You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Experts offer advice for next Wright State president

Wright State’s next president will have to deal with issues unique to the university as well as those that affect colleges across the country, state leaders and college presidents said during a presidential search symposium Wednesday.

The symposium’s panel of experts talked about the biggest challenges Wright State’s eighth president will encounter.

Included on the panel were University of Toledo President Sharon Gaber; Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey; state Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering; and state Rep. Mike Duffy, R-Worthington.

Sinclair Community College President Steven Johnson moderated the panel discussion.

The symposium at Oelman Hall is part of Wright State’s presidential search that is scheduled to conclude in April.

The search committee will use opinions offered Wednesday to help determine a “profile” for the ideal job candidate, said Doug Fecher, search committee chair and vice chair of the board of trustees.

Facing issues

Wright State’s finances recently garnered attention when the school had to give up hosting the first presidential debate because it did not raise enough money. WSU also is under federal investigation for its handling of an H-1B visa program.

Those issues, panelists said, should motivate the best candidate for the job.

Even the country’s best institutions have challenges, Gaber said. She mentioned how some of Harvard’s dining halls are closed while cafeteria workers are on strike.

“OK, there are a couple issues … Every campus has a set of issues and there may be some surprises along the way,” Toledo’s president said.

Panelists agreed that the search committee should be upfront about Wright State’s recent troubles.

“People will have questions and you should be as forthright as possible,” Lehner said.

Student debt

Gaber and Mazey said presidents need to make student loan debt a priority and explore ways to save students money.

At Toledo, Gaber said she has tried to eliminate overlaps in administrative roles while Mazey said BGSU has outsourced services such as its health center.

“I think we’re all looking at our operations to see where we can reduce overlap,” Gaber said.

Paying for college can be a huge drain on students’ wallets, said Inter-University Council of Ohio President Bruce Johnson, adding that presidents should encourage the federal and state governments to provide more grant money for students.

“(College) used to be a luxury item and now it’s a necessity,” he said.

Work with Columbus

Bruce Johnson said the state has made a mistake by pulling money from higher education.

“The state has always under-invested in higher education,” he said. “It’s a tragic mistake. We should at least aspire to be like West Virginia and Mississippi.”

Mazey, who previously served as a dean at Wright State, said she remembers when the school received 60 percent of its funding from the state and that BGSU now only receives 22 percent from the state.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ohio’s per-student spending dropping from $5,627 in 2008 to $5,078 in 2015. The national average in 2015 was $6,996.

Changes in funding will require WSU’s next president to increase donations and connect with alumni who want to support their alma mater, panelists said.

Duffy said legislators in Columbus and Gov. John Kasich have been pushing to make college more accessible and affordable, but that university leaders need to work with them to fine-tune their approaches.

“We’re throwing a lot against the wall to see what sticks,” Duffy said.

Embrace innovation

Changes in technology have presented challenges in the classroom, but panelists said the next president should embrace innovation.

“How do we innovate along the way?” Gaber said.

Panelists said the university needs a president who is not stuck in the past or will run Wright State like it’s “the 1950s.”

Technology means that universities have a larger population to serve and Wright State’s president needs to understand how to offer the best programs and opportunities to students who may not be sitting in a physical classroom, officials said.

“We have to look at the world as our marketplace,” Mazey said. “We have to figure out how to position our institutions for the future.”

Create community

The next president needs to be able to “hit the ground listening,” Mazey said.

Every official on the panel agreed that getting to know the students and members of the surrounding community is necessary in order for Wright State to flourish.

The next president should take a “team approach” to solve problems, panelists said.

That means finding ways to collaborate with other colleges and private companies to save money and provide the best education possible, Gaber said.

Gaber said Toledo works with Bowling Green to share programs and resources.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Civil War memorial event at Woodland Cemetery
Civil War memorial event at Woodland Cemetery

Several speakers provided Memorial Day remarks Monday in the veterans section of Historic Woodland Cemetery, 118 Woodland Ave., Dayton. The Civil War Living History ceremony started at 2 p.m. and is hosted by Historic Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum along with various other civil war organizations.  Woodland Cemetery and members of the Sons...
Red sky at night, a sky watcher’s delight
Red sky at night, a sky watcher’s delight

Some of my favorite photos I’ve received from viewers over the years have been of sunrises and sunsets. I love the amazing colors that our sky can produce depending on what is going on in the atmosphere. You’ve likely hear the old saying, “red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning, sailor take warning.” There...
Construction on Springboro crossroads to begin in June
Construction on Springboro crossroads to begin in June

A Troy contractor is expected to begin reconstruction of Springboro’s central crossroads next month, as city leaders search for a developer to return the northwest corner to its prominent place in the community. RELATED: Springboro sets aside part of $3.4 million in shopping center payment for cleanup On May 19, the Warren County Transportation...
Ohio pair driving cross-country for human trafficking awareness
Ohio pair driving cross-country for human trafficking awareness

Fifty-four hours from New York to Los Angeles — that's the goal for a couple buddies driving an electric car. If they make it, they'll break a record.   "If you think about a normal road trip, it's like that but with a lot of steroids," said Bradly D'Souza of Cincinnati.   D'Souza and Jordan Hart, of Bellbrook, are...
Fairborn police investigate robbery

Fairborn police are investigating a robbery on North Elm Avenue. Around 2 p.m. Monday, a male displayed a gun and took cash and a cell phone, according to emergency scanner traffic.  We have a photographer on the way and will update this report.
More Stories