Wright State University should not be embarrassed by the mistakes and scandals that have plagued it over the past few years, the school’s president said Wednesday.
In her first “state of the university address,” president Cheryl Schrader said administrators, staff, faculty and students need to discuss Wright State’s problems in order to solve them.
Just before Schrader arrived, Wright State slashed $30.8 million from its fiscal year 2018 budget in an initial attempt to correct years of overspending. The university has also faced multiple lawsuits over its canceled presidential debate and investigations into possible H-1B visa misuse that have lingered over the last two years.
“First let me say that there is no need to be uncomfortable speaking about what occurred,” Schrader said to a room full of people in the student union. “Recognizing, understanding and discussing it will only help us as we set a bold course for the next 50 years.”
Talking about the university’s issues made Schrader’s speech unlike any state of the university address she had given before, she said. But, discussing those issues is necessary because “we need to be able to look at reality,” Schrader said.
Earlier this year Schrader began seeking feedback for what Wright State should become 10 years from now. The initiative is part of a strategic planning process Schrader and her administration will be developing during her first year in office, she has said.
The responses Schrader received showed that the campus community is mostly concerned about Wright State’s finances, academic programs, campus life and morale at the university.
“The challenges of the last few years have been a stark wake-up call that business as usual is not an option. We can’t go back to the way we have always done things,” she said.
Schrader has been adamant that she can help move Wright State past its recent struggles and on Wednesday she said the “vast potential of this university far outweighs the temporary setbacks we are experiencing.”
During her address, Schrader also gave a shout-out to her new chief business officer, Walt Branson. Branson, who previously served as an administrator under Schrader at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, started this week at WSU.
“His unquestioned acumen and integrity are a great addition to Wright State,” Schrader said. “Walt and I will work together with the campus community to place this institution in as strong a financial position possible by the end of this fiscal year.”