it has already been removed is an exhausting task in itself. The tops of my feet were raw from my fins. I decided to take the chance and go in unprotected and with only my mask and snorkel. It was an opportunity that I wasn’t sure I would ever get again, so I went in.

By the time I got in, the barracuda had disappeared into the blue. I swam over to the others and saw an even larger reef wall than in Pelican Cay. It was easily 50 feet tall, and I could see all the way to the bottom. I quickly scanned the water surrounding me for jellyfish because I didn’t want to get stung. I looked down and saw a spotted trunkfish and tried to get the attention of Dr. Bridgeman or Rick who were filming underwater.

Swimming alongside the great wall of coral, we spooked a sea turtle, which quickly darted up and over the reef out of sight. Myself and a few others followed, but without fins I was slower and clumsier in the water. As I continued to try and keep up, I spotted a Nassau grouper 30 feet below me.

Whenever I spotted a new species, I tried to get the other’s attention so they could see it, too. However, trying to talk with a snorkel in your mouth is impossible, and half the time I’d surface and everyone else still had their heads down. I carried on nonetheless. After about 20 minutes, I was done — out of breath, out of the water, and heading back to the dock. This day was going to be impossible to top. A couple other students managed to see the outline of a shark, but they were too far away to make a positive ID. I had hoped to see a shark and yet felt completely satisfied having not seen one. It was a remarkable experience learning in the ocean.

Stevens graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science.

University adopts new strategic plan

A new strategic plan will guide The University of Toledo’s priorities during the next five years as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2022.

The plan, called The University of Toledo’s Path to Excellence, was approved Monday by the UT Board of Trustees.

Revised mission, vision and values guide the plan that is organized around five priorities, each with specific goals accompanied by outcomes, metrics and responsible individuals or departments to measure the progress toward achievement of the goal. The plan also includes a number of aspirational goals, including increasing UT’s position into the U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 public, national, research university ranking, which will continue beyond the five-year timeframe outlined in the document.

The new mission of the University: “The University of Toledo is a national, public, research university where students obtain a world-class education and become part of a diverse community of leaders committed to improving the human condition in the region and the world.”

The revised vision is: “The University of Toledo will be a nationally ranked, public, research university with internationally recognized expertise and exceptional strength in discovery, teaching, clinical practice and service.”

The new strategic plan also lists UT’s values: excellence, student-centeredness, research and scholarship, professionalism and leadership, and diversity.

“Thank you to the many constituents who exchanged ideas and debated priorities as we worked together to set our path forward,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This strategic plan outlines the strong future of The University of Toledo and details how we will grow and develop with the support of our dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni and community.”

“I am proud of the inclusive process that created this strategic plan. It will allow us to build on our strengths and address opportunities for improvement as we move UT toward excellence,” said Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “I look forward to working with our faculty and staff on the plan’s implementation and the impact it will have on our future success.”

The collaborative process to create the strategic plan included the input of hundreds of students, faculty, staff and the public who attended discussion sessions and provided feedback on drafts since the strategic planning process began in September 2016.

Hsu led the process with the assistance of Dr. Sharon McDade, a principal and senior executive leadership consultant with Greenwood/Asher and Associates, Inc. Dr. Laurie Dinnebeil, Distinguished University Professor and chair of early childhood, physical and special education, and Dr. Anthony Quinn, associate professor of biological sciences and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, served as co-chairs of the strategic planning committee.

Because students are the center of all UT does, the first strategic priority in the plan is Student Success and Academic Excellence. The plan outlines goals to improve student success, retention and degree completion, and to better prepare students for future academic studies and career success.

The plan prioritizes Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities, listing goals to achieve national recognition for five areas of research excellence, increase prominence for faculty researchers, and improve productivity.

The third priority is Faculty, Staff and Alumni with the goal to foster a culture of support and high job satisfaction, increase diversity, strengthen a sense of community and pride, and increase meaningful engagement with alumni and friends.

Building a strong financial foundation is the first goal in the Fiscal Positioning and Infrastructure priority that also sets out to ensure adaptability and sustainability for academic programs, increases in revenue and operating efficiencies, and infrastructure improvements.

The final priority in the strategic plan is Reputation and Engagement. To strengthen this area, goals have been set to improve UT’s national and international reputation and improve ties at local and regional levels, unify the University’s branding and marketing, grow the UT health-care system, increase philanthropy, and promote Rocket athletics.

Each of the goals is accompanied by a measurable outcome. Each outcome starts with a 2016 baseline measurement and identifies a 2022 target. It also identifies the departments or individuals in the University who are responsible for achieving that goal. Success will be regularly monitored using a dashboard. Units across the University are being asked to create complementary strategic plans aligned with the Path to Excellence document to ensure everyone is working together to move the institution forward.

A copy of the plan can be downloaded at utoledo.edu/strategicplan.

Trustees approve agreements with AFSCME, CWA

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved Monday collective bargaining agreements with members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Ohio Council 8 and AFSCME Local 241, and Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4319.

The agreements with AFSCME, which represents about 2,100 employees on the University’s Health Science Campus, were approved by members May 26. A three-year agreement will run through June 30, 2020, followed by a one-year agreement to run from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

The new contract includes a one-time payment of 1.5 percent of the employee’s salary in the first year, which does not affect their base salary, a 1 percent wage increase to their base salary the second year, and 2 percent base salary increases in years three and four.

The three-year agreement with CWA, which represents about 500 employees who provide clerical, maintenance and custodial services primarily on UT’s Main Campus, was approved by membership June 13.

The contract, which is effective Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 30, 2019, includes a one-time payment of $500 upon ratification and one-time payment of $300 in October, which do not impact base salaries. In the second year of the contract, employees will receive a 1 percent wage increase to their base salaries and then a 2 percent base salary increase in year three.

The new agreements with both unions also update contract language to align benefits with University policy and extend the probation period for new employees.

“I want to thank the AFSCME and CWA leadership and their members for their commitment to this University, and we look forward to continued collaboration as we work together to move UT forward,” said Larry Kelley, executive vice president for finance and administration, and chief financial officer.

Satellites holding huge bedding sale

Sleep doesn’t have to be a luxury: Stop by the bed, bath and kitchen sale hosted by the Satellites Auxiliary.

The around-the-clock event continues Monday, June 19, and runs until 3 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, in UT Medical Center’s Four Seasons Bistro Atrium.

Check out the smart pillows, aloe bamboo sheet sets, as well as mattress pads and toppers, and summer quilts and blankets.

Area rugs, kitchen and bath items, and merchandise to help ease neck, back and feet pain also will be at the sale.

Cash, check, credit cards and payroll deduction will be accepted.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit campus scholarships.

The Satellites Auxiliary is a group designed to promote education, research and service programs; provide support of patient programs in accordance with the needs and approval of administration; conduct fundraising events; and provide volunteer services.

For more information on the sale, contact Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites, at lynn.brand@utoledo.edu.

Law grad makes history with U.S. Air Force JAG

Even before she received her UT juris doctor May 6, Maysaa Ouza had made legal history. Just before graduation, she was selected as a new U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps attorney — the first Muslim hijabi selected for this role.

Ouza’s family was influential in her decision to pursue a career with the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. Her parents immigrated to the United States, affording Ouza and her siblings opportunities and privileges they might not have received elsewhere. They strongly encouraged her to consider the military as a career.

Maysaa Ouza, who posed for a photo with her juris doctor in front of the Memorial Field House, is the first Muslim hijabi selected as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps attorney.

She also credits her UT College of Law professors and the Office of Professional Development with helping her learn about careers with the various JAG Corps and navigating the competitive application process. She believes that she was the first hijabi applicant to apply for the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps.

“Many people that look like me fear rejection, and thus will not apply for jobs like this,” Ouza said. “I want to break those barriers.”

The U.S. Air Force JAG Corps appealed to Ouza for several reasons. Public service and service to her community have long been important to her, and she will have the opportunity to serve her country as a military lawyer. Additionally, the JAG Corps provides its lawyers with opportunities to gain experience in numerous areas of law, including legal assistance, criminal law and military operations law — to name just a few. This exposure to multiple practice areas also was of interest to Ouza, as was the fact the Air Force is the youngest branch of the U.S. armed forces.
According to Ouza, there are similarities between life in the military and wearing the hijab — both require lives of structure and discipline.

“My hijab is an asset to the Air Force, not a liability,” she said. “The defining aspect of my character is my unwavering dedication to leading a life of structure and immense discipline. Capitalizing on these characteristics, it made intrinsic sense to serve our country.”

While attending the UT College of Law, Ouza was a leader in several student organizations.

“Maysaa was a quiet force during her time at the College of Law,” said Kate O’Connell, assistant dean for student affairs. “She served as president of the International Law Society, vice president of the Criminal Law Society and vice president of Delta Theta Phi. This past year alone, Maysaa was largely responsible for planning a number of meaningful, timely and topical events at the College of Law.”

Furthermore, Ouza was a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office. She also made clear her desire to give back to her community, earning a UT College of Law Public Service Commendation and serving as a Law and Leadership Institute instructor.

Professor Benjamin Davis taught Ouza Contracts during her first year at the College of Law and interacted with her on a regular basis thereafter. “While she had such a strong sense of purpose, she was always personable with a warmth about her that made her stand out,” he said. “I am overjoyed she is becoming a JAG, and she is not just going to break down barriers, but thrive.”

Northwest Ohio students to experience medical school at CampMed

Teenagers today and potential physicians tomorrow will learn the tools of the trade and practice their clinical skills at the 20th annual CampMed program at The University of Toledo.

The two-day CampMed program will be held Thursday and Friday, June 15 and 16, on Health Science Campus.

The 2017 class has 39 incoming freshman high school students from across northwest Ohio who will get a sampling of medical school by participating in hands-on lessons such as learning to dress for the operating room and suturing wounds.

“It’s imperative to reach out to young people early to nurture their interests in science and discovery. Their dreams for the future, which for some might include becoming a doctor, are attainable, and we want to show them there are people who want to help,” said Courtney K. Combs, director of the UT and Ohio Area Health Education Center programs.

“CampMed gives students the opportunity to learn firsthand what it’s like to be in the medical field before they even start high school. The participants really enjoy learning from current students in the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences.”

CampMed is a scholarship program at no cost to the students, most of whom are first-generation college students and other underrepresented groups. The camp is sponsored by the UT Area Health Education Center program, which along with other programs throughout the country, strives to improve the health of individuals and communities by developing the health-care workforce. First- and second-year UT medical students serve as camp counselors, and the campers also will interact with physicians and faculty members.

The students will begin Thursday morning after the welcoming ceremonies with a tools of the trade session where they will learn to use medical instruments such as blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes. Lessons will continue for two days with opportunities to tour a gross anatomy lab, make a cast and more.

CampMed, which began in 1998, is a competitive program that requires students to submit a letter of recommendation, a nomination from a science or math teacher or counselor, and a personal essay to be chosen to participate.

University finalizing 2018 operating budget

As it awaits a final budget from the state of Ohio, The University of Toledo plans to shift the adoption of its 2018 operating budget until July 6.

UT leadership will ask the Board of Trustees during its regularly scheduled meeting on June 19 to adopt a one-month budget to bridge the gap between the end of the current fiscal year on June 30 and the adoption of the new budget.

Following approval of the state of Ohio biennium budget before July 1, UT will present its budget for the 2017-18 to the board at a special meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 6, in the Driscoll Alumni Center Schmakel Room.

“The state provides important funding sources for the University and given the unforeseen state revenue issues and a number of provisions in the pending state budget that could affect UT, it is important that we have all the details before we present a fiscal year budget to our board,” said Larry Kelley, executive vice president for finance and administration, and chief financial officer. “It has been at least 12 years since we have seen this level of uncertainty stretching into mid-June.”

During the last 18 months, the University has made strides in reducing costs and generating new income, Kelley said. UT is positioned well to adopt an operating budget that puts the institution in line to meet opportunities and challenges in the coming year.