Division of university advancement grows under administrative changes

On Sept. 23, Randy Dunn, Youngstown State University President, announced that YSU’s radio broadcasting channel, WYSU-FM, and the office of marketing and communications will now report to the division of university advancement. The decision, along with a series of other organizational changes, comes on the heels of a slew of budget cuts.

“As a president having just come to a new university, it is not unusual to make adjustments to some organizational structures and arrangements — whether those changes be in regard to people, titles and job descriptions, reporting relationships, or whatever,” Dunn said in his letter.

Per the change, Mark Van Tillburg, executive director of the office of marketing communications, and Gary Sexton, WYSU-FM director, will now report to the Scott Evans, vice president of university advancement.

“University advancement has a far broader responsibility. It is much more systemic to managing the university’s image and outreach. Student affairs is much more focused on admissions and student life, where as we are really outreach and outlook. We [marketing and communications] are in charge of the brand,” Van Tillburg said. “We did fine with student affairs, there was no issue there. We just have a number of clients outside of student affairs, including advancement, alumni and so on, that we need to service as well.”

This shift in power is actually a homecoming for the departments. Prior to the end of former YSU President David Sweet’s term, both WYSU-FM and the office of marketing and communications reported to George McCloud, former vice president of university advancement.

“That is where we have traditionally been throughout our history here on campus,” Sexton said. “We’ve reported to the position of vice president of university advancement forever. At the end of Dr. Sweet’s administration, that position was left vacant for awhile. So in the interim, President Anderson had us report to Jack Fahey, vice president of student affairs. It was more of a matter of a position not being filled than any strategic reasoning.”

The office of marketing and communications is one of YSU’s predominate modes of advertisement, outreach and the delivery of university news. The only apparent difference is the department they report to.

“This is very typical in higher education,” Evans said on the rearrangement. “In many of [universities], divisions of advancement contain the divisions of development, alumni and marketing.”

Unlike the WYSU-FM and the office of marketing and communications, the division of university advancement will operate differently.

“The size of the division will double roughly,” Evans said. “It is certainly an added responsibility but a very welcome one. The current team and the new team members are very much looking forward to working together.”

All of the staff of WYSU-FM and of the office of marketing and communications will maintain their previous position title, with the exception of Ron Cole. Previously the Director of University Communications, Ron Cole, will now take up the title of Public Information Officer and will report to Dunn, instead of marketing and communications. However, his actual responsibilities will mostly remain unchanged.

“He will likely stay right in his own office, right here. Obviously we work very, very closely with him and we will continue to do that,” said Van Tilburg.

All personnel affected by this change will not see any compensation or benefits increase or decrease, and no new personnel will be hired due to the change.