Youngstown State University Board of Trustees, Sept. 4 and 5, 2019

Youngstown State University Board of Trustees summary, Sept. 4 and 5, 2019

The YSU Board of Trustees heard reports on enrollment, student success initiatives, campus construction projects and much more during its quarterly meetings Sept. 4 and 5, on campus. The board also agreed to negotiate and purchase the Flats at Wick student housing facility on the north side of campus and passed a resolution further updating its progress in developing a new strategic plan for the university. This is a summary of the board’s actions and reports. For the full resolutions, and other background materials, visit the Board of Trustees website at https://ysu.edu/board-of-trustees.

President’s Report
President Jim Tressel welcomed Randy Gardner, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, to the board meeting. Tressel said Gardner’s service to Ohio, including several years in the state Senate and House of Representatives before being named Ohio’s 10th chancellor in January, has been extraordinary.

Presentation by Chancellor Gardner
Gardner presented a commendation to the Board of Trustees for its leadership (pictured); the board recently received the John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. “When a board is recognized among thousands in the country, I think that deserves a special trip to a board meeting to congratulate the board and thank the board in person,” he said.

Student Presentation
Isaac Hraga of Ashtabula, an Honors College student majoring in Music Performance, with an interdisciplinary minor in Video Game Design, talked with the board about his work in developing video games and composing music to go with the games. Click here for a sample of the soundtrack showcased during the presentation. Hraga, who is vice president of the YSU Video Game Developer Club, said his senior capstone project involves creating a video game that utilizes an interactive environment and soundtrack that reacts to player interaction and the resulting soundtrack through the use of closed feedback loops. He said he wants to pursue a master’s degree in Game Design.

Academic Excellence and Student success committee

Actions
Approved a resolution to modify the policy on Faculty Rank and Tenure for Designated Administrators. The policy was reviewed as part of the board’s five-year review cycle of all university policies; only minor modifications were made.

Approved a resolution to modify the policy on Degrees. The policy was reviewed as part of the board’s five-year review cycle of all university policies; only minor modifications were made.

Approved a resolution to authorize the conferral of an honorary doctor of Humane Letters on Helen K. (Lamb) Lafferty, who has been an administrator and faculty member at Villanova University for nearly four decades. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from YSU and a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. She currently is College Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova. She will receive the honorary degree at YSU’s Fall Commencement in December. “She’s led a distinguished career,” Provost Brien Smith said.

Approved a resolution to award tenure in the Department of Teacher Education to Amy Cossentino, dean of the YSU Honors College. Cossentino holds bachelor’s degrees from Slippery Rock University, a master’s from YSU and a PhD from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She has served as coordinator of the YSU Student Enrichment Center, assistant director of the YSU First-Year Student Center and assistant director of the YSU University Scholars and Honors Programs. She has been director of the YSU Honors College since 2015, was named dean of the college this summer and has taught for both the Honors College and Beeghly College of Education.

Approved a resolution on Strategic Planning that calls for a “student-focused campus, the basis upon which rests strong educational experiences that sustain the university because of the attractiveness and unique aspects of that educational experience.” The resolution says the Office of Academic Affairs has proposed a set of “Momentum Gainers” that includes implementing a redesigned degree audit system, redesigning advising as well as the First-Year Experience. Trustee Ted Roberts said the resolution is one in a series of board resolutions that started last year and will continue through this year in the development of a new strategic plan. “The quality of work going into this strategic planning is outstanding,” he added.

Reports
Eddie Howard, vice president of Student Affairs, reported on Fall semester enrollment: Headcount 12,155, down 4.3 percent; FTE 10,185, down 3.6 percent. He also reported that the grade point average of incoming freshmen is the highest in the university’s history at 3.4. He also reported the following for new incoming students: nearly 68 percent were in the top half of their high school classes; 13 percent were in the top 10 percent; nearly half had a high school GPA of 3.5 or better; 82 percent are Ohio residents; 16 percent are persons of color; ages range from 17 to 67 years.

Claire Berardini, associate provost of Student Success, reported on a pilot program conducted during the 2018-19 academic year aimed at improving outcomes for academically less-prepared students who are admitted to the university. She said the 121 new students who participated in the program took classes in a block-style learning community, took the same First Year Experience courses and were better linked with coaches/tutors in the YSU Center for Student Progress. The results show across-the-board higher grades and retention for students in the pilot compared to similar students not in the program. “The results are not surprising, but they are compelling,” she said. The second year of the pilot is now in place. She also noted that the pilot was implemented without additional costs. “In fact, I think we operated with greater efficiency (with the pilot) because of the alignments that we created,” she said. Smith and Berardini said the goal would be to implement such practices for all underperforming students.

Sal Sanders, dean of the College of Graduate Studies, and Severine Van slambrouck, director of the Office of Research Services, updated the board on the Urban Research University Transition Cornerstone of YSU’s 2020 Strategic Plan. The highlights: the number of faculty citations has increased from 963 in 2014 to 2,130 in 2018; the number of faculty publications in that same period fell from 161 to 129; the number of funded research proposals increased from 67 to 101 between fiscal year 2015 and 2019; the dollar amount of those proposals has increased from $4.6 million to $8.1 million in the same period.

Van slambrouck updated the board on activities of the Office of Research Services. She reported that the number of grant awards received by the university increased from 94 to 101 from 2017-18 to 2018-19, although the dollar amount dropped from $8.9 million to $8.1 million.

Finance and Facilities Committee

Actions
Approved a resolution to modify the Travel on Behalf of the University Policy. The policy was reviewed as part of the board’s five-year review cycle of all university policies; only minor modifications were made.

Approved a resolution to modify the Operating Budget Approval and Modification Policy. The policy was reviewed as part of the board’s five-year review cycle of all university policies; only minor modifications were made.

Approved a resolution for interfund transfers: $3.8 million in debt service reserve funds to fund a portion of the fiscal year 2020 debt service. The university’s current outstanding debt principal is $62.5 million.

Approved the fiscal year 2020 internal audit plan that includes audits of student organizations, student billing and accounts receivable, banner user access, donor restricted funds, payroll and accounts payable.

Approved a resolution to negotiate and enter into a purchase agreement with Flats at Wick LLC for the purchase of the Flats at Wick student housing facility at a price not to exceed appraised value. The Flats at Wick, pictured, is a privately-owned, four-story, 116-bed apartment complex adjacent to Cafaro House on the north side of campus. The resolution also calls for the university to obtain appraisals of properties surrounding the Flats at Wick that are available for sale and, if deemed appropriate by President Tressel, proceed with the acquisition of the properties subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees. The resolution also authorizes YSU to secure financing for the purchase of the Flats at Wick.

Reports
“It’s been a very busy summer,” said Rich White, director of Planning and Construction, in updating the board on various projects on campus, including: the Don Constantini Multimedia Center, Cushwa Hall Physical Therapy renovations, renovations to the second and fourth floors of Meshel Hall, the new Cafaro Family Field (completion early October), the new parking lot at Elm Street and the East Bound Service Road of the Madison Avenue Expressway, roof replacements for Lyden and Cafaro residence halls, the demolition of the former City Printing building on Wood and Phelps streets, the renovation of space in Kilcawley Center near Dunkin’ Donuts to house The Jambar, the conversion of space in Stambaugh Stadium formerly for media and coaching staff into four loges, and the creation of a new indoor tennis facility on the west side of campus along Scott Street (completion December). John Hyden, associate vice president of Facilities, commended White and his crew for the work over the summer.

Jim Yukech, associate vice president and chief information officer, updated the board on various initiatives in information technology services, including the implementation of a new degree audit system, the roll-out of BlackBoard LMS, refreshed/replaced 835 campus computers last year at a cost of approximately $1 million, and refreshed/replaced 44 multi-media units in classroom computers last year, costing about $154,000. “We’ve come a long way in the last three years,” he said.

University Affairs Committee

Actions
Approved a resolution to ratify personnel actions for Intercollegiate Athletics from April 16 through July 15, including 12 appointments, nine separations, one reclassification, two promotions, 11 salary adjustments and one multi-year appointment.

Approved a resolution to modify the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The policy was modified as part of the board’s review of all university policies and to ensure alignment with Gov. DeWine’s and Chancellor Gardner’s Changing Campus Culture Initiatives. Among the modifications is the addition of a definition for Sexual Harassment.

Approved a resolution to modify the policy on Search Waivers for Hiring of Faculty and Professional/Administrative Staff. The policy was modified as part of the board’s review of all university policies; changes are minor.

Approved a resolution to modify the Discrimination/Harassment Policy. The policy was modified as part of the board’s review of all university policies and to ensure alignment with Gov. DeWine’s and Chancellor Gardner’s Changing Campus Culture Initiatives.

Approved a resolution to modify and retitle the policy on Outside Consulting Services - Excluded Professional/Administrative Staff, Including Deans and Chairs. The policy was modified as part of the board’s review of all university policies and to provide parameters for the use and approval for outside consulting, to clarify the submission and approval procedures and to include language regarding policy violations.

Approved a resolution to rescind the policy on Staff Development Leave for Excluded Professional/Administrative Staff. The policy was modified as part of the board’s review of all university policies. Since the last effective date of the policy, Sept. 24, 2014, no requests for staff development leave have been submitted by excluded professional/administrative staff, indicating that there is not a need for the policy.

Approved a resolution to ratify personnel actions from April 16 through July 15, including 13 appointments (four new positions), 25 separations, 28 reclassifications/position adjustments, seven promotions, four salary adjustments and one transfer.

Reports
Ron Strollo, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, gave his annual report (2017-18) comparing YSU’s athletics expenditures and revenues with other schools in the Horizon League and the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Among the details:

  • YSU spent less and made more on football compared to other MVFC schools. YSU spent $4.1 million and generated $2 million in revenue, compared to the MVFC average of $4.8 million and $1.2 million, respectively.
  • YSU’s total institutional investment for football is $2.1 million. By comparison, the average total institutional investment among MVFC schools for football is $3.6 million.
  • Men’s basketball expenses totaled $1.5 million and revenues totaled $736,609, compared to the Horizon League average of $2.2 million and $582,085, respectively.

Institutional Engagement Committee

Actions
Approved a resolution to accept 1,608 members totaling $272,602 for WYSU through the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Reports
David Sipusic, YSU associate general counsel, updated progress on the development of the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center and Excellence Training Center and said a groundbreaking for the facility is on track for late November.

Mike Hripko, associate vice president for Government and External Affairs, reported on a variety of the university’s government and business engagements in June and July, including: Port Authority, Regional Chamber, mayors of Warren and Youngstown, and others meeting to coordinate strategic planning; Wright State Applied Research Corp. proposal under consideration for research; Drive Ohio discussions on autonomous vehicles; Space Foundation discussions to identify small businesses that can help increase the supply change for the space industry.

The YSU Foundation, the university’s fund-raising arm, reported receiving 970 outright gifts and 14 pledges totaling $4.05 million; pledge payments totaling $2.03 million; and two new planned gift commitments totaling $2.27 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Paul McFadden, YSU Foundation president, reported that the “We See Tomorrow” fund-raising campaign is nearing $95 million and is tracking to reach the $100 million goal more than a year ahead of schedule. The campaign will continue as planned through June 30, 2021. Once the goal is obtained, efforts will be refocused on campaign components that have not reached their individual campaign revenue objectives - the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center, Endowed Chairs and Professorships, Campus Beautification and Classrooms of the Future, McFadden said. The Watson Student Success Center may also be reshaped, as the needs of the campus and students evolve, he added. Goals for fiscal year 2020 include: $15 million in cash and pledges, $5 million in planned gift commitments, for a total cash and planned gift goals of more than $20 million.

Governance Committee

Reports

Mike Sherman, vice president for Institutional Effectiveness and Board Professional, reported on the board advance (retreat) that took place earlier in the summer. He said the meeting further demonstrated the board’s commitment to the university’s success and a sustainable future. He also reported on the upcoming trustees’ conference in Columbus Oct. 29 and 30 and provided more details on Fall semester enrollment.

 

Upcoming meetings of the board:

10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019
10 a.m. Thursday, March 5, 2020
10 a.m. Thursday, June 4, 2020