Kent State Moves Forward With Largest Comprehensive Campaign in University History, Endorses Campaign for a New Building for the College of Business Administration
At the Kent State University Board of Trustees meeting held on Sept. 30, 2016, the Board approved the planning and execution of a major comprehensive campaign. This campaign will be the largest in the history of Kent State, with its goals and priorities to be developed and pursued in collaboration with senior leadership, the university community and the Kent State University Foundation.
Kent State has embarked on an ambitious agenda for the future, as expressed in A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State approved by the Board in December 2015. The plan through the year 2021 centers around a new strategic vision (“To be a community of change agents whose collective commitment to learning sparks epic thinking, meaningful voice and invaluable outcomes to better our society”) and establishes five strategic priorities: Students First, A Distinctive Kent State, Globally Competitive, Regional Impact and Organizational Stewardship. In order to achieve these aspirations, greater alumni engagement and significant private support will be required.
The university’s two comprehensive campaigns to date were The Campaign for Kent State University from 1997-2003, which raised $122 million exceeding a $100 million goal, and the Centennial Campaign from 2003-2012, which raised $265 million exceeding a $250 million goal.
Fundraising Campaign for a New College of Business Administration Building Supported by Board
As part of the university’s next comprehensive campaign and recognizing that providing 21st-century learning environments for the College of Business Administration is essential for student success and the recruitment of top faculty, the Board expressed support for the concept of constructing a home for the college and endorsed continued planning and fundraising to make it a reality. The project as conceived will be completed primarily with private support, as well as up to $10 million from the college’s fund balance.
The Business Administration Building, home to Kent State’s College of Business Administration offering programs in accounting, business analytics, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems, management and marketing, was constructed in 1971, with an addition completed in 1991, to provide its current size of 110,000 square feet. In order to address existing building deficiencies and space needs for the growing business programs, the college now schedules business classes in 10 buildings on the Kent Campus. The college and the university are making strategic investments to continue its rising trajectory into the nation’s top 100 business schools.
The proposed project targets the construction of a three-story building of approximately 145,000 square feet to be located at the corner of Campus Drive and Summit Street. The new building will include a variety of classroom and learning laboratories, faculty and administrative offices, study and gathering spaces, and common areas that will encourage greater collaboration among students, faculty, staff and business partners in order to produce the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.
Board Approves Collective Bargaining Agreement with Full-Time Non-Tenure Track Faculty, Approves Revisions to Current AFSCME Agreement
The Board ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with the Full-Time Non-Tenure Track Faculty Unit of the American Association of University Professors, Kent State Chapter, to be in full force and effect from Aug. 16, 2016, to 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 16, 2019. The tentative agreement was approved by the membership of the Full-Time Non-Tenure Track Faculty Unit through an electronic ratification process that concluded on Aug. 29, 2016. The tentative agreement was ratified by the eligible voting membership by a vote of 98.73 percent in favor of ratification. Approval by the Board completes the ratification process. The three-year agreement includes annual salary increases, one-time adjustments for senior lecturers/professors and longevity, funding of a professional development excellence pool, and minimum starting salaries. The union accepted medical and other benefits agreed to earlier by the tenured/tenure-track faculty unit.
The Board also approved revisions to the current agreement effective between Kent State and the Kent State University Employees Local 153, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The union agreed to the removal of the 70/50 healthcare plan and its replacement with a high-deductible health plan and health savings account option; the inclusion of paid parental leave benefits; and the addition of one seat on the health benefits review committee to be occupied by an AFSCME bargaining unit member.
Board Ratifies Affordability and Efficiency Report
As a result of recommendations from Gov. John Kasich’s Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency, each Ohio institution of higher education’s board of trustees was required to complete an efficiency review by July 1, 2016, and submit its findings and implementation plans to the Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education by Aug. 1, 2016.
Because the Kent State Board of Trustees did not meet over the summer, at its May meeting the Board authorized the Finance and Administration Committee to work with the university administration to complete and submit the 2016 Affordability and Efficiency Report.
The task force recommendations were based on three simultaneous principles: to be more efficient both in expense management and revenue generation, to offer an education of equal or higher quality, and to decrease costs to students and their families.
Highlights of Kent State’s report included a savings of $13.5 million during Fiscal Year 2016 through collaborative contracts, energy conservation projects and elimination of the tuition overload fee for students taking more than 16-18 credit hours. The savings have been redirected toward efforts to reduce costs for students and increase the quality of students’ education.
Moving forward, Kent State will continue to look for ways to increase institutional efficiency and effectiveness, with a goal of $36.8 million dollars in savings and opportunities for enhanced student affordability by 2021. This will cover numerous areas including collaborative contracts, a review of operations, energy efficiency projects, textbook affordability and the amount of time needed for degree completion.
Board Praises Beverly Warren’s Accomplishments During Year of Overwhelming Success
Board members commended Kent State President Beverly Warren for her second year in office, highlighting the university’s increased retention rates and enrollment, academic success and continued growth. In sharing its annual presidential assessment, the Board felt Warren exceeded her annual goals and awarded her the full value of the performance incentive set forth in her contract. Earlier this year, the Board approved a contract extension for Warren through June 2020.
“President Warren has seized every opportunity to guide the university to new heights, and the Board recognizes and appreciates her outstanding leadership,” says Lawrence Pollock, chair of the Kent State Board of Trustees. “She has shown a dedication to putting students first and to advancing academic success and quality across all Kent State campuses.”
“I am both humbled and grateful for the Board of Trustees’ assessment of my contributions and leadership,” Warren says. “It remains a privilege to serve this university, and I am looking forward to the future achievements we will realize guided by our Strategic Roadmap and the collective action of this tremendous university community.”
Warren will soon present her second State of the University Address, which will focus on living the Kent State promise. She will elaborate on the university’s efforts to reimagine the role of a public research university, where priorities for academic excellence, affordability and access not only coexist but merge as critical elements of a high-quality, distinctive learning environment.
In other actions:
- A new deadly weapons policy will take effect across the entire Kent State campus system, starting Nov. 1, 2016. The Board voted to rescind the current policy and implement a new one with more clearly defined language. The new policy provides a declaration by the Board that deadly weapons are prohibited on all university grounds, unless otherwise permitted by Ohio law. It also includes language that outlines the prohibition of deadly weapons inside all university buildings, facilities and vehicles. The change in policy is designed to maintain law and order to allow for optimal teaching, learning, research and creative excellence at Kent State.
- Students living on campus will soon start using FLASHcards to get inside their residence halls. The Board voted to upgrade the access control system for all of the university’s 25 halls, using ASSA ABLOY Wi-Fi locks. The technology will use the existing infrastructure, reduce maintenance and provide increased security for students. Installation of the $11.5 million project will start in the summer of 2017 and take two years to complete.
- The Board approved the naming of the campus library at Kent State University at Trumbull as the Henry C. Gelbke Library in honor of donor Herman R. Gelbke’s brother. The campus library is located in a building along with the theatre and serves as an important resource for more than 3,000 students.
- The Board was notified of the naming of the William G. Bittle Veterans Commons at Kent State University at Stark in honor of the campus’s longest-serving dean, with 23 years of service (1981-2004). The action was approved by President Warren based on the wishes of major donors to the project and is consistent with university naming policy. Kent State Stark has renovated an existing 1,100-square-foot conference room in the library for its military veteran students to gather, study and support each other.