IF YOU GO
What: The campus community and general public can greet Cynthia E. Anderson on her first day as president of Youngstown State University. Pete the Penguin, the YSU band, cheerleaders, students, faculty, staff and alumni will join in the celebration. Refreshments will be served.
When: 9 a.m. today
Where: outside Tod Hall
By HAROLD GWIN
It may not be on a sign outside her door just yet, but Cynthia E. Anderson said “Student Success Through Academic Excellence” will be her guiding principle as she takes on the job as president of Youngstown State University.
That is what we will be focusing on, she said.
Her job officially begins today as she becomes the first woman president in the university’s 102-year history.
Anderson, YSU’s seventh president, has her own history here. She holds an undergraduate degree from YSU and has been a regular employee since 1979 as an instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor. She’s served as vice president for student affairs since 1995.
In February, the YSU Board of Trustees selected her for the president’s position from a long list of applicants.
She doesn’t have a desk yet and expects to be working from the conference table in the president’s office in Tod Hall for the next couple of weeks.
She’s been busy over the last couple of months getting things ready, instituting a strategic planning committee made up of campus and community representatives that will begin meeting
July 15 to look ahead over the next decade, assessing what academic programs the university needs to build and what new services and processes need to be offered.
“There’s going to have to be some re-invention of academic programs,” she said.
She’s also asked Jack Fahey, interim vice president for student affairs, to convene a campus group to look at creating a Student Enrollment Services Center in Jones Hall.
Right now, services from counseling to enrollment and student aid are located in various buildings across campus.
The idea is to make it as easy and painless as possible for students to avail themselves of university services, Anderson said.
The Student Success Team that she and the provost launched last year is being called back into service to assess what is needed for students to achieve academic success, she said, explaining that the new state-aid funding formula relies more on course completion and graduation than on just enrollment numbers, as was the rule in the past.
An assessment of the campus physical plant is nearing completion so the administration can schedule building renovations and repairs, she said.
The opening of the new Williamson College of Business Administration building later this month will free up space now occupied by the Small Business Development Center located on Fifth Avenue. Anderson said she plans to move the university’s Disability Services office into that location to make it more accessible to students.
Also, various academic departments are working on specialized curricula, looking to update and add programs, she said.
Anderson said she wants to expand the effort to tell YSU’s student-success stories. Graduates are getting into prestigious graduate schools or finding good positions in the work force.
“We need to tell the world,” she said.
Enrollment, diversity and educational/business partnerships will continue to be a YSU focus, she said.
YSU is “the perfect size” for an institution of higher learning, Anderson said, large enough to provide the big programs yet small enough to give students one-on-one attention.
One of her first priorities will be getting a handle on the budget as it relates to the state’s financial situation.
The university needs to develop contingency plans in the event that state aid, which traditionally has been about one-third of the university’s general-fund budget, continues to drop, she said. That ratio slips just below 30 percent this year. Priorities have to be determined and plans made, Anderson said.