Replacement, retirement and recognition: Resolutions galore

By Elizabeth Coss

Youngstown State University’s board of trustees held its first meeting of the semester Sept. 21 in Tod Hall. 

Starting with speakers, the board listened to presentations regarding student and professor successes on research as well as hearing from successful athletic teams like the Baja racing team and pole vault team. 

The resolutions on the docket were all passed with no objections from any board members. The first being the search for an interim president of the university following President Jim Tressel’s retirement scheduled for Jan. 31. 

The board will begin by interviewing international search firms and then go into a hiring process. The interim president can come from within the university or be appointed from the outside. 

Tressel said he hopes an interim president is named soon. 

“My hopes would be that an interim could get named prior [to Feb. 1] so that I could spend a little bit of time handing off some of the things that [the university] is working on,” Tressel said. “I’m sure [an interim will be named] sometime between now and the next board meeting.” 

The board also passed a resolution to create a strategy for re-evaluating the needs of faculty placements, following the release of the 14-day enrollment numbers, which revealed a 4% decrease in enrollment. 

Earlier in the week, the university announced a voluntary separation plan for faculty in collaboration with the YSU-OEA. 

Tressel said the university is staying realistic in its efforts to keep the university stable despite lower enrollment and revenue. 

“We can only do what the revenue that we attract allows us to do. We’ve been spending a lot of time on our deans and department chairs and provost and everyone on campus,” Tressel said. “We’ve been asked by the board, you know, to make sure we’re using our data, which our number one data point is our enrollment.”

Another key resolution that was passed was recognizing the Division of Workforce Education and Innovation as an official division at the university. 

Previously undesignated, the division aims to provide community needs and partnerships with local area workforces and companies. 

John Jakubec, the board of trustees chairperson, said there is importance in establishing the division. 

“If we want industry to come in the area, we’ve got to show companies that we can provide the workforce and that we can educate the workforce,” Jakubec said. “We have some big names of companies that have moved in, like Ultium and FoxConn and so forth.”

Dr. Sergul Erzurum was sworn in as a trustee and participated in her first meeting after being appointed by Gov. Mike Dewine to replace James Roberts back in June 2022. 

The next board of trustees meeting will take place Dec. 9 in Tod Hall.