Tressel says faculty key in choice between YSU and Akron - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio


Tressel says faculty key in choice between YSU and Akron

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The most talked about applicant for Youngstown State University  president is repeating some of the points he made when addressing a crowd at the University of Akron last week.

Former Ohio State and Youngstown State University football coach Jim Tressel addressed a public forum Tuesday on the YSU campus.

It was part of a day long campus visit that included meetings with faculty, students and university administrators.

During the afternoon public forum, which was streamed live on, Tressel said that his experience as a Penguin football coach taught him that he needed to think beyond the team and university. He said that he and members of the team needed to be engaged with the entire Valley.  He said that we will earn the opportunity to achieve at a higher level when we learn that what we strive for should be bigger than just our own goals.

Echoing that theme, Tressel said that this is a challenging moment in education, and to work together and collaborate, parties must first agree that each of us are insignificant without others. Calling for a "culture of collaboration", Tressel said that everyone must share a dialogue to identify things that the university is already good at doing, then people must step out of their comfort zones and work with each other to accomplish goals. 

Since Tressel is also an applicant for the vacancy at the University of Akron president's office, he was asked which university he preferred.  Tressel admitted that he wasn't going to answer the question directly, but  told the crowd that the quality of the faculty will be a deciding factor if he receives offers from both universities.  Tressel called the faculty a major key to success for the university.

Asked about the financial challenges facing the university and students, Tressel said the number one priority should be student retention.  He said if the university raises the retention rate, many financial problems would resolve themselves. Tressel said students and faculty shoulder much of the burden in encouraging students to remain at a university.
Tressel also emphasized the importance of taking advantage of fundraising opportunities, saying that the Valley offers those opportunities as long as the university can offer compelling stories to donors.

When reminded that previous YSU President, Dr. Randy Dunn left after only seven months on the job, Tressel said that Dunn took an opportunity that was best for his family by assuming the president's job at University of Southern Illinois.  Tressel said that everyone he had contact with at YSU spoke highly of everything that Dr. Dunn was trying to put into place.

Tressel talked about collaborating with industries and other universities in Northeast Ohio, saying that the region has tremendous resources.  He said that so many people believe in the university that the sky is the limit, and there is nothing that can't be accomplished.

Another theme he previously mentioned during his Akron forum was the importance of bringing in a more international student and faculty population, not only for diversity to but give students a more global experience.

Asked about the future on online education at YSU, Tressel envisions a hybrid system of classroom experience combined with distance learning. Tressel calls distance learning "mandatory", especially as a way of preparing high school students for colleges and universities.  However, Tressel said that universities must make sure they have people who have the ability and desire to create an online strategy.

As he did during the Akron forum, Tressel says YSU's goal should be to have as many full time faculty as possible. But he also said that the university can't be afraid to make it possible to use adjunct faculty members that can offer a certain type of unique expertise.

Tressel said if he is appointed president, his selection of a provost would be based on input from the deans, faculty and others.  At YSU, the provost provides leadership and coordination for academic departments and programs, colleges, accreditation, assessment, general education, the library, research, and international programs.

Tressel says that the university would have to gauge the strengths of the president to decide how duties would be divided between the president and the provost.

Tressel's itinerary at YSU included more meetings through the evening.

The two other candidates for the YSU post are scheduled for similar campus trips on Tuesday and Wednesday including public forums at 2:00 p.m. each day.

 Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Gary L. Miller will be on campus on Tuesday, followed by President and Professor of English at Southern Oregon University, Mary Cullinan on Wednesday.

21 News is offering a live stream of all YSU candidate's forums on and on mobile devices using our iPhone and Android apps.

YSU trustees are expected to meet on Thursday and make a recommendation to the company hired to conduct the search for president. The search company would make the offer to the selected candidate.

As Tressel was addressing the YSU forum, the University of Akron board of trustees met in executive session to discuss Tressel and the other two candidates in the running for the Akron president's post.  Their next regular open meeting is scheduled for next Monday.

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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