In an assessment of Youngstown State University, the state auditor's office says YSU should:
Revise its mission statement and develop a strategic plan to achieve the mission.
Improve labor relations, possibly using an outside facilitator to build trust between management and labor.
Improve campus diversity by filling several vacant administrative and faculty positions with qualified minorities, establishing enrollment and employment diversity goals and holding managers accountable for achieving them. YSU also should establish exchange programs with historically black colleges and expand efforts to provide more scholarships and grants to minority students.
Implement an enrollment management plan that includes annual enrollment goals.
Retain more students through counseling, remedial programs and a student-supportive environment.
Become more customer friendly.
Aggressively market associate degree offerings, promote courses designed for returning students desiring to complete their degrees and expand efforts to provide group rates for tuition.
Consolidate technology funding and planning under a chief technology officer and create an advisory board.
Upgrade or replace administrative computing systems.
Seek additional sources of funding through federal, state and local grants and increased fund-raising activities, including more involvement of the YSU Foundation.
Improve budget development and reporting.
Expand student employment. YSU employs 7.5 percent of its student body, but Cleveland State University employees nearly 19 percent and Bowling Green State University nearly 22 percent.
Consolidate underused space and close empty buildings. Classroom use is below 40 percent. The university should refrain from further construction until enrollment returns to the levels of the early 1990s.
Change the perception held by many in the Mahoning Valley that it is not a desirable place to earn a degree. Establish a comprehensive public relations program, develop programs that respond to community needs and aggressively market nationally recognized programs such as the Dana School of Music.
Establish a Welcome Center for prospective students, alumni and visitors to campus.
Redesign recruiting, admitting and enrollment processes, which now are too time-consuming.
Provide extensive technical and customer service training to front counter personnel in the financial aid office.
Provide a comprehensive all-in-one campus card to serve as the student's identification, room key, meal plan card, library card and which can be used to make purchases from campus vending machines and the bookstore.
Combine the registration and records departments.
Take more aggressive steps in monitoring and pursuing past due accounts.
Close the Pete and Penny stores in Southern Park and Eastwood malls, which have consistently generated losses with limited public relations benefit.
The report also commends YSU for:
Use of the Enrollment Management Access System to store student information.
The quality of campus student housing.
The quality of the campus' information infrastructure, which includes fiber optic cabling linking all classrooms, offices and dormitories and most other campus buildings.
Counselor day program that brings area guidance counselors to campus to learn about the university.
Low campus crime rate and quality crime prevention programs.
YSU's Cisco Regional Networking Academy, Ohio's first four-year public university to start such a program.
Contingency funds for the campus bookstore and student housing services to help balance their budgets in case of a down year.
YSU Center for Teaching and Learning Technology, which has allowed faculty to improve the quantity and quality of technology-based services to students.