Summary of Kent State University Board of Trustees Actions (09/16/09)
At its Sept. 16 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:
Kent State Trustees Review Plans for the 40th Commemoration of the Events of May 4, 1970
After hearing a presentation about Kent State’s plans to mark the upcoming 40th anniversary of the events of May 4, 1970, on the Kent Campus, the Board endorsed several key components of the plan that will, in addition to a number of existing memorials on the Kent campus, help to “preserve and communicate the history of the event, its larger ethical and social context and impact, and its enduring meaning for our democratic society.”
Trustees endorsed the development of a May 4 Visitors Center and a multimedia, self-guided tour of the site where four students were killed and nine others were wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen on May 4, 1970, during a protest against the Vietnam War. They also endorsed an application for recognition of the site on the National Register of Historic Places.
Kent State Designates Six “Centers of Excellence”
In accordance with the state’s Strategic Plan for Higher Education, the Board endorsed six Kent State programs of distinction to be known as Centers of Excellence:
- Liquid Crystals/Bio-Science/Nanotechnology;
- Information and Knowledge Management;
- Fashion Design and Merchandising;
- Public Health and Nursing: New Models of Care for Communities and Individuals;
- Science Education: Training Educators in Science and Mathematics; andEnvironmental and Natural Resource Sustainability/Urban Design.
The chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, Eric Fingerhut, issued the strategic plan in March 2008. The plan calls for each of Ohio’s public universities to identify its distinctive academic and research strengths, referred to by the chancellor as Centers of Excellence.
Continuing Kent State’s Commitment to a Downtown Kent Hotel/Conference Facility
Moving the longstanding dream of a hotel/conference center adjacent to the Kent Campus closer to reality, the Board authorized Kent President Lester A. Lefton to continue development activities and discussions with prospective developers, investors, and city of Kent officials. The Board indicated that some university investment funds could potentially be devoted to the project, pending Board approval.
The university has been actively engaged with city of Kent officials and private developers in planning a downtown hotel/conference center with the goals of providing convenient facilities for continuing education and academic conference activities; providing convenient lodging for prospective students and their families, and others who visit the Kent Campus; and partnering with the city of Kent to provide current students and employees with a vibrant downtown area.
In other actions:
- The Board updated the university’s 1996 Campus Master Plan to reflect the joint efforts of the university and the city of Kent to create a primary physical link between the Kent Campus and the city’s central business district by extending the University Esplanade to Haymaker Parkway.
- The Board passed a resolution expressing its deep gratitude to Patricia A. Myers, Kent State’s director of Government Relations who is retiring at the end of the year after 19 years with the university. Trustees commended Myers’ dedicated efforts as the university’s chief advocate in Columbus, stating that “she has come to personify Kent State, extending its reach substantially and championing personal and financial support for wide-ranging programs and physical facilities across its eight campuses.”
The Board’s resolution of appreciation also notes that Myers, who holds a Kent State bachelor’s degree in social work, is “a loyal alumna so devoted to Kent State that it is widely believed that she bleeds blue and gold.”
At the request of Eric Fingerhut, chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, Myers will spend most of her time this semester advancing the University System of Ohio as a consultant and executive on loan.
- The Board updated the university policy regarding the employment of students. The revision reflects changes in policies, procedures and employment laws since the policy was last updated in March 2007.
- The Board authorized a right-of-way easement with the city of Kent regarding the intersection of Main Street and Terrace Drive, and the intersection of Main Street and Midway Drive to allow for traffic-signal upgrades that will improve traffic flow and, in turn, vehicles emissions; and to make Americans with Disabilities Act ramp improvements.
- The Board authorized the purchase of a .130-acre site located at 122 S. Willow St. in Kent for the appraised value of $141,000. The property was purchased from David M. and Amy L. Adams to allow future expansion at the Kent Campus.
- The Board authorized the use of $600,000 in university funds to replace the aging roof systems at its Centennial Research Park with a new, 15-year warranty roof.
- In accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, the Board established a university policy regarding identity theft protection. The policy outlines a range of university efforts to detect, prevent and mitigate faculty, staff, student and other constituent identity theft.
- The Board revised the university policy regarding the authorization and award of capital construction projects, including new construction and major renovations. The policy mandates Board review and approval of all capital projects with budgets of $250,000 and above. Most Ohio universities require Board approval for projects of $500,000 and above.
- The Board amended the university policy regarding its authority to restructure or refinance outstanding variable rate bonds. The amendments will allow the university to issue a series of fixed-rate General Receipts Bonds that refund its outstanding Series 2008A Bonds and Series 2009 Bonds. Doing so will eliminate the need for credit and liquidity support from financial institutions; eliminate risks associated with interest rate hedge arrangements; and stabilize interest expenses associated with these bonds.
- The Board enacted a special tuition rate of $571 per credit hour to cover instructional and service costs associated with the university’s fully online master of music in music education degree program. The tuition rate takes effect with the launch of the program in spring 2010.
- The Board authorized a 2-percent increase in the pay structure for approximately 876 classified civil service employees and unclassified hourly employees who are not represented by a bargaining unit, effective with the pay period that includes Sept. 1, 2009. Pay schedules identify minimum, mid-point and maximum pay levels. Any unrepresented hourly employees whose salaries are below the new pay-grade minimums will receive an adjustment to bring their pay to the pay-grade minimum, effective Sept. 1, the same date that a 3-percent, across-the-board increase took effect.
- The Board also authorized a 2-percent increase in the 12-month salary structure for about 1,040 unclassified administrative and professional staff members, effective Sept. 1, 2009. Within authorized budget limits, unclassified administrative and professional staff members received salary increases based on annual evaluations of specific performance criteria, effective Sept. 1, 2009.
- The Board passed a resolution expressing its appreciation to Dr. Harold “Pete” Goldsmith, who served as vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs for nearly six years and recently left the university to become dean of students at his alma mater, Indiana University.
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Tom Neumann, email@example.com, 330-672-8533