Meeting at YSU also included discussion about school’s STEM College
By Denise Dick
The Ohio Board of Regents was so impressed with the NewsOutlet at Youngstown State University, it asked for recommendations to broaden the program to state and possibly national level.
The board of regents, an advisory board to the Ohio chancellor, conducted its regular meeting Wednesday at YSU, the first time it has met at the campus in about 10 years.
YSU President Randy J. Dunn told the board the university is working to raise its profile.
“Many times we’re seen as that other institution up in Northeast Ohio,” he said.
Dunn then introduced YSU personnel to talk about the NewsOutlet and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The NewsOutlet, a collaboration of YSU’s journalism department and several media organizations including The Vindicator, began about four years ago.
Tim Francisco, co-director of the program and a YSU professor, said the program started to provide better opportunities and better jobs for students and to increase the diversity of voices in local media.
Alyssa Lenhoff, co-director and director of YSU’s journalism major, said through the program, work by YSU students has appeared in Ohio newspapers and won awards. The program has a 70 percent job placement rate for its graduates, she said.
“How can we use our office to promote what you guys are doing?” asked Vinny Gupta, chairman of the board of regents.
He asked them to make some recommendations for how the regents could help broaden the program statewide and to a national level.
Lenhoff said liberal arts and communications as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics play an important role in job creation.
Francisco urged the board to be advocates for how people think about economic development and revitalization.
Dunn agreed that job creation is important for students in all areas of study.
“I’ve said before that great state and national institutions are not community colleges on steroids,” he said. “We have to think about how jobs can be created across all fields.”
Tim Burke, one of the regents, encouraged the co-directors to pursue the co-op opportunities available in the state.
Martin Abraham, dean of YSU’s STEM College, said YSU’s interdisciplinary collaboration is unique in Ohio, integrating science and math with engineering and technology.
“It allows us to do things other universities cannot do as easily,” he said.
YSU also has a focus on applied learning, understanding not only the “why” but the “how.”
Through cooperative education and internships, the college has provided students with real-world engineering experience before graduation, the dean said, and student experiences have tripled in the last two years.
The STEM College also has been a core element in establishment of the region’s materials and manufacturing research focus.
Virginia Lindseth, one of the regents, liked what she heard about both YSU programs.
“I’m really excited about the application of learning going on throughout the university,” she said.