Jim Tressel got another promotion at the University of Akron on Wednesday that puts him a little closer to the executive suite.
UA trustees named him executive vice president to help President Luis Proenza achieve his goals in the waning months of his 15-year presidency.
While this was the third title for Tressel since he joined UA 18 months ago, he sidestepped the suggestion that he was being positioned to replace Proenza when the president steps down in June to return to teaching.
“I think in fairness I’m interested in whatever role it is that our leadership wants of me,” he said.
Tressel said he had taken Proenza’s advice to “keep the focus on the moment” and “not pay [the search for a new president] any heed.” He said he has been too busy to pay attention to the search committee’s efforts and doesn’t know what it is looking for in UA’s new leader.
Vice Chairman Jonathan Pavloff told fellow trustees that the search is heating up this month with ads in national publications.
“It is entering the active phase,” Pavloff said, meaning that the university’s search firm now is accepting applications.
Meanwhile, Proenza told trustees Wednesday that he is working to reach strategic goals before the new president enters the picture next spring.
He directed Tressel to develop interdepartmental leadership teams to recruit, keep, graduate and find jobs for students.
Tressel said he will convene meetings of administrators, faculty and others and in January will come up with some six-month goals to tackle. His salary will remain at $210,000.
Two other high-ranking university officials will pursue related initiatives.
Provost and Executive Vice President Mike Sherman will oversee the academic component, Proenza told the board. That includes a review of academic departments that will lead to the elimination of some majors, although students now in those fields will be allowed to graduate.
Sherman will continue to earn $291,600 in that role.
Candace Campbell Jackson got a new title — vice president of strategic partnerships — to manage the university’s existing partnerships and pursue new ones with community and civic organizations, foundations and other entities. Her salary continues at $200,131.
This is her third promotion since joining UA in 2003 as assistant to the president at a salary of $92,000. She will continue in her role as Proenza’s chief of staff.
Proenza also named Ajay Mahajan associate vice president for innovation. He will receive $24,000 for the new title, on top of a $15,000 stipend as special assistant to the president for innovation and a $183,600 yearly salary.
Finally, Proenza promoted vice provost Rex Ramsier to interim dean of Summit College.
Ramsier will replace Stan Silverman, who is retiring this month. He will be paid $20,000 more for the temporary deanship, on top of a $12,000 stipend for his work involving the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process and his $183,600 yearly salary.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3729.