Big Turnover at the Top for State Universities in 2014

University of Akron Presient Scott Scarborough
University of Akron Presient Scott Scarborough
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The biggest school, Ohio State, has a new president in Michael Drake. He immediately shook up things by firing the school’s popular marching band director. Drake will make about one million dollars a year - or half that of predecessor Gordon Gee and less than a quarter of what football coach Urban Meyer earns.

A former OSU football coach, Jim Tressel, became president of Youngstown State in July. He took a 90% pay cut from his coaching days but his most recent job was as a vice president at the University of Akron. He was one of the top candidates for the UA presidency.

The University of Akron hired Scott Scarborough, the former provost at the University of Toledo. He began as an accountant and he told the Akron Roundtable that schools are making unusual choices for presidents because of dwindling state funding and increasing student debt.

"It’s forcing universities to finally deal with the reality that the fundamental economic model has to change. That there has to be a rebalancing of that teaching, research, and service that is economically sustainable. Affordable to the state affordable to students and parents. “

State universities are now funded based on the number of graduates they turn out not the number of students they have. Scarborough and Kent State’s new leader, Beverly Warren, will both be looking to pay off campus building projects the past few years. All these new leaders will have to focus on raising money, streamlining their schools, and dealing with online competition. They also all face a dwindling number of high school graduates as the "baby boomlet" winds down.

Note: an earlier version of the story incorrectly mentioned Ohio University also welcomed a new president this year. ideastream apologizes for the error.

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