Education

YSU Extends Tressel’s Contract Through 2020

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel will remain in his position through June 2020 after the university’s board of trustees approved a one-year extension of his contract.

Trustees unanimously approved the extension at their meeting Thursday morning. His annual salary will remain at $300,000.

“It encourages us, which also encourages the entire campus community that he is committed to serving us and serving the school,” said Dee Crawford, chairwoman of the board of trustees.

Hired in 2014 under a three-year contract, Tressel signed a new contract in 2016 that included three separate one-year renewal options. Today’s extension was the second of those three options.

“We have a lot of goals,” Tressel said. “Efficiency and effectiveness are really important. We know the state funding is not going to be greater. We know we have not dramatically increased tuition over the course of the years. … How are we going to be more efficient and effective with what we do?”

His priorities also include considering the direction of higher education, what the job skills and needs are in the area, and how those needs can be met.

The university does a good job attracting higher quality students and bringing them in from a broader geographic footprint, he said, noting that retention also remains solid.

“One of the things that’s fun working with this board chaired by Dee Crawford is that she has a demand that we get better at everything we do,” he said.

According to a university news release, YSU’s full-time enrollment has risen for three consecutive years and freshman enrollment is up 31% from four years ago. Freshman standardized test scores and GPAs are among the highest in YSU’s history.

The administration’s priorities over the next year include preparing a new strategic plan for the university, Tressel said.

“We hope by June we have the beginning thoughts with good data input, where we see our future programming needs and so forth, and then take next fall and really vet it through the campus,” Tressel said. “Then a year from now, we’d really like to think: here’s how we’re going to allocate those precious few dollars we have available and set forward the priorities.”

Added Crawford, “Both the board and the administration addressed the fact that we have to learn to do more with less.”

The university is also contemplating the prospect of General Motors potentially closing its Lordstown plant.

“At all times, you have to assume adversity strikes in various ways. You had better be prepared for it,” Tressel said. “When you know exactly what the adversities are, how are you going to factor that into your thinking?”

YSU has several students whose parents are employees at the plant, and some plant workers themselves might be students, he acknowledged. The university also has several scholarships funded by the United Auto Workers. Tressel is going to meet with the plant manager in the coming days to see what role the university might play, he said.

Pictured: Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel and board of trustees chairwoman Dee Crawford announced Tressel’s extension Thursday.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.