Trustees move to boost efficiency, increase value, focus on student success



The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees approved today a resolution to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of all aspects of university operations aimed at further improving the quality of academic programs and student experience.
“The board resolution emphasizes that the university re-commits itself to having in place procedures that are linked to best practices, developed through consultation, and are well-documented and understood across the university to be squarely focused on academic excellence, the success of our students and their futures,” said Mike Sherman, YSU vice president for institutional effectiveness and board professional
Brien Smith
Also at today’s regular quarterly meeting, trustees formally appointed Brien Smith as provost and approved a $183.96 million budget and tuition rates for fiscal year 2020.
Smith, previously the dean of the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University, was hired after a four-month search that drew more than 60 applicants from across the country. As YSU’s second-highest ranking officer, Smith will oversee all academic operations of the university
The fiscal year 2020 budget approved by the board assumes no growth in enrollment, a 0.5 percent increase in state funding and spending increases for fringe benefits, salaries and scholarships. The budget also includes the following tuition adjustments for the 2019-20 academic year:
  • For returning students who entered the university prior to Fall 2018, fulltime undergraduate tuition for in-state students will increase by $81 or 2 percent to $4,124.52 per semester. 
  • For returning students who entered the university in Fall 2018, tuition will not change and will remain at $4,449.59 per semester. Under the Penguin Tuition Promise, this rate will not change through the four years of this class’ attendance at YSU.
  • For new incoming students entering the university in Fall 2019, tuition will be set at $4,605.36 per semester and, under the Penguin Tuition Promise, will remain the same for four years.
Even with the adjustments, YSU’s tuition is the lowest among public comprehensive universities in Ohio. “We remain the best value in higher education across the region,” said Neal McNally, vice president for Finance and Business Operations.
Sherman said YSU’s value can be even further enhanced by refining institutional procedures that emphasize the university’s intentions for academic excellence as a student-centric campus.
“We have made great strides, kept our student costs low and achieved much as we move to transform YSU into an institution of academic excellence,” YSU President Jim Tressel said, “but we’re always looking for ways to get better in service of our students and the greater Youngstown community."
The board’s resolution on efficiency and effectiveness is the latest step in the development of YSU’s new strategic plan, a process that began several months ago and has involved dozens of faculty, staff and students in many various ways across campus (
In December, the board approved a case statement for the strategic planning process, including a timetable calling for a draft of the new plan to be ready for review and discussion this fall. In March, the board passed another resolution identifying specific focus areas for the plan, including increased educational quality, the enrollment of new students, student success, and strong collaborations with external community stakeholders.
The latest resolution, approved unanimously at today’s regular quarterly board meeting, assures that an appropriate framework is in place to effectively implement the plan. The resolution says that, to measure the success of the plan, Key Performance Indicators will be identified. The resolution also specifically calls for documented procedures to be put into place and reviewed annually to minimize impediments and optimize the success of the plan.
“We are committed to a purposeful process to develop a plan that allows us to ‘Take Charge of Our Future’ and to stimulate and enable academic excellence and student success,” Sherman said.
The draft strategic plan will be considered further at the board’s retreat to be scheduled in October, with board approval expected sometime in June 2020, including a budget that supports implementing and achieving the objectives of the plan.