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Triple Crown of Giving – United Way Progress Report

Kent State University’s goal for the 2013 United Way Campaign is to triple the number of faculty and staff giving.  Last year, our contribution percentage was only 15 percent. Our goal this year is to triple that to 45 percent. As of the end of October, we are only at 30 percent of our goal, which translates to only 15.5 percent of our faculty and staff that have given to support the United Way. In an effort to make our goal, I am extending the deadline to donate to Nov. 21, 2012, which is the day before Thanksgiving. I hope that those of you who have not given will take a moment to be thankful for what you have and give a little to the United Way.

While we are a long way from our goal, we do have some colleges and departments on campus that have already accomplished their goals, and I would like to thank them.

 Leader    Percentage Obtained
 College of Business Administration
 Nicole Kotlan  114%
 School of Digital Sciences  Robert Walker
 College of Applied Engineering,
 Sustainability and Technology
 Deb Terrell 
 Honors College
 Judy Yasenosky  100%
 President’s Office  James Hardy
 General Counsel  Sheba Marshall

To make a donation, go to your FlashLine and click on the “My HR” tab.  From there you can donate online or download a form to be mailed. If you have problems, please contact Pat Nash at or 330-672-8574 to have a form sent to you.


Iris E. Harvey
Chair, Kent State University United Way Campaign

Posted Nov. 5, 2012

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Kent State College of Public Health Dean Named to Akron General Hospitals' Board

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Sonia Alemagno, Ph.D., dean of Kent
State's College of Public Health, has
been named to Akron General Hospitals'

Dean of Kent State University’s College of Public Health Sonia Alemagno, Ph.D., has been appointed a member of the Akron General Hospitals' Board.

Alemagno, a professor of health policy and management, joined Kent State in 2009. She previously served as interim vice president for research, and later became dean of the College of Public Health in July 2011. Before joining Kent State, she was the chair of the Department of Public Administration and Urban Studies, and director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at The University of Akron.

“I am very honored to serve on the board of Akron General Hospital. Akron General Hospital is an excellent resource to our community and is committed to health and wellness,” says Alemagno. “As a dean and faculty member in the Kent State College of Public Health, I hope to introduce Akron General Hospital to our new faculty and students as they seek research and internship opportunities.”

Alemagno has earned recognition for her work, including a National Institutes on Health Career Development Award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and The University of Akron Outstanding Researcher Award in 2005. She was principal investigator on several research projects, including the Small Business Innovation Research funded by the National Institutes on Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Justice and the SAMSHA Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

She earned a master of arts in sociology from Kent State in 1984, and a doctor of philosophy degree in medical sociology from Case Western Reserve University in 1991.

For more information about Kent State University’s College of Public Health, visit

For more information about Akron General Hospitals, visit

Posted Nov. 5, 2012 | Foluke Omosun

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Kent State Researchers Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

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Kent State University researchers have received a National
Science Foundation grant to study diversity, evolution and
extinction in crabs, lobsters and shrimps. Kent State Geology
Professor Carrie Schweitzer and Rodney Feldmann, professor
emeritus of geology at Kent State, are co-principal investigators
on the project.

Researchers from Kent State University’s Department of Geology have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study diversity, evolution and extinction in crabs, lobsters and shrimps. The $100,000, two-year grant will fund the study of the economically important, diverse group of animals whose geologic history extends back 400 million years.

Kent State Geology Professor Carrie Schweitzer is the principal investigator on the project. She and co-principal investigator Rodney Feldmann, professor emeritus of geology at Kent State, have worked together for 16 years, examining the evolutionary history of the Decapoda — crabs, lobsters and shrimps.

The study will provide the most comprehensive analysis of macroevolution of those crustaceans yet conducted, according to Schweitzer and Feldmann.

The pair plan to examine questions such as when the creatures first evolved, how have they diversified through time, how extinction events affected their diversity and how that has impacted their evolution.

“Looking at what happened to them in the past can help us to interpret what is happening now and what might happen in the future,” Schweitzer says. “For example, it seems like lobsters were more diverse at different times in the past than they are now. Crabs predominate now, and we want to know why that is.”

The effect of climate, sea level, the abundance of coral reef, and the interactions between crabs, lobsters and other animals are some of the issues the two plan to analyze.

“The majority of the grant money will go to paying Kent State undergraduate students to work with us on the project, inputting and analyzing data,” Schweitzer explains. “It also will fund some research work in Europe to look at museum collections to gather data about the presence and absence of these animals at different periods of time.”

The study has significance beyond classrooms and museums.

“Many of these are food animals, and we eat them as kind of luxuries,” Schweitzer says. “But that’s not true in other parts of the world, where they are main sources of food.”

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense. With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), the NSF is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

More information on the NSF grant is available at

For more information about Kent State’s Department of Geology, visit

Posted Nov. 5, 2012 | Bob Burford

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WKSU’s Vivian Goodman Inducted Into Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame

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Vivian Goodman, WKSU host and reporter, has been
inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame.

WKSU host and reporter Vivian Goodman has been inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame during an event presented by the Press Club of Cleveland at the Hilton Garden Inn. Other inductees for 2012 include Jim Collins, Ted Diadiun, Vern Henry and Stuart Warner. Plaques for all inductees hang at Nighttown restaurant in Cleveland Heights. The event celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Press Club of Cleveland and the 31st class of the Journalism Hall of Fame.

Goodman began her radio journalism career as a University of Chicago student by helping to cover a demonstration outside the trial of the Chicago Eight in 1969. She returned to Northeast Ohio after graduation, working at WHLO-AM in Akron as continuity director. With a sense of wanderlust, Goodman bummed around Europe for a few years – eventually owning a café in Brussels – before coming home. She worked in Cleveland at soul station WABQ-AM, where she met Congressman Louis Stokes. Goodman followed Stokes to Capitol Hill, becoming the congressman’s press secretary. She stayed in the Washington area while transitioning back to radio.

When Goodman started her family, she chose to do so in Cleveland and was welcomed by Leonard Will at WERE. Two years later, she joined Will at the start-up WCPN, where she created the morning talk show After Nine. In 1996, Goodman assumed her present position at WKSU – working again with Will, who was then the station’s host of NPR’s Morning Edition. Currently, Goodman is WKSU’s local host of NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and All Things Considered, as well as a full-time member of the station’s award-winning news staff. In 2012, Goodman won numerous first-place awards – including from Associated Press Broadcasters, the Press Club of Cleveland and National Federation of Press Women – for her series on the current status of the LGBT community in Northeast Ohio in advance of the 2014 Gay Games.

Goodman’s latest project is Quick Bites, a weekly segment on food, cooking and eating heard Fridays during Hear and Now and All Things Considered. Listeners can find out more about the week’s Quick Bites (including pictures of each segment’s subjects) on the program’s Facebook page.

WKSU broadcasts NPR and Classical Music at 89.7 FM, and is a service of Kent State University. WKSU programming is also heard on WKRW 89.3 FM in Wooster, WKRJ 91.5 FM in Dover/New Philadelphia, WKSV 89.1 FM in Thompson, WNRK 90.7 in Norwalk and W239AZ 95.7 FM in Ashland. The station broadcasts four HD Radio channels – adding WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel to the analog broadcast schedule. The WKSU website is

Posted Nov. 5, 2012

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Reflecting on Veterans Day

Eric Mansfield, executive director for media relations at Kent State and a retired major with the Ohio Army National Guard, reflects on Veterans Day in his post on the Kent State Connects blog.

“I like to think of Veterans Day as a time for honoring service and reflection. In so many ways, it certainly is. Still, the greatest value of Veterans Day is to inspire the generations who follow to be ready. Not just ready in the sense of having more yellow ribbons ready or sending greater donations to the USO.”

Click here to read more.

Click here to subscribe to the Kent State Connects blog and receive an email notification when a new post is added to the blog.

Posted Nov. 5, 2012

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WKSU Hosts Tunisian Journalist Covering the Presidential Election

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WKSU is playing host to Tarek M’Rad, a journalist from
Tunisia, who is in the U.S. to cover the 2012 presidential

WKSU is hosting Tunisian Journalist Tarek M’Rad for 10 days while he covers the 2012 presidential election. M’Rad comes to WKSU through the International Center for Journalists.

“We have learned a lot from Tarek because he brings us an outsider’s perspective,” says M.L. Schultze, WKSU news director. “He brings the perspective of a journalist from a country that is preparing for its first presidential election – in some very uncertain times.”

M’Rad started pursuing his passion for the media by hosting the only foreign-language speaking radio in Tunisia, RTCI. In October 2010, M’Rad was the first voice heard on Express FM, the first business and news radio station in Tunisia.

M’Rad is now in charge of several economic and political debate shows on Express FM and is in charge of running the radio marketing department. He hosts programs about politics and economics, a “Success Story” program and one alternative music program.

“We actually love the Black Keys, and I know they come from Ohio,” says M’Rad.

M’Rad was chosen by the International Center for Journalists as the journalist who would represent Tunisia.

“I'm honored they have chosen me,” says M’Rad. “I didn’t choose Kent or Ohio, but when I understood the reality of swing states and the importance Ohio plays in election, I considered myself really lucky to be placed at WKSU.”

M’Rad is in America covering the election because this is the first year for a Tunisian presidential election.

“I hope to learn enough during these elections to have a benchmark and be able to assess the successful conduct of the first Tunisian presidential elections on March 20, 2013,” says M’Rad. “I hope American journalists would come to Tunisia as observers, too.”

M’Rad’s experiences in America have compelled the American journalists at WKSU to look at the election in a different light.

“The questions he asks us force us to examine what we really know about our own democratic system,” says Schultze.

And M’Rad has learned a lot about the democratic process and the American election process while he has been in Ohio.

“The speeches I attended at the Washington Press Foreign Center have already helped me understand the specificity of the American election process,” M’Rad says. “I'm discovering on the ground in Ohio that it's not always a fair game. I'm astonished at the fortunes spent on campaign advertising and the aggressiveness of their messages. But, despite the ruthless fight, I feel that both parties would finally accept the results whether it's in their favor or not, and I admire this democratic culture. We have a long road to go in Tunisia to settle democracy the American way.”

Posted Nov. 5, 2012 | Nicole Winkleman

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Kent State VITA Looks for Volunteers for Free Tax Services

Kent State University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) program is seeking volunteers to assist in a free tax-filing service this tax season for low-to-moderate-income individuals who qualify to have their income taxes filed free of charge.

Paula DiVencenzo, business and finance tax manager at Kent State, is seeking volunteers who would like to lend a helping hand, while gaining valuable professional skills.

“Volunteers have meaningful interactions with clients and play a critical role in ensuring the clients take advantage of all the deductions and credits available to them,” DiVencenzo says. “Also volunteers will receive free IRS training and support, which will lead to more confidence in their ability to prepare their own tax returns and their friends’ and family’s returns, while gaining the invaluable real-world experience that looks good on a résumé.”

Training sessions will begin the week of Jan. 14, 2013. Sessions related to foreign student and scholar returns will take place on Jan. 26 and Feb. 23. Volunteers are required to attend a training class or self-study online, and all volunteers will certify online.

DiVencenzo says that volunteering for the VITA program will help students enhance their communication, technical, problem solving and leadership skills. Although students are encouraged to volunteer, the program is encouraging all members of the community to participate.

Andy Yan, accounting graduate student, says that he gained valuable experience while volunteering for the Kent State VITA program. Yan explains that he learned how to use TaxWise, a tax software program.

DiVencenzo explains that there are also additional volunteer positions available that do not require students to be certified, including greeters, clerical assistants and receptionists.

Yan says that volunteering for the VITA program is a great learning experience that is rewarding.

“It’s good to help people,” he says. “I want to give back to our community.”

For more information about training and certification, visit

Posted Nov. 5, 2012 | Katie Fickle

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Allerton Apartments Provides One Last Service

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The Kent Fire Department is making use of cleared-out
buildings at the Allerton Apartment complex for field-training
exercises, also known as live burns.

The Allerton Apartment complex at Kent State provided one last service to the Kent community prior to demolition of the retired buildings. On Oct. 10, the Kent Fire Department started conducting field-training exercises, known as “live burns,” in the cleared-out buildings.

“By the good grace of Kent State University, we’ve been able to use these buildings that will provide invaluable training and a chance to fight live fire,” says Lt. Dave Moore of the Kent Fire Department. “This is a good environment to conduct good training.”

Todd Shaffer, construction manager for Kent State University, says when a fire department sets a predetermined fire to combustible materials, such as wood and straw, that’s a “live burn.” With the help of an accelerant like gasoline, the fire gives firefighters the experience of coming into contact with real fire conditions, such as heat and smoke. They control the rate of burn and have a safety crew standing by to extinguish if needed. A live burn is held in an abandoned building to mimic real-life scenarios and surroundings. The Allerton Apartment complex represents hotel and residence  hall scenarios.

“This is an opportunity for staff and the university to offer another learning opportunity to the community and help the fire department train and be safer,” Shaffer says. “The fire department contacted me about burning vacant buildings six or seven years ago. We tried to fill out the paperwork, but it was too restricted. I contacted them about the Allerton Apartments, and this time it worked out.”

Moore says that there are several guidelines, especially for safety, that must be met prior to conducting this type of training. Due to policies of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are, at times, “lots of hoops to jump through.” Moore gratefully notes the university was able to handle the paperwork so the fire department could focus primarily on safety guidelines.

“We have safety standards, strictly from the fire department and the fire service, that we must meet that are primarily for the safety of our firefighters,” Moore says. “We start off with walkthroughs before moving into the live burns. We also do accountability checks before and after every training exercise.”

Though the training exercises are controlled and take place in a controlled environment, safety is of upmost importance not only to the firefighters but to the surrounding areas as well. Due to the location of Allerton Apartments, smoke from the fires is not likely to travel to nearby neighborhoods; however, the control and reduction of the smoke is still a top priority.

“One of our main goals is to follow as many guidelines and procedures so that we will be allowed to burn again,” notes Moore. “It was gracious enough for Kent State to allow us to do this, and we don’t want to negatively affect anyone.”

The live burn training exercises are scheduled to take place over several weeks.

Posted Nov. 5, 2012 | Michael Cellars and Mady Etzel

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Donate Turkeys to the Campus Kitchen at Kent State University

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The Campus Kitchen at Kent State University is seeking
donations to help area families this holiday season.

The Campus Kitchen at Kent State University is asking faculty and staff to donate turkeys and hams so that area families can have a wonderful holiday.

Turkeys and hams will be given to Kent Social Services and the Center of Hope to meet the holiday meal needs of local families. Gift cards to Giant Eagle, Acme or Wal-Mart are also welcome.

The Campus Kitchen will keep one of every four turkeys and hams donated, and 25 percent of other donations to prepare meals for these agencies every week.

This will assist the Campus Kitchen with meals that they prepare for these agencies each week. 

Donations can be dropped off on Nov. 8 and 15, from 7:30-10 a.m. at the Beall Hall loading dock.

For questions, contact Michelle Whitacre at

For more information about the Campus Kitchen at Kent State, visit

Posted Nov. 5, 2012

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