YSU Board of Trustees meeting summary, Nov. 30/Dec. 1

 

Youngstown State University
Board of Trustees
Wednesday, Nov. 30, and
Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016

A new contract for President Jim Tressel, upbeat reports on the university’s finances, a positive outlook for enrollment and a discussion about the latest campus climate survey were among the activities of a busy two days of meetings Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2016, by the YSU Board of Trustees.

The Board conducted a series of committee meetings, followed by its regular quarterly meeting. The following is a summary of actions taken and reports given during the meetings. For more details, including full texts of the resolutions and policies, click here.


Oath of Office
Anita Hackstedde of Columbiana, Ohio, president and chief executive officer of Salem Regional Medical Center, took the oath of office. Gov. John Kasich appointed Hackstedde to the board to fill the unexpired term of James B. Greene, who died earlier this year. Hackstedde’s term runs through April 30, 2021. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry, from YSU in 1990 and a medical degree from Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1994. She was director of Student Health at YSU from 1998 to 2006.

President’s Report
President Jim Tressel thanked everyone at the university for their patience and thanked the Board of Trustees for its confidence in him. He noted that the university’s budget, which two years ago was out of balance by about $10 million, is now balanced. He announced that a new YSU Excellence Steering Committee, chaired by Provost Martin Abraham and Academic Senate President Chet Cooper, will be formed to help address some of the concerns revealed in the recent campus climate survey. He concluded is report by saying, “We’ll continue to work hard.”

Faculty Presentation
Greg Moring, chair of the Department of Art, talked about many faculty who are engaged in various projects throughout the community, including Christine McCullough, Missy McCormick, R.J. Thompson and Robert Twomey.

Student Presentation
Corey Patrick, a senior Marketing and Finance major in the Williamson College of Business Administration, talked about his various activities during his YSU career, including serving as president of Enactus and as a representative on Student Government. A native of Struthers who graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School, Patrick said he has also worked several internships, including stints as a Beeghly Fellow and a Monus Fellow.
 

Academic and Student Affairs

Actions
Approved a resolution of appreciation for individuals who served in many various roles to develop, complete, conduct forums and analyze the results of the Campus Climate Survey.

Approved a resolution supporting YSU’s application for a $187,000 Appalachian Regional Commission Grant to secure flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing equipment. The equipment will further position YSU as a regional and national leader in advanced manufacturing education.

Approved a resolution to modify Graduate Faculty policy. The resolution was reviewed under the board’s regular review process; modifications were minor.

Approved a resolution to modify Affiliate Scholars policy. The resolution was reviewed under the board’s regular review process; modifications were minor.

Approved a resolution to modify Admission, Retention and Graduation Standards. The resolution was reviewed under the board’s regular review process; modifications were minor.

Approved a resolution to modify Research Misconduct policy. The resolution was reviewed under the board’s regular review process; modifications were minor.

Reports
Provost Martin Abraham reported the following name changes in the Division of Student Success: Career Services will be changed to Career and Academic Advising, and Counseling Center will be changed to Student Counseling Center.

The provost also reported that the name of the John J. McDonough Museum of Art will be changed to the John J. McDonough Center for Contemporary Arts.

Hillary Fuhrman, director of Assessment, presented a brief overview of the Campus Climate Survey. She said a YSU Excellence Steering Committee will be formed, consisting of faculty, staff and students, to address issues raised in the survey. Trustee Ted Roberts said he wants the campus to know that the board is attentive to the concerns expressed in the survey and intends to use the results to improve the campus climate. “The board wants to be focused on solutions,” he said. President Tressel pointed out that students were not part of the Campus Climate Survey. He noted that the latest results from the National Survey of Student Engagement show that students are relatively satisfied with YSU. For example, 86 percent of first-year students and seniors rated YSU as either excellent or good, compared with 83 percent nationally.

Gary Swegan, associate vice president for Enrollment Management, reported that enrollment numbers continue to look favorable for both Spring and Fall 2017 semesters. Freshmen applicants for Fall 2017 are nearly 5 percent ahead of the previous year, while the number of completed applicants who have been offered admission is running nearly 30 percent ahead of the previous year.

Amy Cossentino, director of the YSU Honors College, and two Honors College students, Brock DeAngelo and Megan Evans, updated the board on the accomplishments and activities of the college.

Institutional Engagement

Actions
Approved a resolution to accept Alumni Engagements and WYSU Memberships. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, the university reports 441 memberships, 324 in Alumni Relations and 117 for WYSU.

Approved a resolution to accept a Gift of Real Estate. The YSU Foundation is donating eight parcels of land on the West Side of campus. Five of the lots are bordered by Arlington, Belmont and Grant. A larger lot is located on West Rayen Avenue across from University Edge apartments.

Reports
Two graduate students working in the Office of Marketing and Communication – Kati Hartwig and Nick Baran – reported on the university’s new website, launched in October. The students noted that the new website, in addition to being user-friendly, attractive and inviting, is focused on gathering data on prospective students that could help Admissions and others on campus in recruitment efforts. Hartwig said more than 440 students have requested information from the website, and more than 120 have engaged the university in email conversations. The next step, Hartwig said, is to continue to track the leads and help get the students to apply and attend.

Paul McFadden, president of the YSU Foundation, reported that the Foundation has a goal to raise $20 million in fiscal year 2017. “The pipeline is as rich as I’ve ever seen it,” he said. President Tressel agreed. “There are good opportunities out there,” he added.

University Affairs

Actions
Approved a resolution modifying Employee Files Policy. The resolution was reviewed under the board’s regular review process; modifications were minor.

Approved a resolution modifying Employee Assistance Program. The resolution was reviewed under the board’s regular review process; modifications were minor.

Approved a resolution to rescind the Domestic Partners Benefits Policy. The policy is being rescinded because the U.S. Supreme Court recently gave same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. The university’s policies will be aligned with the ruling. Previously, same-sex domestic partners were given same or similar benefits as married couples because they did not have the legal right to marry. The university will now provide all legally married couples the same benefits.

In addition, six other university policies that reference domestic partner benefits were modified to remove the reference to same-sex domestic partners. Those policies are: Sick Leave Accrual, Use and Conversion, Excluded Professional/Administrative and Excluded Classified Staff; Maternity/Parental Leaves – Paid Leave, Excluded P/A Staff; Bereavement Leave, Exempt P/A Staff and Department Chairs; Employee Health Insurance Programs; Nepotism and Potential Conflicts in Employment Situations; Fringe Benefits, Excluded P/A Employees Fee Remission Program. Kevin Reynolds, chief Human Resources officer, emphasized that the changes will not affect the benefits of any employee.

Approved a resolution to modify Drug-Free Environment Policy. The policy was modified to acknowledge that, while a new state law authorizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes, YSU – as a recipient of federal funds – must still comply with federal law that prohibits the use of marijuana. So, individuals with medical marijuana prescription/cards are not permitted to use medical marijuana on campus. Students who are legally authorized Ohio medical marijuana users and are living in university-owned or –managed housing may submit a letter with supporting documentation asking to be released from their university housing and dining obligations.

Approved a resolution to ratify university personnel actions for professional administrative employees and faculty, including 40 appointments (20 new positions and 20 replacement positions), 26 separations, 18 reclassifications, 29 promotions, 54 salary adjustments/position audits and 35 salary adjustments per CBA and BoT policy.

Approved a resolution to ratify professional Administrative-Athletics personnel actions, including three replacement positions, five separations, one reclassification and 15 salary adjustments per BoT policy.

Reports
Ron Strollo, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, presented a series of reports on the latest academic achievements of student athletes: 3.11 GPA and 61 percent graduation rate. The 61-percent graduation rate ranks sixth out of 10 teams in the Horizon League. By comparison, the graduation rate for YSU’s general student body is 32 percent.

Finance and Facilities

Actions
Approved a resolution to revise to the university’s Asset Allocations Guidelines.

Approved a resolution to renew and amend the Internal Audit Charter. The charter defines the internal auditor’s purpose, authority and responsibility and establishes the internal audit activity’s functional reporting relationship with the audit subcommittee, authorizes access to records, personnel, and physical properties relevant to the performance of engagements, and defines the scope of internal audit activities.

Approved a resolution to modify the policy on Purchasing Limits for Competitive Selection. The modifications are intended to clarify policy parameters and to align with Ohio Revised Code.

Approved resolution of Intent to Locally Administer Capital Facilities Projects Receiving Less Than $4 million. State law authorizes state universities to administer capital facilities projects that don’t exceed $4 million without the supervision, control or approval of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission as long as the board of trustees notifies the Chancellor of Higher Education. The resolution notifies the Chancellor of YSU’s intent.

Approved a resolution to increase Room Rental Rates for University Courtyard Apartments Effective Fall Semester 2017. Rates would increase $20 a month for four-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments and $25 for one-bedroom apartments. Eddie Howard, associate vice president for Student Experience, noted that rates were not increased last year and that, even with the increase, Courtyard’s costs would be less than comparable apartments around campus. He said the increase is needed, in part to generate revenue to help make improvements to the aging apartments, which are owned by the university. He estimated improvements over 10 years costing $5.32 million. Howard said he thinks the university has three options with Courtyard: put it out to sell on the open market; see if to Rise management, which currently manages the apartments, is interested in purchasing the facility; or have YSU manage the apartments.

Approved a resolution to increase Room and Board Rates for University Housing, Effective Fall Semester 2017. This resolution applies only to university housing, not to University Courtyard Apartments. Rates will increase $50 per semester, or $100 for the academic year. Rates would increase from $8,990 to $9,090 per academic year. Chartwells, the university’s food vendor, is increasing charges by 3 percent. The increased room-and-board rates will help cover those higher costs. Howard noted that room and board rates were not increased last year. Even with the increase, YSU’s room and board will remain the lowest among public universities in the state.

Approved a resolution for Interfund Transfers. The resolution concerns $200,000 being transferred from the Lab and Material Carry Forward fund to the Planetarium Full Dome Projection System fund.

Approved a resolution to purchase several parcels of property in Smoky Hollow, along Court and North Walnut streets. YSU will seek the approval of the state Controlling Board to release $550,000 in state capital dollars for the purchase. The money will come from a $3 million state capital appropriation for development of the Mahoning Valley Innovation and Commercialization Center. The MVICC will be a shared-use facility, leveraging high-value advanced manufacturing assets that will benefit students from career centers, community colleges and YSU. It will offer entrepreneurial support services and provide regional manufacturers with a collaborative environment for workforce training, product development and advanced manufacturing research.

Approved a resolution to renew and amend the Internal Audit Charter. The charter defines the internal auditor’s purpose, authority and responsibility and establishes the internal audit activity’s functional reporting relationship with the audit subcommittee, authorizes access to records, personnel, and physical properties relevant to the performance of engagements, and defines the scope of internal audit activities.

Approved a resolution to approve the FY2017 Annual Internal Audit Plan, including the agreement with the YSU Foundation, Purchasing, Grants, Payroll, Accounts Payable.

Approved a resolution to revise to the university’s Asset Allocations Guidelines.

Reports
Neal McNally, vice president for Finance and Business Operations, reported that YSU’s Senate Bill 6 ratios increased in fiscal year 2016 to 3.5, up from 3.1 the previous year. The ratios measure the fiscal health of public universities in Ohio and take into account factors such as net assets, total revenues, operating expenses and interest on debt. He also reported that Standard & Poor’s, one of the nation’s top credit-rating agencies, has upgraded YSU’s bond rating to A+, citing increased enrollment demand, a strong financial profile and solid management policies. In addition, Moody’s Investors Services has reaffirmed YSU’s A2 rating, and both agencies have assigned the university a “stable outlook.”

Sarah Gampo, internal auditor, reported on plans to establish an Anonymous Ethics Reporting Hotline. She said most universities have such tools, providing an avenue for individuals who have an ethics or compliance concern to report it anonymously with faith that it will be addressed. She said her office is now ironing out details and hopes to have the hotline in place by mid-January.

John Hyden, executive director of Facilities, and Rich White, director of Planning and Construction, reported on various capital campus projects, including ongoing improvements to Wick and Lincoln avenues, elevator and roof repairs and replacements, and renovations for various buildings on campus, including Ward Beecher, Meshel, Jones, Bliss and Moser.

Executive Committee

Actions
Approved a resolution to extend, revise and restate the employment agreement with YSU President James P. Tressel. Tressel was named YSU’s ninth president in 2014 and is under contract through June 2017. The new agreement calls for a one-year extension through June 2018. It also calls for three separate additional one-year extension options. That could extend the contract through June 2021. The pact includes no pay increase. His annual salary will remain at $300,000.

Governance Committee

Chair Carole Weimer reported that the committee has approved a resolution to invite the president of the Academic Senate to be a member of the trustees’ Academic and Student Affairs Committee.



Chair’s remarks
Weimer congratulated President Tressel on the contract extension. She also thanked all faculty and staff on campus for their hard work and wished them happy holidays.

Meetings
The board set the following dates for regular meetings:
3 p.m., Wednesday, March 16, 2017
3 p.m., Wednesday, June 14, 2017
3 p.m., Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Adjournment