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Veteran Journalist Eric Mansfield Joins Kent State as Executive Director, University Media Relations

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WKYC-TV anchor and reporter Eric
will become Kent State
University’s new executive director for
university media relations on June 1.

(Photo courtesy of WKYC-TV)

WKYC-TV anchor and reporter Eric Mansfield will become Kent State University’s new executive director for university media relations. The award-winning journalist and Akron native begins his new position with the university on June 1.

Mansfield will lead the media relations team in the University Communications and Marketing department. He will be responsible for developing and implementing public relations plans and strategies to enhance the university’s image with internal and external audiences. He also will be involved with Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, teaching and mentoring journalism students.

“Eric brings a wealth of media knowledge and contacts to Kent State,” says Tom Neumann, associate vice president for university communications and marketing. “He will add to a great team, increase our capacity to continue to tell our great story and reinforce Kent State’s role as Northeast Ohio’s leading public university, and help us leverage the recognition we are gaining nationally. He has a great reputation, is well-respected and is a true class act.

“Eric is no stranger to Kent State,” Neumann continues. “Over the years, he has covered Kent State and has done stories on our students’ successes, served as a guest speaker at our School of Journalism and Mass Communication and has spent many hours on our campus with his youngest son’s involvement in our musical productions. He also is pursuing his master’s degree from Kent State. We’re excited to have him join us to share the many great stories and news coming out of this great university.”

Mansfield says he is looking forward to this new position with Kent State.

“This is a great opportunity for me to join a world-class organization,” Mansfield says. “I can’t wait to be part of telling the great news of Kent State University every day. As much as I love being a journalist, I’m really excited about working with young journalists, crafting their skills at Kent State.”

Mansfield received bachelor’s degrees in journalism and broadcasting from the University of Dayton. He expects to earn a master’s degree in public relations from Kent State in fall 2012. While at the University of Dayton, Mansfield hosted an evening sports call-in show on WDCR-AM (campus radio) while completing television internships with WAKC-TV (Akron), WHIO-TV (Dayton) and ESPN. In 1991, he was named the Omar Williams Award winner as the university’s top broadcasting graduate.

He began his professional broadcast career doing play-by-play sports announcing in college and later anchored overnight news reports at WHIO-TV in Dayton. In 1992, Mansfield came home to Akron as an anchor-reporter with WAKC-TV.

Mansfield’s recognition includes Emmy awards for Outstanding Service Reporting, Outstanding Live Reporting, and Outstanding Continuous Coverage for the Channel 3 News series “Project AED,” which identified dozens of local areas that were in need of the life-saving devices. He has been nominated for many other Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Anchor. His work also has been honored by the Cleveland Press Club, the Ohio Associated Press and the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

A major in the Ohio National Guard, Mansfield spent 14 months on active duty in 2003-2004 in Iraq and Kuwait and responded with other Ohio Guardsmen in 2005 to the Gulf Coast to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also responded to help lead a platoon of MPs at the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993, and he was the honor graduate and class president of his Officer Candidate School class. Mansfield is a graduate of multiple military leadership and management academies, including the Defense Equal Opportunity Military Institute (DEOMI) in Coco Beach, Fla. His awards include the Army Commendation Medal (two) and service ribbons for Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and other deployments. His commander nominated him for the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq. Mansfield retired from the military with 20 years of faithful service.

He lives in Akron with his wife, Lisa, and their three sons.

For more information about Kent State’s University Communications and Marketing, visit

For more information about Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, visit

Posted March 26, 2012

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Registration for Spring 2012 Bowman Breakfast Ends March 30

The spring 2012 Bowman Breakfast will be held on Wednesday, April 4, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 7 a.m., breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m., and the program will follow at 8 a.m.

This year’s breakfast will feature guest speakers Roger DiPaolo, editor of the Record-Courier, and Ron Burbick, developer at RLB Phoenix Properties. The topic will be “Downtown Kent – Yesterday, Today and the Vision for Tomorrow.”

Reservations can be made by calling Mary Mandalari at 330-672-8664 or by registering online at The registration deadline is Friday, March 30. Cost is $10 per person (cash or check); payment at the door is required. No invoicing is available for this event.

Please note: No shows will be billed. If you find that you cannot attend, be sure to call 330-672-8664 to cancel your reservation by Friday, March 30.

The Bowman Breakfast, a tradition since 1963, is sponsored by Kent State University and the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.

Kent State University is committed to making activities as accessible as possible to all persons. If you need special accommodation, contact the Office of Planning, Assessment and Research Management at 330-672-8132.

For more information about the event, contact Mandalari at 330-672-8664 or

Posted March 26, 2012

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Kent State Employee Receives Ohio Continuing Higher Education Association Award

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Marilyn Bokrass, outreach program
manager in Kent State’s Office of
Continuing and Distance Education,
received the Karen S. House Service
award from the Ohio Continuing Higher
Education Association.

Marilyn Bokrass, outreach program manager in Kent State’s Office of Continuing and Distance Education, has received the Karen S. House Service award from the Ohio Continuing Higher Education Association (OCHEA). The award was presented at the association’s annual conference in Dublin, Ohio, on March 8.

The Karen S. House Service award recognizes individuals who have exhibited prestigious leadership and performance in their service roles within their institutions and also within the Ohio Continuing Higher Education Association.

Bokrass, who has been a member of the Ohio Continuing Higher Education Association for about 22 years, has held several positions in the association, including president, conference chair, board secretary and more.

“I was completely surprised, and it's really exciting,” says Bokrass, about winning the award. “I joined OCHEA initially because Kent State University has always been very supportive of the organization, and I was interested in learning about what other schools were doing in their continuing education units. I recall being in discussions regarding past award recipients and it never occurred to me that I could someday be one of them.”

Deborah Huntsman, executive director of Kent State’s Office of Continuing and Distance Education, describes Bokrass as having an outstanding work ethic, which she says has earned her the respect of many faculty and staff members at Kent State.

“Marilyn has been an active participant in OCHEA for more than 20 years,” says Huntsman. “During her term as president of the association, she played a pivotal role in reengaging the membership and revitalized the association after a period of low enrollment at professional development events. Today the organization is strong and serves the professional development needs of employees at public and private two- and four- year colleges and universities, due in no small part to Marilyn’s enduring commitment and leadership.”

For more information about the Ohio Continuing Higher Education Association, visit

For more information about Kent State’s Office of Continuing and Distance Education, visit

Posted March 26, 2012 | Foluke Omosun

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Severe Weather Safety Week is March 25 to 31; Expect Emergency Alert Notification Tests

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Severe Weather Safety Week, March 25-31, will educate
the public about emergency warning procedures and
appropriate safety precautions.

More than 224 tornadoes have been recorded in Ohio since 2000. Typically at peak season, beginning in April and extending through July, tornadoes are among nature’s deadliest storms, capable of enormous destruction and wind speeds in excess of 200 to 300 miles per hour.

Tornadoes generally originate as particularly violent thunderstorms. While they are most clearly identified by rotating, funnel-shaped air columns that stretch from the storm clouds to the ground, heavy rain or debris sometimes prevent the funnel from being clearly visible. Tornadoes can develop very quickly and, consequently, offer little to no warning of their approach.

In order to educate the public about emergency warning procedures and appropriate safety precautions, the week of March 25-31 has been designated as Severe Weather Safety Week. Additionally, Wednesday, March 28, has been selected as Tornado Awareness Day. On this day, the tornado warning signals throughout the entire state of Ohio will be activated at 9:50 a.m. This test will not require any evacuations or action by the University community and is for informational purposes only.

Kent State, the city of Kent and Franklin Township have an emergency outdoor warning system that provides residents with immediate notification of impending emergencies, such as tornadoes. When emergency conditions exist, the city of Kent, as well as Kent State, will activate an audible outdoor siren and during an actual emergency, its signal will sound for at least nine minutes. When the alarm is activated, everyone should go immediately to the nearest tornado shelter.

This emergency outdoor warning system is tested twice each month, on the first Wednesday at 11 a.m. and on the third Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Tests last only three minutes. It is not necessary to seek shelter during tests unless the siren continues past three minutes, at which time it should be assumed that a threatening situation exists.

Each university building has a key area or areas that have been identified as tornado shelters. As a general rule, shelter from tornadoes is best achieved in the lowest level of a building and away from windows and exterior walls, but not under wide, expansion-type roofs.

When an emergency signal has been activated, everyone should seek shelter and remain there until at least 20 minutes after the last siren has ceased. There is no “all clear” signal. After 20 minutes have passed without a warning from the siren, normal activities can resume.

Please do not call Police Services for verification of the emergency indicated by the siren. Instead, tune your radio to WPND-AM (1620), WNIR-FM (100.1) or WKSU-FM (89.7) for an update of weather conditions and the status of the emergency situation. These radio stations will provide information regarding the type and location of the emergency, instructions for what to do and where to go, as well as confirmation when danger has passed.

In addition to the warning siren system, each building on campus has been equipped with a Mass Notification System. When activated, the system will sound an alert tone, followed by information and instructions concerning the warning. Additional instructions and updates of the current emergency situation may be broadcast from this system. This system may be activated during situations that are not weather-related and may be independent of the emergency outdoor warning system.

For more details about these procedures, contact Matt Radigan, Department of Public Safety at 330-672-3111 or via e-mail at Additional information about tornado safety also can be found in the Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Guide.

For more information about Severe Weather Safety Week, go to

Posted March 26, 2012

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Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth Set for April 12 and 13

This year’s theme is Celebrating Diversity: Sharing Our Stories

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Renowned author Lisa Yee will present
at the 28th Virginia Hamilton Conference
on Multicultural Literature for Youth. Other
presenters include author Alma Flor Ada
and illustrator E.B. Lewis.

The 28th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth will take place on Thursday, April 12, and Friday, April 13, at the Kent Student Center.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference is the longest running event in the United States to focus exclusively on multicultural literature for children and young adults.

Celebrating Diversity: Sharing Our Stories is the theme for the 2012 conference, which features renowned authors Alma Flor Ada and Lisa Yee, and amazing illustrator E. B. Lewis.  Author Julius Lester also will be honored at this year's event, but will not be in attendance.

The April 12 evening program includes a keynote address by the 14th Annual Virginia Hamilton Literary Award winner Alma Flor Ada, renowned author of The Gold Coin (Christopher Medal) and Under the Royal Palms (Pura Belpré Medal), followed by a multicultural storytelling performance.

Friday's highlights include keynote addresses by E.B. Lewis, acclaimed illustrator of Alice Schertle's Down the Road (ALA Notable Book), Tololwa M. Mollel's My Rows and Piles of Coins (ALA Notable Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Book) and Gavin Curtis' Bat Boy and His Violin (Coretta Scott King Honor Book); and Lisa Yee, whose debut novel Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the Sid Fleischman Humor Award and has been recommended by NPR, and whose other awards and accolades include Thurber House Children's Writer-in-Residence, Fox Sports Network "American in Focus," and Publishers Weekly Flying Start, plus USA Today Critics' Top Pick and ALA Notable. Lee has more than one million books in print, including Warp Speed, about a Star Trek geek who is bullied every day at school.

This year's workshops include local and national speakers on such topics as The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece; Negotiating Understanding Through the Young Literature of Muslim Culture; The Religious Aspects in Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly, and an update on the newest multicultural picture books, to name a few. Friday's conference agenda will again include a "conversation" session with the three featured presenters and reflections by Jaime Adoff.

Register now as the conference reaches capacity quickly. Contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at 330-672-3100 or register online.

The Virginia Hamilton Conference is sponsored by Kent State University's School of Library and Information Science and College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services, and is offered through the Office of Continuing and Distance Education. Honoring author Virginia Hamilton, the conference reflects a commitment to promoting cultural awareness and affirming cultural pride, while addressing the array of issues that surround the concept of culture. It is held each April at Kent State.

Posted March 26, 2012

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Kent State Student Wins Big at MOCA Cleveland's Fashion Competition

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Senior Kent State fashion design student
Deanna Turcotte
won the Museum of
Contemporary Art Cleveland's fashion
competition. Her garment will be on
display at the Dredgers Union storefront.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland hosted a fashion competition on Saturday, Feb. 25, to highlight student fashion work in the Cleveland area and its main gallery exhibit, Ursula von Rydingsvard: Sculpture, on view until March 31.

Senior Kent State fashion design student Deanna Turcotte won the competition with her garment The Relentless Row, and was awarded a $500 prize, a $50 gift card to Dredgers Union and a window display of her garment at the Dredgers Union storefront. The People's Choice honor was awarded to Margaret Burton of the Cleveland Institute of Art.

"It feels amazing to win," says Turcotte. "I am very excited to use the prize for a trip to New York City during spring break and plan on meeting with industry professionals to get ready for graduation."

Participants were asked to create original designs based on the theme "monumentality," and on its main gallery exhibition, Ursula von Rydingsvard: Sculplture. According to Pita Brooks, MOCA's visitor services manager, von Rydingsvard's work isn't based on fashion, but her pieces have style components -- such as lacelike patterns, curves and silhouettes -- that the contestants used for inspiration.

"Ursula von Rydingsvard's work often deals with the contrast between the biological and the industrial, so I decided to further explore this idea in my work," says Turcotte. "I love using unusual materials in my design but disguising them so that the viewer is surprised to learn it's actually made of neckties and beetle wings."

Turcotte's garment will appear in the storefront window of Dredgers Union within the next few weeks. Located in the heart of downtown Cleveland's E. 4th St. neighborhood, and featuring its own domestically produced private label of apparel and home goods, the Dredgers Union places an emphasis on domestically produced values.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland was founded as The New Gallery in 1968, and then renamed the Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art in 1984. MOCA Cleveland continues to evolve in exciting new ways while producing original, compelling exhibitions. Over the past seven years, MOCA has become a major producer of exhibitions, which has fueled its reputation as a visionary leader. In addition to featuring the work of national and international artists, MOCA consistently showcases established and emerging artists living in the Cleveland area through continuing exhibition programs like the PULSE series and the Wendy L. Moore Emerging Artists Series.

Posted March 26, 2012

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Faculty Professional Development Center Hosts Spring Action Reads

The Faculty Professional Development Center at Kent State will host the spring 2012 Action Reads book club, where small groups of Kent State colleagues come together to read, discuss and put into action the themes of the books over a four-week period. Feel free to bring your lunch, your experiences and your ideas for Action Reads.

The Action Reads book titles

Professor Mommy
Authors Rachel Connelly and Kristen Ghodsee articulate the challenges and rewards of combining an academic career with the joy of motherhood. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in reflective writing and dialog with peers about motherhood in the academy and conceptualize next steps for taking action through the four-week-long reading activity.
Wednesdays: March 28, April 4, 11 and 18
Time: 2-3 p.m.
Location: Moulton Hall, second floor lounge

Mindset, The New Psychology of Success: How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential
It’s not just our abilities and talent that bring our students success or make us great educators – but whether we approach our goals with a fixed or growth mindset, according to developmental psychologist and author Carol Dweck of Stanford University. Each session will build not only on the book, but action we take between sessions. We’ll work through several chapters to identify connections and explore how to make our lives and our students’ lives open to growth.
Mondays: April 9, 16, 23 and 30
Time: Noon – 1:30 p.m.
Location: University Library Room 152

The New York Times
As one of the most widely read and respected newspapers, The New York Times not only informs but helps to shape ideas. In the Action Reads, we’ll explore different sections of The New York Times and delve into the rich online resources of historical and search materials. From our interaction with The New York Times, the opportunity then opens up for developing learning activities to prepare for class, in class and for students to use in demonstrating learning outcomes, such as analysis, synthesis and understanding.
Thursdays: April 5, 12, 19 and 26
Time: 12:15-1:30 p.m.
Location: 232 Moulton Hall

To register for the Action Reads, visit

For questions regarding this event, contact Dr. Jeffrey Pellegrino at 330-672-1902 or by email at

Posted March 26, 2012

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