At its March 14 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:
Kent State to Add College in Growing Field of Podiatry
As the number of Americans who are diabetic and/or severely overweight increases, the demand for podiatrists will grow substantially, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To provide students with new career opportunities in podiatry and to ensure that Ohioâ€™s need for podiatrists will be met in the decades to come, the Board established the Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine (KSUCPM). The action brings the university closer to finalizing its friendly acquisition of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (OCPM).
The OCPM Board is expected to act upon the acquisition later this month. Pending approval from the Ohio Board of Regents, the Higher Learning Commission and the Council on Podiatric Medicine, OCPM will be the only podiatric college associated with a state university. Only nine accredited colleges of podiatric medicine are in operation nationwide. The Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, established in 1916, is one of the largest and most respected podiatric medical education institutions in the country, and the only accredited podiatry school in Ohio.
In recent months, both institutions have been working closely to ensure a smooth transition for OCPM students, faculty and staff. The proposed KSUCPM will remain at the OCPMâ€™s current site in Independence, Ohio, and will be considered a Kent State campus. The KSUCPM will be launched without any one-time funding needs and will continue to operate under a budget that reflects the OCPMâ€™s current, â€œin the blackâ€ status. It will be led by a chief executive officer (formerly OCPM president) and executive vice president during a formal transition period that is expected to span July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2014.
The proposed college will provide opportunities for cross-functional research and teaching, and joint educational opportunities in areas such as public health, biomedical sciences, medical ethics and sports medicine. Other potential areas for interaction include medical practice management, faculty professional development, binary-degree program development, dual graduate-degree program development and shared access to technological resources.
In addition, Kent State will benefit from opportunities to expand community outreach, share grant-writing expertise, add podiatric care in campus clinics and facilities, and explore distance and blended-learning activities for students.
The proposed KSUCPM will offer approximately 60 courses leading to the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine degree. The partnership also will offer expanded academic options for podiatric students, including the ability to obtain a dual degree, such as a masterâ€™s degree of business administration or public health, or a Ph.D. in a variety of science programs. Access to Kent Stateâ€™s many sports teams and activities, as well as the ability to work with Kent State faculty, trainers and team physicians, could lead to a new area of specialization in the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine program.
Prior to the Boardâ€™s action, the establishment of the KSUCPM was approved through Kent Stateâ€™s Educational Policies Council and the Faculty Senate, with approval from the president and provost.
Kent State Takes Steps Toward Capital Improvements
To help ensure Kent Stateâ€™s ability to provide students now and in the future with a world-class education, the Kent State University Board of Trustees reauthorized the issuance of general receipts bonds to allow the university to finance the rehabilitation of aging buildings and new construction at its Kent Campus. â€œKent State University feels intense pressure to attend to our infrastructure, which is essential to meeting the demand of our growing student population and to address the necessary safety needs of our Kent Campus,â€ said Lester A. Lefton, Kent State University President.
The Board amended the terms of the bond issuance that it initially approved in November 2009. That authorization expired Nov. 30, 2011. The Board reauthorized the issuance with a deadline of Dec. 13, 2013, and amended the total amount of bonds issued to $170 million, a decrease in the original issuance limit of $210 million. This action will allow the university to take advantage of todayâ€™s very favorable lending market.
â€œEveryone agrees on the need for these capital improvements,â€ stated Board Chair Jacqueline Woods. â€œThe board believes we cannot afford to ignore pressing deferred maintenance repairs and renovations. Weâ€™re making some tough decisions not the least of which is a major 30-year commitment in our budget in order to go forward. It represents the universityâ€™s single largest reinvestment in its academic infrastructure.â€ The bond payments will come out of the universityâ€™s operating budget, from general receipts.
The facilities improvement plan will have a tremendous impact on the quality of education at Kent State. All projects will align with Kent State's academic priorities, preserve the value of recent improvements, allow the continuance of university operations and, to the greatest extent possible, use best practices in energy efficiency. The next step is to determine the projects and present that plan at the next Board meeting.
Attending to the needs of the aging infrastructure helps the university play an even stronger role in Ohioâ€™s economic recovery. Chair of the Boardâ€™s Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee, Dennis Eckart, added, â€œWeâ€™re doing what the state has asked, and weâ€™re investing in what the state has asked us to do, which is to encourage more people to go to college, to invest in retention efforts to increase the number of college graduates in Ohio, and to produce well-prepared graduates for Ohioâ€™s economy.â€
Kent State graduates are in high demand in Ohioâ€™s workforce. In fact, as the number one and largest producer of college-degreed talent available to Northeast Ohio employers in fields such as nursing, investing in academic facilities is a practical economic decision. â€œAs a hospital administrator, I know that increased enrollment in programs such as nursing requires an infrastructure that can support that level of demand in order to meet the needs for Ohio,â€ commented Trustee Stephen Colecchi, member of the Boardâ€™s Finance and Administration Committee.
Kent State to Help â€œInsureâ€ Good Jobs for Grads with Insurance Studies Major
Knowing that insurance is one of Ohioâ€™s major employers and is a field that is projected to grow, the Board created Northeast Ohioâ€™s first bachelorâ€™s degree in insurance, effective Fall Semester 2012.
The new degree program, which will be offered initially at Kent State University at Salem and administered through the universityâ€™s Regional College, will address all the needs of professional insurance practitioners. Students in the program will graduate with high-level communication, technical, leadership and project-management skills that allow them to secure good jobs in the insurance industry.
According to the Ohio Insurance Institute, insurance is a major source of employment opportunities in Ohio. Ohio is one of the nationâ€™s top five states when it comes to the concentration of insurance underwriter and claims processor jobs. The state is home to 251 insurance companies with more than 96,000 employees and wages exceeding $6 billion. Kent Stateâ€™s own market analysis found that annual employment for Ohioâ€™s finance and insurance industry is expected to grow by 7.1 percent from 2006 to 2016, resulting in the creation of about 16,900 new positions in the industry.
The new program was previously approved by the appropriate college faculty and curriculum committees, the Educational Policies Council and the Faculty Senate, and was endorsed by the president and provost.
Tuition and Fees Set for Fall 2012
In response to Kent State Universityâ€™s commitment to providing students with a high-caliber educational experience, and to continuing constraints in state funding for higher education, the Board approved a 3.5-percent increase in undergraduate and graduate tuition on the universityâ€™s eight campuses. The increase is in keeping with a state-mandated limit on undergraduate tuition increases for the 2012-13 academic year.
The Board also addressed a fee inequity in which students taking heavy course loads in a semester are charged a flat fee equal to 11 credit hours. The Board approved a phased-in, credit-hour charge for all Kent Campus students who take more than 16 credit hours per semester.
During the coming academic year, students will be charged the individual credit-hour fee for all enrolled hours above 17 credit hours. Starting in 2013-2014, students who enroll in more than 16 credit hours per semester will be charged the standard credit-hour rate for each additional hour.
There was no change in the surcharge for out-of-state students. Special non-resident rates offered to students from Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia attending the seven Regional Campuses remain in effect, giving students from those areas an 80-percent reduction in the non-resident surcharge rate.
Effective fall semester 2012, undergraduate tuition for students at the Kent Campus will increase $163 per semester (from $4,673 to $4,836). Graduate tuition will increase $174 per semester (from $4,971 to $5,145).
The Board also authorized changes in a variety of course fees and other student fees, ranging from the elimination or reduction of fees in 30 courses offered by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication; to a $35 fee for undergraduates transferring to the Kent Campus; to a $500 increase in the fee covering tuition, books and other course materials for students enrolled in the Off-Site Executive Master of Business Administration Program.
Room and Board Rates Set for Fall 2012
The Board approved an overall 3.92 percent increase in the standard, undergraduate double-room and board rates, effective Fall Semester 2012. The increases will help offset rising costs for maintenance and repairs, utilities and food products. The increases will allow the university to continue operating its high-quality residence and dining programs on a self-sufficient basis while keeping room and board affordable for students and their families. The increases leave Kent Stateâ€™s room and board rate in the middle of comparable residential universities.
Under the new rates, a standard double-occupancy room and a full meal plan will be $4,588 a semester, an increase of $173 from the current rate of $4,415. Similar increases were instituted for other residential options, which include single and quad rooms, on-campus apartments and four other board plans.
In other actions:
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