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Kent State Board of Trustees Approves Partnerships With Aramark, PepsiCo

 

The Kent State University Board of Trustees today approved separate proposals for dining and cold beverage services that will transform the student experience throughout the university system. Following a competitive bid and review process, the Board approved the recommendation of university leaders to begin contract negotiations with Aramark LLC for dining services and with PepsiCo for exclusive cold beverage rights.

The university’s partnership with Aramark will lead to upgrades, renovations and/or new construction on the Kent Campus with such vendors as Panera Bread, Starbucks, Grazers, Fresco, Nourish’d and Sprout’d. Aramark’s vision for the Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine includes a Seasoned Market or Seasoned Café. The addition of Grazers and Fresco marks the first time that Kent-based businesses will become part of the campus dining options for students.

“Our strategic partnership with Aramark will elevate the student experience and enhance products and services that support healthy campus initiatives that our students want and need,” said Shay Little, Kent State’s vice president for student affairs. “Aramark has proposed significant upgrades to the dining facilities themselves, new vendors with a larger selection of healthy options and more flexibility for students to use their meal plans at any Kent State campus.”

The Board approved Aramark as the strategic partner for dining services for the Kent Campus, all seven Regional Campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine. Negotiations will soon begin on an agreement for an initial eight-year term with an option for one two-year renewal, for a potential total contract duration of 10 years. The agreement takes effect June 1, 2017, and projected financial returns to the university include an operational guarantee of $2.4 million in the first year and a potential one-time capital investment equaling approximately $22.7 million. 

Aramark’s wellness platform supports Kent State of Wellness, a universitywide effort to promote wellness, create a healthy environment and prioritize health and wellness for students and employees at all Kent State campuses. This support includes:

  • Expanded vegan, vegetarian, local and organic options
  • An overall reduction in calories, saturated fat and sodium
  • An increase in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Establishment of the Open Kitchen platform to educate students, staff and faculty toward leading healthy lifestyles.

As part of Kent State’s ongoing efforts to support the Governor’s Affordability and Efficiency plans, the systemwide partnership was designed to provide seamless dining services on all campuses. The consolidation of all dining service operations is a welcome development for students, many of whom take classes at multiple campuses. For the coming academic year, product prices will not increase.

In addition, all Kent State dining employees will remain in their current jobs at the same rate of pay. 

By selecting PepsiCo as its beverage partner, Kent State further expands the Kent State of Wellness initiative with healthier products, including two-thirds of the beverage options containing 100 calories or less. Healthy options are preferred by Kent State students; in fact, the top two beverages sold on campus are two sizes of bottled water. Kent State and PepsiCo will work together to develop educational programs that encourage students to buy healthier beverages.

Similar to the intention of the Aramark negotiations, representatives from Kent State and PepsiCo will soon begin negotiations toward an agreement for an initial six years with an option for two additional two-year periods, for a potential total contract duration of 10 years. PepsiCo holds the current exclusive cold beverage pouring rights for the Kent Campus and Tuscarawas Campus. The first year of the agreement will not include the Tuscarawas Campus; the existing contract ends May 31, 2018. All campuses and the College of Podiatric Medicine will be included in the second year of the exclusive cold beverage pouring rights agreement.

Board Focuses on Affordability With 2017 Room and Board Rates

Kent State’s 25 residence halls have been improved significantly over the past decade through renovations and new construction, with the goal of providing high-quality, comfortable accommodations and services at an affordable price. Recognizing the importance of affordability for students, the Board held rates to a modest 1.8 percent increase this year. Kent State has continued to invest in aging residential and dining facilities, while keeping room and board rates among the lowest of comparable residential universities. Effective fall 2017, the double-room rate is $3,438 per semester, an increase of $58.

The basic board rate is $2,020 per semester, a $40 increase from the prior year. 

The Center for Applied Conflict Management Is Now the School of Peace and Conflict Studies

In an effort to enhance Kent State’s reputation as a leading institution of research, teaching and practice in constructive conflict management, the Board approved changing the name of the Center for Applied Conflict Management to the School of Peace and Conflict Studies. The move elevates the Center from a unit within the Department of Political Science to a school in the College of the Arts and Sciences. 

The center originated a year after the events of May 4, 1970, to serve as a “living memorial” dedicated to the promotion of peaceful social and political change. The school will hire a new director and additional faculty over the next several years to facilitate the establishment and growth of the school. These new scholars will expand on existing faculty strengths through teaching, grant-funded research and development of a professional master’s degree program. 

The name and structure change takes effect Aug. 1, 2017, with programs and course offerings starting in fall 2017.

Board Approves 2017-2018 Tuition and Fees for College of Podiatric Medicine

The Board approved tuition and fees for the College of Podiatric Medicine for the 2017-2018 academic year. The Board approved a 4.5 percent increase in tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students. It is anticipated that this increase will not change the college’s tuition ranking relative to other podiatric medicine colleges in the nation. In the current and prior academic years, tuition for Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine is fifth of the nine institutions when ranking from highest to lowest tuition.

Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine operates under a different academic calendar than the rest of the university, as third-year and fourth-year students begin their new academic year in May. Approval of the college’s tuition and fees for the next academic year takes place at this time so that billing can occur prior to the beginning of the semester. The university currently receives no state share of instruction (SSI) for podiatric medicine, and statutory constraints by the state of Ohio are tied to in-state undergraduate tuition and general fees.

Kent State Announces Separation Plan for Eligible Staff

The Board approved a voluntary separation plan for staff employees who have at least 15 years of service or are eligible for retirement. The plan is designed to optimize personnel costs and contribute to the university’s efficiency and effectiveness objectives. 

In keeping with its commitment to consultation with deans and faculty, the university will continue its deliberative process and make a recommendation on a faculty plan in the near future. 

Kent State’s Division of Human Resources will be communicating with additional details on Friday, March 3. 

In other news:

  • The Board approved the following name revisions:
    • The School of Library and Information Science in the College of Communication and Information will be changed to the School of Information, effective July 1, 2017.
    • The Spanish Literature, Culture and Translation major in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies will be changed to the Spanish major within the Bachelor of Arts degree, effective fall 2017.
    • The Educational Administration K-12 Leadership major in the College of Education, Health and Human Services will be changed to the K-12 Educational Leadership major within the Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Education and Educational Specialist degrees, effective fall 2017.
    • The Advanced Practice Nursing major in the College of Nursing will be changed to the Nursing major within the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, effective fall 2017.
    • The Human Services Technology major in the Regional College will be changed to the Human Services major within the Associate of Applied Science degree, effective fall 2017.
  • The Board approved the following new degree programs:
    • The School of Library and Information Science within the College of Communication and Information will establish the Health Informatics major within the Master of Science degree, effective fall 2017, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The School of Library and Information Science within the College of Communication and Information will establish the User Experience Design major within the Master of Science degree, effective fall 2017, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The School of Library and Information Science within the College of Communication and Information will establish the Knowledge Management major within the Master of Science degree, effective fall 2017, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The College of Nursing will establish the Nursing for Registered Nurses major within the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, effective fall 2017, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The Board approved the revision of administration structure of the School of Digital Sciences, moving it from an independent school outside of any college to a dependent school within the College of Communication and Information, effective July 1, 2017. The School of Digital Sciences was established in fall 2011. With the rapid growth of the program, aligning the School of Digital Sciences within the university’s standard academic administrative structure is warranted from administrative, operational and resource standpoints. 
  • The Board approved the senior vice president for finance and administration and the vice president for information and chief information officer to enter into a contract with Blackboard Inc. for the provision of information technology helpdesk services in order to support the use of information technology by the faculty, staff and students at Kent State. In accordance with the recommendation for collaborative contracts noted in the report issued by the Governor’s Taskforce on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education, and the requirements contained in University Policy 3342-7-12 in regard to formal bidding processes, the Procurement Department, at the request of Kent State’s Division of Information Services, jointly issued a request for proposal with Cuyahoga Community College for the selection of a vendor for information technology helpdesk services.

Kent State’s Division of Information Services and Cuyahoga Community College’s Information Technology Services selected Blackboard Inc. as the vendor that offered the best overall value. The proposed purchase agreement will be for an initial term of one year with a total of $496,000 for Kent State with university options to renew up to two additional one-year periods at $496,000 per year, for potential total contract duration of three years. This collaboration will reduce Kent State’s annual costs for this service by $50,000.

  • The Board formally authorized the implementation of paid parental leave for staff members who are not in a recognized bargaining unit. Paid parental leave is already provided to campus employees through the respective collective bargaining agreements between the university and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the American Association of University Professors. A new administrative policy, implemented Jan. 1, 2017, extends the benefits of paid parental leave to staff members who are not in a recognized bargaining unit to recover from childbirth and/or to care for or bond with a child.
  • The Board approved replacing artificial turf in Dix Stadium and on Murphy-Mellis Field. Student-athletes will get the chance to play on new and improved artificial fields in Dix Stadium and on Murphy-Mellis Field in the 2017 fall sports season. The Board authorized the senior vice president for finance and administration to proceed with a new $2.55 million project to rebuild two athletic fields (approximately $1.3 million per field). The two fields are currently in design and will be fully supported through donations received or pledged toward the capital improvement needs of the university’s intercollegiate athletic program.

The existing artificial turf fields in Dix Stadium and on Murphy-Mellis Field are more than nine years old and can no longer absorb enough shock to protect student-athletes from injury. As part of the replacement project to both fields, the turf and base will be removed, replaced and expanded. 

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield, emansfie@kent.edu, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595