Wright State’s last president finalist chosen for research background

Wright State University’s third presidential finalist has a background in research and engineering, one of the reasons she was asked to visit campus.

Cheryl Schrader is the chancellor of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, a college with just under 9,000 students. Missouri S&T is located in Rolla, Missouri, a little under two hours southwest of St. Louis.

Previously, Schrader served as the associate vice president for strategic research initiatives at Boise State University, according to her resume.

ExploreDETAILS: Wright State selects 3 finalists for president’s job

Schrader is the final candidate to visit campus. She will meet with faculty and students in two separate forums at 9:15 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. today in the student union’s Apollo room, according to the university.

“I led campus-wide strategies critical to the role and outreach as an urban research university and helped position the university as an integral partner in knowledge transfer and economic development in Idaho,” Schrader wrote in her cover letter.

Schrader’s experience leading research initiatives was attractive to the search committee, said Doug Fecher, trustee and chair of the committee. Wright State, a public research university, is home to the Wright State Research Institute and programs in engineering and neuroscience, among others.

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“I don’t know that Wright State could survive for very long if it weren’t focused on research opportunities,” Fecher said.

Wright State is in the midst of a budget crisis and Fecher said Schrader’s research background might assist the college diversify its revenue.

Wright State’s reserve fund has dropped from more than $100 million in 2012 to $12.9 million as of June 30. Wright State also announced in October that it would lay off 23 employees.

While Schrader did not explicitly detail her experience in overcoming financial hurdles at Missouri S&T, in her letter she wrote that she is a few years into implementing a 2020 plan to sustain the university’s “environmental, social and economic” achievements.

Under Schrader’s leadership, Missouri S&T was able to obtain a 27 percent increase in state funding. Portions of that funding were awarded so the college could expand research programs, Schrader wrote.

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Over the past five years, the college also boosted enrollment by 16 percent, something Fecher has said Wright State needs to do. The number of Ohio high school grads is expected to drop by 13,000 over the next 15 years, leading area college officials to seek ways to boost enrollment.

“Enrollment drives everything good at the university,” Fecher told this news organization in December. “That’s why a student should care…if enrollment drops then resources become smaller and it makes it more difficult to do things.”

Schrader’s visit to campus is scheduled to be the last of Wright State’s presidential finalists. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1984, a masters in the same field in 1987 and a doctorate in philosophy in 1991, according to her resume.

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Either Schrader or fellow finalist Deborah Ford could become the first woman to serve as president of Wright State, if chosen by the board of trustees. Ford, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, visited campus earlier this week.

Dennis Shields, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville visited last week.

If Shields is selected, he would be just the second African-American to serve as president of WSU. The first was Harley E. Flack, who served as president from 1994 to 1998, according to the university.


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