Jonelle Beatrice of Poland, Ohio, who created Youngstown State University’s award-winning Center for Student Progress, has been named executive director of Student Life at YSU.
The YSU Board of Trustees approved the appointment on Friday. Beatrice, named after a national search, replaces Judy Gaines, who retired. She will oversee several student support offices on campus, including Career Services; Counseling Services; the Center for Student Progress which includes Orientation Services, First-Year Student Services, Adult Learner Services, Individual Intervention Services, Multicultural Student Services, Disability Services, Student Tutorial Services, and Supplemental Instruction Services; Student Diversity Programs; Student Conduct; Academic Achievers; the Comprehensive Testing Center; student employment; and Upward Bound. Beatrice also serves as the university’s functional lead for the Starfish retention management system, an initiative implemented as part of the 2020 Strategic Plan.
“We are thrilled to have Jonelle lead our Student Life initiatives on campus,” said Jack Fahey, YSU vice president for Student Affairs. “Jonelle is a respected and internationally-acclaimed professional dedicated to the success of each and every student who sets foot on campus.”
Beatrice, a graduate of East Palestine High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio and a master’s degree in Remedial and Diagnostic Education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She was a public school teacher and a reading specialist for several years before coming to YSU in 1986 as an adjunct faculty member. She became coordinator of the Reading and Study Skills Center at YSU in 1994 and then created and became director of the YSU Center for Student Progress, a new academic support unit to promote and enhance the retention of undergraduate students. The Center has received the Educational Policy Institute Outstanding Student Retention Award for excellence in the development and implementation of a student retention program, and it has served as a national model in the development of student success centers.
In addition to her duties in the Center for Student Progress, Beatrice became associate executive director of Student Life in 2003 and served as interim executive director of Student Life in 2012 and 2013.
Beatrice is the author of the several articles as well as the textbook “Learning to Study Through Critical Thinking.” She has made several scholarly and academic presentations on the local and national levels, worked as a consultant for various schools and colleges, served on dozens of university, community and professional committees and received numerous honors, including the YSU Distinguished Service Award twice, the Educational Policy Institute’s Outstanding Student Retention Award and the Gillespie-Painter Award for outstanding achievement in serving, motivating and supporting students at YSU. She also recently was inducted into the East Palestine High School Hall of Fame.