By Justin Wier
Michael Reagle, Youngstown State University’s new associate vice president for student success, initially applied for a different job than the one he ended up with.
“The [associate vice president for] student experience position lined up a little better with my previous experience,” Reagle said. “That did not work out, but my experience while I was here interviewing for that position convinced me that Youngstown was a place that I could see myself.”
The student experience position went to Eddie Howard, and Reagle looked at the associate vice president for student success position. He contacted the university to see if they had filled the position. They hadn’t, so he applied and was quickly appointed to the position.
“When I looked at [the position] and reevaluated it,” Reagle said. “In some ways, I really felt that this position might give me more job satisfaction because I don’t think there’s any greater satisfaction than knowing you helped somebody to better themselves, and helped them to change their lives and perhaps the lives of those around them.”
In his most recent job serving as associate vice president for student life at Eastern Kentucky University, Reagle oversaw areas like housing and campus recreation — areas under the purview of the associate vice president for student experience at YSU, but he said many of their efforts focused on increasing retention.
He said that if they found students involved in campus rec had higher rates of retention, they would try to increase participation in campus rec. They took a similar approach with housing.
Both Reagle and Jim Tressel, president of YSU, see retention as central to their vision for Reagle’s position.
“Students come here to get a degree, and we need to do — as an institution — absolutely everything that we can to help them achieve their goals and achieve their dreams,” Reagle said.
Reagle stated that his passion is to see students succeed and get where they want to in life. He was encouraged to see many people at YSU share this goal, both in the faculty and the administration.
“That isn’t always the case,” Reagle said.
Reagle praised Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs, for putting a focus on measurement and collecting data in trying to achieve this goal — he pointed to an effort to have faculty record the number of hours they spend with students. He said the opportunity to continue that work is part of what excited him about coming to YSU.
He said increasing retention is in the best interest of both the university and the student.
“We recognize that students who walk away from here with a degree typically have a different future than students that don’t walk away with a degree,” Reagle said.
He said part of that is helping students develop a drive to complete their education.
“If they don’t have that it’s hard for a student to succeed or to graduate, but at the same time, we also need to do everything that we can to eliminate the roadblocks that would keep that student from getting the degree that they came for,” Reagle said.