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Annual Awards to Name Kent State’s Best Educators

Six Kent State University professors will receive an award for their classroom achievements during Kent State’s 18th annual Celebrating College Teaching Conference, taking place on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 27-28.

Three individuals receive the Kent State University Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award (DTA).  The award recognizes their extraordinary teaching in the classroom and their impact on students’ lives. The DTA committee selected ten faculty finalists from 562 nominations.

Three recipients will receive an Outstanding Teaching Award (OTA), sponsored by the University Teaching Council. The award is presented to full-time, non-tenure track or part-time faculty members who consistently show outstanding teaching skills in the classroom.

The conference will feature three speakers, including Dr. David L. Katz, the Prevention Research Center director at Yale University; Tim Moore, Associate Dean Emeritus of the College of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor Emeritus of the Department of Pan-African Studies at Kent State University; and John (Jack) Gargan, Professor Emeritus of political science at Kent State University.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, a pre-conference session titled “The New Generation of Support for Distance Learning at Kent State” will commence at 1:30 p.m., in the Moulton Hall Ballroom. Katz will present the keynote address and Read Distinguished Lecture titled, “Feet, Forks and the Fate of Our Species,” in the Kent Student Center Kiva at 7 p.m.

Conference events will continue at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, with the Provost’s Breakfast and refereed and invited round tables.

“This year's conference adopts a new format for the late morning session, which features a panel discussion and breakout round tables on the assessment and evaluation of teaching and learning,” says Kim Peer, associate professor and conference chair. Moderated by the Office of the Provost, scholars from the university community will engage participants in discussions about assessment and evaluation in the areas of undergraduate research, distance learning, experiential learning and the Kent Core.

The President’s Luncheon will follow along with the Glenn W. Frank Lecture, The Distinguished Teaching Awards, Outstanding Teaching Awards, poster sessions and displays. Award recipients will be honored at a dessert reception at 2:30 p.m.

The Celebrating College Teaching Conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required for the breakfast and luncheon.

For more information about the conference, contact conference chair Kim Peer at 330-672-0231 or at  To register, visit

Check out this year’s nominees:

OTA nominees

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Greg Blundell
Greg Blundell, Department of Management and Information Systems, Kent State University at Stark

Greg Blundell believes it is his job “to make our students so thirsty that they drink long and hard from the fountain of knowledge well into perpetuity, engendering academia’s goal to create lifelong learning versatilists of all students.” His goal is to share his scholarly and professional experience with students in a learning environment that is conducive to including them in his continued passion for new knowledge.

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Paula Dancie
Paula Dancie, School of Fashion Design and Merchandising, Kent Campus

Paula Dancie firmly believes in always striving for excellence while teaching students. Over the years, she has become fond of the student community at the Fashion School because it is creative, dedicated and hard working.  Dancie is currently working on manufacturing dresses for the new retail store the Fashion School will be opening in downtown Kent.

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David Dumpe

David Dumpe
, Department of Finance, Kent Campus

David Dumpe believes it is the prospect of sharing students’ success stories in the years to come that truly motivates him to be the best classroom instructor he can be. He views his role much more as a facilitator than a teacher. To ensure success for the future, his goal is to teach students to think, learn and work for the future. He is currently serving as a Provost’s Fellow and is the first nontenure track faculty member to do so.

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Christine Kauth
Christine Kauth, College of Nursing, Kent State University at Stark

Christine Kauth revolves her teaching philosophy around the concepts of commitment, caring and professionalism. She does this by being available to assist, guide, coach and mentor students. Kauth cares about each individual enrolled in the nursing program and wants to see them succeed. She enjoys teaching at Kent State because of the administrative support for nursing, her colleagues and the small class sizes. She is currently working on a Ph.D. in education.

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Harry Noden

Harry Noden
, School of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies, Kent Campus

Harry Noden has been a teacher for 30 years. He has taught every grade from seventh through college, with the bulk of his teaching in middle school. Noden is the author of the best-selling Heinemann book Image Grammar.

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Richard Stanislaw

Richard Stanislaw
, Department of Political Science, Kent Campus

Richard Stanislaw feels the most rewarding part of teaching at Kent State is getting to know the students. He sees his classroom as a stage where he is charged with drawing students in a serious substantive dialogue about political philosophy. Stanislaw tries to engage students and draw them into the great conversation that is political thinking. He believes his most significant accomplishments are the small victories that teachers have every day. He gets great satisfaction when he can draw a student into great political understanding or involvement.


DTA nominees

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Ann Abraham

Ann Abraham, Department of Chemistry, Kent State University at Ashtabula

Ann Abraham wants her students to know that chemistry happens all around us. She hopes that she can share her passion for not only chemistry content, but also the knowledge that chemistry is so important to the things we do in our everyday life. Abraham was recently invited to chair the Northeastern Ohio American Chemistry Society 2011 National Chemistry Week event on Oct. 22, at the Environmental Learning Center in Lake County.

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Rosemarie Bank
Rosemarie Bank, School of Theatre and Dance, Kent Campus  

Rosemarie Bank enjoys teaching students in theatre because they are energetic, enthusiastic and care about their society and culture. Bank believes that hard work as a student benefits the whole of their lives thereafter. She was elected for membership in the College of Fellows of the American Theatre in 2009 and is honored to be nominated for this award by her students.



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Cynthia Barb

Cynthia Barb
, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Kent State University at Stark

Cynthia Barb loves to use her knowledge in both math and education to positively benefit students.  She believes Kent State provides her with the opportunity to teach mathematics to students in both traditional and innovative ways. Barb’s goal is to allow students to think mathematically and critically, and to develop mathematical concepts that are personally meaningful. Her accomplishments are found in the successes of her students when they say that her classes helped them.


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Brent Bruot
Brent Bruot, Department of Biological Sciences, Kent Campus

Brent Bruot believes in rules that underpin his teaching.  He strives to show enthusiasm during lectures, be generous with his time for students who need help and to show respect for students. He believes it is essential to challenge students and to always have high expectations. Bruot enjoys teaching at Kent State because of the hardworking students.

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Stephen Gagola
Stephen Gagola, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Kent Campus

Stephen Gagola regards each class as different and requiring something special of him. Gagola gets tremendous satisfaction from watching a nonmajor get excited by a surprising twist in a mathematical argument, or an unexpected practical application arising from an “abstract” mathematical structure.  He recently directed a group of students in a Research Experience for Undergraduates program that had 10 students come from other universities to solve problems for a topic.

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George Garrison
George Garrison, Department of Pan-African Studies, Kent Campus

George Garrison loves teaching at Kent State because of its history, location, diversity and the freedom one has to share his or her expertise with motivated students. Garrison assisted in the effort to collect and send books and school supplies to two elementary schools in Ghana, Africa, in 2009. He also developed a course on Haiti and assisted in the effort to bring four students affected by the recent earthquake in Haiti to the Kent Campus in 2010.

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Gary Hanson
Gary Hanson, Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent Campus

Gary Hanson has been a teacher for most of his life but being a college professor is a second career for him. The key to his learner-centered approach is to unlock a student's natural sense of curiosity about themselves, the subject matter and the world beyond.  Hanson enjoys working with like-minded faculty who share his passion for teaching. Last semester, he helped take 16 student journalists to China for 11 days of reporting for real-world foreign experience. Recently he developed the online version of the Media, Power and Culture course and won a Best of Festival Award from the Broadcast Education Association for interactive multimedia.

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Christopher Ransom
Christopher Ransom, Department of Visual Communication Design, Kent Campus

Christopher Ransom tries to tune in to the individual character of students to be more successful in bringing about their unique qualities. His mission is to be “in service to the medium and to those he has been entrusted to work with in the process of discovery.” Currently, Ransom is designing a new curriculum for upper-level photography students. The resulting projects fuse research, typography and photography.

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Vilma Seeberg
Vilma Seeberg, Department of Foundations, Leadership and Administration, Kent Campus

Vilma Seeberg enjoys teaching at Kent State because of the mix of students and the integration of advanced doctoral-level teaching with undergraduate teaching. Her teaching goal is for students to enhance their capabilities and their contribution to the world. She teaches in the pursuit of human development and freedom, both individual and social. Seeberg was recently selected for distinguished membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars Kent State honor society chapter in 2011.

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Susan Taft
Susan Taft, College of Nursing, Kent Campus

Susan Taft believes in full student engagement in their own learning, and she tries to makes learning relevant by giving students clear directions and expectations. Taft believes any value she can add to the work they do is gratifying. She stays in touch with graduates and supports them in their future development and work advancement. Taft is currently working on an education project that aims to help in alleviating a severe national shortage of nursing faculty. 








Posted Oct. 17, 2011 | Kasey Fahey

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U.S. Ambassador Phillip Reeker Visits Kent State for International Education Week

United States Ambassador Phillip Reeker will speak to Kent State University faculty, staff and students on Monday, Nov. 14, at 4 p.m., in the Governance Chambers of the Kent Student Center.  This event is free and open to the university community

Ambassador Reeker’s presentation is part of this year’s International Education Week, organized by the Office of Global Education. The weeklong celebration will take place Nov. 14 through Nov. 19. Ambassador Reeker will give a one-hour presentation on a life of diplomatic service to the United States. He will answer questions from the audience following his presentation.  

Mary Anne Saunders, Ph.D., executive director of Kent State’s Office of Global Education, met Ambassador Reeker in May when she gave presentations on service learning in Skopje, Macedonia.

“The university community can learn a lot from Ambassador Reeker’s life of public service and his global experiences,” says Saunders. “As we prepare to celebrate International Education Week, we want the university community to become more aware of the benefits of global education, as well as the need to engage with the world beyond our campuses, which is one of our goals as a university.”

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education and is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. Kent State University uses the opportunity of International Education Week to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.

More information about Ambassador Reeker can be viewed on his Department of State website profile at  

For more information about International Education Week or how your college or organization can host an event, contact Tori Nethery at

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Important Information About Final Grading of H1 and W1 Courses

Online final grading for courses meeting in H1 (8/29-10/19), and W1 (8/29-10/16) parts of term begins Wednesday, Oct. 19, via FlashFAST. Grading is also now available for any fall 2011 course section that was flexibly scheduled and has already ended. The deadline for grading submission is midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 25.

FlashFAST is accessible from any Internet-capable computer that has the cookies function enabled. To access FlashFAST, log in to FlashLine at and click the Faculty & Advisor Tools tab. The link to your grade roster(s) is located in the Faculty & Advisor Toolbox, under the Submit Grades heading.

Grades Processing Tips and FAQs may be found on the Office of the University Registrar's website at Faculty members needing personalized instruction on submitting their grades via FlashFAST should contact their campus Registrar's Office during normal business hours for assistance.

Also, as a helpful tip, it is recommended that you clean out your cookie and cache files regularly to help your computer run faster and to potentially restore and/or improve your access to FlashFAST and/or FlashLine by improving your connection to the server. Our Helpdesk is prepared to offer assistance with these issues. Please contact them at 330-672-HELP (4357) for one-on-one assistance and technical issues.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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President Lefton Emphasizes Importance of Research Excellence

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President Lester A. Lefton emphasized
the need for the university to focus more
on research during his 2011 State of the
University Address.

In his 2011 State of the University Address, Kent State President Lester A. Lefton addressed the need for the university to focus more on research.  Lefton’s research strategy involves attracting federal funding and hiring in areas with clear opportunities to excel in research.

“Because research excellence is a defining characteristic of the world’s best universities, we must maximize that momentum,” says Lefton. “I am optimistic that some small improvements in our approach to research will yield an optimum balance of path-breaking work and record-breaking funding.”

Click here to watch Lefton talk about Kent State’s research strategy.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Kent State Achieves 10 Percent of United Way Campaign Goal

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Kent State has achieved 10 percent of
its United Way campaign goal. The
university relies on support from faculty
and staff to raise funds that impact the
lives of people in the local community.

Kent State University is currently at 10 percent of its fundraising goal to support the United Way of Portage County. The university launched its 2011-2012 United Way campaign, “Shared Passion: Giving Where We Live and Work,” to support the local organization and impact lives in the community.

The university successfully raised more than $3,000 in the recently concluded online auction, with proceeds benefiting the United Way. Auctioned items included golf packages, Hall of Fame passes, Cleveland Zoo passes, season tickets for Kent State basketball games, fine dining packages, gift baskets and more.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to support the campaign through direct contributions or by opting for payroll deductions. Payroll deduction sign-up is available via FlashLine. For more information about how to give, visit or contact Terri Christensen at

Departments and divisions are also putting together various fundraising activities and events to support the campaign.

A cell phone drive is being organized by the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs to help those in need to communicate in emergency situations. Cell phone donations can be made during the division’s garage sale on Wednesday, Nov.16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 306 at the Kent Student Center, or to Tara Jackson at 103 Schwartz Center at the Kent Campus.

For more information about the cell phone drive, contact Jackson at

Click here to see a calendar of fundraising events and activities.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Office of the University Registrar Implements New Student Grades Channel, Beginning Oct. 20

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The new Student Grades tool in FlashLine
will make it easier and faster for students
to access their current term grades.The new
feature is located at the bottom left corner,
under the Student tools & Courses tab.

The Office of the University Registrar has streamlined the way students view their current term grades in FlashLine to make it easier and faster, and to service more students accessing the tool at the same time. A new feature in the Student Grades channel has been developed in FlashLine to replace the KAPS Audit Request tool, currently located under the Graduation Planning System channel, where students previously ran an audit to view their grades.

Faculty and advisors can begin informing their students about this new Student Grades feature in FlashLine. To access their grades, students can log in to FlashLine, click on the Student Tools & Courses tab and locate the new Current Term Grades tool on the page. Similarly, advisors can access their advisees’ grades by linking to the Student Current Term Grades View from the Faculty Advisor Toolbox or in FlashFAST through the Faculty Services and Advisor and Faculty Advisor menus.  

Faculty members will continue to enter student grades via FlashFAST, as they have previously done.

Contact the HelpDesk at 330-672-HELP (4357) or via the online support portal at with any questions.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Qualtrics Survey Software Now Available to Kent State Faculty, Staff and Students

Qualtrics Survey Software, a popular online survey tool, is now available through a site-wide license provided by the Division of Information Services.  Faculty, staff and students can begin using the software at no charge by visiting

Qualtrics allows teams to build, distribute and analyze online surveys and polls within an easy-to-navigate and collaborative interface.  Academic solutions include course projects and research, student feedback and data analysis.  Qualtrics’ advanced customization options allow users to choose their own logos and colors and export data into a variety of formats, including SPSS or Excel.

Users can access Qualtrics today by visiting and signing in with their FlashLine username (without the and password. Existing users can easily migrate their current accounts to a Kent State account.

For more information, training and demos, visit Qualtrics University at

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Annual Kent State Oxfam Social Issues Banquet Takes Place Nov. 9

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Some guests at the Oxfam Social Issues Banquet sit on
the floor to have their meal in a hunger simulation that
depicts a lower socioeconomic class. The hunger
simulation spotlights the challenges created daily by
world hunger.

Kent State University’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement will host the annual Oxfam Social Issues Banquet on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from noon-2 p.m. in the Moulton Hall Ballroom on the Kent Campus. This event will bring socially conscious individuals together under one roof to enlighten and empower faculty and students interested in using their knowledge and skills to support local efforts.

The Oxfam Social Issues Banquet will involve a hunger simulation where guests will receive a meal ticket representing a socioeconomic class, which will essentially determine the type of meal they are served and their seating arrangement (floor, chair, or chair and table). Reflective discussions will leave guests with a new perspective and understanding of the challenges created daily by world hunger.

The hunger simulation will be followed by an engaging panel discussion to highlight the multitude of ways that faculty, businesses and community organizations are reaching out to support local communities.  In addition, the discussion will serve as a link to experiential learning opportunities.

Immediately following the banquet, guests will be invited to a Campus Kitchens open house from 2-4 p.m. They will have the opportunity to participate and observe firsthand how Kent State University students are working to meet local hunger needs in the City of Kent.

Kent State University’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement was established in April 2009 to support civic engagement.  The office works closely with community partners and faculty to identify and create curriculum-based projects and activities for students. To date the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement has partnerships with more than 100 community organizations. As a result, Kent State is in a prime position to use experiential learning as a conduit to providing higher quality academic experiences to students while alos helping sustain local efforts.

For more information about the banquet, contact Tina L. Kandakai, Ph.D., coordinator of the Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement at 330-672-7876 or via email at  For more information about Oxfam, visit

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Keeping Up With Globalization at Kent State

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Kent State's Office of Global Education helps prepare
students to be global citizens through its programs.The
office recruits international students to the university and
also coordinates education-abroad programs.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “Ohio high school graduation rates will decline by 2.9 percent over the next six years.”  Although that seems like a small drop, states across the country are losing students as well. In some states, the decline rate is more than 20 percent (Source:

As the competition for higher achieving students among universities and colleges in the United States continues, many new strategies are emerging as solutions to the anticipated drop in the number of high school graduates.

“Competition among universities is good, resulting in institutions that better serve students' needs and equip them to gain a foothold in an increasingly cutthroat workforce,” explains Ben Wildavsky, author of The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping The World (Source:  

One strategy that colleges and universities are adopting is capitalizing on the globalization of higher education. They are looking to expand their horizons by recruiting more international students; however, this is not the only evidence of this trend in higher education.

To keep up with the competition for higher achieving students, Kent State University is dedicated to serving the needs of its students through the Office of Global Education. The Office of Global Education plans, coordinates, sustains and monitors the university's global initiatives, exchange programs and support services for international students and scholars.  

“Kent State University, like many higher education institutions worldwide, has become keenly aware that we bear a responsibility to prepare our graduates to become not just citizens of a county or state, but global citizens,” explains Mary Anne Saunders, Ph.D., executive director of the Office of Global Education. “The Office of Global Education is assisting the university in achieving that goal by bringing increased numbers of international students to our campuses and by increasing the numbers of domestic students who travel abroad."

The office focuses on international student services, admissions and recruitment. It creates education-abroad opportunities for Kent State students, including a semester in one of the university’s satellite campuses in Florence, Italy, or Geneva, Switzerland. There are also opportunities for summer or short-term travel with faculty members throughout the university.

Advances in technology have increased permeability of international boundaries, and globalization of higher education has had rapid growth with new partnerships on international research and cross-border studies, including education-abroad programs. Globalization in higher education is leading to increased emphasis on internationalization of the curriculum and will increase the international mobility of students and faculty.

In Wildavsky’s book, he encourages and welcomes globalization in higher education because it will create “a new global meritocracy, one in which the spread of knowledge benefits everyone — both educationally and economically” (Source:  

For more information about the Office of Global Education and the opportunities it can provide for international students, as well as other Kent State students, contact a representative today at 330-672-7980.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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What’s President Lefton Been Up To Lately?

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President Lefton visits with students attending the
Department of Pan-African Studies barbeque held
annually outside Ritchie Hall.

Want to know what Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton has been up to lately? Visit the president’s page on the Kent State website to review photos and archives, and to learn more about Kent State’s president.

On the president’s page, you will find information about strategic initiatives, major speeches and more.

The page also features a photo essay of some of the activities and events Lefton attends or hosts on behalf of the university.

Click here to view the photo essay.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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What’s Your Role in Student Retention?

Attend the faculty brown bag sessions to find out

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Faculty members have a role to play in Kent State
University's student retention strategy.

You’ve probably heard it said several times that student retention is everyone’s responsibility at Kent State University. But are you even sure what that means and what role you play in achieving this strategic goal?

The Office of Student Success Programs can help answer these questions and more during a three-part brown-bag series. Through various topics discussed during these sessions, faculty members will have access to tools and resources to help support their students and help them achieve success.  

Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch and join the Office of Student Success Programs for conversation and information about topics that border on student retention.  All brown-bag sessions will take place at noon in Room 303 of the Kent Student Center.  

Below is the schedule:

Oct. 20 - Safety on Campus
Nov. 3 - Graduation Planning System (GPS)
Nov. 10 - Emotional Needs of Students

Click here to register for this brown-bag series.

For more information about these sessions, contact Joanna Liedel at or 330-672-4202.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Nominations Being Accepted for 2012 Diversity Trailblazer Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the Annual Diversity Trailblazer Award. Criteria for the nomination and a nomination form are available at

The deadline for nominations is Monday, Oct. 24, and can be sent to Diane Matasek at Room 252 in the Kent State University Library or by email to
The annual Diversity Trailblazer Award recognizes diversity pioneers associated with Kent State, Northeast Ohio’s largest university and one of the nation’s 77 top public research institutions.  

For more information, contact Matasek at 330-672-8540.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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Know a Student Searching For An Internship or Job?

Are your students looking for an internship or job? Encourage them to post their résumés online at, the premier gateway for connecting Ohioans with jobs – quickly, easily and for free.

Every day, Ohio businesses use to find their next employee or intern. When your students upload their résumés to the site, they have the ability to showcase their skills to Ohio businesses looking to hire, and place their résumés in front of the hiring managers who matter most. also aggregates tens of thousands of job and internship openings from across Ohio on one easy-to-search website. When employers post an opening on a trade association website, their corporate website, or any other online job bank, finds that opening and displays the postings on one convenient site.

Students can use the site as their one-stop shop for full-time, part-time, contract, internship and temporary work. They can also use it to learn about upcoming recruitment events and to search for job openings by company name, job title, location and salary.

Posted Oct. 17, 2011

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