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Summary of Board of Trustees Actions

Posted Sep. 20, 2010

At its Sept. 15 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:

Kent State's "Excellence Agenda" Reflected in Bold Plans for the Future

The Board of Trustee met Sept. 15 in Cleveland.

As part of Kent State University's Excellence Agenda, a commitment to excellence and innovation that underlies the university's strategic plan, the Board approved a number of major actions for the university's second century, including the addition or extension of 60 bachelor's degree programs at the university's seven regional campuses in the next 60 months; new partnerships with community colleges that make it easier for Northeast Ohioans to earn bachelor's degrees; and a pledge to keep college accessible by maintaining the 35 percent discount in the upper-division tuition rate at all regional campuses compared to the rate at the flagship Kent Campus, and by freezing the lower-division tuition rate at all regional campuses for the next two years, providing state instructional support remains the same. A number of actions endorsed by the Board, including the new and extended bachelor's degrees at the regional campuses, are contingent upon the support of the Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor.

In articulating a variety of actions to support academic excellence and ensure the ability of Kent State students to succeed in 21st century careers, the Board reaffirmed its strong support of a $210 million issuance of General Receipts Bonds that would allow the university to embark on major improvements to the learning environment on the Kent Campus, including new construction and renovations to science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) facilities.

The Board approved the capital-improvements bond issue, which requires the approval of the state of Ohio, at its November 2009 meeting.

Trustees noted that the time was ripe for a bond issuance because it would allow the university to take advantage of highly favorable bond interest rates. The Board stipulated that all projects funded by the bonds must align with academic priorities; that all projects must preserve the value of recent improvements and allow the continuance of university operations; and that, to the greatest extent possible, all projects must use best practices in energy efficiency.

Other actions approved by the Board as part of Kent State's commitment to excellence include:

  • Entering into partnerships with community colleges, resulting in at least 10 new 2+2 pathways and articulation agreements over the next 24 months, thereby increasing pathways for urban and economically disadvantaged urban students.
  • Increasing awareness of and participation in these pathways through broadened marketing and advertising/outreach efforts system-wide.
  • Enhancing student financial processes and fundraising to maximize participation in financial aid, scholarships, internships and other programs, with attention to out-of-pocket costs paid by students of various income levels.
  • Continuing to develop special initiatives for targeted populations especially in need, such as a pilot community college early-admission and dual-credit program now underway in partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College

Kent State at Salem Building Expansion and Addition

The Board authorized a $6.75 million project to renovate the Main Classroom Building at Kent State University at Salem. The project will be funded by $4,361,513 million in university funds, $1,694,397 million in capital funds and $694,090 in pledge funds. The building is a one-story, 79,710 gross-square-foot structure that was completed in 1971 and has had several additions over the years, including a 15,800 square-foot recreation wing that has been underused for many years.

The two phases will include the renovation of the building's existing recreation wing into a two-story academic wing for classrooms, laboratories and offices; and the renovation of existing classrooms into faculty offices and a campus bookstore. Specifically, the existing gymnasium will be converted into a two-story academic wing. Its lower level will accommodate the nursing program, including a nursing lab, sonography lab, radiology X-ray rooms, a tiered lecture room, a human patient simulator and general classrooms. The upper level will eventually house academic science labs. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by fall semester 2011. 

University Confirms Investment in Downtown Kent Hotel/Conference Center

To ensure continuing progress on the construction of a hotel/conference in downtown Kent that will benefit the university and the city of Kent, the Board formally approved the university's investment in the town-gown project. The Board authorized the investment of the university's currently invested funds up to $3 million in the project.

The Board also formed a special committee comprising the Board chair, the Board's Finance and Administration Committee chair, and up to two additional trustees with expertise and interest in participating in this phase of discussion.

In addition, the Board authorized the Board chair and the Finance Committee chair to execute documents as necessary in the interim period to keep the project moving forward, with the understanding that final terms of the agreement will be brought to the next Board of Trustees meeting.

Construction of Kent Campus Student Performance Stage and Clock Tower

As part of major renovations underway to better facilitate student activities adjacent to the Kent Campus Student Center, the Board authorized a project to construct a student performance stage and clock tower. 

The stage and clock tower will be located near the Summit Street end of a new, expanded lawn area that will create a new entry point to the campus. The Board stipulated that the projects, for which a fund has been established and fundraising for naming opportunities is underway, are not to exceed a total of $1.9 million.

The raised stage area will allow students, faculty and staff members, and visitors to relax while listening to performers or guest speakers, or to simply relax within gardens surrounding the platform. The area will also be used for large gathering such as graduations, receptions and other university or public events. The landscaped stage and clock tower also will serve as an important gateway icon into the heart of the campus as visitors travel Summit Street and Campus Center Drive.

Construction of this phase of the project will take place during the spring and summer of 2011

Twinsburg Academic Center

A new home for Kent State University's Twinsburg Academic Center is closer to reality with the Board's authorization of a 30-year, triple-net lease agreement and a development agreement for construction of a 42,000 square-foot building on approximately 15 acres of property located off Route 91, north of I-480, in Twinsburg. The agreement is between the university, the Summit County Port Authority and KSU Twinsburg LLC, a limited liability company controlled and managed by Fairmount Properties LLC.

The new center, which will accommodate the Twinsburg Center's growing enrollment, will provide a 21st-century learning environment complete with state-of-the-art classrooms and science, technology and medical laboratories.  It also will allow expanded course offerings that are expected to attract new students who want to earn a Kent State degree; expanded workforce development and job training programs; and new community-engagement opportunities.

The project will be financed through the Summit County Port Authority through the issuance of lease revenue bonds.

Establishment of National Trustee Position

In recognition of the fact that Kent State University executes its teaching, research and service missions at state, national and international levels, and that it is widely considered a top American university (including a recent inclusion in the first tier of national universities in the 2011 edition of U.S. News Media Group's Best Colleges), the Board established the position of National Trustee.

The Board stipulated that National Trustees, who will serve three-year terms, will be non-Ohio residents who are Kent State graduates or friends of the university; have demonstrated professional success; have earned state, national or international prominence; have the ability to serve as advocates for higher education; and are willing and able to provide counsel to the university.

There will be a maximum of three National Trustees at any one time.  Trustees will not be paid, but may be compensated for reasonable necessary expenses related directly to the fulfillment of the National Trustee role.  National Trustees will not vote on any matters considered by the university's Board of Trustees or be eligible to serve as Board officers, but will participate in all Board activities and committees.

National Trustees will be recommended for appointment by the Board's Nominating Committee and will be appointed, and may be removed, by the Board.

Purchase of Properties to Support Kent Campus Expansion

In separate actions, the Board authorized the purchase of the following properties in the city of Kent as part of its planned expansion in the area between the Kent Campus and downtown Kent:

  • Property located at 429 E. College St. and owned by Georgelle C. Heintel was purchased for its appraised value of $130,000.Property located at 329 E. Erie St. and owned by Cynthia Lavelle-Pahl was purchased for its appraised value of $175,000.
  • Property located at 246 E. Erie St. and owned by Larry A. Neiman was purchased for its appraised value of $225,000.
  • Property located at 128 S. Willow St. and owned by Andrej M. Petryna was purchased for its appraised value of $225,000.
  • Property located at 324 College Court and owned by LKG Corporation, and property located at 132 S. Lincoln St. and owned by David and Kathy Schumann were approved for purchase following the completion of the appraisal process.

In other actions:

  • The Board authorized a $5.3 million adaptive reuse project to renovate vacant Harbourt Hall on the Kent Campus. The building, which was built in 1967 as a residence hall, will become the new home of the Office of the University Architect and Facilities Planning and Operations. The completion of the project will allow space in Lowry Hall to be rededicated to academic uses for the College of Public Health.
  • The Board authorized a $5 million adaptive reuse project to renovate vacant Heer Hall on the Kent Campus.  The building, which was built in 1967 as a residence hall, will become the new home of the administrative offices for the division of Human Resources. The project is contingent upon approval of the bond issue.
  • The Board named the expansion of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics' George L. Jenkins Academic Resource Center as the Judy Devine Wing.  The action recognizes Devine, who touched the lives of countless student-athletes during her 30 years as a coach and administrator, and who made the lead gift of $150,000 to expand the Academic Resource Center for the benefit of student-athletes.
  • The Board named the university's women's soccer field as Zoeller Field in recognition of alumnus, former soccer team member and National Athletic Development Council member Ron Zoeller and his family. The Zoeller family provided the lead gift of $125,000 to renovate the existing women's soccer field.
  • The Board named the lecture hall in the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management building as the Olga A. Mural Lecture Hall in recognition of the late Akron philanthropist Olga A. Mural, whose husband was a graduate of the College of Business Administration's accounting program.  Mural was a longtime, generous donor to Kent State. Her final estate gift was used to renovate and update the lecture hall.
  • The Board changed the name of College Hall at Kent State University at East Liverpool to John J. Purinton Hall.  The action recognizes Purinton, who dedicated his business career to improving the quality of life for East Liverpool residents.  He was the grandfather of M. Patricia Burnett, a former member of the Kent State University at East Liverpool Advisory Board and a generous donor whose lead gift of $400,000 allowed for the renovation of College Hall and for enhanced learning opportunities for students in the occupational therapy assistant program.
  • The Board, in separate actions, revised the university policies regarding faculty tenure and faculty promotion, effective Aug. 22, 2010. Each action addressed the procedural implications of the recent elimination of the position formerly held by the executive dean for Regional Campuses.
  • The Board revised the university policy regarding the administration of student conduct to update terminology, provide for consistent application and reflect national best practices.
  • The Board moved the emergency medical services technology major within the associate of technical study degree program from Kent State University at Geauga to Kent State University at Trumbull, effective fall semester 2010.  The program will become part of the proposed bachelor of fire science and emergency preparedness degree program at Kent State at Trumbull, providing a clear career path from certificate to associate to bachelor's degree.
  • The Board, in separate actions, inactivated the plastics manufacturing engineering technology major within the associate of applied science degree; and inactivated the master of arts degree from 11 programs in the College of Education, Health and Human Services. The actions are effective fall semester 2010.