Akron University could choose president on same day of Tressel Y - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Akron University could choose president on same day of Tressel YSU visit

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AKRON, Ohio - The University of Akron could have a new president the same day Jim Tressel is scheduled to visit Youngstown State University for a public forum on his bid to become YSU's president.

Tressel is scheduled to meet with trustees and the public on the YSU campus on Monday afternoon.  That same night, the University of Akron board of trustees meet behind closed doors to discuss Tressel and the other two candidates in the running for the Akron president's post. 

The Akron trustees could come out of executive session and choose a president that night, or a decision could come at the trustee's next regular meeting the following Monday.

On Thursday afternoon, Tressel made his pitch to become Akron's next president during a forum on campus.  At times, the address took on the tone of a pep talk.

In an event streamed live on wfmj.com, the former Ohio State and Youngstown State University  football coach repeatedly  touched on the theme of selflessness during his session that lasted nearly ten minutes longer than the one hour allotted by university officials.

Before taking questions from members of the audience, Tressel outlined more than half a dozen priorities should he be chosen out of the three candidates vying for the post.

Tressel said that everyone associated with the university is responsible for attracting and retaining students.  He called student retention the number one financial lever for the University of Akron.

The former coach also said he would make it a priority to create new learning opportunities for students and making sure they are ready to compete in the real world.

Tressel addressed the costs associated with higher education, saying that relationships must be developed with businesses and donors. He says work must be done to reduce the financial burden that students face by making university operations more efficient.

Tressel also stressed the importance of encouraging alumni to return to campus where they contribute their time and talents to the university.

During the question and answer period of the forum, Tressel was asked if the University of Akron has the right balance between athletics and academics.   The former coach said that while the university needs to spend less on athletics, it also needs to find ways to generate more revenue from sports.  When asked if he would be biased toward athletics, Tressel said any decision would be made using input from others.

On the topic of finances, Tressel said the university budget isn't where it needs to be, and university officials need to pledge to produce a sound spending plan for fiscal year 2016.

Tressel was asked about the criteria he would use in appointing a provost.  Tressel conceded that he doesn't have much academic experience, but using a theme he often repeated during his address, he said he would look for someone who is selfless. 

Tressel said for the university to be successful, it needs people who will work hard and think about the needs of others.

He also said he thinks the board of trustees need to reconsider the current policy of having the provost as the university's Chief Financial Officer. Tressel questions whether or not one person can be great at both jobs.

Tressel said the university should bring in more out of state and international students. He says a more diverse campus will help prepare students prepare for the real world. Tressel estimated that 96% of the current student body is from Ohio. He would like to see ten percent of of the campus population come from outside the state.

Asked about how he would increase the number of full time faculty at Akron, Tressel said he was more concerned with having the best instructors than someone having the full-time label.  However he admitted that there are advantages to having  instructors more available to students.

21 News will provide a live stream of  all three YSU candidate's forums on wfmj.com and on mobile devices using our iPhone and Android apps.

You can find more about candidates for YSU president by clicking on this link.

More information on the University of Akron search is available here.

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