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Tressel points to team work, student success in UA pitch



Published: Fri, May 2, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.

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Jim Tressel, a finalist for the presidency at both the University of Akron and Youngstown State University, explains his plans for UA if he’s chosen for the job to a crowd Thursday afternoon inside the Student Union Theatre. Tressel is the former head football coach at both YSU and Ohio State and works as executive vice president for student success at UA.

By DENISE DICK

denise_dick@vindy.com

AKRON

Jim Tressel stressed the importance of selflessness in a university leader, the need to work together and the significance of retaining and graduating students.

He spoke Thursday in a public forum as a University of Akron presidential candidate.

“If we can inspire students to have a passion to learn, they’re not going to leave here,” Tressel said. “We are going to retain, they’re going to complete.”

Tressel, the former head football coach at both Youngstown State University and Ohio State, who led both teams to national titles, is a finalist for the university presidencies at UA and YSU. He now serves as UA’s executive vice president for student success.

Tressel spoke extemporaneously from the stage, without notes, joking with the roughly 290 people who filled the Student Union Theatre at the university, stressing oneness for success.

“We’ll work to be as selfless as possible as we work to be the best we can be,” he said.

In other words, in this tough economic climate for higher education, the natural inclination to look out for the self has to be suppressed for the greater good of the whole.

“We’re here for student success” and making sure the region flourishes, he added.

One student, who will graduate later this month, thanked Tressel for going “above and beyond” in helping him. The student said he emailed Tressel when he feared he wouldn’t graduate and asked for assistance.

Tressel, noting his background is in athletics rather than academics, said if he were to choose a UA provost, that person would have to be selfless and a great communicator. The provost is a university’s chief academic officer.

There were no questions about the National Collegiate Athletic Association sanctions that cost him his OSU job or about his lack of academic credentials compared to traditional candidates.

He resigned in 2011 from the OSU job amid a scandal involving players receiving cash and tattoos for memorabilia. He was accused of withholding information from university officials and NCAA investigators.

He also told the UA crowd, “We are all responsible for recruitment,” and student retention is the No. 1 financial lever the university has. To ensure young people succeed, UA must give students relevant learning opportunities and make sure students are ready to compete in the world, he said.

The state funding formula is based on graduation rates rather than enrollment numbers, a change from years past.

Akron’s other two finalists are Ronald A. Nykiel, provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Md., and Scott L. Scarborough, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Toledo. Their forums were earlier this week.

Jonathan T. Pavloff, vice chairman of the UA trustees who chairs the presidential search committee, said the committee was to hear input from constituent groups about the three finalists and then begin deliberating to reach a decision. Deliberations are expected to begin next week.

Pavloff said the fact that Tressel also is a finalist for the YSU presidency won’t have any bearing on UA’s timeline.

Tressel’s YSU forum will be at 2 p.m. Monday in the first-floor meeting room of Tod Hall.

The YSU forums, which follow meetings of the candidates with the deans, unions, faculty and executive staff and a campus tour, will use the same format as last year’s when YSU trustees selected Randy J. Dunn as university president.

Dunn resigned after eight months to take the presidency of Southern Illinois University. His last day at YSU was March 21.

The other two YSU finalists, Gary L. Miller, chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington; and Mary Cullinan, president and English professor at Southern Oregon University, will visit YSU and participate in 2 p.m. forums Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

YSU trustees plan to meet next Thursday and may select a president but have said an announcement won’t be made until a contract is negotiated.


Comments

1handymandave(474 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Students not doing well academically will be required to do extra laps and pull ups under Tressel.

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2YtownSports(228 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

None of the other candidates for the Y.S.U. job have Tressel's understanding of the university and the community it serves. He will bring to the Presidency what he brought as football coach, a vision and a plan to make that vision a reality. His background in and knowledge of "the State of Youngstown" will help drive the university to a brighter future. It's time for Jim to come "home."

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3papa1(662 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

if the trustees blow this ysu could slip down to division two. they're millions of dollars in debt. what job does tressel really want? he wants the ua job but he'll take the ysu job if he can't get it. this is his plan b and he thinks he's a lock at ysu. does that sound like he really wants the ysu presidency? you have to say no.

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4godandcountry(13 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

It's interesting to see people predict with great certainty how he'll do based on vague platitudes about his leadership abilities. Look at his record. Not from here twenty-odd years ago, but where he's been the past ten years. I'm not impressed. And I wouldn't predict he'll be great or even good. Just a hometown favorite. Which is an illogical reason to support a candidate.

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5JohnQPublic(5 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

As a NATIVE AMERICAN, I was appalled at Mr. Tressel's ignorant and insensitive analogy of acting "like wild Indians". This is NOT the first time that he has said this disparaging statement in public. Why do we not hear an outcry over this blatant racism? That may fly in the locker rooms where he is obviously comfortable using this type of language, but it is definitely not what U of A needs as a leader. Send him to YSU where they will take anyone.

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6bmanresident(597 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

How does Tressel find all this time? He has a current job, applying for two university presidencies and also campaigning for that dipstick Sammarone?

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7kurtw(848 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

@JohnQpublic- "Send him to YSU where they will take anyone." That about say's it, I'm sorry to have to admit.

Tressel is a joke, and the Y-town "Butt kissers"- the so-called community leader's having collective "wet dreams" about Jimbo No. Two- are an even bigger joke. And Tress is doing a good job making them- and all of us- look like the fools we are.

By the way, that big job they gave him in Akron- "Vice-president for Student Success"- what the hell does that mean- and what exactly did he do to deserve the big salary he no-doubt got? (Sorry, is still getting.) Sounds like a Huge, Huge Example of feather-bedding and over staffing to me- the kind of thing we expect from academia, the Federal Government- and all levels of government in the Mahoning Valley.

Translated into real terms, it would be just like a plumber hiring three assistant to join pipe- one cuts the sections to length, the other sands and fluxes, a third applies solder, finally the plumber comes in and solders them together. Four people to do the job of one- bizarre? But that's what routinely happens in academic circles- on the taxpayer's and students dime- "Vice President for Student Success"- Right!

P.S. If we end up with Jimbo Tressel, I'll bet the other Jimbo will be secretively laughing at us- and calling us A-Holes. Richly deserved. (Meanwhile we send somebody well qualified to lead Y.S.U. into the future packing- I mean Dr. Abraham. We're a Collective Joke- Again.)

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8kurtw(848 comments)posted 4 months, 3 weeks ago

YtownSports- " None of the other candidates for the Y.S.U. job have Tressel's understanding of the university and the community it serves. He will bring to the Presidency what he brought as football coach, a vision and a plan to make that vision a reality. His background in and knowledge of "the State of Youngstown" will help drive the university to a brighter future. It's time for Jim to come "home."

Man, reads just like a Press Release (could have been written by Jimbo himself- maybe it was). I have just two questions: How are you related to Jim Tressel? By Marriage or Birth? Or maybe he just promised you a job at Y.S.U.- "Vice- President for Student Success"! ( Or, maybe just another example of "jock-sniffing"? You and Sam C., Bruce Z. and the rest...)

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