Design Innovation Team Profiles

J.R. Campbell

Executive Director, Design Innovation Initiative
Phone: 330-672-0192

J.R. Campbell is helping to cultivate the Design Innovation Initiative at Kent State University to support design thinking, project-based learning, technology-infused maker communities and the curation of cross-disciplinary collaborative teams to tackle "wicked" problems. Students and faculty from every discipline are encouraged to participate in this intersectional engine for the university. By August 2020, the initiative will be housed in the "Design Innovation Hub” through the renovation of the old Art Building at the center of the Kent Campus.

Campbell’s first degree was a Bachelor of Science in environmental design (1994), followed by a Master of Fine Arts in textile arts and costume design (1996), both from the University of California, Davis. He then taught textiles, computer-aided fashion design and color theory in San Francisco before being appointed assistant professor in the Department of Textiles and Clothing at Iowa State University in 1998. He was tenured and promoted to associate professor there in 2004. In July 2005, he moved to Scotland to become "Research Fellow" at the Centre for Advanced Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art, where he directed research for the Centre, located in the School of Design. While in Glasgow, Campbell completed a postgraduate certificate (PGCert) course in supervising postgraduate (doctoral) research degrees for professionals in art, design and communication from the Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art and Design at University of the Arts London, which was granted in November 2006. He has been a visiting scholar and conducted workshops at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology in China and the Auckland University of Technology's Textile Design Laboratory in New Zealand. Campbell came to Kent State University to start his position as professor and director of The Fashion School in July 2009. He stepped away from this role in July 2018 to take on the role of executive director for the Design Innovation Initiative.

Campbell has been researching, designing and creating artwork with digital textile/imaging technologies for more than 25 years. His work pushes the limits of imaging technologies as they relate to clothing, our environment and the human form. Campbell's art/design work has been shown in more than 80 national or international exhibitions, receiving 20 awards, including the International Artist of the Year Award for the South Korean Fashion & Culture Association in 2010. Campbell has consulted for a number of academic institutions as they have integrated the technology into their teaching/research labs, and has published on subjects of design methods/issues, controlling color and integrating the technology into the design process for textiles and apparel.

At Kent State, Campbell launched his TechStyleLAB (TSLAB) concept in The Fashion School in 2009. The TSLAB functions as a research, teaching and commercial environment to investigate the broadest range of digital textile and fashion design technologies and their implications for new product concepts, business development and sustainable practices. It has become an integrated component of the successful school’s experiential learning environments. Campbell has also been a champion for building study-away programs for students in the fashion school and across the university. He has served as the university’s representative to the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and, in 2014, partnered with KSU LaunchNET to pioneer the largest national, annual college-based “Fashion/Tech Hackathon,” a competitive, team-based event that has hosted more than 150 students from 30+ universities for each of the last five years.

Margarita Benitez

Associate Professor, Fashion Design & Merchandising


James Blank

Professor, Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences


Christina Bloebaum

Dean, College of Aeronautics and Engineering

Christina Bloebaum, Ph.D., became dean of the College of Aeronautics and Engineering Aug. 1, 2018. Before coming to Kent State, Bloebaum held the Dennis and Rebecca Muilenburg Professorship of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University. She joined Iowa State in 2012 and while there served in various administrative positions, including director of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium. Prior to that time, she was the program director for the Engineering and Systems Design (ESD) and System Science (SYS) programs at the National Science Foundation from 2009-2012. She was on leave from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she had been a member of the faculty, holding numerous administrative and research positions since 1991. Bloebaum's present research area is in the design of large-scale complex engineered systems. She spent much of her career looking at challenges in the Multidisciplinary Design Optimization (MDO) field – developing new optimization, visualization and tradespace methodologies for these inherently complex systems. She has most recently been engaged in research on new value-based, systems-engineering frameworks built upon the rigorous foundations of Decision Analysis, MDO and Value Driven Design (VDD).

Bloebaum is the 2012 recipient of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Multidisciplinary Design Optimization Award and a fellow of the AIAA. She was the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, was honored for Notable Contributions to Teaching and Learning at University at Buffalo (UB), was recognized by the SUNY Research Foundation for Excellence in Research, and was named a Visionary Innovator by UB’s office of technology transfer. She was the recipient of the first UB Chair for Competitive Product and Process Design while establishing the New York State Center for Engineering Design and Industrial Innovation (NYSCEDII), for which she was the executive director. Bloebaum was recipient of the prestigious NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow Award, has graduated 14 doctorate students and more than 70 master's students, and has been awarded over $10 million in research funding.

Marie Bukowski

Director, School of Art
Phone: 330-672-2192

Marie Bukowski began her art studies at Carnegie Mellon University where she received her bachelor's in fine arts with a double major in painting and 19th century German literature and a double minor in printmaking and linguistics and rhetoric in 1992. She received her certificate in art history and Polish language from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland in 1999. Bukowski went on to receive her Master of Fine Arts with honors with a double degree in painting and printmaking in 2000 from the University of Pennsylvania.

Upon receiving her master's degree, Bukowski took a position in the School of Art at Louisiana Tech University where she was professor of art, graduate program coordinator, and BFA Studio Program Coordinator for 13 years. She served as the director of the School of Art and Design at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for four years and is currently the director of the School of Art at Kent State University.

Bukowski became interested in cross-disciplinary work while she was at Louisiana Tech University. In 2010, she became the first Institute for Micromanufacturing Faculty Fellow. The Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM) and Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science (CBERS) joined forces to offer faculty fellowships and promote interdisciplinary collaboration between IfM and CBERS faculty and colleagues in other colleges at Louisiana Tech University. This fellowship was suggested based on four questions from IfM faculty: “Why is it that scientific and technological achievements of 200-300 years old look rather outdated, but 100-year-old art (pictures, music, poetry) are perfect? Can artists catch something ingenious which is unavailable to a rational mind? What is this genius? Could we, scientists and engineers, learn just a little from their inspiration?”

During this fellowship, Bukowski collaborated with nanotechnologists, chemists and biomedical engineers. This led to a portfolio of highly successful programs integrating students and faculty into enhanced art and science education, by extending the university’s positive cross-disciplinary impact far beyond campus. This experience has been critical to leading the efforts in the School of Art at Kent State to create curricula around innovation focusing on the ARTech Studio (the school’s digital fabrication lab). The School of Art has been able to promote collaboration outside of art, and to stimulate productivity in all fields of endeavor by broadening the understanding of the interactions of technology and society.

Ken Burhanna

Interim Dean, University Libraries
Phone: 330-672-2962

Ken Burhanna is currently interim dean of Kent State University Libraries. He oversees the University Libraries, LaunchNET and the Kent State University Press. He has previously served as assistant dean for engagement and outreach; assistant dean for collections, circulation, copyright and digitization; head of instructional services, and first-year experience librarian. He has also served as provost’s fellow and interim director of the Kent State University Press.

During his time as provost’s fellow, Burhanna led the development of the Spark Innovation Studio, a multipurpose makerspace where students can meet to learn, collaborate, design and create. Spark provides access to innovative equipment, engaging programs in two distinct working areas - a makerspace and project studio space.

Prior to his career in higher education, Burhanna was an entrepreneur. He founded ventures focused on providing care-based information to healthcare consumers, website development, large-scale network design and management, and IT hardware solutions. He has worked as a business marketing and writing consultant, authoring several business and marketing plans.

Burhanna has regularly been recognized for his leadership and scholarship. He was an ARL leadership fellow in 2016-2017 and a UCLA senior fellow in 2016. He was the 2014 winner of the Librarian Recognition Award from the American Library Association. In 2012, the Academic Library Association of Ohio named him its first Distance Learning Visionary. He received a Tree City Immy Award from the city of Kent in 2011 for contributions to local economic development. In 2009, he won the Ilene Rockman Instruction Publication of the Year Award from the Association of College & Research Libraries for his co-authorship of "A Practical Guide to Information Literacy Assessment for Academic Librarians."

Burhanna has written and spoken extensively on the topic of high school outreach and libraries supporting student transitions. He is project director of TRAILS: Tool for Real-time Assessment of Information Literacy Skills. He is a full professor with tenure. He holds a master’s in Library and Information Science and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Kent State University.

Sheryl Chatfield

Assistant Professor – Public Health; Co-coordinator – Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research

College of Public Health


Sheryl L. Chatfield, Ph.D., joined the College of Public Health at Kent State University as an assistant professor during fall semester 2015. In addition to her faculty position, Chatfield serves as co-coordinator of the Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Research program at Kent State. Her research interests include exploratory and intervention research to improve physical and mental health outcomes, education in research methods, and exploration of novel and useful applications of qualitative and mixed methods designs, including secondary analysis designs. Chatfield previously held faculty positions at the University of South Alabama and The University of Southern Mississippi. She is a senior editor for the online peer-reviewed journal TQR: The Qualitative Report and serves as consultant to the editor for the interdisciplinary journal Sex Roles. She also represents Kent State’s College of Public Health on the editorial board of the Ohio Journal of Public Health. She is the designated North American contact for the international Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis interest group and a member of the Mixed Methods International Research Association.

Robert Clements

Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

Dr. Robert Clements is a neuroscientist who teaches and performs research at Kent State University to develop and apply different three-dimensional (3D) imaging techniques to understand diseases of the brain, for virtual and physical reconstruction as well as education. Dr. Clements’ research aims to visualize our brains’ three-dimensional structure for better disease diagnosis and therapies as well as improve how we learn, experience, and perceive spatial environments and objects.

Kristin Dowling

Business Development Manager and Director for IdeaBase, College of Communication & Information


Kristin Dowling is the director for IdeaBase (formerly The Tannery) at Kent State University. She is responsible for building client relationships in order to provide high-quality experiential learning opportunities for students. She previously served as an entrepreneur-in-residence for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation in Kent State’s Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Her experience prior to coming to Kent State was as regional operations manager for Kinko’s Inc. (now known as FedEx Office). Dowling holds a bachelor's degree in business management from Kent State University.

Michael Fisch, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Engineering

Talk: Ohio-Region Section of the American Physical Society (OSAPS), March 27-28, 2015 meeting: “Stress and Structural Relaxations in Smectic Liquid Crystal Elastomer,” D.M. Agra-Kooijman, Mike Fisch, Satyendra Kumar, W. Ren, P. McMullan and A. Griffin

Proposal:“Thermo-Mechanical and Structural Studies of Main-Chain Liquid Crystal Elastomers.”

C2C Program: The C2C program is based on forming partnerships with companies wherein the company provides input about training/curriculum that they would like the interns to have so they are “job ready” upon graduation. The intention is that the student interns with the same company throughout their tenure at KSU gaining progressive work experience, knowledge and responsibility. While the company has the opportunity to recruit and groom future employees, students gain valuable, real world experience and possibly a full time position when they graduate. I developed the idea with Tony Pagliaroli and Fives North America has joined with us on the program. The hope is to develop a pipeline of students to various companies for internships and permanent positions.

Education: Doctorate of Philosophy in Applied Physics, Harvard University.

Scott Hallgren

Scott W. Hallgren joined the JMC faculty in 2016.

Mr. Hallgren has an extensive list of film, TV, music video and gaming work as a sound editor, boom operator and composer, including the Emmy-nominated civil rights documentary "We Shall Not Be Moved: The Nashville Sit-Ins," which also won both a 2011 Silver Telly and Golden CINE Award; the 2007 multiple award-winning "Gracie: Diary of a Coma Patient;" "Sith'd", Best Comedy at the 2006 Comic-con, and the 2017 Bronze Telly winning PBS documentary "Perfect 36: How Women Won The Vote".

In a previous life, Scott was a touring and studio musician for artists such as Donna Summer, Sir Elton John, Aaron Neville, Andrae Crouch, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Skaggs, The Wilkinsons, Eddy Arnold, Brian Littrell (Backstreet Boys), David Foster, Larry Gatlin, Mindy McReady, Steve Wariner, Marc Antony, Jaimee Paul and Margaret Becker.

He is an AVID Certified Instructor for Pro Tools, and teaches Audio Set-Up and Mixing, Audio for Digital Film, Post Production Sound, Music in Film/TV/Games and Video Audio Fundamentals.

Michael Hawkins

Subject Librarian for Geography, Geology, Communication Studies, Journalism and Mass Communications, Honors College and Biological Science

University Libraries


Michael C. Hawkins is a subject librarian and head of the Map Library for University Libraries at Kent State University. He started working as a librarian at Kent State in 2014, after earning a Master of Library and Information Studies at Kent State in 2012. He became head of the university’s Map Library in 2015. Hawkins provides in-depth reference, instruction and research consultation services for faculty and students and virtual consultation by phone, email and online appointment. He coordinates collection development for the schools of Communication Studies, Journalism and Mass Communications, Biological Sciences and the Honors College. He also supports student success through online guides, library workshops and events. He is interested in sport, primarily soccer, and regional identity and the expression of that identity in things like hooliganism and other nonviolent forms. Hawkins graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2008 with a B.A. in history, and then earned an M.A. in European history in 2010, also at East Tennessee.

Julee Henry

Staff & Adjunct Instructor for Educational Technology; Instructional Resource Center, College of Education, Health and Human Services

Julee Henry manages the Instructional Resource Center at Kent State University, along with supporting technology and distance education for EHHS.

She established the Learning Innovations Lab (2019), which is designed to engage future educators to collaboratively explore strategies and resources for innovative teaching and learning. Henry has also taught coursework in educational technology at Kent State.

Lamar Hylton

Vice President, Division of Student Affairs


Michael Kavulic

Director, Research Strategic Initiatives
Division of Research and Economic Development (RAED)
Phone: 330-672-5845

Michael Kavulic, Ph.D., serves as the director of Research Strategic Initiatives at Kent State University. In this role, he facilitates the administrative functions of two research institutes: Brain Health and Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal. Kavulic also oversees three research initiatives: Environmental Science and Design, Global Understanding and Healthy Communities.

He has served in a variety of roles at Kent State, including director of communications for the Division of Information Services. He joined the President’s Office at Kent State as director of Board Operations and Technology in 2014, obtained his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration (2017), and has served as an instructor in Kent State’s Higher Education Administration program. Prior to joining Kent State, Kavulic earned his B.A. in English at the College of Wooster (2005), where he remained until 2007, working in the residence life department. He continued full-time work in residence life while also pursuing his M.S. in higher education (2010) at Syracuse University. He then served as a member of the residential facilities team at Northern Illinois University before returning to Ohio to work at Kent State in 2012.

Hilary Kennedy

Manager, Library Makerspaces, Lecturer, University Libraries


Hilary Kennedy leads and directs the planning, delivery and evaluation of multimedia and maker technologies within Kent State’s University Libraries. She manages the operation of the Student Multimedia Studio (SMS) and Spark Innovation Studio, guiding the promotion and marketing of the studios and related maker technologies and instructional services. She oversees all aspects of events related to multimedia and maker technologies. Kennedy develops, schedules and teaches multimedia and maker technology-related seminars and workshops for Kent State students and also provides one-on-one consultation for students. She creates and maintains online tutorials and support resources for the resources provided by the SMS and Spark Innovation Studio. She plans/coordinates the hiring, training, supervision and evaluation of the staff of the studios, as well. She also offers training to library faculty and staff on maker technologies and multimedia hardware/software resources.

Edgar Kooijman

Associate Professor, Biological Sciences

Edgar E. Kooijman, Ph.D., is connected with the Design Innovation Initiative through his role in directing the International Mission Life competition at our strategic partner university in Brazil, Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR), and the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Kooijman obtained his elementary and secondary school education in his home country of the Netherlands. He received his Dutch high school degree at 16 and then came to the U.S. as an exchange student. Here, he attended a large suburban high school in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and a small high school in rural Bidwell, Ohio.

After returning home from this life-changing experience, Kooijman attended a middle technical school, where he studied process technology. This is somewhat related to chemical engineering and would have allowed him to work in the chemical industry controlling big manufacturing processing. However, after three years, he qualified to attend a higher technical school and instead pursued a degree in applied physics engineering.

As part of his engineering degree, he did an internship at Holland Colors in Richmond, Indiana, and a graduation project at Oce in Venlo, Netherlands. (Oce is now part of Canon and specializes in printing and copying hardware and software.) In 1998, he joined Kent State University as a graduate student and got a Master of Science in physics in 2001. He moved back to the Netherlands with his new wife in 2001 and joined the group of Ben de Kruijff, Ph.D., to pursue his doctorate in the biochemistry of membranes, which he obtained in 2006. After a short postdoctoral appointment in Utrecht, he joined the group of Satyendra Kumar, Ph.D., at Kent State, while his wife joined the same group as new graduate student.

In 2008, Kooijman joined the Department of Biological Sciences as assistant professor. While still a postdoctoral candidate, he co-wrote his first National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, together with professor Arne Gericke, Ph.D., which was funded upon first submission. In collaboration with Gericke (now at WPI) he wrote two more NSF grants as assistant professor that were eventually funded. Since his appointment in 2008, he has been continuously funded to study the physical chemistry of lipids and lipid-protein interactions. In 2014, he was promoted to associate professor and became the director of the Biotechnology program.

Aside from his science, he is involved in many international initiatives and outreach at Kent State. He is part of the American Academy implementation committee and is also coordinator of the Mission Life competition. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family, and last but not least, he is an avid, amateur paleontologist.

Annette Kratcoski

Director of the Research Center for Educational Technology

Annette Kratcoski, Ph.D., is director of the Research Center for Educational Technology. Prior to joining RCET in fall 2000, Kratcoski worked as a speech-language pathologist in clinical and school settings and also in special education and curriculum coordination in the public schools.

She holds a bachelor's and a master's degree in special education and earned her Ph.D. from Kent State University in speech-language pathology and curriculum. Kratcoski has an extensive background in curriculum and PreK-12 technology integration. As RCET director, Kratcoski oversees the center’s research and outreach projects related to PreK-16 technology integration and leads programming in the center’s AT&T classroom, a high-tech professional development, outreach and research laboratory classroom.

Kendra Lapolla

Assistant Professor, School of Fashion Design and Merchandising
Phone: 330-672-0138

Kendra Lapolla has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design (2007) from Columbus College of Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts in design development (2010) from The Ohio State University. She has taught color theory and design intro courses at Ohio State. As an assistant professor at Albright College in Pennsylvania she taught coursework in fashion illustration and sustainable design concepts.

Lapolla came to Kent State University in 2013 and has taught coursework in the fashion school relating to design and portfolio. She has spent several years working in the fashion industry with experience in technical design, apparel design and apparel graphics. As an educator, she uses her industry experience to establish real-world scenarios that require students to improve their design problem-solving skills. Lapolla has developed educational experiences in her coursework that utilize social media to connect with potential consumers, co-creators and industry professionals. She looks forward to bringing new collaborative teams together through the Design Innovation Initiative at Kent State.

Lapolla’s research focuses on co-creation in design, emotional design and creative processes. As a design researcher she is continually investigating and expanding design thinking and co-creative research methods for sustainable design practices. Her research has added key insights for effectively engaging consumers through different entry points of the creative process. Most recently, Lapolla has used design-thinking methods in community outreach endeavors with DAWN Creations and Future Story in Akron, Ohio, to help build self-confidence in women wanting to improve their economic situations. Her research has been shown in juried exhibitions as well as peer-reviewed academic journals.

Lapolla has presented her work internationally in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the Copenhagen Business School; London, England, at Central St. Martins; and Auckland, New Zealand, at Auckland University of Technology.

Robert Louis

Assistant Vice President, University Communications and Marketing


Bob Louis is assistant vice president of new media communications, University Communications and Marketing, Kent State University. He graduated from Kent State in 1988 with a BFA degree in graphic design and illustration. His academic experience included participation in the Glyphix Honors Studio. Louis returned to Kent State as executive director of creative services in March 2015.

Prior to returning to Kent State, Louis served for 26 years in leadership roles in creative and brand management in advertising and corporate industry. He acquired extensive experience with international brand communications, managing creative, brand and web teams in Cleveland, Ohio, Portland, Oregon, and Beijing, China. As creative + design director and brand manager for Tektronix in Portland and in Solon, Ohio, Louis received multiple National Association of Investors Corporation “Best in Industry” awards for Keithley Instruments’ annual reports. At Kent State, Louis led the creative team in a rebranding initiative that successfully implemented the new branding across all areas of the university. Assuming his current role in 2018, Louis has led the team in developing compelling new approaches to communicating Kent State’s mission and messaging through motion graphics, augmented reality, video and interactive graphics to engage audiences through both social and traditional channels. In 2017, Louis founded Kent State’s Creative Committee of 100 to provide a forum for the visual design community to ask questions, seek advice, receive training, showcase new ideas and – most importantly – support and encourage one another. The group’s goals are simple: Unify the university’s design community through open dialogue and relationship building, and strengthen Kent State’s brand through collaboration and understanding.

Alyssa Robinson

College of Arts and Sciences; Dean's Office

Alyssa Robinson is the assistant director in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication studies, with a concentration in public communication and discourse at Kent State. She continued her studies at the university, earning her master’s degree in higher education and student personnel.

She began working for Kent State full time upon receiving her master’s degree, and a few months later decided to pursue her Ph.D. in higher education administration.

Robinson spends most of her free time volunteering in the Kent community and serving in leadership roles for three nonprofit organizations. Community and philanthropic engagement are particularly important to Robinson and are the foundation of her interest and involvement in the Design Innovation team.

As a middle millennial growing up with technology, Robinson values creative and intersectional problem solving as well as fearless collaboration as she faces many complex, messy problems in her personal and professional life. She believes innovation does not happen within disciplines, but rather across disciplines. She truly values the opportunity to work with a collaborative group of diverse students, faculty and community leaders through the collective application of each team member’s knowledge and skills.

Tabitha Messmore

Interim Assistant Director;LaunchNET


As interim assistant director of LaunchNET Kent State, Tabitha combines her entrepreneurial experience with her skills and background in writing, marketing, and teaching to help further the ideals of entrepreneurial thinking, creativity, and innovation across the Kent State University landscape. By assisting clients in bringing their ideas to fruition and working with departments, student orgs, and other groups across campuses, LaunchNET supports entrepreneurial endeavors and new approaches to problem solving. As part of the 2018 class of the Institute for Excellence, she continues her leadership by serving as a Design Innovation team member and on committees and groups through The Women's Center, Spectrum (ERG) and the LGBTQ+ Center, Universities Libraries, and in the community as part of the Akron Symphony Orchestra's marketing committee. Previously, Tabitha has assisted with legal writing at The University of Akron School of Law, taught Composition at The University of Akron, consulted for a variety of local businesses, and written on writing theory, linguistics, and professional writing. During her time as a managing partner of the original (UA) chapter of the NEO Student Venture Fund, they invested $25,000 in a local education tech startup that went on to raise significant funding and recently got acquired. She also continues to copy edit for a variety of clients and journals. She has presented at numerous conferences, preparing and speaking on panels at the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Higher Ed (2018, 2020); the 2020 Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers (GCEC) conference; the Legal Storytelling Conference in London, UK (2013). She also co-authored an article on multicultural communication in education, published in May 2014. .

Zach Mikrut

Program Manager, Entrepreneurship Initiatives & LaunchNET


Zach Mikrut is the assistant director at LaunchNET Kent State, a program that helps students, faculty, staff and alumni transform their ideas into thriving businesses, successful projects or innovative collaborations.

Mikrut is responsible for managing and coordinating the operational activities of the program, including consulting, entrepreneurial tools, staffing and collaboration with other university stakeholders. He has collaborated to create entrepreneurial events, including throwing students in elevators for a pitch competition, having visual designers create podcasts, and staying up for 36 hours at hackathons.

He holds an M.Ed. in higher education administration and student personnel, and a B.B.A. in managerial marketing and entrepreneurship, both from Kent State University.

Mark Mistur

Dean, College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Mark Mistur became the dean of Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, the only architectural program in Northeast Ohio, July 15, 2016. He previously served since 2009 as associate dean of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s School of Architecture, where he held the same position from 1998-2005. He was also the school’s acting dean from 2008-2009. An associate professor of architecture since 2005 and an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering in Rensselaer’s School of Engineering since 2008, Mistur has also held appointments as a clinical associate professor, senior lecturer, adjunct associate professor, adjunct assistant professor and adjunct instructor, dating back to 1983.

His teaching and research focuses on innovations driven by performance criteria, but he remains equally concerned with phenomena, the human experience and social consequences of architecture. Mistur has received many honors and awards, including the 2015 U.S. Professor of the Year Nominee from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation, Rensselaer’s 2014 Trustees Outstanding Teacher Award and 2008 Faculty Research Award, and the 2003 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Rensselaer Alumni Association.

His professional experience includes his firm, Mark Mistur Architect in Troy, New York, from 1993 to the present; Mistur Riebe Architects in New York City, from 2004-2010; Glynn, Spillane, Griffing Architects PC in Albany, New York, from 1992-1993; and Crozier Associates PC in Albany, New York, from 1983-1992.

Mistur is active with many professional organizations. Currently, he is involved with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the AIA's national Continuing Education committee, the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and the Society of Building Science Educators (SGSE). Previously, he was a member of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), Van Alen Institute, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Material Connexion.

At Rensselaer, Mistur received a bachelor's of architecture, a bachelor's of building science and a Master of Science in building conservation. He also studied at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zürich in Switzerland. He has been a registered and licensed architect since 1988.



John Rathje

Vice President for Information Services and Chief Information Officer
Phone: 330-672-8544

John Rathje joined Kent State University in March 2018 and serves as the vice president for Information Services and the chief information officer. His leadership experience spans multiple sectors, including higher education, healthcare and industry.

In his role at Kent State, Rathje provides strategic direction and innovative, customer-focused technology solutions that support and advance the university’s mission. He is responsible for all institutional information technology and digital services that enable and protect Kent State students, faculty, researchers and staff.

Prior to joining Kent State, Rathje spent 15 years in other informational technology roles in higher education. Most recently, he served as the assistant vice chancellor and CIO at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). He also served as the assistant dean of technology for Central Michigan University's College of Medicine, as the dean of technology, and as the director of applications development and support at Central Michigan. In the private sector, Rathje served as president and CEO of a technology advocacy firm and co-founder and president of Diversified Computer Group Inc.

In support of the vision and priorities set forth in the university’s “A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State,” Rathje serves on the University Level Initiatives committee and the Shared Services Initiative.

Rathje represents the university and the higher education information technology sector by serving on the following regional and national committees: EDUCAUSE Enterprise Technology Advisory Committee, Higher Ed CIO Advisory Council, Leadership Board for CIOs, Inter-University Council for CIOs and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) Technologies Executive Committee.

Rathje has held numerous board positions and memberships over the past 20 years. He is a Leadership Institute Fellow (2014) with the Associate of American Medical Colleges Group on Information Resources (GIR). He served as the co-chair for the New Medical School Special Interest Group (SIG) and on the program committee for the 2015 GIR Annual Conference. He served as the chair of the Higher Education SIG for Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG) and on the Merit Services Innovations Group. Rathje holds a Bachelor of Science in physics and a Master of Science in computer science from Central Michigan University.

Sarah Rogers

Director, College of the Arts, KSU Museum


Sarah J. Rogers is director of the Kent State University Museum. She has more than 25 years of curatorial and museum management experience in the visual arts, performing arts and science center arenas. Rogers was most recently executive deputy director of the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, where she oversaw a capital campaign, fundraising, marketing communications and special projects. She was one of the founding curators of the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus and has also held leadership positions at the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts. Rogers has curated more than 30 exhibitions in her career and authored more than 20 exhibition publications. She has worked with a range of contemporary artists and designers, including Maya Lin, Ann Hamilton, Barbara Kruger, Ruben and Isabel Toledo, David Hammons, Lorna Simpson, Gretchen Bender, James Welling, Terry Allen, Alexis Smith and Roni Horn. Rogers is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the International Council of Museums and the Costume Society of America.

Shawn Rohlin

Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation
Phone: 330-672-1098

Shawn Rohlin, Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation at Kent State University and an associate professor of economics at the university. His fields of research are in urban economics, public finance, entrepreneurship and labor economics. His research primarily focuses on the determinants of businesses such as agglomeration, displacement and government policies.

He has studied the effects of location-based tax incentives, taxation, bankruptcy law and the minimum wage.

 He recently received funding from two major sponsors. First, from the Kauffman Foundation ($76,600) to study how local taxation affects entrepreneurship using regression discontinuity design. Second, from the National Institute of Justice ($280,000) to study how police officer learning and mentoring affect racial profiling. He received the Junior Scholar Award from the Lincoln Land Institute in 2011. In 2012, he received the David C. Lincoln Fellowship in Land Value Taxation.

He received his doctorate and master's degrees in economics from Syracuse University in 2009 and 2006, respectively. Shawn graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2004.

Mark Schatz

Assistant Professor - Foundations Program, School of Art


Mark Schatz is an assistant professor and Foundations Program coordinator for the School of Art at Kent State University. His work includes sculpture, installation, drawings and photography and has been shown around the country – notably in the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio – and is included in the permanent collection of Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He has taught courses in drawing, sculpture, photography and foundations at the University of Texas, San Jacinto College and at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Schatz received his BFA in sculpture from the University of Michigan and his MFA in sculpture from the University of Texas at Austin.

Bobby Selvaggio

Associate Professor, Director Jazz Studies, School of Music, School of the Arts


Bobby Selvaggio is one of the leading alto saxophone voices on today's jazz scene. In the words of pianist Kenny Werner, “Bobby is among the best of players out there,” and legendary saxophonist Joe Lovano calls him “one of the few young saxophonists on the scene today that captures you with his strong presence, focus and sound.”

Selvaggio, who grew up in the Cleveland area, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in music performance from Kent State University. He eventually moved to New York City and earned a master’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music. While in New York, he studied with Lovano, Bobby Watson, Dick Oatts and Maria Schneider.

After living in New York City and gigging around town at places like the Vanguard, Smalls, and Birdland for four years, Selvaggio decided to move back to Cleveland with his family. Northeast Ohio has become his home base of operations, while he has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada with various working ensembles and musicians. He has dedicated himself to keeping jazz alive in Cleveland and his passion for jazz education has led him to serve as the director of Jazz Studies at Kent State University. In addition to his work in jazz education, Selvaggio continues to expand his discography. His most recent recording is “Quantum Man” (Dot Time Records, 2016), which features a jazz quartet, string quintet, voice and percussion. In its review, Downbeat magazine (4 ½ stars) says: “Even at its most abstract, the highly textured, refreshingly unpredictable Quantum Man is persuasive and moving.” Downbeat also named “Quantum Man” among its “Best of 2017.” In addition to playing alto saxophone, Selvaggio also plays soprano saxophone, alto clarinet and flute. He is a composer, arranger and jazz clinician.

Jakyung Seo

Associate Professor, School of Art


Alison J. Smith

Dean, Honors College

Tatiana Stettler

Assistant Professor in Entrepreneurship
Phone: 330-672-1264

Tatiana Romanova Stettler is an assistant professor of entrepreneurship at Kent State University. She completed her doctorate at the University of Bern in Switzerland in 2014, following a master's in management (Switzerland) and a higher diploma in marketing (Russia).

Stettler came to Kent State to start her tenure-track position in August 2015. Her research focuses on firms' skills and competencies in setting strategic direction (strategic orientation); recognizing, assimilating and exploiting new information (absorptive capacity); and subsequent pursuit of opportunities. She is interested in conceptual visualization, empirical modeling and projects of an interdisciplinary nature.

At Kent State, Stettler teaches undergraduate courses, including Strategic Dilemmas in Entrepreneurship, Introduction to Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation. During her time at the University of Bern, she supervised praxis-based master's-level courses and engaged in industry projects with Swisslos (national lottery) and Swisstools (professional tools). In her classes, she builds on the premises of problem- and case-based learning, and raises students’ awareness about decision-making patterns and biases.

Prior to joining the Design Innovation Initiative, Stettler served as a faculty advisor for the student Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization at Kent State.

Josh Talbott

Team Leader, Information Technology, College of Arts and Sciences


Benjamin Tipton

Director, Foundation Relations
Phone: 330-672-0416

Benjamin Tipton works collaboratively with Kent State faculty and staff to increase private organizational support for the university. Design Innovation’s impact on the mindset of students, faculty, staff and the greater community is what draws him to be involved – that has spanned the last three years. Tipton’s first degree was from Kent State (2003), followed by education at Sea Education Association (Boston University, 2004), Hong Kong University (2011-12) and a Master of Arts from the University of British Columbia (2012). His professional experience ranges from being a U.S. Senate staff member to international development work in Asia.

From the halls of Congress to the fields of developing countries, Tipton has witnessed that global realities can be changed positively when creative minds with deep knowledge in varied fields come together to find solutions. His experience is further developed by continuous cross-cultural experiences – with more than seven years living internationally in places such as Cambodia, Hong Kong, Caribbean Sea, Japan and Canada; and domestically in Washington, D.C., Alaska, Massachusetts, and his favorite place in-between – Ohio.

Design is instilled in everything Tipton does. His current role requires collaboration and design to develop high-impact programs at the collegiate level. Past design experience includes being a professional product designer of fair-trade handicrafts for global sales, crafting new trade agreements between countries, and writing and publishing a book. Beyond this, he can usually be found in his shop tinkering, designing or building something.

Robin Vande Zande

Professor, Art

Robin Vande Zande, Ph.D., is a professor of art and design education at Kent State University. She researches and writes about design thinking and teaching through the principles and practices of design to PreK-12th grade students. Her work and activism helped to implement the inclusion of design in the national art education standards in 2014. She has worked as a consultant for the Department of Education in South Carolina to create the first stand-alone state design standards. Her book, "Design Education: Creating Thinkers to Improve the World" (2016), is a resource on teaching design to PreK-12th grade students.

Vande Zande served as chair of the third International Design Education Research Conference, held in Chicago in 2015, with 34 countries and 125 institutions represented. She has been a keynote or featured speaker for 30 national or state events and a professional development workshop leader for more than 20 international and national educational institutions. She has served as an education committee member for the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., and Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. She has been a consultant for the Frank Lloyd Wright Westcott House museum in Springfield, Ohio.

Vande Zande is co-founder and trustee of DESIGN-ED (, with the mission to develop policies of support for design education at the international, national, state and school district levels. She is past-chair of the NAEA Design Issues Group, having served as chair for six years. She completed The Framework of Design Education Principles, Practices and Strategies for Teaching and Learning in Secondary Programs under a National Art Education Foundation grant, with consultant Doris Wells-Papanek. As part of the framework, she produced a video that demonstrates how to teach the design process,

Vande Zande has been honored with the Design Educator of the Year, Kent State University Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Fellow of the National Art Education Association, National Art Education Higher Educator, Western Region Art Education Higher Educator, the Ohio Art Education Association Higher Educator of the Year, and the Kent State President’s Faculty Excellence Award, among others.

Vande Zande served as chair of the 2019 International Symposium on Predictions for a 21st Century Renaissance in Education: Preparing the next generation to contribute to a world that works, Florence, Italy, June 21-23, 2019.

Robert Walker

Professor, Department of Computer Science
Phone: 330-672-9050

Robert A. Walker, Ph.D., is the former director and founder of Kent State's interdisciplinary School of Digital Sciences; a former chair of the Department of Computer Science; and a strong supporter, Lifetime Member, and Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

He received his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1988. He joined the faculty of the Computer Science Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1989, and moved to the Computer Science Department at Kent State University in 1996, where he served for one year as interim department chair and four years as department chair (2006-2010). In 2010, he led the team to form an interdisciplinary "digital sciences" program, and became the founding director of the School of Digital Sciences in 2011, a position he held for five years. He has now returned to the faculty in computer science, though he continues to have some involvement in digital sciences as well.

Walker's early research interests were in the field of high-level synthesis, in particular the scheduling and design space exploration problems. He was the co-author of "Algorithmic and Register-Transfer Level Synthesis: The System Architect's Workbench" and "A Survey of High-Level Synthesis Systems," and most of this work was supported by the National Science Foundation. Some of his later work focused on novel architectures for embedded systems. Building on the Kent State computer science department's historical strength in parallel computing, he and many of his students have explored the use of associative SIMD computing techniques on FPGAs, demonstrating their suitability for embedded systems running such applications as data mining, image processing, etc. During his time forming the School of Digital Sciences, he became interested in enterprise architecture and in interdisciplinary programs that blend computer science with other fields.

For 18 years (1992 to 2009), he was deeply involved with the ACM Special Interest Group on Design Automation (ACM/SIGDA), serving as secretary/treasurer, newsletter editor, chair and past chair. He has served on more than 120 conference steering, organizing and program committees, including seven years on the DATE Sponsors' Committee, four years on the DAC Executive Committee and seven years on the ICCAD Executive Committee. He received the SIGDA Meritorious Service Award in 1997, and the SIGDA Distinguished Service Award in 2006 "for dedicated service as SIGDA Chair (2001-2005) and over a decade of service to SIGDA, DAC, and the EDA profession." Walker is also very active in the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) as a whole, where he served six years as one of three representatives from the SIG Governing Board to the ACM Council. He also served on the ACM Council's Awards Committee as the first chair of the Senior Member Committee and he served on the ACM Women's Council (ACM-W), leading an effort to increase recognition of women in computing. He received the Outstanding Contribution to ACM Award in June 2008 "for a sustained record of dedicated and conscientious leadership within the ACM Special Interest Groups, including service as Chair of the SIG Governing Board, Chair of SIGDA, SGB Representative to Council, as well as leadership in ACM conference organization." He recently returned to service with the ACM, currently as a member of the ACM Publications Board.

John West

Trustee Professor of Chemistry and Interim Director of the Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute
Phone: 330-672-2581

John West, Ph.D., has been researching liquid crystal materials since he joined Kent State University in 1984. During this time he has fostered moving technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, helping establish a cluster of liquid crystal companies around the university. Working with faculty from across the Kent Campus, he developed the course “Be Smarter Than Your Phone” that teaches the interdisciplinary nature of innovation.

West received his B.S. in chemistry in 1976 from the College of William and Mary and his M.S. (‘79) and Ph.D. (’80) in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. He began his career in industry as director of research at Digital Recording Corporation, where he received his first patent on a new material for the emerging compact disc industry. He joined Kent State's Liquid Crystal Institute in 1984 as a senior research fellow. He was named associate director of the institute in 1990 and director in 1997. In 2003-210 he served as vice president for research at Kent State. Most recently, West assumed the role of interim director of the Liquid Crystal Institute. In this role he fostered the establishment of the Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute, which greatly expands research capabilities and engages departments and colleges across the campus.

During his career at Kent State, West has secured 18 U.S. patents and published more than 150 articles in refereed journals. Working with regional development agencies, West established the FLEXmatters initiative as a means to build an industrial cluster for the development and manufacture of flexible electronic and biomedical devices. This has become the most identifiable cluster in the region (Silos of Small Beer “A Case Study of Efficacy of Federal Innovation Programs in a Key Midwestern Regional Economy” Feldman and Lanahan, Center for American Progress, 2010). With initial funding from the state of Ohio, he established FITOS to commercialize his most recent invention as a means to produce electrodes on flexible substrates.

James Williams

Exhibition Designer/Preparator, Museum, College of the Arts


Jim Williams is the Kent State University Museum’s exhibition designer/preparator and is responsible for design, fabrication and installation of all of the museum’s galleries. His 30+ year museum career includes positions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum and Intermuseum Conservation Association, giving him broad experience in all facets of exhibitions with a focus on preventive conservation. Williams is on the board of the Preparation, Art Handling and Collection Care Information Network and chairs its membership committee. He has presented multiple times at the International Mountmakers Forum, and recently taught a webinar for the American Institute of Conservation’s “Connecting to Collections Care” initiative. Outside of his museum work, Williams is a designer craftsman of bespoke studio furniture. He holds a BFA in Ceramic Arts and Ceramics from Kent State.

William Willoughby

Associate Professor, College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Phone: 330-672-2917

William T Willoughby (Bill Willoughby) is an architect, design educator, and essayist who boomeranged back to Northeast Ohio where he is an associate professor. For 7 years he served as associate dean for the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University. Currently, he serves as interim program director for Interior Design.

Previously, he was a tenured professor in the School of Architecture at Louisiana Tech University, where he taught design, theory, architectural history, computer visualization, digital fabrication, community service and professional practice for 15 years. He was appointed associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and director of research and graduate studies at Louisiana Tech and served in that capacity for 8 years.

Earlier, he taught at Kent State in various capacities and at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a visiting assistant professor. He holds received a research-based Master of Architecture and has been a registered architect since 1993.

He has authored more than 45 publications and conference papers on such topics as design methodology, cultural studies, place theory and architectural education. He has attended over 50 conferences to present research throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Beginning in 2000, he served as founding coordinator of the Community Design Activism Center (CDAC) at Louisiana Tech. Currently, he is an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Amanda Woodyard

Director, Community Engaged Learning

Ariella Yager

Marketing Manager, Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship

Ariella Yager works as the marketing manager and startup mentor in The Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation at the Kent State Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship. In this role, she is responsible for managing day-to-day operations of the center as well as creating programming designed to help student entrepreneurs begin and grow their own ventures. In addition, she coordinates multiple pitch competitions every year designed to provide experience, mentoring, and funding to student startups within the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Prior to working in higher education, she worked to bring multiple startups within northeast Ohio to market and developed strong digital marketing expertise. She enjoys working with students to help them turn their ideas into reality and educating entrepreneurs throughout their journey.