YSU Board of Trustees summary, March 15 and 16

Charles Howell, right, dean of the Beeghly College of Education, gave Board of Trustees members a tour of the college prior to Thursday's board meeting. Trustees in the photo are Dr. Anita Hackstedde, Dr. Charles Bush, Dr. John Jakubek and Dave Deibel.

Youngstown State University
Board of Trustees
Wednesday, March 15, and
Thursday, March 16, 2017

New Centers of Excellence, a new master's degree option in Nurse Practitioner, updates on campus contruction projects and Culture of Community Committees were among the activities of the YSU Board of Trustees during two days of meetings Wednesday and Thursday, March 15 and 16.

The Board conducted a series of committee meetings, followed by its regular quarterly meeting. The following is a summary of actions taken and reports given during the meetings. For more details, including full texts of the resolutions and policies, click here.

President’s Report
President Tressel thanked Carole Weimer and Samantha Anderson for their service on the board and also thanked everyone on campus for their continued hard work. He said that when prospective students and visitors come to campus, they always comment about the friendliness of faculty and staff on campus. "It's exciting to work with people who have that kind of excellence in mind," he said.

Faculty Presentation
Joe Sanson, assistant professor of Engineering Technology, reported on research and testing that he is doing on epoxy used to repair cracks in concrete. Sanson said a local company approached him about conducting tests of its expoxy product. Lab tests show that the concrete holds 80 to 90 percent of its original load with an epoxy repair. Sanson said he would now like to test the epoxy in a real world setting, suggesting maybe using it to repair cracks in university parking decks.

Student Presentation
George Atkins, a former Presbyterian pastor and now a graduate student in the Counseling program, reported on his work with students in East High School in Youngstown. He said he works with high school juniors to prepare for ACT college entrance tests and with freshmen to help transition them into a high school environment. He said he also works with students on job interviewing skills and resume-writing.

Academic and Student Affairs

Approved a new option in the master’s program in Nursing for Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Practitioner. Valerie O’Dell, associate professor of Nursing, told the board that Mercy Health has been asking for quite a while “for us to get this program up and running.” Nancy Wagner, chair of Nursing, added, “The need is there.” Wagner said a survey of senior students in the bachelor’s in Nursing program revealed that 75 percent of them had an interest in attending graduate school, and 75 percent of those students expressed interested in the AG-ACNP option. Wagner said she plans for an enrollment of 8 to 10 students this Fall semester, increasing to about 22 students in five years.

Approved a new Early Childhood Intervention Specialist program in the Beeghly College of Education. Marcia Matanin, chair of Teacher Education, said teacher candidates need to increasingly be prepared that every classroom will have students with identified special needs. In addition, the number of English language learners will continue to increase in public schools. The new undergraduate program will lead to Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Intervention Specialist licenses with TESOL Endorsement, which Matanin said increases the marketability of YSU teacher candidates to meet the needs of all students in P-12 schools.

Approved conferring honorary degrees at Spring Commencement to:

  • Presley Gillespie, a 1992 YSU graduate in Speech Communications who is now president of Neighborhood Allies of Pittsburgh, a nonprofit focused on distressed areas. He is a former vice president with Key Bank of Youngstown and also former executive director of the Youngstown Community Development Corp.
  • Dr. George Young, chief executive of Kalypso LP. Young earned a bachelor’s degree from YSU in 1983, an MBA in Finance and Strategic Planning from Rice University and a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Ohio State University. He formerly was a partner with Deloitte Consulting and also held research/development, plant management and business management positions with BF Goodrich. He holds four patents and was the 1994 Northeast Ohio Inventor of the Year.

Approved a resolution to modify the university’s policy on Teaching by Staff. Changes to the policy include that non-exempt staff who teach on campus beyond a 40-hour workweek will be paid 1.5 times the established rate, as per federal requirements. All staff members may teach no more than one course per term without the approval of the provost. And, under the revisions, the credentials of staff members who teach will be collected and reviewed for certification.

Approved a resolution to establish five new Centers of Excellence at YSU. Provost Martin Abraham reported that the state initiated the Centers of Excellence program on campuses in 1994, but the centers never received state funding support. Nevertheless, the university continued the program with four Centers of Excellence on campus. Abraham said he asked Mike Hripko, associate vice president for Research, to review and re-assess the centers. The University Research Council sought proposals across campus. Nine proposals were submitted, and five were recommended for approval by the board:

  • Center for Sports Medicine and Applied Biomechanics.
  • Advanced Manufacturing Research Center.
  • Williamson College of Business Administration Center of Excellence in International Business.
  • Center of Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering.
  • Centofanti Center for Health and Welfare for Vulnerable Populations.

Abraham said the university has a $500,000 Center of Excellence budget, which will be distributed to the five centers. He also said that there were two former centers that did not apply for and, therefore, did not receive continued Center of Excellence designation: Rich Center of Excellence for the Study of Autism, and the Center for Applied Chemical Biology.

Approved a resolution to modify the policy on Integrity in Research-Use and Care of Animals. There were minimal changes.

Approved changing the name of the Department of Human Performance and Exercise Science to the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Science. Jennifer Pintar, department chair, said that, after researching 120 universities and colleges with similar programs, it was determined that the word “kinesiology” better captures the range and scholarly activities within the department.

Associate Provost Kevin Ball updated trustees on the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process. He reminded the board that an evaluation team from HLC will be on campus in March 2018. He said the YSU HLC Steering Committee has been working hard to develop audits for the five criteria identified by HLC. He mentioned several specific activities: development of a template and method for more consistent evaluations of part-time faculty members; development of an electronic platform to receive, document and address student complaints; review of more than 1,000 part-time faculty credentials to ensure alignment with HLC standards; continued review of academic programs; and ensuring that university disclosures are more accessible. He also said that the implementation of the Great Colleges Survey last year, while revealing many areas of weakness, reflects the university’s commitment to gathering data and addressing concerns on campus.

Hillary Fuhrman, director of Assessment, reported on the results of the National Survey of Student Engagement. Last year, 1,117 YSU first-year students and seniors took the survey. Fuhrman identified the following strengths in the results: overall satisfaction of students; high impact practices such as internships, service learning, study abroad, etc.; campus environment – quality of interactions and supportive environment. She also identified these challenges: learning strategies; diverse experiences (“This is probably our biggest area of concern.”); global learning. Provost Abraham said the challenges in global learning are not a surprise and that the survey results give the university a baseline on which to make improvements.

Provost Abraham reported on the work of the YSU Excellence and Success Committee, formed in response to the Great Colleges campus climate survey of university employees last year. The survey revealed a variety of concerns, including respect, shared governance and communications. Abraham said the committee is exploring ways to make improvements in all of those areas, and he specifically mentioned President Jim Tressel’s campus-wide Town Hall meetings and the provost’s Brown Bag Lunch meetings as ways to open up communication on campus. “We think we’re making some good progress,” but much work remains, he said. He also said that the Great Colleges survey will be implemented again in March. This time, rather than a sampling of employees, the survey will include all faculty, staff and administrators on campus.

The provost also announced that Mike Crist has been named interim associate vice president for Student Success, replacing Mike Reagle, who left the university earlier this month. Crist is the retired interim dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communication and long-time director of the Dana School of Music.

University Affairs

Approved a resolution to modify the policy on search waivers for hiring faculty and professional/administrative staff. The policy was modified to clarify the criteria utilized to review a request to forgo a standard search.

Approved a resolution to modify and retitle the Public Records policy. The policy was modified with few and minor revisions.

Approved a resolution to recruit an associate provost for Student Success. The position became vacant when Mike Reagle left the university earlier this month.

Approved a resolution to create Teaching Excellence Awards for part-time faculty. Such awards are now only available to full-time faculty. The policy allows for up to eight awards per year.

Approved a resolution to create Excellence Awards for Department Chairpersons. Previously, under the faculty contract, department chairs were eligible to receive the Distinguished Professor Award. The latest contract no longer allows for department chairs to receive the award.

Approved a resolution to recruit an executive director of Maag Library. Provost Abraham said the library has been without a permanent executive director for five years. President Tressel said it is important to hire someone who has experience in transitioning a library “into something that none of us right now may be able to imagine.” He added, “To us, this is a very important position for the institution.”

Approved a resolution to recruit an associate vice president for Technology and Chief Information Officer. Neal McNally, vice president for Finance and Business Operations, said the position was formerly held by Ken Schindler, who left the university in September 2016. Jim Yukech is serving as interim in the position.

Approved a resolution to establish Culture of Community Committees as standing committees of the university. The committees are: Respect and Well-Being, Inclusion and Awareness, Spirit and Tradition, and Excellence through Engagement. The committees report directly to the Board of Trustees. President Tressel said the pillars of the Culture of Community initiative are connected to findings in the campus climate and NSSE surveys. “This type of culture has to be in place if we are going to be successful” in making strides in those surveys, he said. The resolution emphasizes the importance of the Culture of Community to the campus as a whole.

Approved a resolution for personnel actions, including 21 appoints, nine separations, 14 reclassifications, three promotions and three salary adjustments/position audits.

Approved a resolution for personnel actions for Intercollegiate Athletics.

Ron Strollo, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, provided an overview of Intercollegiate Athletics on campus, including a review of the department’s mission and vision statement and information on memberships in the NCAA, Horizon League and Missouri Valley Football Conference. Strollo said the university has 11 women’s teams, eight men’s teams and facilities that include Stambaugh Stadium, Beeghly Center, WATTS and the west of Fifth Avenue fields.

Investment Subcommittee

Approved a resolution on Hartland’s recommendation to rebalance the non-endowment and long-term investment pool of the university.

Sarah Parker of Hartland provided an overview of the universities non-endowment and endowment investments.

Audit subcommittee

Approved a resolution to change the name of the Office of Internal Audit and Risk Management to the Office of Internal Audit.

Sarah Gampo, internal auditor, reported that the YSU Anonymous Reporting Line is up and running. She said her office will continue to build awareness of the hotline across campus. She also presented an audit timeline matrix that tracks the progress of the implementation of recommendations for improvement or correction made by internal and external auditors. In addition, Gampo updated the committee on the FY2017 internal audit plan.

Chris Wentz, associate director and Information Security Officer, updated the board on cyber security advances on campus. Wentz said cybersecurity is the number one IT issue facing universities around the globe. As YSU expands programs, research and services, it is increasingly exposed to potential cyber threats. For instance, in January 2017, only 21 percent of email delivered to @ysu.edu email addresses was delivered to a user’s inbox. The remaining 79 percent was determined to be malicious or originated from a criminally-controlled system. During the week of Feb. 5 alone, more than 65,500 connection attempts or remote executive attempts categorized as high or critical were blocked on the university’s firewalls from more than 50 countries, including Russia, China, Iran, Kazakhstan and the United States. Wentz reported on several steps being taken to address growing threats, including new software designed to identify sensitive information in the university system, enhanced email protection and a vulnerability management program.

Institutional Engagement

Approved a resolution accepting 1,846 memberships of Alumni Relations and WYSU-FM, totaling $165,227.

Chris Hartman and Gary Sexton of WYSU-FM reported on the radio station’s Disaster Response Plan. He said the plan allows for the radio station to become a major distributor of news and information in the event of a major emergency or crisis in the community. “We understand that if we are not prepared, the public is not prepared, and we take that responsibility very seriously,” Hartman said.

Interim YSU Police Chief Shawn Varso reported on the university’s Campus Emergency Management Plan. He said the second floor of the YSU Police Department building on Wood Street would serve as the university’s emergency operations center in the event of a campus crisis. He also said that WYSU, which has a generator and is on a separate power grid, would serve as a backup location for the EOC.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, reported that the Foundation received 1,473 new gifts and pledges totaling $5.9 million for the second quarter of FY 2017. The quarterly report shows that the number of new gifts is down by 818 from the same period last year. The number of pledges is also down, by 104. McFadden and Heather Chunn, Foundation vice president, reported that a mailing sent to prospective donors in the Fall was not as effective as they hoped it would be. They are planning a second solicitation letter this spring. Asked about online giving, Chunn said donors can give online, but she said the Foundation does not solicit for donations online.

Finance and Facilities

Approved a resolution to establish new room rates to accommodate graduate and family housing in Weller House, effective summer semester 2017. In a continued effort to provide a variety of housing options on campus, Weller House will be used for graduate and family housing, accommodating students and their families with on-campus housing. Since the change will result in a reduction in occupancy, new housing rates are being requested - $10,000 per academic year for two bedroom units suitable for families, and $8,000 per academic year for single apartments either one bedroom or efficiency units.

Approved a resolution to modify the university’s Electronic Information Technology Accessibility Policy. The policy stems from an agreement between YSU and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to ensure that the university’s website and online teaching applications are accessible to individuals with disabilities. Holly Jacobs, general counsel, said the USDOE approved the new EIT policy with only minor changes. She said a new timeline projects that the compliance agreement should be concluded by June 30, 2018.

McNally presented a report showing that revenues and expenses in the university’s general fund budget are tracking on target as planned for the first six months of the fiscal year. Compared to the prior fiscal year, revenues were approximately $1 million or 0.9 percent higher, while total expenses were about $600,000 or 0.7 percent lower. He also reported on projections for fiscal year 2018, including Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget for higher education. The proposal calls for a 1 percent increase in state funding (although McNally said that, with the most recent state income projections, the increase may not make it into the final, approved state budget); a two-year freeze of tuition and nearly all fees except room and board; and an initiative to help students pay for textbooks that could cost YSU up to $3 million. “It’s something we really need to keep an eye on,” McNally said about the textbook proposal. President Tressel said the increased burden on students for textbook costs is a growing concern that universities must address, but right now, he said, this proposal is not the right approach.

McNally also reported that, during the FY 2016-2017 biennium, the state approved seven fee waivers for YSU – Affordable Tuition Advantage, College Credit Plus, College of Education Regional Delivery, Distance Education, Jump Start, Master of Respiratory Care and Youngstown Early College. A separate agenda item will be presented to the board in June for renewal of the waiver requests. McNally said he believes that each waiver has generally produced intended outcomes.

Rich White, director of Planning and Construction, and John Hyden, executive director of Facilities, discussed various capital projects on campus. White specifically mentioned the Heritage Park Wall now under construction along Elm Street across from Fedor Hall, continued construction of the new Barnes and Noble bookstore on Fifth Avenue and ongoing work on Wick Avenue, which is projected to be finished by August. White also told the board about renovations at Meshel, Ward Beecher and Bliss halls, the Beeghly natatorium, Ward Beecher biology labs, the roof of Jones Hall, and design of the Constantini Multi-media Center at Stambaugh Stadium. Hyden also reported that the second phase of The Edge apartments on the west side of campus are on target to open for the start of the Fall semester. President Tressel reported that the new apartments are already 70 percent booked.

McNally discussed with the board a progress report issued by the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education. In the report, YSU was rated “unacceptable” in three of the seven categories. He said the report is “frustrating” because it does not seem to recognize all of the steps YSU has taken to keep its student costs low, including an expanded bulk rate and reduction in number of credit hours to earn a degree. He said the items that the progress report focus on are not necessarily true indicators of affordability and efficiency, noting that YSU’s tuition is 25 percent lower than the state average and 9 percent lower than the national average.

Trusteeship Committee

Approved a resolution to amend the board’s bylaws to include the president of the Academic Senate as a member of the trustees’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee.

Governance Committee

Approved the following board officers for the 2017-18 fiscal year:

Leonard Schiavone, chair

Dee Crawford, vice chair

Franklin Bennett, secretary.


The board approved resolutions of appreciation for Board Chair Carole Weimer and Student Trustee Samantha Anderson, whose terms expire. Weimer was appointed to the board in 2008 and has served on every committee of the board and with four presidents. She has been chair of the trustees since 2014. Anderson was appointed to the board in 2015.

Weimer said she was honored to be appointed to the board by former Gov. Ted Strickland. She said the nine-year term seemed like a very long commitment, but the time moved quickly. She said YSU allows students to understand that anything is possible. Students interact closely with faculty; they are inspired. She thanked the university's leadership and encouraged them to continue to lead by example. While YSU continues to change and evolve, students must always be at the forefront, she said. "YSU is truly the jewel of our Valley," she added. "Thanks for the memories, and Go 'Guins."

Anderson thanked board members, President Tressel and the administration for their guidance and support during her two-year term. She said she was honored to serve and grateful for the opportunity.

Nathan Myers, associate provost for International and Global Initiatives, presented a report to the board summarizing his office's work over the past year. Myers reported international enrollment of 319 students, including 216 bachelor-degree students and 81 master-level students. More than a third of the students, 121, come from Saudi Arabia, with 83 from India, 22 from Ghana, and 18 each from Nepal and Kuwait. He said expanding international recruitment and study abroad opportunities is very important for YSU and that the administration has made a significant investment to broaden capacity. "It makes financial sense, absolutely, but it also makes academic sense," he said.

The board set the following meeting dates and times:
3 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Setember, date and time to be announced
3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017