Pintar gets nod for YSU provost from Johnson

Jennifer Pintar

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University could soon remove the interim tag from Jennifer Pintar’s title.

According to a university news release Monday, YSU President Bill Johnson has announced he will recommend Pintar to the school’s board of trustees to be the new provost and vice president of academic affairs during the board’s quarterly meeting June 7.

Pintar has served as interim provost since January.

“Her demonstrated leadership over the last five months as interim provost has demonstrated that she is absolutely the right person to lead our office of Academic Affairs into an exciting and dynamic future,” Johnson said in the release.

Pintar was the first of three finalists for the position to speak at a forum before faculty, staff and students earlier this month. She said then being the faculty’s voice at the executive table, improving student retention and guiding YSU successfully through the difficult process of retrenchment are among her priorities.

“I know Youngstown State University, and I know how truly special this university really is,” she said.

Pintar began her career at YSU as an exercise science instructor 25 years ago. She served in several leadership positions, including department chair, before being appointed in 2017 as associate provost and director of faculty relations.

Pintar said in 2023, as vice provost, she helped negotiate the most recent faculty contract, which she said was approved by more than 90% of the faculty union and fully supported by the board of trustees.

Pintar said retrenchment — the process of cutting programs that are financially unsustainable and, by extension, some of the faculty who lead them — is a painful, but necessary process to help YSU through turbulent economic times.

Pintar said the university faces numerous challenges that require cost-cutting efforts, including fewer high school graduates enrolling at YSU because of declining population, a lowered perception among students and parents about the value of college education and increasingly strict policies requiring the university to report to the state about low enrollment or duplicative courses.

Pintar has drawn some criticism by students and faculty in recent months amid the process of cutting programs and faculty from several departments, most notably and extensively the Dana School of Music.

Pintar also has overseen the transition of students from Eastern Gateway Community College, whose educational plans were left in limbo after the college announced in February it would close at the end of this semester.

Shortly after the news broke, YSU announced it would take the lead in ensuring those students could complete their certification and associate degree programs.

Johnson said the university has since created more than 60 new programs and has already admitted several hundred students as a result, contributing to an upward trend in YSU’s enrollment. He said the university is still accepting applications.

In Monday’s press release, Johnson also expressed his gratitude to others involved in the process, including the other two finalists.

The other finalists were Alyson A. Gill, who most recently, from 2021 to 2023, served as provost at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, North Carolina, and Dr. Carolyn Smith Keller, associate provost and professor of social sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Pintar earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in exercise physiology, as well as a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Washington and Jefferson College.

Have an interesting story? Contact Dan Pompili by email at dpompili@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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