President’s Perspective: Chance to reset, restart…reinvent

Randy J. Dunn

By President Randy J. Dunn


With the increased activity we’ve all noticed on the campus these past few days, you can’t escape the fact that school is opening for yet another fall—kicking off what I hope will be a rewarding and enriching 2013-14 academic year. For those of us who follow the unique rhythms of the academic calendar—even though we bemoan that another summer’s approaching the end—there is still an excitement that comes with the beginning of a new term.

Without a doubt, there is a kind of intangible benefit for anyone who works in an academic environment. Every fall we have the chance to reset and restart…to improve in our craft…to reinvent…to renew ourselves to what we’ve decided is our life’s calling. That’s a pretty terrific opportunity that you don’t ordinarily get in a lot of other occupations, and I try to take advantage of it every year. And for this year that’s easy to do, in large part because I have a new job!

I want to once more express my thanks to so many of you in the YSU family who have greeted Ronda and me at different events, or come up and introduced yourself to us, or extended some other welcoming kindness from our very first day here. Our new neighbors across the street from the Pollock House—the College of Creative Arts and Communication located in Bliss Hall—actually sent a small delegation with delicious homemade cookies. (Since we hadn’t even gotten to the grocery store yet, those didn’t last long.) We look forward to getting to know many of you and building lasting relationships over the coming years as we serve YSU—we also want many of you from the campus to be able to enjoy the house at various events and gatherings. The Pollock will be viewed as a gem in the crown of the campus for a long time to come, and we consider ourselves fortunate to be its stewards for this period of time.

So by now you may have figured out that I have agreed to do a biweekly column for YSUpdate. Although that print deadline rolls around quickly each time, I actually enjoy the writing and I hope some of you will find it informative…maybe even entertaining on occasion. It just provides a simple, straightforward approach to update the campus about various things that are happening and other goings-on. Sometimes I’ll talk about budgets or facilities, at other times personnel or planning topics, every so often I’ll do a commentary about some HIED issue, and every once in a great while I’ll just riff on whatever pops into my head. Additionally, we’re in the process of building my YSU webpage (you can find a starter version at and I also maintain a public Facebook page and even try to get a tweet sent every so often as well (@YSUPrez), but admittedly that’s been tougher for me to keep up with…generational, I guess.

As we start another academic year, I want to finally give a shout out to those who were involved in any aspect of Welcome Week 2013: Penguin Boot Camp. WW is a great YSU tradition that pulls in our students—particularly those new to campus—and folds them into life as a Penguin! That connectedness to friends, faculty and staff, and the U as a whole can be a big calling card for us as we build our future. We’ve got our challenges—and I’ll talk about some of those in this space in the next weeks and months—but we also have the people, programs, and place that can keep us moving forward for years to come. I am sure of that.