Mar. 15, 2011
The SSU Board of Trustees unanimously voted during its meeting Friday, March 11, for a new four-year contract with President Rita Rice Morris to keep her as the university's leader through June 30, 2015.
"President Morris is an exemplary leader who has helped Shawnee State University grow tremendously," Jack McCoy, chairperson of the SSU Board of Trustees, said. "In the past four years alone, SSU increased its enrollment by more than 24 percent, has added programs, and significantly enhanced its facilities. Not only has she led growth in numbers, but has been instrumental in gaining state and national recognition for the University. It is in the best interest of Shawnee State University and our community for her leadership to continue and we feel fortunate that she will be extending her service."
Mc McCoy said that the contract recognizes Morris' leadership and is better aligned with other university presidents in the state.
"Dr. Morris' level of experience and dedication to the promotion of SSU is unmatched," he said. "We want her to continue leading our efforts, especially now. With uncertainties facing higher education on the state and federal level, it is critical that we have stable, proven leadership at Shawnee State University."
Morris said she is looking forward to four more years with the university.
"I appreciate the Board's confidence in me," she said. "I'm looking forward to working with the faculty, staff, students, families, and the community as we address some of the challenges before us."
Dr. Morris was inaugurated as Shawnee State University's fifth president in 2003. A native of California, she has more than 40 years experience in higher education serving as a faculty member, dean, and provost/vice president for academic affairs at institutions like SSU. She holds a Ph.D. in communication from the State University of New York at Buffalo; M.A. in speech communication education from Northern Illinois University; and B.A. in speech communications from California State University at Long Beach. She also studied university management at Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University.
In addition to her role as president, Dr. Morris chairs the Board of the Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE) and serves as the honorary chair of the Ohio College Initiative to Reduce High Risk Drinking. She also serves on the OSU South Centers' Liaison Committee; WesBanco Community Development Corporation; the Southern Ohio Medical Center Board of Directors; the Shawnee State University Development Foundation; and the Southern Ohio Growth Partnership.
Additionally, she serves on the Association of American State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Professional Development Committee, Membership Committee, Council of State Representatives and Board of Directors; the Entrepreneurial Signature Program Advisory Board; the Council of Presidents of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA); the Mid-South Conference of Presidents; Educate the Tri-State; the Higher Education Consortium of Southern Ohio (HECSO); and the Ohio Inter-University Council of Presidents Executive Committee.
Also during its March 11 meeting, the SSU Board of Trustees accepted property at 310 Chillicothe Street that was donated by Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, approved a list of candidates for spring commencement, and approved a new slate of officers for the SSU Development Foundation. The Board also voted to designate SSU's Department of Public Safety as the university's police department.