YSU Board of Trustees Summary, June 21 and 22, 2023

The Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the presidential search, a new Master of Science in Data Science and Statistics Program and continuous updates to the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future were among the topics discussed during two days of meetings last week by the YSU Board of Trustees. The board met in Tod Hall on Wednesday and Thursday, June 21 and 22. For the full resolutions, and other background materials, visit the Board of Trustees website.
Here’s a summary:


Board Secretary Anita Hackstedde gave the Oath of Office to Trustee Richard Fryda, president and CEO of Compco Industries in Columbiana, Ohio. Fryda’s term expires in 2032.


Interim President Helen Lafferty shared that during her time so far has been guided by the University’s mission and the Strategic Plan to Take Charge of our Future. She went on to encourage the entire YSU community to stay engaged in the ongoing process to renew the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future. “It has been a real pleasure for me working with the YSU family, especially our students who I have come to see and appreciate and who teach me much more than I ever teach them,” she concluded.


Ron Strollo, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, reviewed personnel actions in his area, including four separations, six appointments, two reclassifications and nine salary adjustments.

Ross Miltner, associate general counsel, reported multi-year Olympic sports contracts. He explained that currently, coaches of Olympic sports are on a year-to-year appointment and that carefully moving towards offering multi-year contracts will aid in retention of talent, bolster recruiting efforts and support stability of the programs.

Jaysen Spencer, director of athletic academic services/athletics diversity and inclusion designee, reported on the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan Update. Spencer shared accomplishments from the last year and goals for 2023-24 to continue building on the intent of the NCAA Presidential Pledge and Commitment to Promoting Diversity and Gender Equity in Intercollegiate Athletics.

Rebecca Fink, senior associate athletics director, reported on the NCAA Compliance Audit. She reported that there were 21 total recommendations made from an external audit of NCAA compliance policies and operations, commissioned by YSU athletics. Fink shared that policy documents were analyzed, and staff (including coaches) were interviewed for qualitative feedback.

Chet Cooper, professor in Chemical and Biological Sciences and faculty athletics representative introduced Barbara Flinn, lecturer in English and World Languages as the newly appointed faculty athletics representative.

Strollo reported that YSU earned the Horizon League McCafferty Trophy for its excellence in the conference's 19 championship sports. This is the second time in the last three academic years that Youngstown State has earned the league's all-sports trophy, and it is the first time that the university has won the prestigious award outright. The Penguins shared the McCafferty Trophy with Oakland in 2020-21, which was the first award for YSU since it joined the Horizon League in 2001-02.


Approved a Resolution to Amend the Youngstown State University Non-Endowment Asset Allocation Guidelines and a Resolution to Modify Investment of the University's Non-Endowment and Endowment Funds Policy in order to operationalize the resolution passed in March 2023 by the Investment Committee and by the Board of Trustees that moved YSU to an outsourced chief investment officer investment strategy.

John Colla of Clearstead presented the Quarterly Portfolio Asset Allocation and Investment Performance Review.


Approved a Resolution to Approve the FY24 Annual Internal Audit Plan which contains the planned scope and time budget of audit engagements for the fiscal year and focuses priorities of the Annual Internal Audit Plan on risk exposures throughout the University.

Michelle Dilullo, staff auditor, reported on the Anonymous Reporting Hotline statistics, gave an update on the FY23 Third Quarter Internal Audit Plan and on the Audit Matrix Open Audit Recommendations.

Neal McNally, vice president for Finance and Business Operations presented an update on Enterprise Risk Management, sharing that members of the administration participated in two training exercises this past quarter, one a table-top exercise on cybersecurity and the other a two-hour course delivered on campus from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency geared specifically for campus executives.


Approved resolutions to Modify Budget Transfers Policy, Modify Acceptable Use of University Technology Resources Policy, Modify Storage of Electronic Data Policy and Modify Use of University Vehicles Policy. The policies were reviewed as part of the university’s standard five-year review cycle.

Approved Changes to Tuition and Fees for the 2023-24 Academic and Fiscal Year.

Approved the Annual Operating Budget for FY 2024.

McNally presented the $174.5 million operating budget for Fiscal Year 2024. The budget is up 0.2 percent from the $174.1 million operating budget in FY 2022 The budget, he said, includes $153.8 million in general funds supported mainly by income from student tuition and state funding appropriations.

He noted that revenues associated with tuition are based on a projection of next year’s enrollment levels that are forecasted to decrease by 4% relative to the last year. “That might seem overly conservative but not at all unreasonable given the fact that our actual enrollment experience over the past two years has been a 4% decrease in each year,” he said. “That, of course, is not a surprise, as we continue to navigate regional demographic trends marked by an ongoing and projected decrease in the number of college-aged persons in Ohio, Pennsylvania and the Midwest in general.” In addition, using a 4% enrollment decline for planning purposes is consistent with the resolution adopted by the Board of Trustees at their special meeting last month.

McNally shared that there is potentially some good news having to do with State Share of Instruction funding. The Ohio Department of Higher Education is projecting YSU’s state funding to increase by 4.5% to $48.5M in FY 2024. This is notable because the average rate of change in SSI funding among all Ohio state universities next year is projected to be just 1% on average. “YSU’s projected increase is nearly 5 times greater than the state average, which means we outperformed most other universities, notably because we have made significant improvements with regard to student success outcomes, which are the main drivers of state funding,” explained McNally.

He also noted that any revenue that is greater than projected is, as per Board directive, to support balancing the institution’s base budget.

McNally also reported that on the expense side, personnel costs are expected to decrease by about 1.6%, as the University continues to make some progress at right-sizing faculty and staffing levels. He noted, however, that YSU faces inflationary cost pressures on just about every category of expense, including employee healthcare costs that are projected to increase by 8% next year; janitorial service contract costs that will increase by $1 million next year; and a 36% price hike for trash collection services, just to name a few.

McNally presented an update on the FY23 operating budget. Overall, the FY23 budget plan is working as designed. Even though revenues are down this year, expenses are also down. However, the report presented also suggests an uncertain future, beyond FY23, that will likely be characterized by further deterioration in university revenue and enrollment levels.

Rich White, director of Planning and Construction, updated the board on construction projects across campus, including an elevator safety replacement project in Silvestri Hall; phase two of the Moser Hall renovations which focuses on Schwebel Auditorium, classrooms and some staff offices; the Arlington Parking Facility; restroom facility upgrades in Lyden House dorm; campus roof replacements, replacing sections of roofs on Cushwa Hall and the E.J. Salata Complex; and a lab renovation project that will renovate the STEM labs on the 5th and 6th floors of Ward Beecher.

Lafferty observed that having visited faculty in laboratories in Ward Beecher that she is very pleased that those renovations will be underway.

Jim Yukech, associate vice president and chief technology officer, and Justin Bettura, deputy chief information security officer gave an IT Security Update.


Mike Sherman, vice president for Institutional Effectiveness and Board Professional, shared the ongoing plans for updating the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future and a compilation of communications to campus and also provided a follow-up to YSU Future State Conversation #5.

Sherman also reported on IUC Day at the Statehouse that was attended by presidents, administrators and students from the 14 state universities in the state of Ohio.


Approved a Resolution to Modify “The Student Code of Conduct” Policy and a Resolution to Modify Student Travel Policy. The policies were reviewed as part of the university’s regular five-year review cycle.

Approved a Resolution to Modify Hiring and Selection for Full and Part-Time Faculty Policy.

Approved a Resolution regarding Exceptional Student Government Association Leadership to recognize the exceptional leadership of the Student Government Association (SGA), particularly by Nickiforos Mastorides, President; and Maguire Franko, Executive Vice President; during the 2022-2023 school year.

Approved a Resolution to Authorize Recommendation of Candidates for Honorary Degrees. A list, originated by the Events Committee of the Academic Senate that was subsequently presented to the Board of Trustees, includes eight candidates. The list of candidates is in addition to other lists already endorsed by the Senate and approved by the Board.

Approved a Resolution to Approve Master of Science in Data Science and Statistics Program. The proposed graduate program will take advantage of the collaborative relationship between Youngstown State University faculty members and those involved with the Purdue University Data Mine, instigated via the Division of Workforce Education and Innovation, which will provide YSU students with a unique educational opportunity and provide YSU with a marketable advantage, which will help YSU compete for market share in a highly competitive environment for programs of this type. It will also engage more businesses with the talents and expertise of faculty and students in this area. The new degree program will leverage an existing graduate certificate in data analytics allowing a path for students to continue their graduate education; and will meet an institutional objective at YSU to increase graduate student enrollment.

Claire Berardini, associate provost for Student Success, provided an update of YSU’s Career Placement Rate and Student Success Progress for undergraduate students in the 2021 and 2022 graduating classes. The discussion focused on current and future strategies for collecting career outcome data at both 6 months and 12 months following graduation, as well as possible forthcoming changes to the U.S Department of Education rules regarding gainful employment of college graduates.

Sherman pointed out that the College Scorecard, the federal report-card for university performance already reports such information and Ohio is a member of the US Census Bureau’s pilot reporting such information at the program level: collecting information on students who received federal financial aid. He also indicated that legislation is pending in the state legislature related to a total cost of attendance report that will likely require reporting such information.

Jennifer Pintar, vice provost, updated the board on General Education Transformation and the new framework which would provide students with the potential for micro-credentials which provides students with the opportunity to develop valuable skills in and outside of the classroom.

Martha Pallante, chairperson of the Academic Senate, reported on a variety of Senate activities such as renewing their involvement with the Ohio Faculty Council, engaging the Student Government Association to increase understanding of expectations between faculty and students and continuing conversations regarding updating General Education.


Approved a Resolution to Modify Naming of University Facilities, Colleges and Programs Policy. The policy was reviewed as part of the university’s regular five-year review cycle.

Approved a Resolution to Move Naming Recognition of the Larry E. Esterly Room. The YSU Board of Trustees honored Larry E. Esterly upon his passing in 2005 for his commitment to YSU with the naming of the Larry E. Esterly Room in Kilcawley Center. With the pending demolition of Kilcawley Center to make room for the new Zoldan Family Student Center, it has been recommended to move the naming recognition in honor of Mr. Esterly to the lobby of the political science faculty suites in DeBartolo Hall.

Approved a Resolution to Accept Gift of Real Estate from the YSU Foundation, including property at 351 Arlington Street in Youngstown.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, reported $8.31 million in new gifts and pledges for the first three months of 2023, more than double the amount raised in the same period in 2022.

Heather Belgin, director of Alumni Engagement reported on the initiatives and goals of the Office of Alumni Engagement. Belgin spoke about the expansion of the nationwide alumni chapter program which has grown from 3 chapters with 3,314 alumni involved in 2017 to currently, more than 20 active chapters with 29, 439 alumni involved. She spoke about facilitating alumni relationships with YSU faculty and students both on- and off-campus. She highlighted there is intention to bridge alumni engagement with an enrollment strategy by considering them from the perspective of national geo-markets.

Elaine Ruse, associate vice president for Student Enrollment and Business Services, provided an Enrollment Optimization update, sharing that progress is being made to influence prospective student enrollment and continued enrollment of current YSU students. Ruse spoke about the enhanced communications plan to students, parents and school counselors which were designed to help increase the number of applicants, completed applications and registrants for orientation. She concluded by sharing that the enrollment optimization committee members, and their respective departments are collaborating to both recruit and retain students. Keeping the focus on the value of a YSU degree. Each area provided a data-informed update on efforts in respective areas to optimize enrollment.


Jennifer Oddo, vice president of Workforce Education and Innovation and Kelli Miller, director of Finance and Operations, provided a quarterly financial overview for the Division of Workforce Education and Innovation.

Oddo; Miller; and David Janofa, associate vice president also reported on the key performance indicators for the division, indicating that there are enrollment system enhancements underway for FY24 to provide more robust departmental reporting.

Oddo and Janofa, provided key divisional updates which included the division’s move to Silvestri hall which is scheduled for August 2023, a $1.5M state operating request to fund last mile operating and technology needs for the IT Workforce Accelerator and expansion of the Tressel Institute for Leadership and Teamwork into Mahoning and Trumbull county high school programs as well as q $5OOK state operating request for continuation of funding for ETC operating needs.

Hazel Marie, professor of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, was presented as the program director for the Williamson Innovation Park as well as a STEM Champion. In addition to the WIP, it is expected that the Watson Team Center and Excellence Training Center will be used to provide experiential experiences for YSU and K-12 students. The objective is to enhance the quality of the YSU educational experience as well as introduce K-12 students to various career pathways including YSU degrees or micro- and other types of credentials.


Approved a Resolution to Modify Vacation Leave, Professional/Administrative Staff and Department Chairpersons Not Covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement Policy. The policy was reviewed as part of the university’s regular five-year review cycle.

Approved a Resolution to Modify and Retitle Emeritus Status Policy. The policy was modified to align with our current business practices for retirees and to clarify eligibility for emeritus status.

Approved a Resolution to Authorize Conferral of Emeritus Status for Faculty and Administrators. The list includes nine recently-retired faculty members for Faculty Emeritus Status (Jeffrey Dick, Diana Fagan, Alan Jacobs, Mary LaVine, Thomas Leary, Ndinzi Masagara, Douglas Price, John Sarkissian and Charles Vergon).

Approved a Resolution to Ratify Personnel Appointments, including 13 separations, 22 appointments, six promotions, 13 reclassifications/position adjustments and 18 salary adjustments.

Dana Lantz, executive director of Human resources, shared that YSU again participated in the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Changing Campus Culture Initiative and for the second straight year, received a 5 out of 5 rating. Lantz also presented the 2023 Title IX, Equal Opportunity and Policy Violations report, which includes 13 EEO complaints, six policy violations and under Title IX, one formal complaint, five pregnancy accommodations and 46 harassment complaints.

Holly Jacobs, vice president for Legal Affairs and Human Resources reported on the new Human Resources Organizational Structure.

Support Area Assessments were presented for Academic Affairs by Smith; University Relations by Shannon Tirone, associate vice president for University Relations; and Institutional Research and Analytics by Jeanne Herman, associate vice president for Institutional Effectiveness.

Sherman indicated these were the final presentations of a roughly 18-month process that was similar to and ran concurrently with the Academic Program Enhancement and Effectiveness Initiative (APEEI). He provided information from that reported at the federal level via IPEDS and that summarized at the How Colleges Spend their Money website.

He indicated that the data indicates that YSU invests a significant proportion of its resources in instruction and a much lower proportion of resources in institutional support that includes management and foundational operating expenditures. He indicated that over five years the proportion of expenditure increased 7% for instruction and 1% for institutional support.

The support area reports will be posted on the Strategic Planning website in a fashion similar to that for APEEI.


Interim President Lafferty recognized the following passings:

  • James Scanlon, former provost
  • Dorothy Lisko, former employee in Continuing Education & Human Resources
  • William Mays, sergeant with YSU Police Department
  • Bernard Leko, husband of Anna Leko, service desk technician in Information Technology
  • Christine Pullium, former employee in various departments across campus
  • Paul Dutton, YSU alum and former YSU trustee
  • Katie Sarkkinen, current STEM student
  • Yong Zhang, professor in Computer Science & Information Systems
  • Lee Hively Jr., donor and YSU Penguin Club member
  • Elizabeth “Betty” DeLuca, former YSU trustee
  • Richard Coppola, father of Sokolov Honors College employee, Carrie Clyde
  • William Countryman, former executive director of Enrollment Services
  • Gloria Jones, former adjunct faculty member in English and owner of Fireline, Inc.
  • Finn Smith, 8-month old son of swim coach, Brad Smith
  • Gail Gunger, mother of Board of Trustees member, Laura Lyden
  • Frank Gunger, STEM alumnus and father of Board of Trustees member, Laura Lyden

Approved a Resolution Related to the Presidential Search: Selection of the Search Firm, Establish Timeframe, and Identification of the Transition Committee. The resolution says the board has proclaimed its intent to conduct a national search for the next president and for that individual to begin in the position no later than Fall 2024 assuring that they will be involved in the development of the FY-25 budget. The resolution also identified trustees Chuck George (chair), Anita Hackstedde, Laura Lyden and Joseph Kerola as the Presidential Search Guidance Committee with trustee Molly Seals serving as an alternate. The Board stated its intentions to identify Witt Kieffer as the search firm to assist with the search, for the Presidential Search Guidance Committee to serve as the Presidential Transition Committee and that there will be regular updates on behalf of the Board to the campus community regarding the institution and the status of the presidential search.


Joseph Mosca and the late Syretha Cooper were recognized as the recipients of the 2023 Youngstown State University Heritage Award.

The Heritage Award, established in 1981 as a means of recognizing former faculty and professional/administrative staff who have made major contributions to the University during their years of service, is the most prestigious honor at YSU. Mosca's and Cooper's names have been etched on the Heritage Wall on campus.

Cooper worked in the department of Social Work from 1969 to 1996 as assistant professor, professor and chair. Cooper was the first African American to chair the Social Work department. Cooper’s honors and awards include Who’s Who Among Black Americans, the McGuffey Centre Hall of Fame Award in Education, Outstanding Teacher of the Year, YSU Black United Students and the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Region 4 Teacher of the Year. The Dr. Syretha F. Cooper Memorial Scholarship in Social Work was founded in her memory and continues her legacy of helping students.

Mosca served YSU from 1989 to 2019 as assistant professor, associate professor, assistant to the dean, chair, associate dean, dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, and finally, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs. Mosca’s awards include the Edna K. McDonald Cultural Awareness Award, the Watson Merit Award and the Distinguished Professorship and Distinguished Service Award. He is a licensed independent social worker and has served as a board member for Meridian Services, Mahoning County Mental Health, Fish Samaritan House and the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund.


Board Chair Mike Peterson shared that the committees of the board had been very engaged in conversation through a wide range of topics. “We are all aware that these are some challenging times in higher education and we have positioned YSU to be more relevant in the community by committing to multiple pathways to a career via both degrees and industry, and career advancing credentials,” stated Peterson.

“Making such moves towards serving the region are highly desirable and we encourage leadership to continue taking such steps, such as creating a master of science in Data Science and Statistics. Finally, the Board looks forward to refreshing the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future as we guide towards a vibrant, sustainable, Youngstown State University Future State.”


Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023
Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023