Shawnee State University (SSU) will be gaining a new member of the SSU Board of Trustees on December 18, when local professional Sondra Hash joins the ranks.
Hash comes from a detailed background of assisting organizations flourish. She is the vice president of operations at Compass Community Health, is a graduate of Leadership Portsmouth, has served on the Red Cross Board, is a longstanding Rotarian, and more.
“I’ve been pretty active. This is just a different level and a different environment, but I’m up to the challenge,” Hash told the Daily Times on Monday.
Hash explained that she was approached about joining the board two months ago, but had to consider the decision carefully, because she had begun cutting back on community involvement to focus on family life. After researching the opportunity further, and considering the move, she decided it was a good move for her and the many students who depend on the success of the institution.
According to Shawnee State, the institution is governed by a board of nine trustees and two non-voting student members. These trustees are appointed by the Governor of Ohio, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president of the university also serves as an ex-officio member of the SSU Board of Trustees, but, by title, cannot vote.
The trustees are members of the community who are invested in the success of the university and wish to see it grow. The trustees are responsible for oversight of academic programs, budgets, general administration, and employment of faculty and staff.
Shawnee breaks down the responsibilities of the board further, by explaining the job as follows, “The board shall do all things necessary for the creation, proper maintenance, and successful and continuous operation of the university and may adopt and amend bylaws and rules for the conduct of the board and the government and conduct of the university. The board may accept donations of lands and moneys for the purposes of such university.”
Hash says that she enjoys using facts to make plans and solve problems, and looks forward to helping Shawnee as she embarks on this journey.
A Shawnee State issue that Hash says she is considering is the completion rate of students in conjunction with the University’s acceptance policy.
“With everyone moving to pay for performance, both in healthcare and education, people want to spend money with places that get the best outcome. So, if you have a high rate of people who don’t complete or don’t graduate, that could really impact Shawnee State, because they have the open access policy. Yet, I think it is critically and vitally important for Shawnee State to maintain that access,” Hash explained. “How do you meet the mission of the forefathers, and stay open access, but still achieve the outcomes that the legislature is looking for? How do you become that facility that they want to keep funding? It is a lot of learning to find out how to manage that.”
While Hash says she has a lot of learning and work to do, she feels optimistic about the decision.
“I considered it, and the more I thought about it, I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to learn more about the University. Not only for an economic development standpoint, but for the people who might not otherwise have the opportunity to receive an education to get a college degree,” Hash said. “In thinking about the mission of Shawnee State, as well as its growth over the years, I wanted to be a part of it. We are all invested in making this a great place to live and raise a family.”
More information on the role of a SSU trustee, see Ohio Revised Code 3362.03.