Mary Ellen Mazey

Mazey brought a life’s worth of experience to BGSU presidency

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Outgoing Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey admits that when she arrived on campus six years ago, she ruffled some feathers. “In the first few years a lot of people criticized me,” Mazey said in a recent interview. She looked at the campus and where it was and where she felt it needed to go, and took action. That meant a reduction of some 150 positions, three quarters of which were vacant. It meant tearing down the Popular Culture house, a move that still rankles some on campus. That became the site of the new Falcon Health Center, built, owned and operated by the Wood County Hospital. It meant injecting the school colors, orange and brown, into all the buildings as a way of addressing what she was told was BGSU’s lack of school spirit. Mazey, who came to BGSU in July, 2011, is retiring Dec. 31. This was her first presidency, and she says, her last. She’d spent three and a half years as provost of Auburn University. She had served as dean of the college of arts and sciences at her alma mater West Virginia University and before that at Wright State University. She also took leave to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during President Bill Clinton’s first term. She started her academic career teaching at the University of Cincinnati, where she received her doctorate in geography. That previous experience, especially at Auburn, shaped her approach to her work at BGSU. She wasn’t a stranger to controversy. At Auburn she had to return a large donation to the Koch Brothers at the faculty’s insistence. And she merged the economics programs, a move she still gets asked about. Coming to BGSU, she said, “I used the Auburn model.” That model puts the quality of education at the core. It places a greater focus on national rankings. She emphasized recruiting and admitting “students who can be successful here” and retaining them so they graduate. That involves engaging them more in academics through study abroad, undergraduate research as well as internships and co-ops. “It’s about engaging this generation of students in their learning in many, many different ways depending on their disciplines,” Mazey said. And “insure a strong career when they leave.” That approach has been become part of BGSU’s DNA in the past six years and has…


BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey owes her life to education

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As she departs as president of Bowling Green State University, Mary Ellen Mazey is worried about a sentiment gaining currency. “There’s a lot of questions out there about the value of a college degree,” Mazey said during an interview earlier this month. “I just deplore that. We should be providing everybody in this country with the ability to be educated through at least a four-year degree.” Mazey knows the value of education not just because that’s been her life’s work as a professor and administrator; she knows it because “I’ve lived the American Dream because of education.” Mazey is retiring on Dec. 31 after six years as BGSU president. Provost Rodney Rogers has been named interim president. In the past semester, campus audiences have heard the life stories of JD Vance, author of BGSU’s Community Read “Hillbilly Elegy,” Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Clarence Page, and former ESPN personality Jay Crawford about how they rose from modest upbringings to success. Mazey’s story is just as compelling. Mazey, 68, was born, the third of three children, and the first born in a hospital in Ronceverte in southeastern West Virginia. Her two brothers were nine and 10 years older than she was. They lived in a house without indoor plumbing. When she was still a baby, her father died. The family subsisted on Social Security benefits. Her mother went to work at The Greenbrier resort when Mazey was 3. She did chef’s work. Her job title was “pantry girl.” The Greenbrier was popular, Mazey said, with the East Coast elite. Mazey was cared for by family members. “I grew up with my cousins and my aunts,” she said. “She would pass me around to all these family members. She worked six days a week, and I would only see her but one day a week.” Reflecting on her life, Mazey said, she wondered: “How did I learn to deal well with so many people?” She traces it back to her childhood. “When you’re such a young age and you don’t have a father and have mother whom you love but don’t see a lot, you learn to deal with many types of people.” Her brothers caddied at the Greenbrier, either driving with their mother or hitchhiking. “We were a very fragmented family,” Mazey said, “but my mother always told us to work hard and get a good education,…


Mazey will receive 80-percent of president’s salary as emeritus in 2018

President Mary Ellen Mazey will receive 80 percent of her salary next year serving as president emeritus at Bowling Green State University. Mazey announced at Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting that she would be stepping aside from her position as of Dec. 31 after six years on the job. The trustees voted to grant her emeritus status later in the meeting. Mazey will remain at the university through the end of her contract, which runs through June, 2019. She said her new position will allow her to do what she loves, raise money. Her efforts will be focused on large donors. Mazey will also assist in transition and finding a new president. BGSU launched the public phase of its “Changing Lives for the World” comprehensive fundraising campaign. The stated goal is $200 million, but at the launch Mazey indicated the campaign could raise much more than that. Trustees named Provost Rodney Rogers to serve as interim president. David Kielmeyer, chief communications officer for the university, said that in 2018 Mazey will receive 80-percent of her salary, $339,600. In the final six months of her contract, she will become a member of the faculty, and receive compensation of $47,819, based on 50 percent of the top salary for a professor of geography, her academic discipline. Mazey will continue to live in the president’s house on Wintergarden Road for the near future. That’s still being worked out, Kielmeyer said.  


Mazey announces she’s stepping down at the end of the year

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey announced today that she will step down as of Dec. 31. She plans to continue in another role at BGSU. “I can’t get a new wardrobe,” said Mazey, who always dresses in orange and brown. In the past she has said that she would stay until the current capital campaign is completed, and told the Board of Trustees that she would do whatever is needed to help reach the $200 million goal. The announcement came at Friday’s meeting of the BGSU Board of Trustees. Mazey, 68, has been president for six years. The trustees named Provost Rodney Rogers to be interim president. Trustee Betty Montgomery said that she had told the trustees before she would retire, and “we said ‘no.’” Mazey said that last year she floated the idea of retiring a year early. Her contract runs through 2019. In announcing her decision, Mazey said the death earlier this fall of Steve Krakoff, the vice president for Capital Planning and Campus Operations, got her thinking.  Krakoff in his work on the campus master plan “literally built the future of BGSU’s future.” She reflected what has been accomplished in her time. That included completing the campus’ master plan, which involved building new buildings, and renovating others including the oldest buildings on campus, as well as upgrading many of the classrooms. The university has increased enrollment and retention, and brought in more academically prepared students. Mazey also cited BGSU’s receiving the first NCAA award for diversity for the We Are One Team initiative. That’s gratifying because the project was launched and run by students, and students are the heart of BGSU. She said she decided now was time to have a schedule with more flexibility, though she later scoffed at the idea that she would work less than full time, though “full time” will mean a reduction in hours. Mazey also helped resolve a long standing labor dispute by signing the first collective bargaining agreement between the BGSU Faculty Association and the university. A second agreement was reached last year in a process marked by cooperation and good feelings. She said her relationship with union president David Jackson was a model. Jackson said after the meeting that they would meet monthly. While a contract provides a framework, relationships are still important, he said. “She knew that before I…


BGSU trustees raise president’s pay, approve new school, & appropriate funds for Maurer Center, real estate purchases

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees gave President Mary Ellen Mazey a vote of confidence in the form of a 3-percent pay increase, plus a bonus that goes toward her deferred compensation. The raise will bring Mazey’s compensation to $424,360. Also, a contribution of $61,800, 15 percent of her pay, will be made to her deferred compensation package, as required by her contract. The board added another $50,000 contribution to her deferred compensation package, which she will receive upon leaving the university. Her contract runs through 2019. Mazey said “we’ll see” when asked about if she’d continue beyond that date. She did say it is important to see the $200 million comprehensive fundraising campaign through to successful completion. Megan Newlove, who chairs the board, the increased compensation is “based on her performance and where we are as an institution.” She cited an improvement in retention rates, enrollment, facilities upgrades, the progress in completing the master plan, and the comprehensive campaign which has raised just over $100 million. “You always want the board to be supportive,” Mazey said, not just of her, but the university. Asked to respond to those who would question the raise, she said, it came down to benchmarking what she makes compared to presidents at other similar institutions. That’s the same approach taken to determine faculty, staff, and administration salaries. In other action, the trustees approved the creation of the School of the Built Environment. The new school, within the College of Technology, Architecture, and Applied Engineering, brings together the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design and the Department of Construction Management. Provost Rodney Rogers said the new school responds to the needs of industry. Architects, he said, are expected to know about construction management, and construction managers are expected to know about architecture. The school will set BGSU apart from other Midwest universities, he said. Most of the other similar programs are located on the East and West coasts. Mazey cited the new school as an example of the university responding to the needs of the market, and developing programs in areas that are in demand. She said programs in cyber security and social media are also in the works. The trustees also approved the hiring of Arsenio Rodrigues as an associate professor with tenure, who will teach in the new school. A complete renovation of the Technology…


Mazey addresses sexual assault concerns in State of the University

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In her State of the University address Friday, President Mary Ellen Mazey spoke about the changes in how Bowling Green State University handles sexual assaults. Last spring a student went public with her story of being raped and her futile efforts to have the perpetrator stop harassing her. That prompted a protest and a call for a change in the way BGSU’s approaches the problem. A number of faculty members in Women’s and Gender Studies sent the administration a letter spelling out what they believed should be done. (Story here.) Mazey convened a task force that met over the summer. That task force has issued its recommendations, and the administration has accepted them all. (Story here.) In an interview after the State of the University address, Mazey said that she was impressed with the work the task force accomplished. It was headed by Alex Solis, a former undergraduate student body president who now works in the president’s office, Meg Burrell, the undergraduate student representative to the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Maureen Wilson, of the College of Education. In her address, Mazey promised to work to implement the task force’s recommendations. “As a community, we must all come together to prevent sexual assaults from occurring, make sure survivors are properly supported, and continue to ensure that our investigative processes are thorough, fair, equitable and respectful.” Sarah Anne Rainey, an associate professor in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies, was one of the professors who helped draft the letter last spring to Mazey and served on the task force. “We did a lot of data gathering on best practices, and I can honestly say that I am impressed with the administration’s willingness to take our recommendations,” she wrote in an email this week.  This led her to believe the administration is addressing their concerns. “I’m especially happy that they are hiring a new Women’s Center Director, and I’m impressed with the creation of a new Center with increased resources, staffing, and training to deal more effectively with sexual assaults and to help the University’s prevention efforts.” The university’s response earned praised from the producers of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary film about rape on college campuses. “More campuses need to follow @bgsu‘s lead in creating new, focused sexual assault conduct policies and task forces,” they tweeted this week. Mazey also announced that Jennifer McCary,…


President Mazey sings praises of state of BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News President Mary Ellen Mazey delivered an upbeat State of the University address Friday at Bowling Green State University. As she spelled out in her talk, the university has scored a number of successes, and its goal is to continue to building on those. Asked afterward what she thought the biggest challenge facing BGSU in the coming academic year was, she prefaced her answer by saying: “Well, sometimes I would say you don’t know the biggest challenge until it’s upon you.” Then she added, “right now I don’t see any major challenges that we can’t take care of.  We recruited a great class, and the challenge is to retain them.” Attracting, retaining, and graduating students remains the focal point for the university. This fall, almost 77.6 percent of last year’s freshmen returned for their sophomore year. That’s 10 percent more than five years ago. That’s still, Mazey said, short of where the university wants to be. “Our goal is to be at 80 percent.” Mazey opened her speech with a long list of national recognitions the university has received. That includes achievement in environmental awareness, safety, entrepreneurial spirit, affordability, and even having the most patriotic football helmets. At first mention the latter drew a laugh, until Mazey continued and noted: “Our helmets list the names of our 111 former students who gave their lives in service to our country.” Sports was also recognized for the academic achievements of student athletes. And Eric Nichols, the men’s soccer coach, was recognized for recruiting two players from Ghana, and helping to make sure they were able to come to Bowling Green. Gifts to the scholarship fund from Gary Kovacs and Michael Golden “put the university in a position to do this for the Ghanaian students,” she said. This was just one example of the university’s global reach. BGSU students come from 42 different countries, and 500 BGSU students have studied abroad this year. Mazey cited the two-year-old College Credit Plus program “as a way to enhance our recruitment efforts.” The program has 1,244 students enrolled this semester. She said she spoke to a mother and daughter who said they would not have considered BGSU except for the daughter’s positive experience in the College Credit Plus course. In a time when state funding has been flat and the university, by choice or by state fiat, has not raised tuition…


Mazey pledges support for DACA, international students in wake of executive order on immigration

Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey issued  the following statement this morning.   Students, Faculty, and Staff: Fostering a culture of inclusion is a core value of Bowling Green State University. Our University community is greatly enriched by our international students and faculty, and by students who were admitted under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. BGSU recognizes that a number of members of our University community face uncertainty about their immigration status or U.S. visas. I want to assure you that BGSU will do everything it can to support them and advocate on their behalf. Last Friday, President Trump issued a new executive order that, among other things, temporarily bans citizens of seven countries from entering the United States. Like other universities across the country, we are still evaluating the executive order and its ramifications. We have reached out to affected students and advised them not to make plans to leave the U.S. until there is more clarity on the issue. Students, faculty or staff with questions can contact Marcia Salazar-Valentine with International Programs and Partnerships at international@bgsu.edu or at  419-372-2247. The Counseling Center is also available to provide support and resources. BGSU will be advocating for affected students and all members of our international community with our representatives in Congress and in collaboration with Ohio’s Inter-University Council, the Association of American Universities, and other higher education organizations. As some of you may know, DACA students are individuals who immigrated to the U.S. as young children. They grew up here, but are not U.S. citizens. Last month, I joined the presidents of the member institutions of Ohio’s Inter-University Council in signing a letter of support for the bi-partisan Bridge Act now before the U.S. Senate. The measure would provide university students admitted under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with work authorization and provisional protected status from deportation. While President Trump indicated last week in an interview with ABC News that he is not interested in pursuing deportation or other actions against DACA students, we will continue to monitor the situation. Passage of the Bridge Act would ensure their legal status. If you are interested in joining me in advocating for the adoption of the Bridge Act, you may want to take advantage of this tool created by our colleagues at Rutgers University which will generate a message of support to your representatives…


Mazey shares the spotlight in upbeat state of the university address

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News President Mary Ellen Mazey used her State of the University event to recap the success of the past year, and focus the university’s sights on what she sees as “a very strong” future. That included some bold goals. She told a full house at the Donnell Theatre that she would like to see the university head count, which includes all students whether full-time or taking a single course, to 25,000. That’s a 29-percent increase from the 19,352 from the current student body headcount.  She added “we envision a retention rate of 80-85 percent.” That’s up from the current 76-percent rate. A year from now, she said, she’d like that to be 80 percent. How many students the university keeps from enrollment though graduation is a key factor in how much money it gets from the state. After her talk Mazey said that given current trends, this level of enrollment could be reached by 2020. Mazey spelled out the most recent data points in her address. The university for the third year in a row is enrolling its best academically prepared class ever with an average GPA of 3.42 and an average ACT score of 22.8.  Better prepared students are more likely to stay on campus through graduation. The headcount also benefited from the new College Credit Plus program that allows high school students, and some even in middle school, to take college courses. The program, Mazey said, “has exceeded expectations.” Last spring the university had 1,286 students enrolled in College Credit Plus programs. Mazey said enrollment this fall, the program’s third semester, could exceed 2,000. The university also received $800,000 from the state to train high school teachers to teach those courses. Graduate enrollment is up 11 percent to 2,708, thanks, she said, to a variety of new graduate programs. More are on the way including a master’s in forensic science and a master’s in social work with an emphasis on gerontology. These are two areas of particular focus for BGSU. She called for the creation of “new master’s degree programs that are responsive the workforce needs of the future.” And said those programs should be offered in a flexible way to meet the needs of prospective graduate students. As BGSU enters the third year of “the silent phase” of its capital campaign, Mazey said: “…we need to work toward a goal of a…


Trustees boost Mazey’s salary & deferred compensation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees approved a 2.5-percent pay increase for President Mary Ellen Mazey this morning (June 23). Chairman David Levey said that the board, after reviewing her performance earlier in the day, felt the pay increase was merited based on a number of factors. Those included the successful negotiation of a contract with the faculty union – “that’s a pretty big accomplishment,” enrollment of larger and more academically prepared first year students, and more success in keeping students on campus so they graduate. He also cited an “improving relationship” with the university’s foundation. Aside from the union contract, which was approved at the May trustees meeting, all those other factors played a part in the meeting, which was held on the Firelands campus. The increase brings Mazey’s salary to $412,136, beginning in Sept. 1. The board also approved an additional 10-percent payment to her deferred compensation package. That $40,208 is on top of the 15 percent called for in her contract. Those payments are is based on her current salary. Mazey said that the pay increase was a vote of confidence in her performance. Of the accomplishments cited, she said she was particularly pleased that the number of incoming freshmen is increasing. The pay increase, she noted, was in line with the 2.5-percent increase employees not covered by the union will receive. The union agreement calls for a 3-percent increase in the compensation pool for faculty. That increase in compensation figured into 2017 budgets for the campus approved earlier in the meeting by the board. With an increase in state funding, BGSU expects to have revenues of $415.3 million, a 3.1-percent increase, and expenditures of $411.5 million, a 3-percent increase. The budget for the Bowling Green campus will be $288,376,367, a 2.6 percent increase. Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll said that after years of declines the State Share of Instruction is now increasing. The 2017 budget includes a 4-percent increase from last year. On the Bowling Green campus, that $70.7 million accounts for 24.5 percent of the revenue. Student tuition and fees account for 67.6 percent of revenue. That’s an improvement over just two years ago when students’ share was 71.7 percent. The university, Stoll said, benefited not only from more money allotted by the state, but also better performance. State funding is largely based on how many students…