Kent State’s Board of Trustees Extends President’s Contract, Approves Budget in Support of Bright Future Ahead for the University
Beverly Warren, Ph.D., will remain president of Kent State University through at least 2020. On May 11, the Kent State University Board of Trustees voted to extend Warren’s employment agreement through June 30, 2020.
“Kent State has developed tremendous momentum under President Bev Warren’s exceptional leadership,” says Dennis Eckart, chair of the Kent State Board of Trustees who completed his term with the board at the meeting. “Extending Bev’s contract expresses our strong confidence in her leadership and the university’s direction. She is critical in enabling us to meet our key goals going forward.”
Warren became the university’s 12th president on July 1, 2014. Her accomplishments as president include:
- Creating a strategic roadmap to guide the university toward a more distinctive future
- Increased graduation and retention rates
- Record enrollment on the Kent Campus
- Successful rebranding of the university’s image
“I am grateful for the confidence and support expressed by the Board of Trustees through the extension of my contract,” Warren says. “Kent State University is on an aggressive and aspirational trajectory of influence, and it is an honor to serve such a talented and dedicated community. I look forward to achieving our strategic goals that we have defined, and I have every confidence that, together, Kent State will achieve distinction as a role model for the best practices in higher education.”
Board Approves University Budget for 2017
Applauding the financial strength of the university and the administration’s strategic and responsible management, the Kent State Board of Trustees approved a $686-million operating budget for the university’s eight-campus system for fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017).
The budget recognizes the importance of affordability and encouraging student success. Priorities in the new budget include investments in student financial aid, investments in academic programs, compensation increases for employees and anticipated increases in healthcare costs for faculty and staff.
Kent State Sets 2016-2017 Tuition
The majority of undergraduate students – about 88 percent based on current enrollment figures – will not see any increase in their tuition and general fees next year. The Board froze undergraduate in-state tuition, keeping the rate $5,006 per semester for full-time undergraduates attending the Kent Campus for 2016-2017. The Kent Campus annualized full-time undergraduate tuition is seventh of the 13 Ohio public higher education institutions. Tuition at the Regional Campuses holds at $2,832 for lower-division courses and $3,319 for upper-division courses per semester. The tuition rates and continued investments made in institutional financial aid reflect the university’s ongoing commitment to affordability.
Non-Ohio residents are assessed a surcharge in addition to tuition. The Board approved a 2-percent increase or $82 per semester (from $4,100 to $4,182) in the undergraduate full-time rate effective for fall 2016. A portion of the increase will be used to fund the scholarship program available for non-Ohio residents.
To continue to offer high-quality academic programming and research opportunities, additional investments are needed in graduate programs. The Board increased graduate tuition by 2 percent (from $5,432 to $5,545) and the non-Ohio resident surcharge by 10 percent. The surcharge for non-Ohio residents has not been increased since fall 2010. The impact of these increases is $10 per credit hour for graduate tuition and $34 per credit hour in the non-Ohio resident surcharge.
The Board also authorized changes in a variety of special program, course and other student fees, including eliminating 127 fees. University staff, including members of the president’s cabinet, extensively reviewed the fee changes to ensure that all are in the appropriate amounts and are necessary to protect program quality.
Board Approves Kent State’s Dedication to a Healthy Campus, Endorses Smoke- and Tobacco-Free University
All Kent State University campuses will become smoke- and tobacco-free beginning July 1, 2017. The Board approved a university policy that aligns with Kent State’s Strategic Roadmap to create a healthy campus and prioritize health and wellness.
The policy applies to all members of the university community, including students, employees, visitors, volunteers, patients and customers on all Kent State property. The success of this rule relies on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of smokers and nonsmokers alike.
Gratitude Extended as Foundations of Excellence Makes Way for New Initiative
The Board recognized the Kent State community for its exemplary leadership in the successful delivery of the Foundations of Excellence: Building the Future initiative and supported the launch of a new facilities plan for future development.
The Foundations of Excellence plan produced seven signature projects, including the Aeronautics and Technology Building, Center for Undergraduate Excellence, Center for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement, Center for the Visual Arts, Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, Integrated Sciences Building, and Science Corridor renovations. Additional improvements under the initiative have increased accessibility and energy efficiency. The initiative began in 2012 with the issuance of $170 million in bonds.
As the final projects move toward completion in the summer of 2017, the launching of a new comprehensive master plan will align facility and space planning with the university’s new Strategic Roadmap. The plan will take the institution into 2018 and beyond.
Board of Trustees Remembers Marsh, Thanks Eckart and Welcomes Kilbride
The Board paused to remember Richard Marsh, a trustee who passed away March 24, and passed a resolution of appreciation honoring Marsh.
Marsh was a devoted alumnus who joined the Kent State Board of Trustees on July 27, 2011, by appointment of Gov. John Kasich. He served as secretary of the Board, and was an invaluable advisor through his service on the Board’s Audit and Compliance Committee, Finance and Administration Committee, Investment Committee, and Governance Committee. Marsh also served on the Board of Directors of the Kent State University Foundation and as chair of the presidential search committee that resulted in the selection of Warren in 2014.
The Board also thanked Eckart as he came to the end of his nine years of faithful service as a trustee, most recently serving as chair. Eckart was instrumental in leading the Foundations of Excellence initiative that led to $200 million in new and improved buildings and renovations across the university’s eight-campus system. The Board passed a resolution of appreciation to Eckart.
The Board also welcomed Robin Kilbride, who began her term as trustee on April 21. Kilbride serves as president, CEO and chairman of the board of Smithers-Oasis Company, a privately held company headquartered in Kent, Ohio. Smithers-Oasis is the global leader in manufacturing and marketing of floral foam products, postharvest products, growing media and flower arranging supplies to the floriculture industry.
Kilbride replaces Emilio Ferrara, D.D.S., whose term as a Kent State trustee expired in May 2015.
In other actions:
- The Board passed additional resolutions of appreciation to Perry “PJ” Kimmel and Douglas Steidl. Kimmel ended his two-year team as a Student Trustee and graduated May 14 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance. Steidl has served as dean of Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design since 2010 and will retire Aug. 31.
- The Board elected the following officers for 2016-17: Lawrence Pollock, chair; Ralph Della Ratta, vice-chair; and Margot Copeland, secretary.