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Joseph Vitale Named Kent State’s New Interim Vice President for Human Resources

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Joseph Vitale Jr. has been named new
interim vice president for the Division of
Human Resources. Vitale assumed the role
June 5, 2013.

Kent State University has named Joseph Vitale Jr. as its new interim vice president for the Division of Human Resources. He assumed the role June 5, 2013.

Vitale has 20 years of human resources experience. Prior to this appointment, he served as director for talent management at Kent State. In that role, Vitale directed efforts related to the acquisition and development of talent, including staffing, on-boarding and development planning. He also oversaw the issuance of universitywide compensation and directed efforts for labor and employee relations. He has been with Kent State for the past eight years.

Before joining Kent State, Vitale worked within the staffing and recruiting industry through international and regional firms, where he developed and managed recruitment, staffing and organizational operations for clients throughout the United States. He served as a staffing forecasting and recruitment strategies consultant for firms in Northeast Ohio.

“Joe Vitale is an experienced human resource professional who has been involved with attracting and retaining some of our most talented and dedicated employees here at the university,” says Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “I have confidence in his ability to steer the Division of Human Resources to offer the highest standard of service to all Kent State employees.”

“The division has realized many accomplishments and has been well-positioned for continued successful performance, meeting the needs of the university,” Vitale says. “I look forward to being a leader for the division as an interim, and I’m confident that the division will continue to excel at achieving institutional success while supporting the university’s mission.”

Vitale graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in social and behavioral sciences. He began his career as deputy finance director for former U.S. Sen. John Glenn and served as an aide for former State Sen. Alan J. Zaleski.

He currently resides in Olmsted Falls, Ohio, with his wife, Jody, and two children, Hayley, 12, and Carly, 9. Vitale is involved in his community and serves as president of the Olmsted Falls Soccer Association, volunteer-coach for several youth soccer teams, and a former elected council-at-large for the city of Olmsted Falls.

Vitale replaces Alvin Evans, who stepped down from the interim vice president position for personal and professional reasons. Evans has returned to his former role of associate vice president for human resources.

For more information about Kent State’s Division of Human Resources, visit

Posted June 17, 2013

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Kent State Receives Funding to Support Student Retention and Improve Graduation Rates

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Funding from Ohio Campus Contact will help Kent State
recruit two AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to
America) members to support student retention at the
university through the Connect2Complete program.

Kent State University’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has received funding, estimated at $80,000, from Ohio Campus Contact for two AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members who will support student retention at the university through the Connect2Complete program.

The Connect2Complete program is a college-student success initiative supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program seeks to improve student retention and graduation rates of low-income and underrepresented college students through a unique combination of peer advocacy and community engagement activities.

The two VISTA positions are full-time, yearlong terms, beginning July 2013. One member will support retention efforts at the Kent Campus and the other will develop retention programs for selected Kent State Regional Campuses. The VISTA members are expected to assist with the development and implementation of a new campus student-retention program based on a successful project model, recruit and train student peer advocates, help coordinate community engagement activities and more.

“We are excited to be considered as a host for this exceptional program,” says Shana Lee, site coordinator for the Connect2Complete program at Kent State and director of Kent State’s Student Multicultural Center. “We believe the Connect2Complete college program is a proven model that will strengthen the university’s efforts to support college completion for low-income and traditionally underserved students at the Kent Campus, as well as at selected Regional Campuses.”

Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion currently invests in and runs programs that serve low-income and underrepresented college students in order to foster their successful college transition and completion. The division plans to build momentum in this area with the help of the VISTA members.

“Though we have had success with our initiatives, we believe that more intentional, individualized models such as the Connect2Complete program can serve to enhance and support the completion and success of our students,” Lee says. “We hope that our VISTA members will use the Connect2Complete program model to help us reach out to this often underserved population to increase their persistence and eventual attainment of their chosen degree.”

For more information about Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit

For more information about Campus Compact and its Connect2Complete program, visit

Posted June 17, 2013 | Foluke Omosun

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Kent State, City Officials Accept Inaugural Award for Town-Gown Collaboration

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Kent State and city of Kent representatives were in
Buffalo, N.Y., earlier this month to accept the Larry
Abernathy Award from the International Town-Gown
Association (ITGA). The award honors the town-gown
relationship that best represents the spirit of ITGA.

Representatives of Kent State University and the city of Kent were in Buffalo, N.Y., to accept the Larry Abernathy Award from the International Town-Gown Association (ITGA). The award honors the town-gown relationship that best represents the spirit of ITGA.

The Kent State team included Todd Diacon, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost; Greg Jarvie, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs; Tom Euclide, associate vice president for Facilities Planning and Operations; Shay Little, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students ; and Pete Mahoney, special coordinator at the Center for Student Involvement.

The city of Kent was represented by Dave Ruller, city manager; Councilman Garret Ferrara; Michelle Hartman, president of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce; and Lori Wemhoff, executive director at the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce.

“This presentation best exemplified a town and university working together cohesively and promoting partnership and resources between all entities including the town, university, leaders, students, faculty and staff, neighborhood residents and businesses,” says Beth Bagwell, ITGA program director.

Larry Abernathy, the former mayor of Clemson, S.C., had a passion for town-gown collaborative efforts, and it was through his initiatives that the ITGA was created in 2003. The first Larry Abernathy award was presented on June 5 at the annual ITGA conference in Buffalo, N.Y.

“The spirit of collaboration that we have fostered has allowed us to undertake some truly transformational projects,” says Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “We are committed to building an exciting future for Kent State, the city and beyond. I’m enormously proud to be part of a community that is making such meaningful contributions to a regional renaissance.”

The ITGA award also recognizes the ongoing collaborative efforts between the city and the university.

Kent State representatives keep in regular contact with city officials, creating a more open and productive environment.

Click here to read more about the university-city partnership on several downtown Kent redevelopment projects.

Posted June 17, 2013

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Student Photographers and Instructors Take Top Honors at ONPA Contest

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School of Journalism and Mass Communication award
winners David Foster (second from left), Chelsie Corso,
and Alexis Pfeifer with ONPA guest speakers Liz Baylen,
Los Angeles Times staff photographer (far left) and John
Sale, visuals editor at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis
(far right). 

(Photo credit: Chris Parker, ThisWeek Newspapers)

Kent State University's School of Journalism and Mass Communication student photojournalists and photojournalism instructors won 12 awards, including Best of Show, at the Ohio News Photographers Association’s (ONPA) 2012 annual contest, making 2012-2013 the most award-winning year for the school’s photojournalism program in the last 30 years. The journalism school’s photojournalists previously won significant awards in the Hearst, College Photographer of the Year and Society of Professional Journalists competitions.

David LaBelle, photojournalism program coordinator, attributes the success of the photojournalism program to the joint efforts of the instructors, Jeff Fruit, former director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the school’s current director, Thor Wasbotten.

“The number of overall wins is the fruit of a lot of labor and vision from a lot of people, beginning with Jeff Fruit's commitment to growing the program, Thor Wasbotten's commitment to excellence and competitive spirit to be the best, and photojournalism instructors Gary Harwood and David Foster's numerous contributions of time and money to ensure that students are prepared and able to enter competitions. Harwood led the way with the ONPA entries and set the example with his year-long ‘Tiger Legacy’ project,” LaBelle says.

“It was a special weekend for our photojournalism students,” Harwood says of the ONPA contest. “This is a very difficult competition because our students are facing the best work from professional photographers throughout Ohio. We’ve not won 12 awards before in this competition, and we didn’t expect it. We’ve never had a weekend like this.”

Senior photojournalism major Chelsie Corso won the Best of Show award, the top honor among all professional and student entries in the contest, for “Sisters,” which also earned the top prize in the feature photo competition.

“This photo was difficult for me to produce,” Corso says. “It wasn't just a photo subject, but my own family in it. When I won Best of Show, it meant more to me than just a contest. It had personal value to me.”

Among the other honors the School of Journalism received were the Ohio Understanding Award and the Larry Fullerton Photojournalism Scholarship. The list of awards and awardees includes:

Best of Show
“Sisters” by Chelsie Corso

Student Photographer of the Year
Second Place: Hannah Potes
Third Place: Coty Giannelli

Larry Fullerton Photojournalism Scholarship
First Place: Hannah Potes

James R. Gordon Ohio Understanding Award

“Tiger Legacy,” in collaboration with the Massillon Museum, featuring contributing photographers Gary Harwood, David Foster, Adrianne Bastas, Chelsie Corso, Coty Giannelli, Matt Hafley, Jenna Watson, Jessica White and Caitlin Bourque of the School of Visual Communication Design.

First Place: Chelsie Corso

Third Place: “Exorcism,” Brooke DiDonato
Award of Excellence: “Mother Nature,” Brooke DiDonato

News Picture Story
Third Place: “College Fest,” Coty Giannelli

First Place: “Balloon,” Alexis Pfeifer
Third Place: “Family Exit,” David Foster

Spot News
Second Place: “Fight,” Matt Hafley

Posted June 17, 2013

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