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New Kent State Policy Aims to Help Put Students on Path to Success

Posted Sept. 20, 2010
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A new policy at Kent State University is designed to help students who have not declared a major get on a path to a degree and a career. Effective this fall, Kent State students will have to declare a degree-granting major in the semester immediately following the one in which they complete 45 credit hours. This policy applies to all baccalaureate students across the eight-campus system enrolled in exploratory, generalist or other nondegree granting majors.

According to Robert G. Frank, Kent State's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, the university is committed to student success. "The best part of my job is when I shake hands with graduating seniors," Frank says. "Having a defined degree path is fundamental to getting the most out of the Kent State experience."

Kent State offers more than 250 baccalaureate programs of study. Commonly known as bachelor's degrees, most of these programs are designed to be completed in four years by full-time students.

"The goal of this new policy is get Kent State students on a path to a degree," says Sally Kandel, associate vice president for academic operations and administration at Kent State. "This is just one part of the strategic initiatives designed for student success at Kent State."

Kent State students in the following nondegree granting majors are affected by the policy change:

  • College of Architecture and Environmental Design: General
  • College of Education, Health and Human Services: General
  • College of Communication and Information: General
  • College of the Arts: General, Pre-Fashion Design and Merchandising
  • College of Undergraduate Studies: Exploratory

The university offers a wide array of resources to assist students who are having difficulty in deciding on a major. Students affected by the policy change should contact their advisor as soon as possible for help with declaring a degree-granting major. Also, Kent State's Career Services Center offers consultation opportunities on all campuses. Two courses are being developed to provide assistance to students who need help in making this important decision. "Career Construction" and "Career and Life Planning" will be offered in spring 2011.

"There are so many opportunities for Kent State students to explore degree paths," Kandel says. "One of the best is the university's Graduation Planning System (GPS) area of the Kent State website. Having an eight-campus system allows us to optimize choices for students."

Starting in the fall semester, Kent State plans to remind the affected students of the steps they need to take with personalized e-mail messages, direct mail and other communications.

For the inaugural year of the policy, there will be a grace period for undecided students. Students who have 45 or more credit hours prior to the Fall 2010 Semester will be allowed two semesters to select a major. That allows students to have time to consult with their advisors and to access other support services as necessary. Currently, approximately 750 students are affected by this policy change.

The success of the new policy will be measured by the faculty and advisors' ability to effectively direct and counsel students toward finding a major, as well as refer students who are having difficulty to appropriate support services.

"We are committed to doing everything we can to get Kent State students on the path to a degree and a career," Kandel says.

To explore majors and degrees at Kent State, visit the Graduation Planning System (GPS) at www.kent.edu/gps.

By Bob Burford