Lake Campus Starting Off Strong

Staff Writer

Wright State University — Lake Campus Interim Dean Dan Krane visited the St. Marys Rotary Club to discuss the success the campus is seeing and what he hopes to bring while he is in charge.

After a rough start to 2019, with faculty at the Lake and Dayton campuses going on strike in January and former Lake Campus Dean Jay Albayyari being asked to step down, Krane highlighted some positives the campus is seeing just one week into the fall semester.

Seeing a record for highest enrollment this semester — 1,679 — is one notable mention Krane made, but added it isn’t anything new as the Lake Campus has been seeing a new record for enrollment every year for the last decade.

Looking at the campus budget, a topic many have expressed concern with in regard to some hardships the university faced in the past, Krane shared that as a “thriving enterprise” the costs to operate the campus is about $11.4 million for this 2019-20 school year, a slight increase from previous years. There is a $3.3 million overhead cost that he said comes right off the top of the operating budget.

The good news, he added, was that the $3.3 million is a fixed rate and will hurt less as the campus sees more growth.

“That $3.3 million hurts about 10% less this year than it did two years ago because the overall operating budget has been increasing because of the growth from the community,” he said.

And despite the financial hardships Wright State University has experienced, Krane showed information detailing that the Lake Campus has been able to grow its nest egg — a $600,000 increase to $2 million this year from last year’s $1.4 million.

The growth of students attending the branch campus is something the first generation college graduate appreciates seeing because he personally understands the benefits that come with having a higher education.

“The benefits that accrue to individuals who want to get some college education is just remarkable,” he said. “And as a first generation college graduate, I saw first hand [what my] parents enjoyed as they were getting on in their years. Their interactions with medical professionals and such, having someone there to translate made a world of difference to them.”

He also sees the benefits his children enjoy because he and his wife are college graduates.

“I really want more people to be exposed to those benefits and so the Lake Campus and my opportunity to serve as interim dean fits just perfectly with what I’d like to be able to do,” he said.

One way he has been able to help students lower their stress at the Lake and Dayton campus is by installing an Inclusive Access program to lower the cost of their textbooks.

The average student will spend more than $650 on textbooks each year, according to the National Association of College Stores. Books are often only needed for a single semester and depending on the class or the students major, books can cost as much as $300.

The program was first initiated at the Dayton campus after former Gov. John Kasich attempted to apply a cap to college textbooks. Faculty and administrations across Ohio felt that would not be beneficial and faculty reached out to the executive branch to ask if they could come up with an idea that would be better for students.

Krane, who was president of the Ohio Faculty Council at the time, said he got a group together that worked over the summer to brainstorm 14 ideas to reduce textbook costs. Inclusive Access was one of their top choices, he said.

The way the program works is faculty are able to choose a book for their class and ask the campus library to order the book. The library then goes to a publisher and asks them for the best deal they can offer for the book for the campus to purchase for an entire class. After negotiating, the library is then able to purchase that textbook for a lower cost than if students were to order it on their own, and in return students are charged a fee with the class — much like a lab fee — and receive the textbook on the first day of instruction.

Krane mentioned that for a freshman biology classes, he used a book that is $235. With the Inclusive Access program, the book costs students $70.

At the Dayton Campus, the university is able to save students $1 billion each semester on textbooks alone with reductions between 50% and 70%.

This semester it was brought to the Lake Campus and although it was a late start for the semester when it was introduced, the branch was able to save students more than $9,000 on textbooks.

For some textbooks, there are electronic options that can lead to even more savings — an additional 10%, Krane said.

After the meeting, he said there is an option for students to opt out of the Inclusive Access but said the few times it has happened students have opted back in because of the savings.

As for his position and wanting to stay on board as dean of the Lake Campus, Krane said he hasn’t been told he can’t apply for a permanent position as dean.
“If they started the search today, I would apply,” Krane said.

A professor of biology who taught at the Dayton Campus, Krane earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from John Carroll University and his doctorate in biochemistry from Penn State University.

He joined Wright State’s biology department in 1993.