WSU expected to name new president; Schrader said to be favorite

She would be the first female president for the university.

Wright State University will name its next president Monday in a special meeting of the board of trustees.

Cheryl Schrader, chancellor of the Missouri University of Science and Technology, was said by sources familiar with the search process to be the lead candidate for the job, but no announcement has been made.

The board of trustees will take a vote to confirm the next president in the student union atrium at 10 a.m., according to a schedule of events on WSU’s student union website. A public reception will follow in the student union’s Wright Brothers Room.

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COVERAGE TODAY

Our higher education reporter Max Filby will be at today's Wright State announcement. Get the latest news at DaytonDailyNews.com and follow Max on Twitter at @MaxFilby for live updates starting before the 10 a.m. announcement.

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Wright State officials were said to be waiting to announce the next president because students were on spring break last week.

Schrader was unavailable to comment Saturday, said her husband Jeff Schrader when reached by phone.

Deborah Ford, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, is also a finalist for the position. Ford has served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside since 2009. She could not be reached to comment on Saturday.

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If Schrader is named president she would take office in July as Wright State grapples with an ongoing budget crisis. The university must cut $25 million from its budget in fiscal year 2018, outgoing president David Hopkins told campus last month.

Hopkins asked Ulliman and provost Tom Sudkamp to develop a savings strategy by April 3 and trustees requested they get the details of the plan by their April 7 meeting.

“We can’t set our incoming president up to be the fall person for things we didn’t do,” Doug Fecher, chairman of the search and finance committees said Friday.

The budget constraints mean more layoffs are imminent, said Jeff Ulliman, vice president for business and finance. The next president will inherit Wright State’s budget issues and may be left to identify further cuts, if needed.

The university laid off 23 employees in October and more employees are expected to be cut in April. The budget cuts and layoffs are mostly due to overspending, Ulliman said Friday.

ExploreRELATED: ‘Overspending’ could cause more layoffs at Wright State in April

The university is on track to spend nearly $40 million more than it brought in this year, according to a cash projection.

“We cannot end up in this position we’re in today ever again,” Fecher said. “It hurts too many people.”

In response to financial issues, Fecher has called on the university to further diversify it’s revenue sources, an idea Schrader promoted during her February visit to campus. Higher education is at a crossroads, Schrader said, because of “shrinking budgets and increasing expectations.”

“You’ve been jolted into this reality and that may be a good thing because now everyone is focused going forward,” Schrader said.

Universities draw most of their revenue from tuition and fees, but Wright State has suffered a decrease in enrollment this year when officials had been anticipating a slight increase. The decline cost the university around $10 million, officials have said.

Provost Tom Sudkamp has said the enrollment drop was mostly due to more than 400 Saudi Arabian students who did not return because of a scholarship that dried up in that country. International students are not eligible for federal financial aid and therefore usually pay full price for a degree.

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On Friday, Sudkamp called for the university to seek students from more countries to offset any future losses, another issue the president may face.

Wright State, Schrader said, is on precipice of entering the national stage. She suggested moving WSU to a higher level, nationally, would be a task she would take on.

She compared Wright State to Boise State University where she previously served as associate vice president for strategic research initiatives.

“I watched them move on to the national scene and that was a rewarding experience,” Schrader said during a visit last month. “That’s where I feel Wright State is.”

Schrader has served as the chancellor of Missouri S&T since 2012. Missouri S&T, located in Rolla, Missouri, is a college of just under 9,000 students.

Outgoing president David Hopkins, who has served as WSU’s leader for almost 10 years, will retire at the end of June when his contract expires.

A third candidate, Dennis Shields of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, withdrew his name for consideration. Shields and his administration in Wisconsin faced accusations that WSU officials were unaware of when naming him a finalist for the president’s job.

WSU officials could not be reached to comment on Sunday.

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