Enrollment will remain the top priority, but a new student rec center also is in the plan, the president said.
By RON COLE
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Hundreds of Youngstown State University administrators and faculty and staff members got a little present as they left President David Sweet's State of the University address this morning: a button that reads "Welcome to YSU. Ask me, I'll help you."
"Think back to when you were a new student and how overwhelming, at times, the experience was," President David Sweet told the gathering in YSU's Kilcawley Center.
"We want every student on campus, whether new or returning, to know that we are available to help in any way we can."
Sweet hopes the buttons will help make YSU more customer-friendly and student-centered as fall classes open next Monday.
Primary focus: In his second State of the University speech, Sweet said that YSU has accomplished much in his first year at the helm and that boosting enrollment and the university's image will remain the top priority for the coming academic year.
"With the many choices students have today for obtaining a higher education, we cannot sit back and hope they show up at YSU's door," he said.
YSU's enrollment has dropped in 10 of the last 11 years.
"YSU, as a total campus community, is more engaged in recruitment and retention efforts than in recent history," he said.
Sweet said YSU will develop a three- to five-year marketing and image campaign that focuses on the university's quality programs, good location, affordable cost and wide range of majors.
"In recent years our marketing budget was the first to be cut when the university's finances were tight," he said. "This practice cannot continue."
A major enrollment push will focus on retaining some of the 2,000 freshmen and sophomores that leave YSU every year, the president said.
He said YSU will offer 32 additional remedial classes this fall to "help ensure that students are properly placed and provided the foundation they need to have a successful college experience."
Other priorities: In addition to enrollment, Sweet said teaching will remain a top priority this school year, noting plans to develop new academic degrees in social work, public administration, nursing and construction management.
Improving diversity on campus, stabilizing finances and improving labor relations also will remain top priorities, Sweet said.
"In moving the university forward, we must affirm our personal and collective commitments to civility and appropriate conduct," he added.
Examining the use of campus facilities also will be a priority, Sweet said, noting that the current campus master plan was prepared in the early 1980s.
He said YSU will finalize a proposal for a new student recreation center.
"While I am generally opposed to a net increase in campus space, YSU needs to have the type of student recreational facility found on almost every campus of any size today," he said.