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At YSU, numbers matter



Published: Sun, March 28, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


When Dr. Cynthia Anderson takes over as president of Youngstown State University on July 1, her salary will skyrocket from $142,256 to $350,000. In the second year of her three-year contract, Anderson, currently vice president for student affairs at YSU, will earn $375,000; in the third year, $400,000.

By the way, those figures do not include the value of a vehicle she’ll get from the university, professional dues, travel, entertainment and relocation expenses.

YSU is renovating the Pollock House on Wick Avenue to become the president’s residence.

By contrast, YSU’s current president, Dr. David Sweet, is pulling in $308,616 this fiscal year. That includes a housing allowance of $60,180 and an automobile allowance of $9,078.

In addition, the university pays $3,000 for Sweet, who is retiring on June 30, to be enrolled in the Cleveland Clinic Executive Health Program; $5,380 for annual membership in the Youngstown Country Club; $1,500 for annual membership in the Youngstown Club; $5,225 for Regional Chamber membership. And, YSU pays $300 a month for his home Internet connection and service.

Great work if you can get it.

The challenge

But here are some other numbers that define the university and shed light on what the next president must deal with, especially considering Anderson’s current job:

The six-year graduation rate for a bachelor’s degree (getting a degree in four years is no longer the norm) is 36.7 percent. The statewide average is 55.3 percent.

Even more telling, the six-year graduation rate for black students at YSU is 17.6 percent.

If there’s any solace to be found in those statistics, YSU fares better than the University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Central State University and Shawnee State University in the overall baccalaureate graduation rate.

With regard to black students graduating, Youngstown State University is better than Shawnee, Cleveland State and Akron.

But how does any of this relate to Sweet or Anderson? Consider: the formula being applied for state funding for higher education by the Ohio Board of Regents is largely based on two factors, retention of students, and graduation.

The higher the retention and graduation rates, the greater the amount of money from Columbus.

In addition to which, Gov. Ted Strickland and Chancellor of Higher Education Eric Fingerhut have made graduation a cornerstone of their vision for higher education in Ohio.

Earlier this month, Strickland announced that the state intends to take “the bold action needed” to increase college completion rates.

A news release from the Ohio Board of Regents announcing Ohio’s joining the Complete College America initiative, contained this paragraph:

“Unchanged for decades, the rate at which Americans complete post-secondary degrees falls woefully short of the country’s needs and potential. Ohio currently ranks 35th in the nation in baccalaureate degree attainment for individuals ages 25-64 years old. ... Ohio has already recognized that access to affordable, high-quality education is the way to its economic future.”

There are 16 states in the Complete College Alliance of States, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

In reviewing the data for graduation and retention rates in Ohio’s public universities, it becomes clear that the average ACT score of incoming students is very much a factor.

The top performing institutions, Miami University and Ohio State University, have an average ACT of over 24; at the bottom, with an average of less than 21, are six institutions, including YSU.

Home grown

Thus, the challenge facing Anderson, who has made much of the fact that she has spent more than three decades at Youngstown State, is home grown, and understands the university community and the community at large.

That connection undoubtedly worked to her benefit during the presidential search by the board of trustees. After all, of the three other finalists, two were university presidents.

Those involved in higher education resent any mention of their salaries and benefits. But given the lucrative compensation packages, taxpayers have a right to ask, “What are we getting for our money?”


Comments

1bobhogue(102 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Your own newspaper reported on March 16 that Dr. Anderson donated $100,000 back to the University to fund scholarships for YSU students. Don't you think it would have been fair for you to include at least a mention of that when you presented the figures on salary? That donation represents over 28% of her fiscal year 2011 salary!

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2Springman(235 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Good students who want to become professionals have to go elsewhere because YSU does not have programs for them. Schools like Miami have an endowment with scholarships to attract better students, and they are not commuter colleges and do not attract amny part time students.

At some schools, kids are taught that they will have to make a job for themselves upon graduation, and the universities turn out future employers rather than future employees. Every kid should be exposed to opportunities to become independent. BTW, the most efficient way to do that is to become a professional.

I do not begrudge Anderson anything. She should be given a chance. YSU should have, amotng other things, more potential funding from natural gas (my new major cause), because it sits over the Marcellus Shield, than say, Miami, which does not. It should be able to get more funding from the Departments of Labor and Commerce because it is in urban setting, and should have dedicated programs in labor and industrial affiairs. It should get more in funding because it is in the center of a part of the country that has been in an economic downfall since the 1970s and is a drag on the national economy.

http://www.thecubenews.com/news/marce...

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3CandyfromCanfield(172 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Bert: The problem is one that you've conveniently not properly addressed, but one that Dr. Anderson has; that is, YSU cannot continue to be all things to all people. You know YSU is currently an open-admission institution; that means we accept anyone, even those with ACT's in the single digits. Providing remedial education to at-risk students is expensive. If the University becomes more selective in their admission, many students will be unable to qualify. In our urban community, do we really want to go there? If YSU's average composite ACT score was 24, I'm sure we'd have a higher graduation rate as well. It's becoming more and more obvious YSU needs to make some serious decisions regarding its mission...trouble is, half of the public will decry those decisions, and the other half applaud them. As Dr. Anderson stated, YSU cannot continue to be all things to all people.

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4TheLostPatrol(754 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

YSU stands for N-E-P-O-T-I-S-M. It has been rampant for two generations of Family members, and it will continue to do so with the current Board of Trustee Members, JM still alive and kicking overseeing the Athletics, and a hand-picked puppet of a Local Prez.

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5BufordTJustice(7 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

LostPatrol, you are clearly lost! Anyone who knows Cindy Anderson is aware that she's nobody's puppet. She does what she thinks is right, regardless of the consequences. She may not always be right, but her good faith effort to try and do what she believes is in the best interest of YSU is undeniable. It is this aspect that generated overwhelming support for her as YSU’s next president.

Let's talk about salaries. In Bertram’s world, the best brain surgeons would be paid the same as Wal-Mart cashiers. After all, we are all the same right? We should all be paid the same regardless of education, talent, or effort.

When I read Bertram's article, it appears as though he has two themes: YSU’s salaries are too high, and their performance in educating the Mahoning Valley's youth is too low. I'll put forth the following syllogism:

Talent and salary are positively correlated.
Talent and performance are positively correlated.
Therefore, salary and performance are positively correlated.

According to Bertram's logic, YSU needs to slash salaries while simultaneously increasing educational performance. This is a non sequitur that typifies the thinking in communist, and to a lesser degree, socialist countries.

Let's talk about educational performance. Like most of the problems currently facing our nation, there is a correct strategy involving a long-term view that requires immediate sacrifice, and an incorrect approach that yields immediate results, but comes at a high price further down the road. YSU needs to slowly raise its academic standards. Enrollment may go down in the short term as less qualified applicants are shut out. In the long run, however, enrollment may actually increase as employers recognize the improved quality of its graduates and begin paying higher salaries.

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6TheLostPatrol(754 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

...and "Buford" you sound just like the typical government hog trough-eating future (or current) recipient of a PERS golden parachute retirement, or you are standing in line to kiss the new prez's butt for a cushy job for either you or one of your family members. I don't agree with everything that DeSouza writes, but gimme a break, $350,000/yr. to $400,000/yr. in three years (with perks galore) to run YSU! Do you actually comprehend that this woman is worth $400K+ perks a year! She must be a close relative of yours, that is all I can say.

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7penguinswin(21 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Cindy Anderson is worth every penny she gets as President. For heaven's sake she is one of "us" - Us being those that start from the bottom and work their way up, legtimately! She is no one's puppet - let's give her a chance. YSU is no different than any other big corporation. There are those of us who do a good job for the money we're paid and the slackers that come along for the ride. Instead of slamming YSU, one of the biggest (and the best) employer in the valley, let's get behind YSU and work to make it better. Betram DeSouza is the one who needs to go! He is a derisive individual with a confused assortment of partial facts. Let's rally around getting him fired!

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8walter_sobchak(1831 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Bert,
You are not being fair with Dr. Anderson. Omitting the fact that she is donating back part of her salary is journalistically dishonest. And, anyway, the contract is agreed to by the Board of Trustees. That closes that case. I believe Dr. Anderson is being given the task of transforming YSU into a true institution of higher learning. The open admissions policy must go and YSU must shrink somewhat to increase its stature in the state. Remember, YSU is a center for higher education, not job training. What you do with your higher education is up to you.

Attending a 4-yr. college is not for every individual. Those students that need remedial education should attempt to garner this at a community college. That is why it is important to expand the Eastern Gateway College and to keep it geographically separate from YSU.

Hopefully, Dr. Andeson will hit the bricks and get funding increased to YSU. ANd this means from multiple sources; Columbus,Washington, D.C. and from private sources! True, they need to lower payroll costs and overhead, but, give her a chance!

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9YSU_94ALUM(1 comment)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

I can't believe that noone is talking about the elephant in the room. Why did the great and honorable YSU trustees replace one retiring executive with another executive who could be collecting social security in a few years?

Does anyone really think that Dr Anderson will serve as many years as Dr Cochran or Dr Sweet? Remember how Dr Cochran started his Campus 2000 vision in the early 90's? I believe that this vision was executed prior to his retirement, when in fact, he was younger than Dr Sweet & Dr Anderson.

I have not personally met Dr Anderson and cannot validate or invalidate her credentials, however, it certainy appears that this appointment certainly smells of patronage as her greatest asset seems to be seniority.

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10tookie(64 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Maybe someone can explain this to me. How can the new YSU president be making substantially more than the current President who just completed 10 outstanding years on the job.

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11RustOnMyBelt(112 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

"10 oustanding years on the job" ? Really? Get it straight. He was and is a city planner who couldn't give a moving speech to save his life and would have failed Speech 101. No charisma. No real presence on the campus. His heart was always in Cleveland and always will be.

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