University Structure

Understanding the University Structure

Figuring out where you fit in the grand structure of university can be confusing. You have your major, which is how most students identify themselves. "I'm in Computer Engineering." "I'm an Accounting major." "I'm majoring in Music Performance." But your major is just a piece of the puzzle. And understanding how that piece creates the big picture can be helpful as you navigate through the university.

Your major is part of an academic program housed within a department. The department is home to a group of faculty, lecturers, and staff who focus on a that particular academic area. The area itself is broad (i.e., History) with a collection of different programs (Ancient History, European History, Diplomatic History, etc.). The department is led by a department chair, who is traditionally a faculty member who has been selected to serve as an administrator. Some departments are large enough that they become a school, such as the School of Communication, the School of Music, and the School of Environment and Natural Resources, for example.

These departments and schools are collected into colleges. The colleges provide a central administrative point, services (which could include advising, finances, human resources, etc.), and oversight of the departments and academic programs.

This structure is reflected in your degree. For example, you would earn a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University. Or a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the College of Arts and Sciences at The Ohio State University.

Each college has a dean, who is responsible for the administration of the students, faculty and staff and the strategic planning of the academic programming. The deans report to the provost in the Office of Academic Affairs, who in turn reports to the university president.

Office of the President

President Kristina M. Johnson is the leader of The Ohio State University. The president of a university is the equivalent to the CEO of a company, with her role being to provide and lead the overall strategic planning for and sustained performance of an institution. Reporting to President Johnson are the leaders of various segments of the university, such as the offices of the Academic Affairs, Student Life, Research, Human Resources, Advancement, Business and Finance, etc.

The university is governed by the Board of Trustees. In her role as president, President Johnson is charged with enforcing the bylaws, rules and regulations put forth and approved by the board. Trustees operate collectively and through their committees, which take on everything from reviewing academic programs to raising funds for the institution to granting faculty tenure.

Working together, the President, Board of Trustees, and top administrators approve major policies, make long range plans, and oversee the university's budget.

Office of President Office of the Board of Trustees

Office of Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs, led by Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron, has responsibility for the administration and coordination of all academic areas of the university. Provost McPheron is considered the university's chief academic officer. Under his leadership, the Office of Academic Affairs has oversight of curriculum, policy and governance matters, academic misconduct, accreditation, regional campuses, and faculty support and development. By the numbers, that's supporting 15 colleges, five campuses, more than 7,000 tenure-, clinical-, research-track and associated faculty, and academic programs for 65,000+ undergraduate, graduate and professional students, more than 200 majors and almost 13,000 courses, along with the support of a library system with 5.8 million volumes in its collection and electronic access to 48 million books and journals!

Provost McPheron is assisted in these efforts by a team of vice provosts and vice presidents, and their offices, including the Office of Student Academic Success.

Office of Academic Affairs

Ultimately, the importance of education is how it is used. As an engaged university, we have responsibilities beyond the classroom. Our faculty, staff, and students all play a vital role by using their knowledge and skills to serve the community.

Bruce A. McPheron, PhD, Executive Vice President and Provost, The Ohio State University