Under pressure from her faculty, Southern Oregon University President fails in effort to move to Youngstown State

Youngstown State University has hired its most popular former football coach to be its new president.

It’s probably not as bad as it may seem at first blush.  Jim Tressel, whose highest academic degree is a master’s in education, is presently Executive Vice President at the University of Akron.

But before that, he was head football coach at Ohio State University, where he won a national championship before being forced out due to rules violations in the program.

Tressel coached at Youngstown State, a traditional FCS powerhouse, prior to being appointed to the Ohio State job.

But this isn’t what I decided to note in the title of this post.  What I refer to in the title is that the President of Southern Oregon University, Mary Cullinan, who was asked to leave by 63% of the Faculty Senate at her institution, was one of the losing finalists in the Youngstown State search.  And according to the Mail Tribune, the faculty’s ire was sparked by the termination of the SOU Physics Department, as well as several other “low-enrollment majors”.

The May issue of the APS News features the SOU Physics closure.  Of course the Physics Department at SOU is not the only physics program under pressure:

APS director of education and diversity Theodore Hodapp commented, “We are seeing many of these regional public institutions facing a similar threat, with the number of graduates being used as a proxy for viability.” Also, Paul Cottle, chair of the APS Committee on Education, warned that, “despite graduating smaller numbers, physics majors have a disproportionate impact on the economy, and broader educational goals of the nation.” 

I probably should not do this, but I’ll admit to taking just a little bit too much pleasure in seeing the SOU President lose to an ethically challenged football coach for another university presidency.

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