At its June 6 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:
Trustees Endorse FY 2013 University Budget that Supports Major Campus Improvements
The Board approved a balanced educational and operating budget for Kent State University’s eight-campus system as it commended the university’s leadership for demonstrating sound and strategic management through difficult financial times.
The budget reflects the fourth year that the Responsibility Center Management budget model, which encourages strategic and creative use of funds, has been used by academic units; additional funding for student scholarships, international programs, new faculty and advisor positions, library collections and public safety; costs associated with new contract agreements with employees represented by bargaining units; anticipated increases in health-insurance costs for employees; financial activities associated with the new Kent State College of Podiatric Medicine; a 3.5-percent tuition increase that helps to offset a state appropriation that decreased 8.6 percent ($12.1 million) from the amount received in fiscal year 2011; and the launch of several large-scale projects, including new and renovated buildings, to bring aging university facilities up to world-class standards.
The budget, which totals $616.4 million ($616,498,803), spans fiscal year 2012-13 (July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013).
Kent State Creates Cuban Studies Institute
Kent State has seized the opportunity to become a regional leader in developing scholarly relationships in Cuba by creating the Cuban Studies Institute. The institute, which will be effective Fall Semester 2012, will work to build sustainable, collaborative educational and research relationships in Cuba; and will support interdisciplinary collaboration across Kent State colleges and throughout Northeast Ohio, the United States and Cuba.
The institute’s goals include expanding student and faculty experiences abroad; encouraging collaboration and research in areas such as the arts, education, public health, family studies, literature and the sciences; and promoting outreach through seminars, lectures and special events. The Board gave authorization for the institute through the Fall Semester 2014.
The institute will partner with the university’s Office of Global Education to apply for licensure with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, a requirement for research and/or study abroad in Cuba.
The creation of the institute was approved previously by the university’s Educational Policy Council and Faculty Senate.
New Science and Nursing Building Approved for Stark Campus
In response to the continuing expansion of the nursing and science programs at Kent State University at Stark, the Board authorized a $17 million ($17,015,722) project to build a new, 41,140 square-foot Science and Nursing Building adjacent to the Main Hall. Funding will be provided from campus funds, the state’s capital appropriation to the university, and from private donations.
The state-of-the-art building will include classrooms, lecture halls, laboratories and faculty offices associated with the biology, physics, geology and nursing programs. The project also will include renovation of approximately 5,250 square feet of the existing Main Hall East Wing, and limited site improvements and parking enhancements.
Construction of the new building is expected to begin in Fall 2013 and be completed by Summer 2015.
Multimillion-Dollar Energy-Conservation Project Approved for Kent Campus
The Board approved a major energy-conservation project that will bring Kent State into full compliance with House Bill 251’s goal of achieving a 20-percent reduction in campus energy use (compared to 2004 energy use) by 2014.
The university will seek full funding for the project, which is expected to cost $35 million to $50 million, from external Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and private placement. The project will be self-funded, with repayment structured to use the energy cost savings within 15 years.
The project will comprise energy-conserving improvements such as lighting retrofits or replacements; installation of occupancy sensors; heating, venting and air-conditioning systems enhancements; replacement of single-pane window systems; and complete building recommissioning.
A university selection team has reviewed proposals from Brewer-Garrett Company and SODEXO Energy Services and will award the design-build performance contract to one of them in time for construction to begin in late summer/early fall of this year. The contractor will be responsible for any costs that do not meet the projected savings.
Kent State Honors Key Donors to Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative
The Board named spaces in the Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) in honor of four major donors to the facility, which provides real-world learning experiences for students in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design while providing design services to the Cleveland area and beyond. The donors helped allow the CUDC to move into the heart of Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare District in 2010.
The newly named spaces are: The Cleveland Foundation Conference Room; The George Gund Foundation Exhibition Area; the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Office; and The Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust Office.
Kent State Makes Commitment to Preserve Four Aging Buildings
The Board authorized the use of an estimated $9.1 million from future bond revenue funds for renovation projects that are critical to the preservation of four Kent Campus facilities.
The projects, which must be addressed before long-term structural damage occurs or worsens are: masonry repairs and the replacement of the failing roof over the Cartwright Hall auditorium (approximately $800,000); replacement of the 40-year-old roof on the University Library and the repair or replacement of failed flashing and other structural elements (approximately $2 million); replacement of the failing roof, roof flashing and masonry mortar joints on McGilvrey Hall (approximately $2.8 million); and replacement of the failing roof, building flashing, and masonry and concrete systems of Taylor Hall (approximately $3.5 million).
Kent State to Invest in Greater Campus Accessibility
To better serve students, faculty, staff and visitors who have mobility, hearing, visual or verbal impairments, the Board authorized the use of $1 million in future bond revenue funds for a project to address accessibility issues across the Kent Campus.
The project, which targets academic areas that are not already slated for major improvements during the next five years, will include signage, toilet rooms and drinking fountain accessibility, and areas with limited or no wheelchair access. The project is scheduled for completion next summer, when classes are not in session.
Annual Election of the President
In keeping with the university’s constitution, the Board voted unanimously to re-elect Dr. Lester A. Lefton to a seventh term as Kent State University president. The university constitution requires the Board to hold an annual election of the university president.
The Board praised President Lefton for having met or exceeded his performance goals for the past year, according to the Board’s annual evaluation of the President. The review included interviews with trustees, executive officers, student leaders, faculty leaders, members of the Kent State University Foundation board of directors, the Kent city manager, and a local business leader. A total of 30 people were interviewed in May 2012 by the Aldridge Group, which was retained by the Board to conduct the outside assessment.
In other actions:
- Upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate, the Board increased the minimum cumulative grade-point averages (GPAs) required for undergraduate seniors to graduate with institutional honors. The new standards increased the GPA for cum laude honors from 3.3 to 3.5; the GPA for magna cum laude from 3.6 to 3.7; and the GPA for summa cum laude from 3.8 to 3.9. The changes take effect Fall Semester 2012 and begin with the Spring 2016 Commencement.
- Taking the next step in the development of the university’s College of Public Health (COPH), the Board established four academic departments: Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Environmental Health Sciences; and Health Policy and Management, effective July 1, 2012. The formation of departments satisfies a requirement for the College’s accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health. Kent State’s COPH is the second College of Public Health in Ohio and the only one to offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in public health.
- The Board established a business administration-professional major within Kent State’s master of business administration (MBA) degree program, effective Fall Semester 2012. In keeping with common practice in the MBA industry, the new major is geared to full-time, professional students who need to pursue their studies on a part-time basis.
- The Board authorized an across-the-board, 0.5-percent pay adjustment to all eligible employees who are not represented by a bargaining unit, retroactive to Sept. 1, 2011, or the employee’s start date, whichever is later. The increase is in addition to a 1.5-percent increase received by unrepresented employees effective Sept. 1, 2011.
- As part of the planned transition of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (OCPM) as part of Kent State, the Board authorized a schedule of fiscal year 2012-13 College of Podiatric Medicine tuition and fees that was recommended by the college’s senior administration. Tuition for podiatry students will increase 3.2 percent, effective Fall Semester 2012. The college is one of the largest and most respected podiatric medical education institutions in the country, and the only accredited podiatry school in Ohio.
- The Board authorized the use of $1.5 million in building and maintenance funds for renovations to Kent State’s Centennial Research Park. The renovations will transform approximately 3,700 square feet of unused space into a multidisciplinary research lab that can accommodate up to 12 university researchers. The new lab will be used for academic research needs or long term may be leased to a future tenant for business development.
- The Board authorized the purchase of property owned by Joseph N. Murray, Trustee, located at 122 South Lincoln St. at its appraised price of $315,000. The property is located in the area of the Esplanade extension.
- The Board granted emeritus status to Dr. Margaret Doheny, professor of Nursing; Dr. Pamela Ramey, associate professor of Technology at Kent State University at Tuscarawas; Dr. Paul Wang, professor of Computer Science; and Connie Espenschied, director of Admissions at Kent State University at Tuscarawas. Emeritus status is a distinguished title that honors a faculty member’s contributions by allowing him or her continued access to university resources after retirement from the university.
- The Board approved a resolution expressing its appreciation to Patrick S. Mullin on his completion of a nine-year term as a Kent State University Trustee. Mullin, who was appointed by Ohio Gov. Bob Taft in June 2003, is a Kent State alumnus who served two terms as Board Chair. He used his business acumen to lead the creation of the Board’s Audit Committee in 2004 and to chair the Board’s Finance and Administration Committee from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012. The Board commended Mullin for his many accomplishments as a business and community leader in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, and for his accomplishments as Board Chair, noting that “he provided inspired leadership at a momentous time in Kent State history.”
- The Board approved a resolution expressing its appreciation to Brady Ruffer, who served a two-year term as one of Kent State’s two student trustees and graduated with summa cum laude honors last month, earning a bachelor’s degree in integrated social studies education. The Board commended Ruffer for his “informed and passionate commitment to student learning.”
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