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Six-Year Capital Plan Approved to Support Kent State’s Physical Transformation

Kent State University’s Board of Trustees has approved a comprehensive, six-year capital plan that requests state funding for key building and renovation projects for the university’s eight campuses for the period 2015-2020. All of Ohio’s public colleges and universities are required to submit such long-range plans to the Ohio Board of Regents every two years, and all plans are contingent upon the levels of capital appropriations that will be made by the Ohio General Assembly.

Kent State’s six-year capital plan, which requests about $86 million in state capital appropriations across six years, reflects academic priorities, infrastructure-upgrade needs and a backlog of deferred-maintenance projects. It incorporates projects carried over from the previous capital plan and introduces new projects; and it includes projects funded by state capital appropriations and those requiring additional funding through the university, through bond proceeds or with the help of private donations.

Kent State’s six-year capital request supports the goals of its historic “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future” initiative, which is using $170 million in bond funding to transform the university with new buildings and revitalized classroom, laboratory, studio, performance, living and studying spaces in the next four years. The top priority for the first biennium of the capital plan (covering 2015-16) is the phased renovation and rehabilitation of the science buildings on the Kent Campus (Cunningham, Williams and Smith halls), which along with the construction of an interdisciplinary research building are among the largest and most far-reaching Foundations of Excellence projects.

Another project identified for the first two years of the capital plan is the design of a project to house Kent State’s nationally respected School of Visual Communication Design (VCD) in Taylor Hall. The school’s relocation from its current home in the Art Building would allow VCD faculty and students to maximize an existing, strong synergy with the School of Communications Studies, which already is located in Taylor Hall.

The capital plan includes a number of projects across Kent State’s seven Regional Campuses that target classroom modernization, deferred maintenance and modest building expansions to address growing programs in areas such as nursing, allied health and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. These projects include the renovation of the Main Hall at Kent State University at Ashtabula; the continuation of classroom renovations at Kent State University at East Liverpool; an evaluation of needs to be addressed by the renovation and expansion of the Classroom Building at Kent State University at Geauga; the completion of renovations to the original gymnasium at Kent State University at Salem to provide science laboratories; renovations and an addition to the Fine Arts Building at Kent State University at Stark; improvements to the Classroom Building Library/Theatre Building at Kent State University at Trumbull; and the start of renovations to and expansion of Founders Hall at Kent State University at Tuscarawas.

University Esplanade Named in Honor of President Lester A. Lefton

The Kent State University Board of Trustees today formally named the University Esplanade, the scenic walkway that spans the Kent Campus and connects the campus with downtown Kent, in honor of Kent State President Lester A. Lefton, who will retire next July after serving as the university’s 11th leader for eight years. Lefton was a driving force behind the nationally recognized revitalization of Kent’s downtown and the major, multimillion-dollar initiative to modernize the university’s eight campuses with new buildings and major renovations that is known as “Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future.”

Noting that the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade is a symbol of the strong connection between a vibrant campus and a newly vibrant city, the trustees’ resolution stated that “President Lefton’s leadership legacy includes efforts to forge a new era of town-gown cooperation, to make Kent State one of America’s best college towns and to transform Kent State’s campuses into 21st-century learning environments that will cultivate student success for decades to come.”

The Board’s resolution also commended Lefton for a commitment to excellence that “has led Kent State to new heights of achievement, making student success Kent State’s top priority, setting new records in enrollment and fundraising, elevating the university’s academic strengths and standing, launching new programs in high-demand and emerging fields, increasing its international presence; and modernizing facilities to meet the aspirations of our students and their families.”

Click here to read more about these and additional actions taken by the Kent State University Board of Trustees on Dec. 4.

Posted Dec. 9, 2013

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Upgraded Office 365 to Provide Enhanced Functionality

On Dec. 11, Microsoft will begin moving Kent State University Exchange email accounts to a new, updated version of Office 365. This upgrade will provide Kent State faculty and staff members with expanded online features while maintaining the current features of the Outlook desktop client.

With the Office 365 upgrade, you will receive:

  • A new, streamlined Web interface
  • A Web interface optimized for tablets and mobile devices 
  • Enhanced connectivity to social networking accounts, such as LinkedIn 
  • A new mobile app for iPhone and iPad — Android coming soon! 
  • Offline access capabilities

During this upgrade, you may be asked to restart Outlook.

For additional information, please see your local desktop professional or visit

Posted Dec. 9, 2013

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Blackstone LaunchPad Start-up Selected for Innovation Fund Grant

Liquid crystal doctoral candidate Andrew Konya awarded $25,000 for reMesh

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Pictured is Kent State University's Blackstone LaunchPad
office at the Kent Student Center. Kent State's Blackstone
LaunchPad initiative helped Kent State graduate student
Andrew Konya develop his technology company reMesh.

Technology that gives groups of people a united voice to communicate by harnessing their collective intelligence is one step closer to becoming a reality, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Innovation Fund.

reMesh, founded by Kent State University graduate student Andrew Konya, offers a community, group, nation or planet of people the ability to speak with one voice; a voice that represents the collective thinking of all people within the group. The underlying technology was prototyped at a HacKSU hackathon earlier this year, and over the past six months, it has been under development into a public platform. With the support of Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad program, reMesh has developed its technology into a socially responsible business.

“The Innovation Fund grant is certainly an exciting step toward realizing our goals,” says Konya, a chemical physics doctoral candidate in Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute. “But, we will not be satisfied until nations of people can finally speak for themselves.”

“reMesh offers the world a paradigm shift in how we express ourselves using technology, and we’re very excited to go public and grow”’ says co-founder Aaron Slodov, former Google engineer and engineering doctoral student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

The Innovation Fund is a regional fund focused on supporting technology-based entrepreneurial endeavors and emerging technology-based businesses in Northeast Ohio. The Innovation Fund, founded by the Lorain County Community Foundation, is financially supported by the Ohio Third Frontier Program, as well as partner support and philanthropic contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals. The $25,000 Innovation Fund grant will help Konya and his team bring the reMesh platform to the public.

"reMesh is a promising new technology with a mathematical and analytical approach to social networking,” says Dennis Cocco, co-director of GLIDE, the incubator that administers the fund. “It's a platform that has the potential to revolutionize the way information and opinions are shared.”

“We are thrilled with the success of reMesh and take pride in Blackstone LaunchPad’s role in providing Andrew with business mentorship and the connection to resources to accelerate his business,” says Julie Messing, executive director of entrepreneurship initiatives at Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad. “reMesh has the potential to be a change maker for community engagement, and we are proud of what Andrew and his team have accomplished.”

Konya expects to have reMesh available for public use in early 2014, but private testing of reMesh is already underway. Any groups interested in early testing may contact Konya at

For more information about reMesh, visit

For more information on Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad program, visit

Posted Dec. 9, 2013 | Kate Harmon

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Postal Rates and Regulation Set to Change

Effective Jan. 26, 2014, two events associated with the U.S. Postal Service will impact postage expenses at Kent State University.

Full Service Requirement – A new regulation states that in order to get any postage discounts, mailing lists must be processed for automation; the address panel must contain an Intelligent Mail Barcode; and the postal paperwork must be submitted electronically. The term Full Service indicates that Mail Services is following those postal guidelines, especially inputting the paperwork electronically. Currently, when Mail Services takes the paperwork with the mailing to the post office, a clerk has to enter the specifics into their computer system, and Full Service eliminates this duplication of effort. This allows the highest possible discounts on postage which are, in order, presorted, automated (CASS Certified, NCOA’d and barcoded) and then Full Service.

Gone are the days of simply printing and affixing labels to mail pieces and having Mail Services sort and submit them for discounted, nonbarcoded, nonautomated rates. Mail Services has completed the transitional processes, software upgrades and tests to become Full-Service compliant, and we are already submitting mailing paperwork electronically, well in advance of the requirements.

The difference in postage is only about a penny per piece, but the cumulative effect for the university is an estimated $15,000 extra expense annually, in addition to the impact of any increase in postal rates.

I encourage you to standardize your mailing list(s) into a useable format, such as comma delimited or Excel, and let Mail Services prepare your mailings for best practices and maximum savings. In addition to saving on postage, this also will result in reduced cost of labels, printer ink and labor for your department.

Increasing Postal Rates – The details of the new postal rates have not been finalized, but we know that the rate for 1st-class mail and the other classes will increase based on the consumer price index. That factor alone is expected to increase postage to $.47 for first-class and at least $.01 per piece for nonprofit mailings.

The Postal Service has also asked for an exigent (additional) postage increase, which would increase the 1st-class postage to $.49 and all other classes by similar amounts. In the past, these exigent postage increases have either been rejected by the Postal Governors Board or dramatically modified, but the USPS is now in dire straits financially and feels that they need this increase to survive.

More information will be distributed as it becomes available, but the increase in postal rates is another reason to take the necessary steps to qualify for the Full-Service discounts Mail Services can obtain with your mailings.

Please contact Steve Finley at or Brett Edwards at or call 330-672-2164 if you have any questions.

Posted Dec. 9, 2013

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College of Architecture and Environmental Design Collaborates With Habitat for Humanity for Community Service

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Kent State University students from this year’s fourth-year
design studio pose for a photo with the owner of the home
(fifth from right), which they helped design.

Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design collaborated with Habitat for Humanity of Northern Columbiana County to build an affordable, high-performance home and provide students with a unique, hands-on architectural experience.

The design of the house began in fall 2012 in the fourth-year design studios of faculty members Lee Goodman, Jack Hawk and Joseph Ferut. Twenty-five prototype designs were developed based on the site’s size, orientation, topography and number of bedrooms. The designs had to follow strict requirements for square footage and budget, and they had to meet or exceed Energy Star requirements.

The construction of the house started in spring 2013 with the help of student volunteers. A super-insulated building shell, high R-value windows, air tightness, passive solar heating and passive cooling systems, and a state-of-the-art small load heating system contributed to low-energy costs for the structure.

The students worked together with other colleges, including the construction management department at the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, and tackled a critical issue with families operating on lower incomes.

“Students addressed a social need in their design efforts; architecture is and always has been a social art, and this project hit home with them,” says Ferut, an assistant professor in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. “Habitat helped them understand the real-world issues of designing affordable housing. For many students, this was one of the most challenging and rewarding projects in their academic career.”

A public open house was held on Oct. 27 in Leetonia, Ohio.

For more information about the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, visit

Posted Dec. 9, 2013 | Navjot Grewal

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Important Information about Final Grading of Fall 2013 Classes

Full Term (1), Third Five Weeks (F3), Second Half of Semester (H2) and Second Seven Weeks (W2) Fall 2013 Classes

Online final grading for fall 2013 full term (1: 8/26/2013 – 12/08/2013), third five weeks (F3: 11/04/2013 – 12/08/2013), second half of semester (H2: 10/17/2013 – 12/08/2013) or second seven weeks (W2: 10/21/2013 – 12/07/2013) parts of term began Friday, Dec. 6, via FlashFAST. In addition, grades must also be submitted for any fall 2013 course section that was flexibly scheduled. The deadline for grading submission is midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 17. Any final grades not reported in FlashFAST by the grades processing deadline will have to be submitted using the Grade Change Workflow. These Fall 2013 courses will be available in the Workflow on Thursday, Dec. 19.

Incomplete Mark and NF/SF Grades:

The administrative mark of IN (Incomplete) may be given to students who are unable to complete the work due to extenuating circumstances. To be eligible, undergraduate students must be currently passing and have completed at least 12 weeks of the semester. Graduate students must be currently earning a C or better grade and are unable to complete the required work between the course withdrawal deadline and the end of classes. Instructors are required to complete and submit an Incomplete Mark form to the department chair when an incomplete mark is assigned. Access the form from your Faculty Toolbox in FlashLine.

The grade SF (Stopped Attending–Fail) denotes that the student stopped attending the course and did not formally withdraw and must be accompanied by a date of last attendance in the course.

The grade NF (Never Attended–Fail) denotes that the student neither attended one class session nor formally withdrew from the course.

For complete information on university grading policies including Incomplete Mark and NF/SF grading policies, procedures and timelines, please visit the Grading Policies and Procedures section in the university catalog at

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

To access FlashFAST to post your final grades, login to FlashLine from (click FlashLine Login from top right menu bar) then click the Faculty & Advisor Tools tab. Locate the Faculty Toolbox, and select Final under the Submit Grades heading.

Troubleshooting TIP: FlashFAST is accessible from any Internet-capable computer that has the cookies function enabled. We recommend 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 Dec. 9, 2013

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Kent State’s Recreational Services Will Offer New Faculty/Staff-Only Intramural Leagues in the Spring

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Kent State University’s Department of Recreational
Services offers intramural leagues to Kent State community
members. Beginning in the spring, Recreational Services
will offer Kent State faculty and staff members exclusive
intramural leagues.

Starting in the spring, Kent State University’s Department of Recreational Services will begin offering faculty and staff exclusive intramural leagues in their team sports.

The intramural leagues that Recreational Services currently offers are open to Kent Campus students, faculty, staff and their spouses. In the upcoming spring semester, Recreational Services will introduce leagues strictly for faculty and staff.

Phelan Fletcher, intramural sports and youth programs coordinator for Recreational Services, says that there has been a push from faculty members to create wellness opportunities exclusive to them.

“One reason faculty and staff may have requested a separate league is to create a more attractive level of competition and recreation between teams,” says Fletcher.

Recreational Services considered timing of intramural games in deciding to offer employee-only leagues.

“Some of our regular league games don’t start until late. So we want to offer earlier times for the faculty/staff leagues so that they can have their evenings to spend with their families,” Fletcher says.

Faculty/staff-only leagues will be available in the spring semester in basketball, softball, volleyball, 4-on-4 flag football and indoor soccer. Fletcher says that participating in these leagues provides a good alternative for faculty and staff members to engage in physical activity other than working out.

There also is a social aspect to Kent State employees participating in these leagues.

“For faculty and staff to play on teams together or to compete against each other is a fun way to get to know their colleagues outside of the office,” says Fletcher.

Justin Khol, residence hall director of Koonce Hall, has participated in intramural softball with his co-workers for the past six semesters and says the faculty/staff-only leagues would appeal to him.

“Playing in these leagues would allow me to network and make connections with other people across campus. It’s one thing to build relationships with people via email, but it’s another thing to compete against them while having fun,” Khol says.

For more information about Kent State’s Recreational Services, visit or contact Fletcher at

Posted Dec. 9, 2013 | Wezley Garlick

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The Kent Student Center: A Valuable Campus Resource

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The Kent Student Center is the central gathering place for
Kent State University students, faculty and staff members.

A campus community is a broad vision for campus life that allows all groups and individuals to learn, grow and develop to their best potential in a challenging, yet safe environment. The student center is the central gathering place for a college, serving students, faculty and staff members, alumni and guests.

The Kent Student Center serves as the location for several university and student organization offices, dining venues, the University Bookstore, the Student Multicultural Center and a campus post office. It also provides services such as event-planning assistance, university scheduling and audio/visual technical support.

According to the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), the student union/center is an integral part of the educational mission of a college. The ACUI lists the following as the benefits of a student union/center (Source:

  • As the center of the college community life, the union complements the academic experience through an extensive variety of cultural, educational, social and recreational programs. These programs provide the opportunity to balance coursework and free time as cooperative factors in education.
  • The union is a student-centered organization that values participatory decision-making. Through volunteerism, its boards, committees and student employment, the union offers first-hand experience in citizenship and educates students in leadership, social responsibility, and values.
  • In its policies and processes, the union encourages self-directed activity, giving maximum opportunity for self-realization and for growth in individual social competency and group effectiveness.

The Kent Student Center supports the overall university mission by enhancing the out-of-classroom experience for students through various programs and services. The Kent Student Center serves as the “living room” of the Kent Campus and is the gathering place for members of the university community.

The student center’s goal is to assist with educational, personal and leadership development. It serves as a unifying force that honors each individual and values diversity. The goal of the Kent Student Center is to foster a sense of community that encourages engagement and a connection to the university.

For more information about the Kent Student Center, visit

Posted Dec. 9, 2013

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Kent State's Greek Community Sets Fundraising Record

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Kent State University's Greek community successfully
raised almost $50,000 for the Rape, Abuse and Incest
National Network. 

Songfest is the Greek community’s annual philanthropy event, which brings sororities and fraternities together for a good cause through singing, dancing and acting. The community selects an organization each year to support, and then chapters are placed into teams in order to raise money and awareness for the cause, as well as create performances for the show.

Since 2010, the event has raised more than $120,000 for various local charities.

Meredith Bielaska, assistant director for Greek Affairs, advises the Greek community and knows how hard the chapters work to make Songfest a success.

“It’s incredible what the community does with Songfest. Once groups are selected, the chapters have only three weeks to practice and fundraise,” Bielaska says. “Each year, they want to outdo the previous year’s efforts, and they keep succeeding.”

The Greeks took the stage on Saturday, Nov. 9, for Songfest 2013 with hopes of raising awareness for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) and reaching their fundraising goal of $30,000.

This year’s Songfest winners were the group of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Tau, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Phi Iota Alpha; however, the entire Greek community should be applauded for their efforts.

Once all the ticket sales and online donations were totaled, the Greek community had raised an incredible $49,027, which far exceeded their goal and set a new Songfest record.

Chris Moyer, senior architecture major and vice president of philanthropy and community service for the Interfraternity Council, says, “When we finally totaled everything up, it was just a moment of complete disbelief of how much we raised this year. It blows everything out of the water, and it’s become the largest philanthropy we’ve ever had as a Greek community.”

For more information about Greek Life at Kent State, visit or contact Bielaska at

Posted Dec. 9, 2013

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e-Inside Takes a Break

The e-Inside newsletter will take a break between semesters. The Dec. 9 issue is the last for the Fall 2013 semester. e-Inside will return on Jan. 13. Copy submissions for this issue should be emailed to by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Thank you for reading and contributing to e-Inside.

Happy Holidays!

Posted Dec. 9, 2013

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