Coldren Named Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Jeffrey Coldren, chairperson of Youngstown State University’s Department of Psychological Sciences and Counseling, is the recipient of the third James P. Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership Award at YSU.

“The chairperson represents an important role at YSU, and much of our success relies on difficult management decisions at that level,” said Brien Smith, YSU provost, who made the appointment. “Dr. Coldren’s performance fits that bill for this year’s award.”

The endowed chair was created in 2021 through a $1.6 million gift from a group of YSU Foundation trustees in recognition of Tressel’s leadership at YSU and across the region. The honor is bestowed annually on a YSU department chair with an established record of outstanding leadership. The award also comes with a stipend and expenses to support development and growth of the department.

“Under his leadership, the department has enjoyed a strong record of productivity, despite reorganization of the college,” Charles Howell, dean of YSU’s Beeghly College of Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, and Education, said in his nomination letter. “After reorganization, Dr. Coldren quickly learned the curricula, faculty, and aspirations of new programs in the department.”

Coldren, who has served as department chair since 2014, joined the YSU faculty in 1994. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Albright College, and a master’s degree in human development and doctorate in child development and developmental psychology from the University of Kansas.

Coldren entered the Life-Span Developmental Psychology Program at West Virginia University before attending the University of Kansas and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toledo. He also completed a sabbatical leave at McGill University in the Laboratory for Natural and Simulated Cognition.

As chair of YSU’s Department of Psychological Sciences and Counseling, Coldren has made significant changes to enhance the quality and sustainability of the programs in the department. He introduced the First-Day Ready program for PSYC 1560, reducing savings for students and ensuring all have access to the required textbook. He has also increased efficiency and reduced expenses while maintaining enrollment in counseling. He is working with the psychology faculty, in partnership with the Rich Center for Autism, to develop a program to test young children for autism.

Coldren has also worked to build research capacity for departmental faculty by investing in software, including an online research participant management system (Sona), the online survey system (Qualtrics), an online system for running lab and virtual experiments (Inquisit, and MTurk for collecting data.

Coldren received the Distinguished Professorship Award for Teaching for 2021-22 and was named a Rich Center Faculty Fellow in 2004.

Coldren is the third recipient of the Tressel Endowed Chair in Leadership. Nancy Wagner, chair of the YSU Centofanti School of Nursing, was the first recipient, and Nancy Landgraff, chair of the department of Physical Therapy, was the second recipient.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.