YSU Board of Trustees summary, Sept. 5 and 6, 2018

Youngstown State University
Board of Trustees
Sept. 5 and 6, 2018

The YSU Board of Trustees swore in the university’s first national/global trustee, discussed the university’s successful reaccreditation, learned about the continued upward trend in enrollment, and heard reports on health insurance, facility improvements, strategic planning and much more during its September round of board meetings this week on campus. The board conducted a series of committee meetings on Wednesday, Sept. 5, followed by its regular quarterly meeting on Thursday, Sept. 6. 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.

Oath of Office
Rocco L. Core, a Nursing and Sociology major at YSU, took the oath of office as a student member of the board, and Eric Spiegel, past president and chief executive of Siemens USA, took the oath of office as the university’s first national/global trustee.

President’s Report
President Jim Tressel welcomed Core and Spiegel to the board. He said there are exciting things happening in higher education, the state of Ohio and at YSU. It’s fun, he said, to work with people deeply engaged in making YSU a difference-maker in the region.

Faculty Presentations
Randall Goldberg,
director, Dana School of Music, reported to the board about the 150th birthday of the Dana School of Music, including a kick-off concert with the Dana Jazz All-Stars Sept. 16 at the Ford Family Recital Hall and a variety of other events, guest artists, lectures and performances throughout the academic year.

Sherri Harper Woods, assistant professor of Social Work, reported to the board about her student service learning and community engagement program to Haiti, including work in a children’s orphanage, elder care center, a prison, a nutrition program and a brothel. The program is part of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services’ goal to prepare students to provide services to vulnerable populations.

Student Presentations
Natalie Lacich,
a senior majoring in the Early Childhood Intervention Specialist program, talked with the board about a four-week study abroad trip that she and 20 other students in the Beeghly College of Education took to the Czech Republic this past summer. The students visited schools, heard lectures, learned about the history of Czech Republic and took weekend excursions to Prague, Vienna, Krakow and to the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Jared Vanasdale, a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering, told the board about his transformation from a “bad egg” in high school to a college student who has thrived as an intern at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and is now a biomedical research assistant in the STEM College.

Academic and Student Affairs

Approved a resolution to modify the Employment of Students-Federal Work Study Program Policy. The policy was streamlined, including removal of internal step-by-step procedures and processes, said Elaine Ruse, director of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The modification is part of YSU’s five-year policy review process. YSU receives between $400,000 and $500,000 a year in federal work study funding, Ruse said.

Approved a resolution to confer an honorary Doctor of Science degree on Marc Malandro, vice president of Operations for Science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in Palo Alto, Calif. Malandro, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from YSU and a PhD at the University of Florida, will receive the degree and give the address at Fall Commencement in December. He previously was the vice chancellor for Technology Management and Commercialization and founding director of the Innovation Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.

Gary Swegan, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, reported that full-time equivalent enrollment is up for Fall 2018 for the sixth consecutive semester. In addition, Fall 2018 freshmen enrollment stands at 2,384, the most in at least five years. The freshmen class average high school grade point average of 3.35 is the highest in the university’s history. He also pointed out that quality indicators are up for multicultural students. For instance, high school GPAs for African American students is 3.0 this year, up from 2.55 in 2013. Likewise, ACT test scores are up for African American students, from 17 in 2013 to 18.2 this year. Mike Sherman, special assistant to the president, reported that the fall-to-fall retention rate for minority students has increased from 49 percent in 2011 to 70 percent in 2016. Finally, Swegan reported that applications for Fall 2019 are up from the previous year. “We’re off to a good start,” he said.

Kevin Ball, associate provost, reported that the Higher Learning Commission has granted YSU a full 10-year reaccreditation. HLC determined that YSU met 20 of its 21 criteria and “met with concern” on one area. He said the results are “very positive” and that he and his team felt “ecstatic” about the outcome. He said that, even-though the accreditation period has passed, the message going forward is that “we continue on the path that we have set” and “act on any promises we have made” to the HLC.

Mike Sherman, special assistant to the president, and Claire Berardini, associate provost for Student Success, reported on efforts for continued student success – recruitment, matriculation, persistence, completion and career placement, and the complexity of the persistence-and-completion puzzle, including a students’ financial ability, a students’ academic ability, student behaviors, student experiences and institutional practices, policies, strategies and actions. Trustees had a lengthy discussion about ongoing and future efforts regarding student success. “This is the type of discussion that a successful university has to have,” Trustee Ted Roberts said.

Sherman updated the board on strategic planning and distributed a document outlining the board’s role in the strategic planning process. Roberts and Trustee Molly Seals are both members of the Strategic Planning Organization Team. Seals said it’s important that there be authentic faculty involvement in the strategic planning process, that the board ensures a balanced approach to seeking input from all constituencies and that the final plan is focused on student success, ensures good decisions and includes resources tied to strategic initiatives. Roberts noted that the board has a retreat in October, at which time strategic planning will be further discussed.

Sal Sanders, dean of Graduate Studies, and Mike Hripko, associate vice president for Research, updated the board on the Urban Research University Transition cornerstone of the 2020 Strategic Plan. Sanders reported increased publications/citations, theses/dissertation completions and research funding. He also noted concerns in fulltime/part-time faculty ratio and a decreasing number of graduate assistants.

Hripko presented the YSU Office of Research Services’ fiscal year 2018 report, showing that YSU, showing that faculty and staff earned $8.9 million in research and service grants during this past fiscal year, the highest amount in nine years. Faculty and staff were awarded 94 grants during fiscal year 2018, compared to 60 in FY 2015. The report also indicates that YSU established research collaborations with eight foreign countries, 12 industry partners, 21 universities and 75 other sponsors, ranging from Lockheed Martin and the National Science Foundation to Mercy Health and several local school districts.

Institutional Engagement

Approved a resolution to accept a gift of real estate from the YSU Foundation. The property includes parcels along Scott Street, West Rayen Avenue, Bryson Street, Elm Street and Court Street.

Approved a resolution to accept 1,622 memberships from WYSU totaling $247,414 through the fourth quarter of FY 2018.

Becky Rose, assistant director of Marketing and Communications, reported on Emma, a new digital communications and marketing tool on campus that will make it easier for all areas of the university to more effectively communicate via email.

Kati Hartwig, coordinator of Social Media and Digital Marketing, reported on the university’s efforts to expand its social media and video presence.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, reported that the Foundation received 1,135 gifts and 20 pledges totaling $6.16 million, pledge payments totaling $1.34 million and nine new planned gift commitments totaling $4.54 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018. He also reported that the $100 million “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign has exceeded the $75 million mark.

Finance and Facilities


Approved a resolution to modify the University Vehicles Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to modify the University Equipment Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to approve Interfund Transfers.

Neal McNally, vice president for Finance and Administration, reported a $1.88 million positive balance in the university’s ending fiscal year 2018 general and auxiliary funds. He also reported, however, a $3.96 million deficit in the university’s general scholarship fund, due mostly to the fact that more students received merit based scholarships during the year than what was budgeted. The general fund and scholarship fund balances will roll into the university’s operating carry-forward fund, resulting in a net deficit of $2.08 million. That deficit will be further addressed by the board at the December 2018 trustees’ meetings, following a consultative shared governance process on campus, McNally said.

John Hyden, associate vice president for Facilities, reported that all summer projects were successfully completed, including work on the natatorium in Beeghly Center, Ward Beecher Hall improvements and Jones Hall upgrades. He also said that construction of the Constantini Multimedia Center at Stambaugh Stadium is underway. Projects in the design stage include the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center, the new Cafaro Family Field intramural complex and a new university tennis center. All three projects should begin construction in Spring 2019.

Adam Gustetic, director of Procurement Services, reported that Diversity and EDGE spending are both down in fiscal year 2018, and he reviewed various efforts underway to improve.

University Affairs

Approved personnel actions for Intercollegiate Athletics, including three appointments, one separation, one promotion and six salary adjustments.

Approved a resolution to modify the Vacation Leave, Professional/Administrative Staff and Department Chairpersons Not Covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to modify the Civic Leave with Pay, Excluded Professional/Administrative and Excluded Classified Staff Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to modify the Sick Leave Accrual, Use and Conversion, Excluded Professional/Administrative and Excluded Classified Staff Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to modify the Resignation of Employment Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to modify the Classified Civil Service Employees Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to modify the Supplemental Pay for Faculty and Professional/Administrative Staff Policy. Minor changes.

Approved a resolution to modify the Workload Policy.

Approved a resolution to modify the Political Activities of Employees Policy.

Approved a resolution to approve the Relocation Allowance for New Full-Time Employee Policy. The new policy provides consistent guidelines and procedures for pay of a relocation allowance for new employees.

Approved a resolution to ratify the YSU Association of Professional/Administrative Staff Labor Agreement. The contract runs from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2021. YSU APAS has already ratified the agreement. The contract provides base salary pay increases of 1 percent in fiscal year 2019, 2 percent in fiscal year 2020 and 2 percent in fiscal year 2021.

Approved a resolution providing a salary adjustment for professional/administrative staff excluded from collective bargaining. The resolution provides a 1 percent base salary pay increase in fiscal year 2019.

Approved a resolution ratifying personnel actions, including 14 appointments (four new and 10 replacement positions), 30 separations, 10 reclassifications/position audits, 10 promotions, one transfer and 12 salary adjustments.

Ron Strollo, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, provided a financial analysis comparing YSU Athletics revenue and expenditures to schools in the Missouri Valley Conference and the Horizon League.

Stacey Luce, manager of Employee Benefits, and Nancy Pokorny of Findley, YSU’s health care consultant, provided an overview of the university’s health care plan. Pokorny said 1,043 YSU employees participate in the plan, which includes a medical plan, stop-loss insurance, prescription drugs, vision, dental, health savings account, flexible savings account, a wellness plan and an employee assistance program. YSU currently offers three medical and prescription drug plans with six vendors – Medical Mutual of Ohio, Delta Dental, NVA, PNC Bank, Wellness and Impact Solutions. The Medical Mutual medical plan contract expires June 30, 2020. Pokorny said YSU and the university’s Health Care Advisory Committee should continue to understand the latest trends in the industry, including Accountable Care Organizations, Narrow Networks, onsite clinics, integrating wellness, and market disrupters, like mobile health and transparency tools. She also said YSU and HCAC should continue to explore further opportunities through IUC purchasing agreements and collaborations.

Holly Jacobs, vice president of Human Resources and General Counsel, reported on organizational changes to the HR office, including the creation of the Office of Organizational Development, which will focus on professional development for employees in the areas of compliance, management and business skills training. The office also will facilitate university initiatives across campus by assisting with strategic planning and organizing of operations involving classification, compensation and process development.

Provost Joe Mosca announced the following name changes:

  • The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs changed to the Office of Academic Affairs.
  • The Department of Theater and Dance changed to the Department of Theatre and Dance.
  • The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures changed to the Department of World Languages and Cultures.
  • The Department of Geography changed to the Department of Geography and Urban-Regional Studies.


President Jim Tressel presented and the board approved the following memorials:

  • Edwin Bishop, affectionately known to his students as "Dr. Jupiter” when he was a professor of Physics and Astronomy at YSU, died April 25 at the age of 82.
  • Ahalya Krishnan, professor emeritus of Psychology, passed away May 21 in Tavares, Fla.
  • Jean M. Nestor, 82, who worked for several years in the College of Fine and Performing Arts at YSU, passed away June 13.
  • Madalyn (Mada) Janosik, 73, who taught 25 years in the Department of Nursing, passed away Aug. 4 in Hospice House in Poland.
  • Tom Pittman, English professor, passed away July 23.
  • Charles Darling, 86, professor emeritus of History who hosted the popular “Folk Festival” program on WYSU for 48 years, passed away in July at Park Vista.

The board set the following meeting dates and times:

  • 10 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018
  • 10 a.m., Thursday, March 7, 2019