By Justin Wier
Big changes are taking place in Tod Hall, with Jim Tressel, Youngstown State University’s President, instituting administrative changes that will eliminate six positions, resulting in a savings of nearly $1 million.
The reorganization reduces the number of administrative units from six to four: the Office of the President, the Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of Finance and Business Operations and the Division of Legal Affairs and Human Resources.
As previously reported, the former Division of Student Affairs will be replaced by the Division of Student Success, which reports to the Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of Enrollment Planning and Management and the Division of Student Experience, all of which report to the Office of the President.
Tasks previously performed by the Division of University Advancement will be undertaken by the new Division of University Relations, which will handle marketing and communications, alumni engagement and events management.
The Division of University Advancement previously included the development office, but that no longer exists because of an agreement that put the YSU Foundation in charge of fundraising and development efforts for the entire university.
Tressel said the changes were prompted by a significant amount of turnover within the administration — which provided opportunities for reorganization — paired with a desire to address budget constraints.
“We sat down and strategically figured out what was needed and who might be able to handle those tasks,” Tressel said.
The positions being eliminated are the vice president of student affairs, vice president of university advancement, executive director of marketing and communications, executive director of student services, executive director of student life and executive director of the public services institute, resulting in a savings of $939,582.
Tressel said the cuts will result in certain people taking on more duties and responsibilities than they had previously.
Neal McNally, currently interim vice president for finance and administration, was appointed vice president of the retitled Division of Finance and Business Operations. Sylvia Imler, currently interim director of the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, was appointed associate vice president for inclusion and multicultural affairs. Shannon Tirone, current chief of staff, will lead serve as associate vice president for the new Division of University Relations.
The changes were approved by the YSU Board of Trustees’ university affairs committee.
Tressel said he hoped the new structure would meet the needs that were being met previously.
“You can only afford what you can afford. Until we grow our student attraction higher and do a better job of retaining students, hopefully [then] we can rebuild our ranks,” Tressel said.
He said cuts have affected not only the administration, but also faculty and staff. People have left the university, and funds have not been available to fill all of those vacancies with new hires.
The administration made an effort to ensure the things they wanted to focus on were being addressed. A press release identified creating a culture of community on campus, ensuring the success of all students, developing programs and activities that impact the region and promoting a campus environment that provides for the discovery of knowledge as major areas of focus.
Tressel said he is confident they will be able to accomplish these goals.
“I’m excited. We have an extremely hardworking group that is more than willing to take on these duties,” Tressel said.