Effectiveness and Implementation Framework

Like most institutions of higher education, Youngstown State University is confronting many challenges including limited resources, concerns regarding the perceived value, cost, and time associated with attaining a higher education degree; declining numbers of high school graduates in the region; lack of diversity in student populations relative to that of the communities served; gaps in success-rates among racially diverse and first-generation students; and health, education, and economic issues in the surrounding community that impact regional prosperity, student readiness, and alumni success.

To proactively confront these challenges, Youngstown State University has embarked upon building and implementing a “Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future.” The objective of this plan is to assure Youngstown State University offers the highest quality educational opportunities, creates high impact and relevant scholarship, and becomes more inclusive, equitable, and connected to the region, thus creating a vibrant and sustainable future for itself and the students we serve.

All actions and uses of resources will be strategic. Every action taken will advance the mission to realize the vision, and enhance the brand, reputation, and sustainability of the Youngstown State University.

Strategic Planning venn diagram showing the intersection of student futures and life long learnnig, academic distinction and discovery of knowledge and collective impact within the region.We will implement strategic actions that hit the “bullseye” of the principles of Student Futures and Lifelong Learning, Academic Distinction and Discovery of Knowledge, and Collective Impact with the Region. For this to happen, every division of the university must support and enhance the academic areas. If it is going to be, it is up to me WE.

Youngstown State University is one step in the continuum of a life of learning. We will work to continuously improve regional educational attainment, advance careers, and enrich lives in the community. We recognize this involves a commitment to enhancing the quality of education in the community, from pre-kindergarten, to elementary, middle, and high school, through college and into careers.

We recognize the success of these goals and strategies will require consistent engagement, assessment, and continuous improvement in every action. We will focus collective actions on the steps and events that positively impact the institution and student futures, through a transparent decision-making process that shares responsibility amongst the University community, including faculty, staff, administration, alumni, and community stakeholders. Our success will be measured by how much we move the needle on Key Performance Indicators identified by the president and Board of Trustees.


In March 2019 the Youngstown State University Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution titled Taking Charge of Our Future. Given the current high quality of education, scholarly and entrepreneurial distinction and affordability, the Board of Trustees described the areas within which action must be taken to help assure a bright and vibrant future.

Those areas of expected focus for a Plan for Strategic Actions include:

  • Enhance educational quality
  • Focus on research in a strategic manner
  • Increase the enrollment of new students
  • Focus on student success including persistence and progress
  • Build strategic, strong and purposeful collaborations with external community stakeholders
  • Attain an enhanced level of technological capacity and competency
  • Use reliable data to generate and analyze information to create insights for well-informed decision-making
  • Assure the effectiveness of all aspects of the institution including distribution of resources to support goals and strategies

While attention to these areas will help focus the Plan for Strategic Action to TAKE CHARGE OF OUR FUTURE, the Board of Trustees also provided guidance from the perspectives of Sustainability, Institutional Effectiveness, Collective Engagement with the Region, Strategic Allocation and Reallocation of Resources and Responding to Disruptions to Sustain a Vibrant Future.

The collective of Board of Trustees Resolutions provides guidance to assure that the sequence of and the aggregate of strategic actions are aligned with annual goals and strategies that are components of each annual Board of Trustees approved budget plan.


We will TAKE CHARGE OF OUR FUTURE via the relentless and robust pursuit of goals, strategies and actions that enhance student futures and lifelong learning, promote academic distinction and the discovery knowledge, and maximize our collective impact within the region.

Youngstown State University will secure its future in the principled manners that follow.

STUDENT FUTURES & LIFELONG LEARNING...create environments that empower students to acquire intellectual and social capital to realize individual aspirations.

We will:

  • Adopt a student-centered approach to all University operations and policies that values and includes all students.
  • Ensure curricula, systems, policies and practices increase academic persistence and steady progress to graduation.
  • Adopt a coordinated approach to admissions, matriculation, persistence, completion and the career success of our students.
  • Develop an approach to the admission and matriculation process that advances the retention and completion strategy.

ACADEMIC DISTINCTION AND DISCOVERY OF KNOWLEDGE…foster the development of a community that will grow intellectually, socially, and ethically in which individuals put knowledge into practice.

We will:

  • Implement a continuous, purposeful strategy to improve teaching, learning and national research distinction.
  • Adopt university-wide learning outcomes that are integrated throughout the curriculum.
  • Develop internships, service, experiential and applied learning projects with local businesses and organizations that provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge in scholarly activity.
  • Implement continuous and regular assessment of student learning outcomes and best teaching practices to ensure the fair and equitable success of all students.
  • Improve student, faculty, and staff access to advanced technologies, equipment, and facilities.

COLLECTIVE IMPACT WITH THE REGION…create deliberate, mutually-beneficial, educational, civic, industry, and philanthropic partnerships that achieve equitable and innovative regional development.

We will:

  • Listen to the needs of the community and address these needs collaboratively.
  • Actively collaborate with community partner organizations which share in our mission.
  • Develop activities that demonstrate impact and purpose in accordance with the university’s mission.
  • Communicate the impact and value of community engagement activities.
  • Align community engagement activities with institutional learning outcomes.
  • Ensure that current and future partnerships are inclusive, equitable, and grounded in accessible systems, practices, and goals.

The overarching perspective on implementing the Plan for Strategic Action is that with proper oversight and implementation, YSU will achieve the Mission and realize the Vision.


An Institution of Opportunity: YSU inspires individuals, enhances futures, and enriches lives.

As a student-centered university, Youngstown State University’s mission is to provide innovative lifelong learning opportunities that will inspire individuals, enhance futures and enrich lives. YSU inspires individuals by cultivating a curiosity for life-long learning; enhances the futures of our students by empowering them to discover, disseminate and apply their knowledge; and enriches the region by fostering collaboration and the advancement of civic, scientific, and technological development. YSU’s culture of enrichment flourishes in our diverse, accessible, and quality education.


Youngstown State University is where students thrive in their educational and career pursuits, where scholarship creates innovative solutions, and where community engagement is a cornerstone of collaboration that collectively contribute to the sustainable prosperity of the region and beyond.


We—the faculty, staff, administrators, and students of Youngstown State University—hold the following values essential to achieving the mission and realizing the vision.

Centrality of Students – We put students first, fostering their holistic and lifelong success.

Excellence and Innovation – We bring academic excellence and innovation to learning and life for all stakeholders. 

Integrity and Human Dignity – We root all behaviors, decisions and actions in the achievement of integrity, mutual respect, collegiality, equity and inclusion. 

Collaboration and Public Engagement – We embrace collaboration and create innovative partnerships to foster sustainability and enrich or university, our culture, and region. 


The Office of Academic Affairs, in collaboration with the Support Areas, will annually develop objectives to influence the Board of Trustees Key Performance Indicators that will include information about tactics, responsible parties, timelines, resources disposition, and communication strategies. The academic actions will be connected to a budget annually presented to the Board of Trustees that aligns resources with key strategies to achieve stated goals and increase the Key Performance Indicators. Progress on goals will be assessed annually so adjustments to actions and strategies can be made as needed.

The following are the Goals for the Plan for Strategic Academic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future:

  • Implement best practices that address student needs throughout the student life cycle to increase persistence, completion and postgraduate success
  • Develop a recruitment and enrollment strategy that aligns with a completion strategy
  • Create frameworks to optimize student and postgraduate success
  • Bring innovative, student-centered teaching to scale in order to promote life-long learning and increase retention
  • Develop a culture of assessment that ensures the quality of academic program majors, minors, and other credentials
  • Establish universal learning outcomes to enhance the value of a YSU degree
  • Conduct and support research that provides relevant and meaningful educational experiences for students and faculty that adds value to area citizens and regional partners
  • YSU will be recognized as a community-engaged campus by the Carnegie Foundation in education; health; prosperity and equity; and arts and culture

Academic area strategies are located at: ysu.edu/strategic-planning/phase5/academic-actions.


Each support area will develop goals and accompanying actionable strategies, tactics, responsible parties, timelines and resource disposition annually to optimally support the Plan for Strategic Academic Actions. Progress on goals will be assessed annually so adjustments are made as needed.

Each support area will develop objectives and accompanying strategies, tactics, responsible parties, timelines and resource disposition and actions annually to optimally support the Plan for Strategic Academic Actions. The consultation to create the objectives will be connected to a budget annually presented to the Board of Trustees that aligns resources with key strategies to achieve stated objectives. Progress on objectives will be assessed annually so adjustments are made as warranted and in mid-stream of implementation if necessary. Support Area strategies are located at: ysu.edu/strategic-planning/phase5/support-area-actions.

The following are the key areas within which the Support Areas will act to compliment the respective academic area actions.

  • Enrollment management
  • A culture of caring
  • Marketing and communication
  • Information technology
  • Data-informed decision-making
  • Organizational structure and efficiency


This is a sample illustration of how implementing the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future might be functionally achieved. The structure adopted to implement the Plan for Strategic Actions will be developed and evaluated in 2020-21 for endorsement as recommended by the president when Board of Trustees approves the FY22 Budget Plan.

A sample illustration of how implementing the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future might be functionally achieved. The structure adopted to implement the Plan for Strategic Actions will be developed and evaluated in 2020-21 for endorsement as recommended by the president when Board of Trustees approves the FY22 Budget Plan.

As budgets are presented to the Board of Trustees for approval, they should incrementally increase how the use of resources is aligned with implementing the strategies and achieving the Goals of the Plan.

While the principles, goals and categories of Support Areas will exist until the Plan is revised, it is clear that strategic actions will vary over time so as to make improvements on Key Performance Indicators or other metrics of interest to the Institution and the Board of Trustees.


The Youngstown State University Board of Trustees will adopt Key Performance indicators related to student futures and lifelong learning, academic distinction and discovery of knowledge, and collective impact with the region. The Board of Trustees anticipates that the adopted Plans for Strategic Academic and Support Area Actions will influence metrics linked to improving the Key Performance Indicators.

The preliminary approach to illustrating Key Performance Indicators and other metrics will be refined over the next year as technological capacities and competencies are realized with the intent of the Board adopting Board-level Key Performance Indicators when the FY22 Budget Plan is adopted. Along with presentation of Key Performance Indicators, the Board will receive an IPEDS special report illustrating complimentary indicators and metrics using an appropriate comparison group.


There will be annual updates from academic and support areas to illustrate the collective strength of the institution, and allow us to make progress on resources-aligned goals and strategies by implementing the Plan for Strategic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future. These in aggregates of three-years will be summarized with a tenth-year aggregate summary that will align with the Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation in 2027. The Office of Academic Affairs will lead this endeavor as it relates to Academic Actions to Take Charge of Our Future. The vice presidential and other areas will support these actions to develop the Higher Learning Commission Assurance Document.