Campus performs well in state data
YSU's full-time tuition rate ranks as the third-lowest among the state's 13 main campuses.
By JoANNE VIVIANO
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- As provost and vice president for academic affairs at Youngstown State University, Dr. Tony Atwater is proud of results of a 2002 report card ranking the state's colleges and universities.
And, he said, he would still be impressed if he were to walk in the shoes of a student.
"If I think about this data from a student's vantage point, I would look at three areas of performance," he explained. "Access to professors, strong financial aid performance and job placement performance."
Atwater said YSU performed well in all three areas on the Ohio Board of Regents' "Performance Report for Ohio's Colleges and Universities 2002: Profile of Student Outcomes, Experiences and Campus Measures." The report, analyzing various aspects of the state's 38 public colleges and universities, was released Thursday.
Atwater and Dr. Bege K. Bowers, YSU assistant provost for academic programs and planning, pointed to several statistics in the report:
At YSU, one-third of first-year students are taught by full professors; more than 80 percent receive financial aid; and many return for their sophomore year.
Seven in 10 bachelor-degree graduates work within six months; and the university's full-time tuition rate is the third-lowest among 13 main campuses.
Making it inclusive
"We work hard to make higher education affordable to students. We are an open-access university; we take that seriously," Atwater said.
"We're taking in people of all income levels, of all ethnic races and giving them an opportunity to succeed."
Dr. David C. Sweet, YSU president, said the report validates the university's successes.
"If my child came home with a report card like this, I would proudly and prominently display it on the family refrigerator," he said in a prepared statement.
"We talk a lot about the quality of our programs here at YSU, but it's extremely gratifying to see that confirmed in a report like this."
In the area of diversity, Atwater said YSU is "moving along" and now has about 1,600 minority students.
The university has increased its minority enrollment by 13 percent overall and its black enrollment by 16 percent, he said.
Further, he said the university once had about 24 student organizations; it now has more than 100, with roughly one-fourth devoted to diversity.
Using the data
Atwater said the university uses the report as a barometer of the quality of initiatives and to help develop goals.
Bowers said areas that need improvement include student performance ratings on various state and national exams, such as those that measure the qualifications of prospective dental hygienists and paramedics.
"We already took steps toward improving, to address the areas where we didn't do quite as well as we would have liked," said Bowers.
The study, now in its third year, includes several areas of data about universities and colleges, from student retention rates and student diversity profiles to average class sizes and tuition costs.
Gov. Bob Taft requested the annual reports in 1999 to give lawmakers, higher education officials, students, parents and the general public a snapshot of how the state's public universities and colleges are performing.