Kent State Board of Trustees Approves College Name Change to Elevate Nationally Distinctive Aeronautics and Engineering Programs
With a goal of becoming one of the nation’s top public universities in aeronautics and engineering education and research, the Kent State University Board of Trustees approved changing the name of the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology to the College of Aeronautics and Engineering.
The change better reflects the expansion of the college’s programs and accentuates its highly trained and sought-after graduates who go on to work for commercial airlines, corporate flight departments, the military and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The revised name further positions the college’s Aeronautics Program that offers three degrees and four concentrations, in an elite group of universities. Only two others have as many accredited programs in this field. The Kent State aeronautics major is the longest-standing, fully accredited Aviation Accreditation Board International program in Ohio. The Aeronautics Systems Engineering Tech concentration is one of only two such programs in the world to be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The program is also the only one in Ohio to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration as a designated Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative Program.
The Engineering Program is also positioned to shift to an advanced level of distinction beyond the applied engineering major that has previously been offered for nearly 70 years. The revised name will help advance the opportunity to create a college that offers unique, cutting-edge degrees in engineering, including the recently launched aerospace engineering degree and a proposed degree in mechatronics.
The name change takes effect July 1, 2017.
Board Approves Continuation Budget for FY 2016 Pending Finalization of State Budget
With the Ohio General Assembly’s deliberations still under way regarding the state budget bill (House Bill 49) for the next biennium, the Board authorized Kent State President Beverly Warren and the university’s chief financial officer to spend university funds beginning July 1, 2017, until the new state budget is finalized in September. This budget will operate at the same expenditure levels established by the Board for fiscal year 2016-2017. Once the state budget is finalized, a complete operating budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 will be prepared and submitted to the Board for approval at its Sept. 13 meeting.
Kent State Sets 2017-2018 Tuition
As the state has not yet acted on tuition rates for 2017-2018, no change was recommended at this time in undergraduate in-state tuition, keeping the rate $5,006 per semester for full-time undergraduates attending the Kent Campus. Tuition at the Regional Campuses holds at $2,832 for lower-division courses and $3,319 for upper-division courses per semester.
The Kent Campus annualized full-time undergraduate tuition remains seventh of the 13 Ohio public higher education institutions. The lower tuition rate and continued investments in institutional financial aid reflects 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 $84 per semester (from $4,182 to $4,266) in the undergraduate full-time rate effective for fall 2017. 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 $5,545 to $5,655) and the non-Ohio resident surcharge by 10 percent. Kent State’s graduate tuition rates per credit hour rank ninth of the 13 Ohio public higher education institutions for both Ohio and non-Ohio residents. The impact of these increases is $10 per credit hour for graduate tuition and $37 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 72 fees. University staff, including executive officers, extensively reviewed the fee changes for fall 2017 to ensure that all are in the appropriate amounts and are necessary to protect program quality.
Board Approves Plan to Invest in Additional Tenure-Track, Research Faculty
The Board approved a plan to redirect up to $18.6 million in cumulative savings toward hiring research-active, tenure-track faculty to further pursue the Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State.
Funds to hire these vital faculty members will come from a one-time offering of a voluntary University Employee Separation Plan for full-time tenured/tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty who have 15 years or more of service to Kent State or are eligible to retire (full or reduced retirement) from the State Teachers Retirement System or equivalent eligibility under the Alternative Retirement Plan.
The plan is designed to optimize personnel costs and contribute to the university’s efficiency and effectiveness objectives. Those who apply for the University Early Separation Plan and are accepted will separate by May 31, 2018, and receive one year’s salary to a maximum cap paid in equal monthly installments into a qualified retirement account over a five-year period.
Kent State’s Division of Human Resources will be communicating additional details to eligible faculty over the summer period.
Board Approves Vendor Selection for Copiers and Print Management Solution
In keeping with the requirements issued by the Governor’s Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency, Kent State led a request for proposals issued by the Inter-University Council Purchasing Group (IUC-PG) to identify a qualified vendor to provide copiers and a print management solution for IUC-PG member schools. A cross-functional evaluation team, in conjunction with similar teams at three other IUC-PG member schools, and led by the executive director of the IUC-PG, selected ComDoc/Xerox as the vendor that offered the best overall value.
The proposed purchase agreement will be for an initial term of five years at approximately $2 million, with university options to renew up to three additional one-year periods at approximately $400,000 each year, for a potential total contract of eight years. Anticipated annual savings from the current contract is expected to be approximately $400,000. The total cost of the agreement will be funded by the operating budgets of the university departments requiring copiers and print management services.