YSU Board of Trustees summary, June 5 and 6, 2019

YSU Board of Trustees summary
June 5 and 6, 2019

The YSU Board of Trustees approved a $184 million operating budget for fiscal year 2020, formally appointed Brien Smith as the university's new provost, approved a new doctoral degree in Nursing Practice-Anesthesia and discussed security on campus during its quarterly meetings Wednesday and Thursday, June 5 and 6, on campus. 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.

President’s Report
President Jim Tressel said 2018-19 was an extraordinary academic year, with many successes and a lot of hard work, collaboration, planning and thinking about the future. He said there are too many accomplishments to list them all, but he mentioned two in particular: the awarding of the Athena Award to Tammy King, interim dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services; and the awarding of the John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges to the YSU Board of Trustees.

Oath of Office
Allen L. Ryan Jr. of Niles, director of Corporate Affairs for Covelli Enterprises, took the oath as the newest member of the YSU Board of Trustees. Ryan, appointed by Gov. Mike DeWine, will serve a nine-year term through April 2028.

Victoria M. Woods, a Nursing major from Warren, took the oath as a new student member of the YSU Board of Trustees. Woods, who graduated from Warren G. Harding High School in 2017, was appointed by Gov. Mike DeWine and will serve a two-year term.

Faculty Presentations
Claudia Berlinski, assistant professor of Art and coordinator of the McDonough Museum of Art, reported on the successes of the museum over the past year, including two new exhibits opening this month, an emerging artist exhibition planned for the fall and a successful alumni exhibit held earlier this year.

Patrick O’Leary, associate professor of Human Ecology, reported on Parents Forum Youngstown, a program that starts this fall aimed at supporting Youngstown’s most vulnerable parents. He noted that Youngstown has the highest poverty rate in the nation, many students who struggle academically, and many young people with high rates of discipline problems. Parents Forum is designed to teach best practices in parenting, utilizing smart phone technology for feedback and support.  

Student Presentations
Kristyn A. Wolf, a graduate student in Counseling, School Psychology and Educational Leadership, talked about her internship at the Ohio State Penitentiary, which houses 502 inmates in the highest security facility in the state. She treated inmates, performed inmate intakes and referrals and assessed inmates in crisis.

Alanis Chew, a double major in Mathematics and Statistics and Business Economics, talked about her experience at YSU, including research opportunities, connections with faculty and staff, involvement with various honors societies and student groups, and participation in various conferences.

Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee

Approved a resolution to modify the policy on Intellectual Property Rights. The review and modifications are part of the board’s continued updating of university policies.

Approved a resolution for the new Doctor of Nursing Practice-Anesthesia Option. Nurse Anesthetist students who complete the program will be eligible to take examinations for certification from the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists. “It’s a very big step for our program,” said Nancy Wagner, chair of the Department of Nursing. YSU, in partnership with St. Elizabeth Health Center School of Nurse Anesthetists, launched a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia in 2001. The Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs has since mandated that students in 2022 and beyond must earn doctoral degrees. The 100-credit, 36-month DNP at YSU includes more than 3,000 clinical hours and will be supervised by Valerie O’Dell, associate professor and Graduate Program director in the YSU Department of Nursing. Projected enrollment is 15 to 20 students per year.

Approved a resolution to authorize recommendations of candidates for honorary degrees. The board provides a list of candidates, which is reviewed and recommended by the Academic Events Committee, the provost and the president.

Approved a resolution for tenure for Brien Smith, the new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Smith will be a tenured professor in the Department of Management in the Williamson College of Business Administration.

Approved a resolution to assure the strategic planning process culminates with an effectiveness framework to implement the plan and, thereby, to “take charge of our future.” The board previously approved two resolutions setting forth parameters and expectations pertaining to the university’s strategic planning process, including an outline of areas of focus. This resolution is intended to assure a framework exists to ensure that the plan can be effectively implemented. The resolution says that, to assure the success of the plan, Key Performance Indicators should be identified. The resolution also says that it is expected that an outline of procedures for implementation, created by the vice presidential divisions, will be available in early Fall semester. Tressel said he thinks this is the most important resolution before the board during this round of meetings because it is a pledge by the university to ensure that procedures and operations are in place so the university can operate as efficiently and effectively as possible as it focuses on academic excellence and student success.

Approved a resolution recognizing the leadership of YSU Student Government, particularly students Ernie Barkett and Caroline Smith, in developing a proposal regarding the use of BlackBoard by university faculty. The proposal was subsequently endorsed by the Academic Senate.

Eddie Howard, vice president for Student Affairs, updated the board on Fall 2019 enrollment. A report with enrollment numbers as of June 3 shows applications, admitted students and Honors College applications are down so far for this coming Fall semester. Average ACT and high school GPAs of those incoming students is slightly up. Howard said the enrollment goal for Fall is 12,696. Nate Myers, associate provost for International and Global Initiatives, reported that he expects international student enrollment to increase again this Fall, pointing out that Vietnam, Ethiopia and Pakistan are emerging markets for enrollment. Howard said student housing is already near full for Fall, with only 57 beds remaining.

Kevin Ball, associate provost, reported that the university hopes to hear soon from the Higher Learning Commission regarding final approval of the proposed PhD and master of science in Health Sciences programs, through the Department of Physical Therapy.

Brien Smith, provost; Claire Berardini, associate provost for Student Success; and Mike Sherman, special assistant to the president, updated the board on student success efforts on campus. Berardini shared a chart showing when, in their careers at YSU, students depart the university. The chart showed that, of the students entering YSU in Fall 2017, 30 percent had left by Spring 2019. Smith talked about core things the university can do to increase student persistence and success, including: continually assuring students of the value and the return on investment of a YSU degree; ensuring faculty, staff, practices and policies demonstrate that YSU cares about students and their success; ensuring curricula, systems and practices are in place to increase persistence and to make steady progress to graduation; ensuring faculty, staff, practices and policies are in place to make students feel they belong and are valued.

Chet Cooper, professor of Biological Sciences and chair of the Academic Senate, provided a summary of Senate actions for the 2018-19 academic year, including efforts to improve the First Year Experience program, to re-envision the university’s general education program, and to develop best practices in curriculum and programming.

Jennifer Pintar, associate provost, presented data showing 56 reports of student academic dishonesty during academic year 2018-19. Nearly 60 percent the cases were plagiarism. In all but two of the cases, students accepted responsibility for the action. Of the two cases that went to a hearing, one student was found guilty and the other not guilty.

Finance and Facilities Committee

Approved a resolution to modify the university’s Cash Collection Sites policy. The policy was reviewed as part of the board’s regular review and update of policies.

Approved changes to tuition and fees for the 2019-20 academic year. Even with the adjustments, YSU’s tuition remains the lowest among public comprehensive universities in the state. With the implementation of the Penguin Tuition Promise, YSU now has three levels of undergraduate in-state tuition 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.

Approved the university’s fiscal year 2019-20 operating budget. Highlights:

  • The $183.96 million budget is nearly $3.8 million or 2.1 percent higher than the previous year.
  • The budget assumes flat full-time equivalent student enrollments, a 0.5 percent or $233,000 increase in state share of instruction funding and a $404,000 in “other” revenue sources, namely investment earnings and facility rental income.
  • Tuition adjustments will generate nearly $2.5 million in additional revenue.
  • The spending plan also includes these increases: 1 percent or $850,000 in the fringe benefit rate, $1.3 million in salary and wage adjustments and $1.5 million in institutional scholarship expenses.
  • In addition, the budget assumes $4.9 million in expense avoidance through deferred staff hiring and spending controls. There are currently 72 full-time equivalent staff position vacancies included in the budget, totaling $5.6 million in potential cost avoidance.

Approved a resolution to modify and update the Investment of the University’s Non-Endowment policy as part of the regular review of university policies.

John Hyden, associate vice president for Facilities, reported to the board progress that is being made to secure doors on campus, in the wake of the campus lockdown that occurred late last year. Hyden said changes will be made so that all classroom doors will always be locked when closed. To open the door from the outside, a key is needed. In the event of an emergency, to secure the door, it only needs to be closed. Hyden said all new locks will be installed by the start of Fall semester 2019. He also said the change means that faculty and others who need access to classrooms must make sure that they have keys to the doors. Police Chief Shawn Varso said the lock solution allows doors to be secured quickly and simply and gives faculty members more control over emergency situations. The board had a lengthy discussion about campus security.

Rich White, director of Planning and Construction, updated the board on several construction projects underway on campus, including the Don Constantini Multimedia Center at Stambaugh Stadium, renovations to the Physical Therapy department in Cushwa Hall, construction of the Cafaro Family Field on the northside of campus, renovations to Meshel Hall, a new parking lot across from WATTS, the building of a new Tennis Center on the west side of campus, the demolition of the old City Printing building on Elm Street and renovation of space in Kilcawley Center by Dunkin Donuts for new offices for The Jambar student newspaper.

Institutional Engagement Committee

Approved a resolution to accept gifts to WYSU-FM for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2019 totaling $193,077 from 1,334 members. That’s up from $172,569 and 1,242 members for the same period last fiscal year.

Mike Hripko, associate vice president for External Affairs, Government Relations and Economic Development, updated the board on the MVICC Excellence Training Center. He said the plan is to break ground on the facility in September. He also reported a possible new affiliation with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a recent visit by the Air Force’s chief technology officer, new partnerships with Case Western University and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and a $500,000 request to the Ohio Department of Higher Education for operational support for the center.

Becky Rose, assistant director of Communications, presented campus communications that have been distributed regarding the strategic planning process.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, reported on gifts totaling $1.345 million that were made to the Foundation for the January to March 2019 quarter. He also reported on the progress of the $100 million “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign.

University Affairs Committee

Approved a resolution to rescind and replace the Hiring and Selection Process, Contracts and Compensation for Intercollegiate Athletic Coaches policy. After review by Intercollegiate Athletics, the policy was substantially modified; therefore, the current policy was rescinded and replaced with the modified version.

Approved a resolution to ratify personnel actions in Intercollegiate Athletics, including four appointments, four separations, one reclassification, one salary adjustment and one multi-year appointment.

Approved a resolution to modify the Selection and Evaluation of the President of the University Policy. The policy has been modified to include the statutory authority of the board to select and evaluate the president.

Approved a resolution to rescind the Compensation and Salary Studies/Plans policy. The policy is being rescinded because the university’s salary and compensation plans are now assessed on an ongoing basis by the Office of Human Resources.

Approved the selection of Brien Smith as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. Smith served seven years as dean of the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University. As YSU’s second-highest ranking officer, Smith will oversee all academic operations of the university. He was selected after a four-month search that drew more than 60 applicants from across the country. Smith replaces Joe Mosca, who has served as YSU’s interim provost since June 2018. Smith, who holds bachelor’s, master’s and a PhD in Industrial Psychology from Auburn University in Alabama, previously spent 23 years at Ball State University in Indiana in a variety of capacities, including assistant chair in the Department of Management, assistant dean for Graduate Programs, chair of the Department of Marketing and Management and associate dean of the Miller College of Business. He also served two terms as chair of the University Faculty Senate at Ball State.

Approved a resolution to award the President’s Leadership Merit Award to Katrena S. Davidson, university controller. The award recognizes executive and administrative officers who have made distinctive contributions to the university’s mission and ideals. The resolution says Davidson has effectively led critical administrative areas that include Payroll, Grants Accounting, Procurement Services, Accounts Payable, Travel Services and General Accounting. The resolution says Davidson “has performed multifaceted duties as controller with exceptional professionalism” and, as a direct result, the university has received high marks on external audits. She “routinely works extra hours, often staying late and working on weekends and holidays to keep pace with her heavy and mission-critical workload, while always displaying a pleasant disposition in the workplace and pride in the university,” the resolution says.

Approved the conferral of emeritus status for retired faculty and administrators:

  • Faculty: Raymond Beiersdorfer, professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences (posthumously); Johanna Krontiris-Litowitz, professor of Biological Sciences; Kathleen Mumaw, assistant professor of Accounting and Finance; Guy Shebat, senior lecturer of English (posthumously); and Fran Wolf, professor of Accounting and Finance.
  • Administrative staff: Mary Lou DiPillo, associate dean of the Beeghly College of Education; Christina Hardy, director of Career and Academic Advising; Cynthia Hixenbaugh, assistant editor/YSU Magazine editor in the Office of Marketing and Communications; Sylvia Imler, associate vice president of Multicultural Affairs; Barbara Krauss, fine arts/news announcer and producer at WYSU-FM (posthumously); Richard Marsico, director of IT Application Services; and Mary Ellen Munroe, coordinator of Graduate Admissions in the College of Graduate Studies.

Approved a resolution extending to classified YSU law enforcement employees excluded from collective bargaining the same economic provisions included in the recently approved three-year contract with the Fraternal Order of Police.

Approved a resolution to ratify personnel actions, including five appointments, 12 separations, four reclassifications, three promotions, one salary adjustment and one multi-year appointment.

Approved a resolution to reclassify Mike Sherman, special assistant to the president, as vice president, Institutional Effectiveness and Board Professional. The new executive officer position provides leadership, vision and direction in the administration of an array of initiatives, services and policies related to institutional research, strategic planning implementation and assessment and an integrated and over-arching approach to institutional effectiveness.

Approved a resolution to reclassify Amy Cossentino, senior director of the Honors College, as the dean of the Honors College. The position provides leadership in strategic planning, vision, fiscal management and in implementing operations and long-term continuous assessment and evaluation for the Honors College.

Emily Wollet, associate director of Athletics, provided an overview of NCAA rules compliance.

Holly Jacobs, vice president for Legal Affairs and Human Resources, introduced Mark Weir, the new director of Equal Opportunity and Policy Compliance. Weir also coordinates the university’s Title IX program. He previously was assistant director of Equity and Inclusion at Carlow University in Pittsburgh.

Cindy Kravitz, associate vice president for Human Resources, and Weir presented the annual Affirmative Action Plan.

Governance Committee

The board elected the following officers for 2019-20:

  • Chair, Dave Deibel
  • Vice chair, Anita Hackstedde
  • Secretary, Franklin S. Bennett Jr.


Tressel reported the passing of the following individuals:

  • Victor Richley, retired faculty and chair of the Department of Engineering Technology.
  • Mary Kay Buckely D’Isa, part-time Art instructor
  • Steve Sowers, automotive mechanic

Chair’s comments
Deibel said it is an honor and privilege to serve as chair of the board. He welcomed Ryan and Woods to the board, welcomed Smith as provost and thanked Joe Mosca, who has served as interim provost since June 2018, for his service. He also thanked fellow board members, President Tressel and all YSU faculty, staff and students. “Thank you all for making us YSU and proud,” he added.

Upcoming meetings of the board

  • 10 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019
  • 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019
  • 10 a.m. Thursday, March 5, 2020