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Kent State Summary of Board Actions (6/4/2009)

At its June 4 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:

Center for the Study of Information and Religion to Pioneer Untapped Area of Research
Placing Kent State on the forefront of a relatively untapped area of research, the Board established the Center for the Study of Information and Religion within the university’s School of Library and Information Science. The center will facilitate research that explores how the various institutions and agents of religion affect social knowledge through the use and dissemination of information. The center, which will be part of the College of Communication and Information, will become effective fall semester 2009.

Although scholars in disciplines such as sociology, psychology and religious studies conduct a great deal of research on religion, the area of information and religion is a largely untapped area of investigation. Given the complexity of the area, research conducted through Kent State’s center will be interdisciplinary, drawing on other fields in the social sciences and humanities. This interdisciplinary approach will include partnerships with various representatives of religious faiths and denominations.
The creation of the center is fitting because of Kent State’s nationally recognized expertise in the areas of library and information science, and communication and information.

In addition, Kent State is home to the Ohio Pluralism Project, an effort to map and monitor the development of religious communities in Ohio and to encourage engagement among them. The center is expected to open opportunities for partnerships with Harvard University, since the Ohio Pluralism project is affiliated with Harvard’s Pluralism Project.

Kent State Creates International Institute for Human Service Workforce Research and Development; Pursues First National Effort to Credential Child and Youth Human Services Workers
To help meet an exploding need for well-trained human services professionals to work with children and youth, the Board established the International Institute for Human Service Workforce Research and Development, effective fall semester 2009.

Housed within Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, the institute will establish a partnership with the Child and Youth Care Certification Board to pursue the first national effort to credential individuals who work with children and youth from a variety of ages; from populations including developmental disabilities, emotional disorders and involvement with the juvenile justice system; and from settings including community-based prevention and residential treatment.

The institute also will explore collaborations with other universities and human services organizations such as the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) to facilitate research and promote the development of the human services workforce locally, nationally and internationally.

The field and emerging profession of human services training and development has experienced dramatic growth as a result of increasingly complexity social problems from poverty to substance abuse. In 2003, the Annie Casey Foundation estimated that the number of child and youth care workers totaled almost 6 million.

Establishment of Combined Baccalaureate/Master’s Program in Gerontology and Nursing Home Administration
To help meet a state and national need for highly trained nursing home administrators, the Board established a degree program that will allow Kent State students to earn a combined bachelor of science in human development and family studies with a concentration in gerontology and nursing home administration and master of business administration degrees.  The combined BS/MBA program, which will be offered by the university’s College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services and its Graduate School of Management in the College of Business Administration, will be effective fall semester 2009.

The new degree program is a response to the reality that today’s long-term care administrators must be able to address increasingly complex regulatory demands, employee retention challenges and competitive markets.
The combined degree will be marketed to qualified students with undergraduate degrees in gerontology and nursing home administration who have indicated a strong interest in business management education.  The combined degree is likely to expedite graduates’ entrance into administrative positions by increasing their business management skills.

Establishment of Undergraduate Degree in Public Health
As part of Kent State’s plans to meet an urgent state and national need for highly trained public health professionals by launching a College of Public Health, the Board established a bachelor of science degree in public health, effective fall semester 2010.

The degree program’s curriculum will be provided by the College of Arts and Sciences, the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services, and the newly formed College of Public Health, which will take advantage of nationally recognized Kent State strengths in areas such as nursing, biopreparedness, sociology and violence prevention; and will result in Ohio’s second college of public health.

Many of the courses to be offered in the new degree program, and many of the faculty needed to teach them, already are in place.

According to a February 2008 report by the Association of Schools of Public Health, America will need 250,000 more public health workers by 2020 — a well-educated, technologically savvy and multidisciplinary workforce that includes public health physicians and nurses, occupational and environmental health specialists, epidemiologists, biostatisticians, health educators, health-program administrators and health-policy analysts. 

Graduates of the new baccalaureate program will be prepared to join the workforce or to pursue graduate-level education in public health and related fields.

Risman Plaza to Get Centennial Facelift
As a way of improving the learning environment on the Kent Campus, and as a way to commemorate Kent State’s centennial next year, the Board authorized a $3.3 million project to renovate deteriorating Risman Plaza. Risman Plaza, which is located adjacent to the Student Center and the University Library, is a primary and prominent entry point to the Kent Campus; the hub for several major pathways through the campus; and one of the most important, popular and best-known gathering places for students, employees and visitors.

The renovation project, which will use capital funds accumulated during the last four years, will transform the plaza, which was constructed in the early 1970s and partially improved in the mid-1990s, into an inviting gathering place with more lawn areas and improved views. The existing water fountain will be replaced with new water features, and the existing bus kiosk will be replaced by an air-conditioned bus shelter and visitor drop-off point that will be built on a redesigned and relocated Risman Drive and parking lot.

The extended plaza will create a tree-lined green space where students can relax and that can accommodate large events.  The space will include a large clock tower or piece of sculpture.
Construction is expected to begin in April or May of next year and to be completed in time for the centennial celebration events planned for Homecoming 2010.

Annual Election of President
In keeping with the university’s constitution, the Board voted unanimously to re-elect Dr. Lester A. Lefton to a fourth term as Kent State University president. The university constitution requires the Board to hold an annual election of the university president.

Trustees commended Dr. Lefton, who became Kent State’s 11th president in July 2006, for his efforts to lead Kent State toward its centennial in 2010 as a university committed to and known for excellence in academics and administration, and for its commitment to building an  environment that fosters the success of all students.

In other actions:
  • The Board unanimously passed a resolution expressing its appreciation to University Trustee and Kent State alumna Sandra W. Harbrecht, who ended her nine-year term as a Trustee today (June 4). Harbrecht, who served two terms as Board chair and chaired the presidential search committee that led to the appointment of Dr. Lester A. Lefton as the university’s 11th president, was designated Trustee emeritus of Kent State University and commended by the Board as a leader who “devoted extraordinary time and effort to her stewardship of Kent State University” and who was “one of the Board’s most active and visible members.
  • The Board unanimously passed a resolution expressing its appreciation to Student Trustee Gina C. Spencer, who ended her term today (June 4). Spencer, a doctoral student who earned bachelor of science and master of education in higher education degrees from Kent State, was commended by the Board for her contributions as a “staunch supporter and effective advocate for the needs of students.”
  • The Board reorganized the College of Education, Health and Human Services (EHHS)as a result of the 2005 transfer of three schools from the former College of Fine and Professional Arts. Effective July 1, 2009, EHHS will comprise four schools: health sciences; foundations, leadership and administration; lifespan development and educational sciences; and teaching, learning and curriculum studies.
  • The Board changed the name of the Libraries and Media Services unit to a name that more accurately reflects its functions: University Libraries. The change is effective immediately.
  • The Board approved the Office of Internal Audit charter. Internal Audit is an independent and objective evaluation of the university’s risk management, control and government processes.
  • The Board responded to the rising costs of course materials, supplies and equipment by enacting and increasing a variety of special fees, including special fees for materials and supplies used in art classes, nursing courses and technology courses; fees to cover costs associated with flight training; and the matriculation fee. The changes are effective fall semester 2009.
  • For the first time since 2002, the Board increased parking rates for university employees. The cost of a 12-month employee parking permit was increased $6 per year for fiscal year 2010 (from $132 per year to $138 per year).
  • The Board authorized the vice president for Finance and Administration to enter into mutual-aid agreements with one or more townships, municipal corporations, counties or other state universities or colleges. Such agreements would give Kent State readily available and clearly defined additional assistance in the form of police personnel and resources in the event of a campus emergency.
  • In anticipation of future expansion of the Kent Campus, the Board authorized the purchase of a .200-acre site located at 220 South Willow St. for its appraised value of $135,000, and a .200-acre site located at 214 South Willow St. for its appraised value of $135,000. Both parcels of land are owned by Joshua R. Greene.
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Media contact:
Flo Cunningham

This page was last modified on September 8, 2009