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YSU’s Dunn lays out plans

Published: Tue, August 20, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

Randy Dunn delivers his first State of the University address


Randy Dunn, Youngstown State University’s eighth president, delivers his first State of the University address Monday morning, saying the university is hopeful though it ended last year with a deficit and enrollment is dropping. He came on board in July.

By Denise Dick



Youngstown State University finished the last fiscal year with a $1.9 million deficit and expects a third-consecutive enrollment drop this fall, but Randy Dunn, the university’s eighth president, characterized the state of YSU’s future as hopeful.

Dunn delivered his first State of the University address Monday morning to a packed Chestnut Room in Kilcawley Center.

“The state of the university is challenging today but hopeful for the future,” he said.

State universities used to receive 75 percent of their funding from the state and 25 percent from tuition. Now those numbers have flipped, and the funding model is changing to tie funding to graduation rate.

Though YSU planned for a 1 percent enrollment dip this fall, the number is going to be higher than that, Dunn said.

Each 1 percent drop equals about $1 million lost.

YSU has seen enrollment fall the past two years, a couple of years after near-record numbers. Fall 2012 enrollment dropped 5 percent to 13,813, compared with fall 2011’s 14,540.

The number of students enrolled also dipped the previous year from 15,194 in fall 2010 to 14,540 in fall 2011.

Fall 2013 enrollment numbers won’t be known until the 14th day of classes. Classes start Wednesday.

Dunn said department heads are developing plans to deal with smaller budgets, but the university isn’t talking about specific cuts until the enrollment numbers are finalized.

“We’re going to try to make it not in people,” Dunn said of expected reductions.

YSU has to look at different areas from which to recruit and different ways to market to try to increase enrollment.

Traditionally, YSU’s graduation rate has been in the lower portion of the state’s 14 public universities.

“The open access definition does create that challenge,” he said. “It’s time for us to start defining what open access means. Open access doesn’t mean open enrollment.”

Open access means you provide students with strong student advisement — some may be referred to Eastern Gateway Community College for some courses with the hope they return to YSU, he said.

It doesn’t mean the university accepts every student that comes through the door, he said.

Dunn, who began as YSU president July 15, said he wants YSU to be not just a place students come to take classes but a destination.

Besides enrollment, he also wants to focus on engagement and excellence during his tenure.

He wants the university to cultivate “rich, meaningful and deep partnerships” with institutions, companies and organizations. Those types of partnerships will help YSU leverage resources, build power and influence the right people.

The university’s excellence must be touted.

“People are attracted to quality,” Dunn said.


1walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

I would have to believe that most of the enrollment drop can be linked to the increase at EGCC, which should actually be advantageous. Many of those students were marginal, with a high risk of failure. YSU must attract better students if it wants to rise in academic stature. Open enrollment must end.

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2sknirak(120 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

But Walter, I was a "marginal" student at YSU until in my senior year I woke up to the thought I could get an advanced degree. That degree would have opened some doors for me and it did, although not the one I wanted.

I took no college prep courses and when I took the (then) mandatory ACE test, I shuddered at what my score would have been. I was surprised at what it was (upper 33 percentile).

I agree with you that the EGCC took some of those students from YSU. Some of us are not geniuses and came from homes where literature was not prized or available, where higher math was not used and science was "better left to the scientists". And no, I didn't get any favored or special treatment from the profs.

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3UNCOMMONSENSE(622 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Good luck President Dunn, you will need it!

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4Spiderlegs(161 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

These discussions about finances usually involve cutting academic programs. Why isn't anybody questioning the amount of money YSU is spending on athletics?

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5kurtw(1759 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

How do you not have "open enrollment" in a State University, that's what I'd like to know. Y.S.U. is funded, largely, by tax payers, the rest by student tuition. We're not talking about the "Ivy League" here- it's not a "Private University or College"- it's a State University designed to give the sons and daughters of ordinary people- taxpayers- a leg up in life, right?

Let's, for once, call a "spade a spade". Y.S.U. is in trouble because of mismanagement and the greed of it's Unions (the same factors that bankrupted Detroit and will eventually bankrupt Y-town). For somebody like Randy Dunn- annual salary $375,000 plus perks- free housing, free transport, free funeral for all that I know- to say- "Oh, we have to economize- let's be more selective in the people we admit, etc. etc." is OBSCENE. Why doesn't he offer to take a pay-cut? Why don't the other over-fed, over paid parasites at Y.S.U. offer part of their salary to economize?

Of course, they're not going to do that- because they're greedy, overfed pigs- snorting at the trough. Take it out on the students instead- they have no defense.

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6kurtw(1759 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

The only thing the Students can do (in Ronald Reagan's immortal phrase) is: "Vote with their Feet". And, they've been doing that, haven't they?

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7kurtw(1759 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Re: Comment One: "many of these students were marginal with a high risk of failure... Y.S.U must attract better students...Open enrollment must end."

OK, Walt, so how do you propose to get Y.S.U. into the Ivy League? That's what they do in those kinds of places- highly selective, elite, noses up in the air, etc, etc.

Y.S.U. is a State University for God's sake- it's taxpayer funded and designed to provide an education for the son's and daughters of ordinary people. As such, open enrollment is a given.

P.S. If many of the students at Y.S.U. are having trouble meeting the academic challenges of a University- why is that? Maybe it has to do with the abysmal failure of High Schools- dominated by the countries most powerful labor Union- in preparing them. Could that be the problem?

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8walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

OK, kurt, I'm not saying that YSU should be in the Ivy League, which is merely an athletic conference. Suppose you tell me what the admission requirements are for Ohio residents? Any Ohio high school graduate who has taken the OGT and can prove they have taken the ACT or SAT is accepted to this institution of higher learning. Yes, the mission was to give the sons and daughters of ordinary Ohio citizens (whatever that is) the opportunity to attend college. But, that has to have the provision that they have the aptitude to be there! Too many students are admitted that need remedial coursework because they don't meet the prerequisites to take classes of higher education. This is why community colleges are needed and why enrollment is down at YSU, which is not really a bad thing. Basing funding on graduation rates will force the university to be more particular in the type of students accepted and trim unnecessary remedial classes.

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9kurtw(1759 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Universities have to do a lot of remedial work to bring many of their freshman students, admitted under open enrollment policies, "up to speed" in basics like Science, Math, English- things they should have learned in High School.

Why is that? Why is it that even upper tier Universities report a large number of students not proficient in English or Math? And we know how poorly American Students do in skills-testing compared to European countries and Japan. And yet, American Public schools spend more per capita than an any other country- with abysmal results. Why is that?

Maybe it has to do with the fact that most of that money is spent not to educate in Stem Subjects (Math, Science, English) but to INDOCTRINATE- produce the new generation of subservient Liberals. Teach them things like "Multiculturalism": i.e. "America is really no better than Uganda or Libya- every "culture" is equally worthwhile, etc., etc. ad nauseaum" or Revisionist History: "The Founders were just a Bunch of Slave-owning Crackers!" which about summarizes the Liberal View.

And this is what the American Taxpayer- (mostly in their property taxes- which go up perpetually) are supporting. They're paying for the undermining and dis-dismemberment of their own society. That's right. The radical Saul Alinsky (one of Obama's heroes along with the Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers) said a true revolution should proceed quietly- "not be heard or known- until it was over": of course what he referred to was the takeover of the Public Educational System by hard core Leftists- and that's what we have today- and that's also why we have a TEA party movement trying to stop it.

Of course, were all pro-union around here right? And, appropriately, the countries dissolution is being run by the countries most powerful union- the NEA. For an insight into their thinking on "Multiculturalism" I refer readers to www. edtechpolicy.org, article: "Preparing Teachers for the Multicultural Classroom". I struggled reading through it but in that whole lengthy tract I read not one word that maybe our Society- the U.S.A.- was just possibly superior, in some teensy, teensy way, to any of the other god-forsaken places brought up as our equals, countries in Central Africa and Asia so awful, that every single resident, if they could, would gladly come to this country- even to Y-Town.

By the way, what the NEA scribes forgot to bring up in their tract, was that in many of the places held up as our equals- countries in Central Africa, for instance- Femal Genital Mutilation was still routinely practiced: a young girl is brought out naked, spread-eagled, and one of the elders goes in with a knife and cuts her clitoris away. But, of course, it's the Republicans staging a War on Women...

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10kurtw(1759 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Walter said in his post that college students- admitted under "open (or relaxed) admission" needed to have the "aptitude" for college work.

I agree 100 per cent- a lot of college freshman fail because they just can't do the work and that's hard for them- failure isn't pleasant- and it creates logistical problems for the schools (remedial courses, etc).

What I would like to know is the following: How much of that goes back to the individual student not having the innate ability for college work and how much goes back to the failure of Public Schools in not adequately preparing them? A job for which Teachers are generously rewarded by the taxpayers.

"Aptitude" (or lack of) is a big word that covers a lot of sins: it can mean innate deficiency (or lack of ability) or it can mean having been ill-served by ones mentors- teachers and guidance counselors- controlled by a Left-wing Juggernaut more intent on indoctrinating than educating. It's a question we should consider. (It's a question we HAVE to consider- otherwise we'll lose the country- if it isn't already too late).

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11southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, a decline in enrollment will not equal a decline in Dunn's salary.

Dunn's salary should be tied to enrollment increases along with graduation rates...ha ha, never happen though.

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