Tuesday, 19 September 2017 17:14

AUDIO UA Looking to 'Play Ball' in 2020

After a two-year layoff, it looks University of Akron is ready to 'play ball' here in the near future.

The school is looking to restore the men's baseball team and add a women's lacrosse team for the 2019-20 academic year.

University President Matthew Wilson joined the Sam and Brad Show Tuesday afternoon to talk about the recommendation which will be presented to the Board of Trustees October 11.

 Akron disbanded the program after the 2015 season amid financial issues.

Published in Sam and Brad
A new school year has begun at the University of Akron, and the atmosphere and the vibes are quite positive.

Matthew Wilson, the president of the university, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss all that is happening around the campus for 2017-2018. Wilson has met with the new freshman class, and says the student housing is currently at its peak. The new class, according to Wilson, is from all over the state, not just confined to the immediate area.

Wilson also mentioned some cosmetic changes around the campus. One of those facelifts is a $21 million renovation of the School of Law.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 03:50

VIDEO UA Looking For More Belt-Tightening

Times are tough at the University of Akron, and a new report by Ernst and Young is leading to voluntary buyouts as the school tries to right it's spending versus revenues. University President Matthew Wilson says he wants to avoid layoffs; 161 employees were laid off in 2015 by the administration of then-President Scott Scarborough and that decision touched off fierce debate and open rebellion that eventually helped lead to Scarborough losing his job.
 
Student enrollment is down 20 percent for full-time freshman while and $18 million dollar deficit this year was covered by the University's reserve fund, but it cut the amount held by nearly a third. Wilson says they've managed to save up to $5 million dollars by current cost-cutting measures.
 
The economic proposals have already been shared with key stakeholders such as faculty representatives and donors.  
 
 
 
- - -
 
(University of Akron)  As you know, I strongly believe in open and direct communications. Out of gratitude and respect for your support of UA, I want you to be among the first to receive this communication about our beloved institution. 
 
Since my appointment as President, we have experienced a lot of good news. Going forward, I anticipate that there will be much more. Donations to the University have started climbing (recent ABJ article), media coverage has been positive, the focus on student success has elevated, new student applications are once again trending in the right direction, and just a few weeks ago we announced a $3 million Knight Foundation grant. On campus, there is a renewed sense of optimism. In the community, I have felt the excitement as I have connected with alumni, university stakeholders, governmental officials, high schools, and others. In fact, I have personally visited nearly 50 high schools this semester and spoken at about 10 high school assemblies. To everyone who has helped me spread our success stories – thank you! 
 
At the same time, the University faces the financial realities associated with a sharp downturn in student enrollment. Over the past five years, we have experienced gradual enrollment declines resulting from the University’s move to more selective admission standards several years ago, demographics, the impact of large graduating classes and the turbulence of the last year, which resulted in a smaller entering freshman class this fall. To adjust and adapt, we reduced our expenses by $20 million last year by reducing administrators and staff, limiting expenses, and taking other measures. This year, our overall enrollment dropped by 8%. Our smaller student body (23,152 students this year) combined with our efforts to provide students with an affordable education require that we again simplify our budget to ensure our future success. 
 
A gift from an anonymous donor made it possible for us to engage the services of Ernst and Young (E&Y) to explore our past financial activity, look at our current financial situation, and provide preliminary suggestions for ensuring budgetary stability going forward. E&Y has provided us with an objective and impartial report of our financial history and current status. The E&Y team did an outstanding job providing an in-depth understanding of our situation and suggesting potential solutions to our challenges. 
 
To address our current situation, we have outlined the framework of a 2-year strategic financial plan based on objective data and discussions within our University family. This information has been shared with the leadership of Faculty Senate, University Council, student government, our bargaining units, and the Board of Trustees. I believe everyone is working toward a common understanding of the situation, and appreciates the importance of maintaining positivity for this plan to succeed.
 
We have posted our action plan and the E&Y report at uakron.edu/budget. Also, I have recorded an explanatory video message and posted it on the webpage. In short, I can summarize for you the key finding of the E&Y report: expenditures outpace revenues and will continue to do so unless we take appropriate actions. E&Y’s efforts have helped us focus on solutions and develop a strategic plan that can best be summarized as Stabilize–Invest–Grow. We will further stabilize our institution with a variety of initiatives that address our challenges, including a voluntary buy-out program to reduce personnel costs; we will invest in retention and recruitment opportunities to increase enrollment and expand our fundraising efforts; and we will grow our existing networks and expand greater pathways for non-traditional students, veterans, international students, and others to graduate from UA.
 
This is a lot to take in at once. I anticipate many more discussions with University governance groups, student representatives, and community leaders. I also welcome your input at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I personally read every message I receive, and will respond to as many as possible. 
 
I strongly believe this two-year plan will carry us forward. I ask for your goodwill, positivity, and continued support as my colleagues and I work tirelessly to ensure a prosperous future. Thank you for all you do for our students and our University.
Published in Local
Wednesday, 02 November 2016 08:43

UA President Settles Into Official Role

Matthew Wilson had his interim title dropped a couple weeks ago and became the permanent president of the University of Akron, and he has hit the ground running.

Wilson joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss what is on his plate, which includes the recent $3 million endowment from the Knight Foundation for polymer science and engineering. It is the largest singe endowment in school history.

The UA president acknowledges the challenges he has ahead, which includes a sizable loss in enrollment over the last few years. But Wilson is confident that the issues can be solved, especially with the school’s 150th anniversary around the corner.

Wilson took over as interim president when Scott Scarborough stepped down. He came to the university in 2014, and was enticed due to how much the community truly cares about the school.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER
Thursday, 20 October 2016 09:53

University Of Akron Names Wilson President

The University of Akron Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday night to remove the "interim" tag and make it official, naming Matthew Wilson the President of the University. 

Wilson was named Interim President back on July 11, 2016, after a tumultuous two years at the university under then President Scott Scarborough. At the time of that appointment, the Board of Trustees put five primary responsibilities on Wilson's plate, the two most important being improving enrollment numbers and improving student retention and relationships with faculty and staff. 

In their announcement Wednesday, the board said that Wilson is well on his way to meeting or exceeding all of the goals they set for his term. 

Wilson, who was formerly the Dean of the College of Law at the University of Akron, will see his term run through June 30, 2018, per the board. 

Also in the meeting, the Board of Trustees removed the "interim" prefix on Sr. Vice President and Provost Dr. Rex Remsier. 

Below is the release from the University of Akron Website: 

The University’s Trustees voted today to name Matthew J. Wilsonthe University’s 17th president and Dr. Rex Ramsier as senior vice president and provost. Both had been serving in those roles on an interim basis.

Before the votes, Board Chair Roland H. Bauer praised the work done by both.

“In the months since (Wilson’s interim) appointment, he has brought new energy and enthusiasm to all corners of the campus and the community,” Bauer said.  “He is personally visiting area high schools – 20 so far with another two dozen scheduled the rest of this semester – talking with students and engaging with principals and counselors to help with our recruitment and enrollment efforts. He has had well over sixty meetings with donors, business and community leaders and public officials. He is conducting “town halls” with the colleges and academic units to foster free-flowing conversations. And, as has been well documented, he has actively engaged with students in the usual and some not-so-usual ways, such as basketball contests and late night email exchanges to provide guidance to students who have asked for help. As he says it so well… ‘It’s all about the students.’”

Speaking about Ramsier, Bauer said, “In similar fashion, stabilizing the academic leadership of the University is critical to our success going forward. Dr. Ramsier’s depth of experience as a faculty member and administrator, his personal devotion to the University as an alumnus, and his broad knowledge of national accrediting agencies and their procedures have secured the confidence of the Board as well. We recognize that as provost, he serves an important ‘gatekeeper’ function to both oversee and push forward the academic mission of the University.”

Read more at UAkron.edu

 

Published in Local
Monday, 17 October 2016 11:44

University Of Akron To Decide On President

The University of Akron will reportedly decide on whether or not they'll make Interim President Matthew Wilson the university's 17th President. 

A special meeting of the U of A Board of Trustees is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19, at 4:30 p.m., to discuss the matter. 

Wilson has been with the University of Akron since 2014 when he was hired as Dean of the College of Law. He was named interim president back in July after former President Scott Scarborough was dismissed after only two years on the job. During his time on the job, Wilson has already made a significant impact, establishing a direct relationship with incoming students and upperclassmen. As part of his effort to better connect to University of Akron students, Wilson even gave out his personal cellphone number at a meeting with students on campus. 

At Wednesday's meeting, the Board of Trustees will also consider removing the interim tag on Senior Vice President and Provost Rex Ramsier. 

Published in Local
Friday, 16 September 2016 12:35

EXL Leader At UA Stepping Down

The head of the University of Akron's Experiential Learning (EXL) Center submitted his letter of resignation today. Interim UA President Matthew Wilson confirmed that he received an email from EXL founding director and Priceline.com co-founder Jeff Hoffman stating that he would be stepping down at the end of the month.

"We wish Jeff the best," said Wilson "Part of Jeff's letter to me was very sincere and very kind, offering to continue to assist as we move forward so that's very encouraging."

But there's no word on what will happen to the career-focused program that was launched earlier this year.

"In terms of whether or not it's going to stick around in its own current form or fashion, that's something that we're going to need to explore."

Previous Coverage:

UA Creates Real World Link

Published in Local
The University of Akron continues to go through a transition process, specifically after the resignation of former president Scott Scarborough back in May. But the effort to push through the poor publicity continues.

The dean of the University of Akron College of Law, Matthew Wilson, joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to talk about him being named interim president. Wilson will tackle the presidency until the trustees pick a permanent choice.

Wilson has been with the university since 2014. Prior to coming to Akron, he held a similar position with the University of Wyoming College of Law.

Published in WAKR RAY HORNER