Minutes after the third presidential candidate wrapped up an open forum at Youngstown State, three of the university’s unions put in their two cents about whom they like.
Not surprisingly, it’s Jim Tressel.
He “will continue to build and nourish our efforts to establish an environment of trust, transparency, and open collaboration,” wrote the leadership for the Ohio Education Association, the Association for Professional and Administrative Staff and the Fraternal Order of Police in a joint release.
“We believe that Mr. Tressel’s commitment to these efforts will be honored throughout his Presidency.”
Tressel, 61, is one of three finalists for the top job at the University of Akron, where he is executive vice president for student success, and is also among three finalists at YSU.
He is a favorite son at YSU because of his 14-year tenure as a successful coach and his longstanding philanthropic and social ties there.
Both UA and YSU seek to have a new president on board by July 1, with UA slightly ahead in the selection process.
UA trustees invited their three candidates to campus last week. They have been meeting in executive session since then to discuss the merits of Ron Nykiel, provost of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Scott Scarborough, provost of the University of Toledo; and Tressel.
UA trustees, who also have scheduled meetings for today and Monday, will consider the views of the UA faculty.
Steve Weeks, a biology professor who heads the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said a handful of faculty advised the search committee this week to favor Scarborough, “although it would be nicer to have a larger pool and do the search over again.”
UA law professor Bill Rich, president of the Faculty Senate, voiced a similar view: Tressel would be a “better fit for Youngstown State.”
Tressel himself has referred to faculty sentiment as one factor in a successful presidency.
At Monday’s open forum at YSU, he told a standing-room-only crowd that he was impressed when 50 Youngstown State faculty members showed up for a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting with him.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sudershan Garg, chairman of the YSU trustees and of the search committee, said trustees will meet today to begin to pick the school’s next president.
“It is very hard to tell now what will happen,” he said Wednesday. “I wish I had a crystal ball in front of me.”
UA spokeswoman Eileen Korey said in an email that the timing of other presidential searches “has no impact on our own search process.”
She said UA would announce its next president in the next two weeks.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3729.