YSU Board of Trustees Summary, Sept. 19 and 20, 2023

The renewed Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future, the General Education Transformation framework and a new program to give students the ability to have access to all of the required materials for their classes on the first day of the semester were among topics discussed and actions taken during two days of meetings this week by the YSU Board of Trustees. The board met in Tod Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 19 and 20. For the full resolutions, and other background materials, visit the Board of Trustees website. Here’s a summary.

Oath of Office

Board Secretary Anita Hackstedde gave the Oath of Office to Student Trustee Natalie Dando and National/Global Trustee Jocelyne Kollay Linsalata. A junior Chemical Engineering major, Dando’s term expires in 2025. A two-time graduate of YSU and a Youngstown native, Linsalata's term runs until 2026.

President’s Report

Interim President Helen K. Lafferty said that, since the board’s last regular meetings in June, “We have had a successful beginning to the Fall semester for our students and a successful collective bargaining agreement for our faculty.” Lafferty presented some of the highlights from the reports made to the Board during committee meetings the previous day. She shared that for Spring semester 2023 YSU “led the Horizon League with 167 student athletes named to the Horizon League academic honor roll, the most of all the teams in the league, with a GPA of 3.2 to qualify.” She also discussed a collaboration between the Bursars Office and via Internal Audit through an agreement with Kent State University, data security measures on campus and facility upgrades and renovations across campus. Lafferty ended her report by thanking those responsible for negotiating both the collective bargaining agreements for the faculty and ACE. “Our negotiators spend countless hours negotiating what will be best for everyone involved, and I applaud them for their dedication and commitment,” she stated. “I thank you for making us an institution of opportunity.”


Laura Dewberry, senior lecturer, Department of Management and Marketing, discussed the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, housed in the Williamson College of Business Administration. The Center for nonprofit leadership prepares students for a career where they can make a living making a difference. The courses and co- curricular experiences help students understand that they can serve others enrich human life and create social change, all while earning a good living.

Elena Bocola-Mavar, Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia Program, shared her experience in the program. She spoke about presenting her research, participating in a College Bowl competition for anesthesia students and serving as an advocate for the profession on the national level. She indicated she was proud of the stature of this program in the State.

Student Organization - Choose Ohio First STEM Research Program
Student trustees Julie Centofanti and Natalie Dando along with Emilie Brown, coordinator for STEM Outreach in the STEM college shared their experiences in and success of the Choose Ohio First STEM Research program. Choose Ohio First is a state funded scholarship program designed to significantly strengthen Ohio’s competitiveness within STEM disciplines and to increase the number of STEM teachers. This program has been awarded $5.8 million from the state of Ohio to be used for student scholarships through the year 2028.

Nate Miklos, head coach women’s golf, talked about the women’s golf program and about his commitment to YSU and the challenges for student athletes competing in the sport. He has led the team to two Horizon League championships in 2015 and 2021. Senior Titita Loudtragulngam a Biology/Pre-Med major from Thailand shared that she loves the challenge of golf as every shot is different from every other before and after it. She indicated while they are student athletes, there is a high degree of comradery amongst the team members.


Ron Strollo, director of Intercollegiate Athletics, reported on recent personnel actions in Athletics, including one separation, four appointments, 11 salary adjustments, two reclassifications/position adjustments, three promotions and one multi-year contract extended.

Strollo also presented several charts showing YSU Athletics’ 2021-22 financials compared to other universities in the Horizon, Missouri Valley and Mid-American conferences. For instance, YSU spent $4.2 million and generated revenue of $2.1 million on football, compared to the average of $4.9 million and $1.1 million, respectively, across the MVFC. YSU ranked eighth out of 11 in the MVFC in football expenses and in salaries. In the Horizon League, YSU spent $1.7 million on men’s basketball and $1.1 million on women’s basketball, compared to average in the league of $2.8 million and $1.8 million, respectively. YSU athletics generated $4.7 million in revenue, compared to the Horizon League average of $2.6 million across all league sports. In addition, the reports show YSU spent $8.1 million on men’s sports and $5.6 million on women’s sports, compared to peer average of $12.8 million and $6.6 million, respectively.

Strollo also presented on Name, Image and Likeness at YSU. He shared that in 2022-23, NIL earnings for YSU student athletes increased 144% from $50,690 in 2021-22 to $124,012 in 2022-23. He shared information provided by YSU's NIL partner, Opendorse, that shows YSU student-athletes earn far more on average than their league peers. YSU was recognized by the Horizon League/Opendorse as the top earning school in 2022-23 while the top 3 individual earning athletes all were YSU student-athletes. Other information provided by Opendorse, shows that YSU Men's Basketball, Football and Women's Basketball student-athletes earn much higher than the top average earners amongst their conference peers and in footballs case, the entire FCS.


John Colla of Clearstead presented the Quarterly Portfolio Asset Allocation and Investment Performance Review for YSU investments, noting that the U.S. economy remained resilient in the first half of 2023. The university’s total non-endowment assets grew by nearly 7%, fiscal year-to-date, he said.


Approved a Resolution to Renew and Amend the Internal Audit Charter. The charter was reviewed as part of the university’s regular review cycle and was updated to reflect best practices.

Approved a Resolution to Renew and Amend the Audit Subcommittee Charter. The charter was reviewed as part of the university’s regular review cycle.

Sarah Gampo, director of Internal Audit at Kent State University updated the subcommittee on the YSU-KSU shared services agreement and presented an audit report on Banner access. Michelle DiLullo, YSU staff auditor, reported on an internal audit report on the office of the University Bursar and also updated the subcommittee on the YSU Anonymous Reporting Hotline, the FY23 Fourth Quarter Internal Audit Plan and the Audit Matrix Open Audit Recommendations. Notably, an outcome of the Bursar audit will be a redesign of student bill to simplify and increase understanding of the charges. Julie Gentile, director of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety updated the subcommittee on Enterprise Risk Management for the university. Justin Bettura, chief IT security officer, briefed the subcommittee on YSU’s significant ongoing cyber-security efforts.


Approved a Resolution to Modify Debt Management Policy, 3356-3-14. The policy was reviewed as part of the university’s regular review cycle.

Approved a Resolution to Modify Use of University Equipment Policy, 3356-4-19. The policy was reviewed as part of the university’s regular review cycle.

Approved a Resolution to Approve Interfund Transfers Related to FY 2023 Year-End Operating Performance. Neal McNally, vice president for Finance & Business Operations, reported that the university ended fiscal year 2023 with a combined fund balance of $4 million in the general and auxiliary funds. The resolution allocates $2.5 million to the general fund budget to support current year operations. The remainder of the funds were allocated to academic and auxiliary plant funds to be used for future repairs and maintenance to facilities and equipment.

Approved a Resolution to Approve FY25 Housing and Courtyard Rates. Room and board for the FY25 cohort of students staying in university residence halls will increase 4.9% to $10,920 a year. Monthly rent for the University Courtyard Apartments will increase by $15 for each apartment type. Joy Polkabala Byers, associate vice president for student experience, indicated this increase is to respond to increasing business costs.

John Hyden, associate vice president of University Facilities, and Rich White, director of Planning and Construction, updated the board on several capital projects, including ongoing elevator safety repairs and replacements, building envelope renovations, utility distribution upgrades/expansion, Stambaugh classroom/Beeghly Physical Therapy area renovations, campus roof replacements and the completion of the Arlington parking facility. They also discussed projects in development for 2023-24, including the Maag Library Learning Commons, Student Center renovation, Ward Beecher renovation and Emergency Generator upgrade projects.

Neal McNally presented a historical summary of state of Ohio capital funding appropriations. Since the mid-1980’s, state funding levels have fallen by 91% when adjusted for CPI inflation. This sharp decrease in state capital funding over the past 40 years is the primary reason why YSU (and universities across the state) have untenable backlogs of deferred maintenance in campus buildings. McNally noted that concerns about deferred maintenance will likely worsen during the FY 2026-27 capital biennium when most of YSU’s next state capital appropriation will be earmarked for student center renovations. At the height, YSU’s capital allocation was $34.5 million, whereas it is currently roughly $10.5 million.


Approved a Resolution to Renew the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future. The resolution endorses the substantially adjusted Plan which was reviewed with input provided via the Academic Senate and via faculty through chairpersons of departments.

Mike Sherman, vice president for student affairs, institutional effectiveness and board professional reported that the Board and leadership agreed that much has been accomplished implementing the Plan and the time was right for renewal, particularly in advance of naming the next president, expected to implement the Plan. He added that Sustainability was added as an overarching theme complimenting Student Futures and Lifelong Learning, Academic Distinction and Discovery of Knowledge, and Collective Impact with the Community. It was noted the previous Plan had two sections; by adding Sustainability, there now exists one document constituting the entire Plan. He expressed to the Board that such Plans are dynamic and adjustments are made in real-time, also indicating that if such adjustments materially changed the Plan, the Board would be updated on such a significant change. Brien Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs, indicated that such a Plan helps set strategic directions that achieve the mission of the university.


Approved a Resolution to Modify Employment of Students Under the Federal Work-Study Program Policy, 3356-9-03.2. The policy was reviewed as part of the university’s regular review cycle.

Approved a Resolution to Modify Faculty Workload Policy, 3356-10-20. The policy was recommended for modification to match the language changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement and reflect the addition of the new term position, Principal Lecturer. Summer workload for thesis, non-thesis, or dissertation projects was also clarified.

Approved a Resolution to Authorize Conferral of Honorary Degree on Bob DiPiero, a graduate of the Dana School of Music at YSU and notable country music songwriter. He has written 15 number one U.S. hits and several Top 20 singles for Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Shenandoah, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, Martina McBride, Trace Adkins, Travis Tritt and many others. He has been recognized on the Nashville Walk of Fame and is a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee.

Brien Smith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs and Jennifer Pintar, associate provost for Academic Administration, reported on the consideration of engaging with AP to create and support undergraduate online programs. “In Fall of 2021 about 31% of all Ohio undergraduate online students are going out of state,” said Pintar. It is projected that the online undergraduate programs will launch in January 2025.

Pintar spoke about the General Education Transformation framework. She shared that the Academic Senate had recently passed the framework and work is being done to incorporate micro-credentialing into the framework to assist students with career readiness.

Joy Polkabla Byers, associate vice president of Student Experience introduced the Pete Complete Book Program. The program, slated for launch in Fall 2024, gives students the ability to have access to all of the required materials for their classes on the first day of the semester for a flat per credit hour rate. Such an approach helps reduce the costs of textbooks. Students can choose to opt out of the program on a semester-by-semester basis.

Pintar; Nicole Kent-Strollo, dean of students and ombudsperson; and Francine Packard, director of Student Counseling Services reported the relocation of the Dean of Students and Counseling Services to the third floor of DeBartolo Hall. The new Thrive Center will bring the Dean of Student offices, Student Counseling Services and the Penguin Pantry under the same roof. An Ohio Department of Higher Education grant, meant to prioritize student mental health was obtained and will be used for the move as well as to secure two additional counselors. Packard spoke about the ability to create higher quality services by partnering with the graduate programs in Social Work and Counseling to help expand social and emotional services to students on campus.

Claire Berardini, associate provost for Student Success introduced Sara Fugett, director of Career Exploration and Development. Fugett discussed the importance of increasing experiential learning opportunities and access to internships for all students and the idea of embedding career development in the curriculum to better prepare students for the future.

Martha Pallante, chair of the YSU Academic Senate, reported that Senate did pass the new framework for general education and that they are exploring Writing within the Discipline options to better prepare students for their chosen careers. She also spoke about the strong working relationship with the Student Government Association the finalized reciprocal agreement that helps to outline faculty and student responsibilities.


Approved a Resolution to Modify Alcoholic Beverages on Campus, Policy 3356-5-10. The policy was reviewed as part of the university’s regular review cycle.

Approved a Resolution to Approve Student Scholarships & Grants, Administration, and Awarding, Policy 3356-8-10. Sherman indicated this resolution was proposed to assure that there is only one area on campus, the Office of Student Financial Aid, through which scholarships can be offered. The offering of scholarships (anything by such a designation or that can be interpreted as such) is intricately interconnected with Federal and State rules and regulations and a substantial portion of institutional revenue is derived from such sources. Such a requirement is therefore, a risk mitigation strategy by putting in place appropriate oversight and controls.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, reported that the Foundation received $20.2 million in gifts in FY 2023. He also reported 721 new gifts and pledges totaling $2.9 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023. He said the Foundation has decided to send a special spring mailing to support fundraising for the Zoldan Family Student Center project. McFadden then presented a list of naming gifts and pledges totaling more than $10 million, mostly for named spaces in the Zoldan Family Student Center. Additionally, McFadden presented an updated menu of naming gifts, ranging from $100,000 for named classrooms to $1.5 million for named academic departments and schools.

Sherman and Elaine Ruse, associate vice president for Student Enrollment and Business Services, provided a Fall 2024 enrollment update: innovating for enrollment market share. Sherman shared some of the most recent steps that have been taken to roll out the new “Know Y” brand and spoke about how the new brand “will be a central component of using marketing in very strategic ways to drive enrollment.” Ruse spoke about how the office of Undergraduate Admissions is “trying to focus on different groups in order to recruit students in a more targeted way, using targeted messaging and strategies to try to influence enrollment decisions.” She indicated that “once a university wide enrollment plan is created, targets for yield will be established for each of the special populations, keeping market share in mind.” Ruse also shared the YSU went live on the Common App in August.


Actions - These policies were reviewed as part of the university’s regular review cycle.
Approved a Resolution to Modify Sick Leave Accrual, Use and Conversion, Excluded Professional/Administrative and Excluded Classified Staff Policy, 3356-7-13.

Approved a Resolution to Modify Political Activities of Employees Policy, 3356-7-25.

Approved a Resolution to Modify Classified Civil Service Employees Policy, 3356-7-41.

Approved a Resolution to Modify Supplemental Pay for Faculty and Professional/Administrative Staff Policy, 3356-7-46.

Approved a Resolution to Modify Relocation Allowance for New Full-time Employee Policy, 3356-7-54.

Approved a Resolution to Ratify Personnel Appointments, including 43 separations, 20 appointments, 23 reclassifications/position adjustments, 15 promotions and 16 salary adjustments.


Jennifer Oddo, vice president of Workforce Education and Innovation, and David Janofa, associate vice president reported on divisional highlights, strategic initiatives, the quarterly financial overview, departmental updates and key performance indicators for the Division of Workforce Education and Innovation. Oddo shared that the YSU Workforce Team has been making great strides in aligning the division’s mission and vision to support YSU's Take Charge of Our Future Strategic Action Plan, staying focused on quality of experience, stakeholder engagement and sustainability. Janofa spoke about the current efforts taking place on a state grant called Tech Prep, to further advance pathways to articulation. He also spoke about the recently introduced Industry Recognized Credential Assurance Guides (ITAG) which are slowly being developed and approved to be delivered by YSU Workforce. These will increase opportunity for future and current students to start on a pathway to a college degree. Oddo shared that the Divisional Administrative Offices, IT Workforce Accelerator and the James P. Tressel Institute for Leadership and Teamwork should be moved into their new space in Silvestri Hall by the end of September.


Interim President Lafferty recognized the following passings:

  • James A. Kurek, brother of retired YSU employee, Jodi Clowes
  • Janak R. Taneja, father of YSU Foundation Board member, Rajiv Taneja
  • Bruce J. Beard, University Donor
  • Luanna C. Jacobs , spouse of Alan Jacobs, professor emeritus, Geological & Environmental Sciences
  • Carol Bennett, YSU assistant provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Patricia B. Seem, mother of YSU Foundation senior development officer, Brian Nord
New Business

Approved a Resolution Related to the YSU Future State: Crafting a Sustainable Future in Consideration of the Fall 2023 14th-Day Enrollment Report, Enrollment Trends and Other Pertinent Factors. The resolution says the Board has confidence in the administration to take appropriate actions to optimize the academic portfolio and, thereby, contribute to the sustainable prosperity of YSU. It resolved that the proposed and expected actions in the previous similar resolutions continues to apply to expected actions, particularly aligning the academic program portfolio from a marketing and enrollment perspective. It also resolved that leadership will present a framework for a Plan for Strategic Academic Actions at the Governance Committee meeting in December, 2023.

Board Chair’s Remarks

This board is committed to helping optimize the quality of the learning environment for the students’ career success,” stated Mike Peterson, chair of the YSU Board of Trustees. “We want to ensure experiences continue to position our students and our teams to earn regional, national and international distinction. Our students are exceptional.” Peterson spoke about the “amazing opportunity and responsibility” that is being a member of the board for the University. “We look forward and to the future, because of what we're seeing with our students today. We are products of yesterday, and we can't wait to see what's going to happen tomorrow,” he said.

Upcoming Regular Meetings of the Board
  • Thursday, December 7, 2023
  • Thursday, March 7, 2024
  • Thursday, June 6, 2024
  • Thursday, September 19, 2024
  • Thursday, December 5, 2024

The board adjourned the meeting.