Tressel visits graduate class to discuss UA enrollment

By Tyler Jordan

Last week, Jim Tressel visited a class of graduate students in Olin Hall to acknowledge the changes happening on Akron’s campus.


The students are working on a term paper about the current enrollment issues and strategies.

Shamima Johan of Bangladesh said she was thrilled to have Tressel, vice president for student success, visit her class.

“l am very excited,” she said during Tressel’s visit. “I didn’t expect him to accept my invitation.”

Kyle Rossi, another graduate student, said he was curious to hear Tressel’s ideas about the university.

“It should be interesting,” he said. “He’s proven that he can engage people in a positive way.”

Tressel strolled in promptly and was conversational. He began by asking people around the room about their backgrounds. He also had a short anecdote to share with each student.

He also mentioned the “30 for 30” documentary that would recount an era in his Ohio State tenure. The film, which is part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, will air on Dec. 14. It’s billed as “The interconnected journey and evolving relationship of two former Ohio State stars — running back Maurice Clarett and head coach Jim Tressel.”

Tressel said he was very much pleased with the class and even elected to have a group picture with the class.

The nature of his speech was to explain the numerous adjustments within the university. One of the more pertinent topics was explaining the fallout that resulted from raising the criteria to enroll at The University of Akron.

“In the short-run it’s gonna hurt us,” Tressel said.

He said the lower rate would cause a reduction in the school’s budget. Tressel defended the new enrollment strategy by stating that the aim is to raise the graduation rate.

He claimed one of the ways the university is going to regain its losses from the new policy is to encourage the admission of international and out-of-state students.

“It’s a global world,” he said. “We didn’t invent the wheel.”

Although the new policy by The University of Akron is a hot-button issue, Tressel said there were more pressing matters to be addressed.

“I think our number one most compelling strategy is to define what we’re going to invest in and be good in,” he said.

Tressel also touched on topics such as camaraderie on campus and school pride.

In the wake of the former Big 10 coach’s speech, Rossi said, “It was refreshing to hear his honesty and opinion on things.”

Johan, a second year graduate student, knew Tressel prior to the class and befriended him. She was still enthralled by his personal, relaxed nature after the speech.

“When I first met him last Spring during Graduate Student Government Leadership Symposium with Jim Tressel, I really liked his speech,” Johan said.

The students presented a portion of their paper to Tressel, who then provided helpful comments.

“It has always been a great experience to meet him because I can learn something every time I see him, especially maintaining relationships while a person is a leader, behavior, attitude, personality and what not,” Johan said. “I like to see the positive sides of anything and I feel he is an endless opportunity for any student to learn from.”