Creation of Admissions Positions Postponed

At last week’s Board of Trustees meeting, board members tabled discussion on the possible creation of two new positions — a systems coordinator and an undergraduate transfer coordinator position.

Taking salary and benefits into consideration, adding these two new posts would likely cost the university just over $100,000.

The proposal to create these undergraduate admissions positions came amid discussion regarding additional cuts to the university’s budget, which will call for significant personnel reductions.

“They were asking to create two new positions. So, that would have added costs to the budget before the overall budget is even adopted and discussed. So, as we said, we need to take a look at the big picture, get the budget in place, and see if we can afford to add new positions,” said trustee Ted Roberts.

Trustee Harry Meshel agreed with Robert’s sentiment.

“We are in the middle of a financial crisis here, and we don’t know what direction we’re going in, frankly. We don’t know what we’re going to cut; we don’t know where additional income will be derived,” Meshel said.

Though Gary Swegan, YSU Associate Vice President for Enrollment Planning and Management, made the request for the two positions, he acknowledged that the creation of jobs would contribute to the university’s expenses.

“I’m also on the budget development committee, so I get it. I know that we’re faced with a major challenge this year, and I don’t take putting two positions in front of [the Board] — given that there are going to be positions lost during this process — I don’t take that lightly in any way,” Swegan said.

Swegan also explained, though, that the creation of these positions may be vital to the future health of Youngstown State University.

A systems coordinator would serve as a primary technical person within admissions that would work with information technology, utilize the banner system, create business processes that are aligned with the practices of peer universities and ensure the security of university data.

“We don’t have somebody that does that. So, it’s not just a ‘it would be nice if we had;’ It’s a ‘this could really be potentially a threat to us,” Swegan said. “This is an important position. Whether I’m here years into the future or not, this institution needs to be protected.”

According to the Office of Undergraduate Admission’s Position Justification form, the creation of an undergraduate transfers coordinator is equally as important.

“The Office of Admissions does not have a staff member directly accountable for the recruitment of transfer students. With approximately 25% of our incoming students each year comprised of transfers, and an existing professional staff that is already 30-60% smaller than the institutions against whom we primarily compete, it is critical that we have a staff position whose sole focus in on transfer recruitment and enrollment,” the form states.

As revenue from state funding continues to decrease, the university has become increasingly reliant on enrollment to generate revenue through tuition.

While Swegan said the creation of two admissions positions could be an investment that would increase enrollment and in turn revenue, he said he respects the Board’s decision to table the issue.

“I well understood why they deferred it,” he said. “Obviously, given the circumstance we’re in, I completely understood their position on that one, and I was just grateful that it wasn’t denied. It was just a ‘we need to get through the summer and see where we’re at.’”