By Denise Dick
Youngstown State University will hire a search firm to recruit a replacement for the outgoing provost/vice president for academic affairs.
University trustees’ University Affairs Committee passed a resolution approving the recruitment at a meeting Thursday.
Ikram Khawaja has held the position since 2008, serving as interim provost for more than a year before that. He’s been at YSU since 1968 and plans to retire June 30. He had retired once before in 2002, then returned as interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from July 2005 to July 2007.
YSU President Randy Dunn estimated the search, which would include the firm’s recruiting and building a pool of candidates, would cost between $50,000 and $70,000.
Dunn said that in consulting with personnel in academic affairs, there’s consensus that a firm would be helpful in expanding the pool of qualified candidates considering the relatively short time frame.
The committee opted at the same meeting to table creation of a director of veterans/military affairs to develop programming for veteran/military students, recruit prospect students and administer the new Veterans Center among other duties.
The Veterans Center is under construction on Wick Avenue.
“We may be premature in creating this position,” said Trustee Ted Roberts.
He pointed to the recent hiring of Gary Swegan to the new position of associate vice president for enrollment planning and management. With the university’s strained finances, Roberts said he’d like input from Swegan on such a position.
Trustee Harry Meshel said the position would pay for itself.
“They walk in with a check to pay for everything,” he said of veteran/military students.
YSU isn’t doing enough to attract them to campus, Meshel said.
Although the position description doesn’t list it, Meshel said the person selected also should be a veteran.
“The important thing is to talk to someone with the same background,” he said. “They need to be sitting across talking to somebody who’s been through it and done that.”
Other trustees agreed, but said they wanted input from Swegan who started in the new associate vice president post last month.
At an Intercollegiate Athletics Subcommittee meeting Thursday, Ronald Strollo, executive director of athletics, reported on graduation, academic progress and grade point averages among YSU’s student athletes. The graduation rate for 2013 was 62 percent, which tied 2005 for the highest rate during the last 10 years, he said.
Spring 2013 saw the highest overall student athlete cumulative GPA since the university began recording it with 3.09, 13 varsity teams had a cumulative GPA of more than 3.0 and a record 57 percent of student athletes had a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2012-13.