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State Reports Show Strong Performance of Kent State’s Educator Preparation Programs

The Ohio Board of Regents has released the second in a series of annual comprehensive performance reports on educator preparation programs in Ohio. The reports show Kent State University’s programs are preparing graduates for successful teaching careers.

The Educator Preparation Performance Reports, which include performance data on the metrics identified for teacher and principal preparation programs, provide valuable information for students, parents and educators. The reports are online at

“When you look at outcomes, our programs do very well,” says Dan Mahony, Ph.D., dean and professor at Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services. “Do our graduates teach well when they are in the classroom? The data indicates that they do. They did better than the state average, even though we had a higher percentage of graduates at high poverty schools. The data indicates our graduates are successful even in situations that might be more difficult.”

This is only the second year the reports have been prepared. They show Kent State’s student teachers and graduates credit the university’s program for having a big impact on their success.

“This is an area where we did extraordinarily well,” Mahony says.

Ohio’s value-added data provides educators a new measure of student performance. Kent State exceeded the state average on graduates classified as most effective (21 percent vs. 15 percent) and the percentage classified as average or above (75 percent vs. 66 percent).

Kent State’s program completers exceeded the state average on the ACT – English (27.8 vs. 23.49), reading (29.1 vs. 25.6), math (26.8 vs. 22.79), and undergraduate grade point average, or GPA (3.51 vs. 3.45). For math teachers in grades 7 – 12, Kent State’s completers had higher math ACT scores (29.4) and higher undergraduate GPAs (3.59).

The Graduate Survey was a new addition to the state’s Educator Preparation Program Performance Reports this year.

“We do even better on this one,” Mahony says. “Of the 49 items, Kent State exceeded the state average on 45 metrics.”

Mahony acknowledges the reports do have limitations.

“With things such as the Praxis pass rate, each university counts completers in a different way, so sometimes it’s hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison,” he says.

Praxis tests are taken by individuals entering the teaching profession as part of the certification process required by many states and professional licensing organizations.

The reports highlight Kent State’s success and also indicate areas for improvement, Mahony says. “Any evaluation is not just helpful in determining current success, but also in identifying areas where we can do better.”

The identification of metrics and the report format were developed in collaboration with representatives from 13 public and 38 private educator preparation institutions in Ohio, state agencies and organizations. The Ohio Board of Regents worked with the Ohio Department of Education and higher education institutions to collect data on the following identified preparation metrics for the annual reports. The reported metrics include:

  • Licensure Test Scores
  • Value-added Data
  • Candidate Academic Measures
  • Field/Clinical Experiences
  • Pre-Service Teacher Candidate Survey Results
  • Resident Educator Survey Results
  • Resident Educator Persistence Data
  • Excellence and Innovation Initiatives
  • National Accreditation

There are 51 institutions in Ohio with programs that were evaluated, resulting in more than 500 performance reports. There is also one state report issued and a separate report for each of the 51 institutions. Although the Ohio Board of Regents will use the metrics included in the performance reports for program review and approval, the reports do not include a ranking of programs and do not assign letter grades. Performance reports are published at the end of each calendar year.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, visit

Posted Feb. 3, 2014 | Bob Burford

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Kent State Helps to Train Engineers From Bangladesh on Research and Education Network Project

enter photo description
Kent State University hosted engineers from Bangladesh
during a training session for the Bangladesh Research
Education Network, a high-speed data communications
network that is dedicated to meeting the needs of
universities and higher education institutions in Bangladesh.

Kent State University, in partnership with the Ohio Academic Resources Network (OARnet) and Ireland’s Higher Education Authority Network (HEAnet), is in the process of a research project called Bangladesh Research Education Network (BdREN).  BdREN will be a high-speed data communications network that is dedicated to meeting the needs of universities and higher education institutions in Bangladesh. BdREN, with its multigigabit capability, aims to connect all universities, research institutions, libraries, laboratories, healthcare and agricultural institutions across Bangladesh to support geographically dispersed academics, scientists and researchers with reliable access to high-end computing, simulation tools and datasets.

Professor Javed Khan, Ph.D., chair of Kent State’s Department of Computer Science, is the principal investigator for this project. 

“It is an amazing time for higher education institutions. The system is experiencing a radical phase transformation with the embrace of a digital revolution” Khan says. “Peer-to-peer deep technological collaboration and hands-on experience sharing between top-notch architects and engineers steering this unfolding revolution and the young higher-ed engineers from another part of the globe determined to make a difference can open up new possibilities that we never thought of before.”

Four BdREN engineers from Bangladesh were invited to attend training at OARnet in December with a visit to the Global Research Network Operations Center in Indiana. Led by Paul Schopis, chief technology officer of OARnet, internship topics covered Traffic Engineering, Bandwidth Management, DWDM Project Handling, Campus Networking and Disaster Recovery.

"What an exciting opportunity. These gentlemen arrived ready to learn and armed with insightful questions," Schopis says. “They have been fully engaged and seem to be forming fast friendships with the trainers. It provides an opportunity for the OARnet staff to learn about Bangladesh and the challenges BdREN confronts in the roll out of their new network.”

The engineers also spent time with Kent State’s Division of Information Services, headed by Vice President Ed Mahon

Jason Wearley, executive director for Kent State’s Information Services Infrastructure, arranged the different sessions that covered Kent State’s high-level data and voice network, Unified Communications Engineering and Operations, Blackboard Course Management System and Server Infrastructure.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for our division to demonstrate our implementation of technology and services while learning through the experience of the Bangladesh engineers,” Wearley says.

Jeanne Tan, project coordinator at Kent State’s Department of Computer Science, worked alongside Khan and the BdREN team to ensure the success of the visit.

For more information about the BdREN project, visit

Posted Feb. 3, 2014

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Kent State’s College of Public Health Works With Hospital Systems to Review Community Health Needs Assessment Data

Akron Children’s Hospital, Akron General Health System and Summa Health System recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment that will help the three hospital systems prioritize and guide their efforts in the next three years.

Working with the Kent State University College of Public Health, the three hospital systems reviewed a wide variety of epidemiologic data for Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties. Additional input was obtained from community resident focus groups and interviews with community leaders and public health experts. A steering committee composed of members from the three hospital systems directed the effort, which began in November 2012. 

The following were among the health needs identified as priorities for adults and children through the 2013 assessment:

  • Chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes
  • Maternal and infant health, such as premature births and infant mortality
  • Birth risk factors, such as maternal tobacco use and lack of prenatal care
  • Lifestyle factors, such as obesity and tobacco use
  • Mental health concerns, including depression and access to care
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol, opiate and prescription drug abuse
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Access to healthcare, including health insurance coverage
  • Quality of care, including preventable hospital stays and elder care
  • Environmental factors, including access to healthy food

The hospitals are developing implementation plans and setting goals. Some will be collaborative. For example, Akron Children’s has identified type 2 diabetes as a priority and helping its pediatric patients eventually transition to adult care is an area where all three hospitals could work together.

“This Community Health Needs Assessment is an opportunity for us to pause, look at the needs of the community and develop strategies to meet those needs, either individually or collaboratively,” says Tom Strauss, president and CEO of Summa Health System. “This is a blueprint for the next three years.”

Implementation strategies will most likely be based on each hospital’s current activities, the potential for community impact and available resources.

“The hospitals are here to serve the community,” says Thomas L. “Tim” Stover, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of Akron General Health System. “During this ever-changing time for healthcare, it’s especially important to step back and assess what’s going on in our communities and hear from the people on the front lines of care delivery, as well as those who look to us for their care.”

This is the second time the three hospitals have worked together on a community health needs assessment. The first was conducted in 2010. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 now requires nonprofit hospitals to conduct community health needs assessments every three years.

“Whether this is a mandated activity or not, I know those of us at Akron Children’s believe this is part of our mission – to listen to and learn from the community – and I know our community’s two adult hospital systems believe in the same philosophy,” says Bill Considine, president and CEO of Akron Children’s. “We are fortunate to live in a community that has so many wonderful organizations and agencies committed to helping people and improving lives.”

Copies of the assessment are now available on the websites of the three hospital systems.

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

Posted Feb. 3, 2014

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Kent State Researcher’s Book Advises “Sandwich Generation” on Elder Care

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Pictured is the cover of the book
The Sandwich Generation’s Guide to
co-authored by Kent State
University researcher Phillip D. Rumrill
, Ph.D.

A new book co-authored by Kent State University researcher Phillip D. Rumrill Jr., Ph.D., advises the “sandwich generation” of adults who care for both children and aging family members on how to manage stress, avoid burnout and find resources for help.

The Sandwich Generation’s Guide to Eldercare (DemosHealth, New York) reflects both what he has learned in years of research and rehabilitation counseling and his personal experience of simultaneously caring for children and an elderly grandparent, says Rumrill, professor and director of the Center for Disability Studies at Kent State.

Rumrill, an expert on rehabilitation and a widely published researcher, managed the financial and medical affairs of his grandmother, who battled cancer and Alzheimer’s disease before she died at age 84 in 2009.

“I often wished that I had a how-to book or some other resource to guide me in helping my grandmother at her most vulnerable time,” he says.

The co-authors, Kimberly McCrone Wickert and Danielle Schultz Dresden, both rehabilitation and disability specialists, faced similar situations of caring for elderly loved ones while juggling parenting responsibilities and careers. Dresden is a 1999 graduate of Kent State’s master of education degree program in rehabilitation counseling, and Wickert received her B.S. in speech pathology and audiology from Kent State in 1990. She earned a master’s in rehabilitation counseling from Wright State University in 1992.

The three decided to write the book, “drawing on our professional experience as case managers and rehabilitation professionals, as well as our personal experiences,” Rumrill says.

“Over the next 20 to 40 years, there will be more elderly Americans than at any other point in history, and current trends suggest that the elderly will be more reliant on financial support from their families than ever before,” the authors write.

The number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to double by 2030, and the ranks of people 90 and older may reach nine million by 2050, according to U.S. Census figures.

The “sandwich generation” of adults between the ages of about 40 and 60 who are raising children at the same time that they care for parents and grandparents (one out of eight Americans, according to the Pew Research Center) face daunting decisions about finances, available services, Medicare and long-term care options, Rumrill notes.

The book offers advice on financial and healthcare issues, in-home care versus nursing facilities, how to deal with stress and burnout, resources for coping with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and how to advocate for loved ones.

Honesty in communicating with an elderly family member is essential, the authors note, even if it creates an uncomfortable situation and even if the loved one is unable to fully participate in a decision. If a conversation is going to be difficult, the authors suggest scripting it and practicing it with a friend.

They also explain:

  • How to create eldercare, estate, healthcare, estate and financial plans
  • Provisions of the new Affordable Care Act that affect the elderly and recent changes in Medicare
  • Checklists for interviewing a geriatric medical specialist, an elder law attorney and a home healthcare provider
  • What to look for in a care facility, whether assisted living, skilled nursing care or a hospice program is needed, and how to compare facilities

To address caregiver burnout, the authors recommend finding a support group, enlisting friends and family, allocating tasks and not expecting perfection.

“There is no reason to expect that you should be prepared from the outset to help your elderly loved one make decisions about his or her care – you haven’t done this before,” the authors point out.

Rumrill is the author or co-author of 170 professional journal articles, 11 books and numerous book chapters and manuals. He recently was awarded a $2.3 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop a pilot program to prepare young adults with traumatic brain injuries for the job market. In 2005, he was named Rehabilitation Researcher of the Year by the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, and in 2010, he received the Kent State University Distinguished Scholar Award.

For more information about research at Kent State, visit

Posted Feb. 3, 2014

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