Kent State University Board of Trustees Approves 10-Year Plan to Reshape, Revitalize Kent Campus | Flash Feed | Kent State University

Kent State University Board of Trustees Approves 10-Year Plan to Reshape, Revitalize Kent Campus

The Kent State University Board of Trustees adopted a 10-year facilities master plan that embarks on a $1 billion transformative journey of the Kent Campus to better serve the needs of students and the entire Kent State community. The plan enhances the welcoming feel of the university’s iconic Front Campus and genuine sense of place, elevates inclusive healthy living-learning environments, links a campus-wide series of spaces focused on innovation and expands the dynamic synergy with the city of Kent.

The master plan would be implemented in three phases over the next decade, and would guide the alignment of university and external resources and capital investments with the objectives set forth in Kent State’s strategic roadmap.    

“Everything we do must be through the eyes of our students, both today’s and tomorrow’s,” said Larry Pollock, chair of the Kent State Board of Trustees. “These enhancements will meet the needs of students for decades by providing them with the engaging, educational space they need to help shape the world. Each phase holds thoughtful enhancements focused on our students first commitment that will also raise the prominence of the university, the city of Kent and all who call this region their home.”

In addition to building improvements and purpose-built classrooms, studios and labs, the plan includes a walkable campus core with new sidewalks and bike trails and proposes the extension of Kent State’s iconic Front Campus to include a signature Main Street gateway to the university.

Anchoring the Main Street gateway is a new College of Business Administration building and the addition of green space and a modern parking deck to replace current parking lots near the gateway entrance. Closer to the city of Kent, an innovation zone is planned adjacent to the Starbucks/Captain Brady site. New 24/7 maker spaces, multidisciplinary studios and dining would form an innovation hub within the redesigned Art Building to meet student, faculty and staff needs.

Teaching and learning enhancements include an addition to the Aeronautics and Technology building, a new Kent State University Airport classroom building, research lab expansion at the Integrated Sciences Building and dynamic renovations to the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (MAC Center) and Kent Student Center, to name a few.

The strategies were developed with broad input from a series of highly engaged town hall and community meetings, and numerous informational sessions were held to seek input from students, faculty and staff.

This 10-year plan will touch every college on the Kent Campus and strengthen our connection to our home city of Kent.

Details about the updated plan can be found at https://atransformedksu.org/.

Board Provides Peace of Mind for Freshmen, Parents With Tuition Guarantee

The Board approved rates for a Tuition Guarantee plan that will provide incoming students and their families certainty in budgeting for college costs.

Kent State’s Tuition Guarantee freezes undergraduate tuition, mandatory fees, and room and board rates for a four-year period for each group of degree-seeking students that begin at any of the Kent State campuses.

Ohio freshmen enrolling for the 2018 Fall Semester will see their tuition frozen for four years at $5,306 per semester for 12-18 credit hours. The cost of a standard two-person room and basic meal plan also will be locked in at $5,681 per semester.

The Board’s passage of these rates equals a 4.96 percent increase over current rates. Trustees approved an initial framework of this plan at their December 2017 meeting.

Tuition rates per semester for freshmen at the Regional Campuses will increase as well by 6 percent to $3,002 for lower-division coursework and $3,518 for upper-division coursework.

The approved plan is consistent with college affordability measures encouraged by state policymakers. The tuition plan comes on the heels of the 2018-19 state budget that does not provide for tuition and other fee increases for in-state, undergraduate students. Implementing the tuition guarantee provides adequate resources to maintain Kent State’s standards for quality programming.

The Tuition Guarantee aligns with the university’s strategic plan, which makes students the number one priority. The plan also delivers on the goal of offering a predictable and stable pricing structure for students and their families. The Board has not raised in-state, undergraduate tuition since 2014.

Tuition Guarantee models also have been approved at several other state universities including the University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Ohio University, Miami University and Ohio State University.

Board Focuses on Affordability With 2018-19 Room and Board Rates

Kent State operates its residence halls and dining program on a self-sufficient basis, with the goal of providing high-quality, competitive accommodations and dining services at an affordable price. The dining halls will continue to see much-needed improvements as part of the university’s strategic partner’s investment in capital projects. Additionally, the university’s residence halls will continue to see enhancements to its facilities complementing the previous investment of $83.9 million in the renovation of student residential spaces.

The leadership of the dining and housing programs have been diligent to ensure affordable room and board rates are ranked in the middle of residential universities in Ohio (currently ranked seventh out of 13). Effective fall 2018, the Board approved the double-room rate to be set at $3,540 per semester, an increase of $120 from the prior year. With this rate increase, residence hall students will have unlimited access to the washers and dryers in the residence halls and will have the option to stay on campus during the spring break recess at no additional cost.

The Board also approved board rates for the 2018-19 academic year. University Dining Services will offer a variety of new board plan options. The Blue plan, which most closely aligns with the current Basic plan, will be $2,141 per semester, an increase of $121 over the current Basic plan rate. The new meal plan offerings will include three all-you-care-to-eat venues and provide increased value to students.

The blended increase for both room and board is 3.93 percent. These rates represent the seventh consecutive year of holding increases to less than 4 percent.

Board Approves 2018-19 Tuition and Fees for College of Podiatric Medicine

The Board approved tuition and fees for the College of Podiatric Medicine for the 2018-19 academic year. The Board approved a 3 percent increase in tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students. It is anticipated that this increase will not change the college’s tuition ranking relative to other podiatric medicine colleges in the nation. In the current and prior academic years, tuition for Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine is fourth and fifth, respectively, of the nine institutions when ranking from highest to lowest tuition.

Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine operates under a different academic calendar than the rest of the university, as third-year and fourth-year students begin their new academic year in May. Approval of the college’s tuition and fees for the next academic year takes place at this time so that billing can occur prior to the beginning of the semester. The university currently receives no state share of instruction (SSI) for podiatric medicine, and statutory constraints by the state of Ohio are currently tied to in-state undergraduate tuition and fees.

Flash Books Program to Offer Students Instant Downloads of Digital Textbooks, Class Materials

The Board also approved Flash Books, a new program to provide students with digital versions of their textbooks and other class materials electronically delivered on their first day of classes. The program will save students money and shopping time, and ensure that students have the correct textbook editions and course materials for their classes.

Flash Books is part of an agreement with Barnes & Noble, which operates the university bookstore and is the primary provider for current textbooks. Students in designated classes will be assessed a course fee for the faculty selected course materials at the actual cost for the textbooks/course materials.

Kent State is one of about 100 universities that will partner with Barnes & Noble for digital textbooks this fall. The projected savings to students varies from 30-70 percent as compared to fall 2017 retail prices.

Board Approves New Airport Classroom Building to Support Growing Aviation Program

To accommodate the increased student enrollment in the flight-training program and to provide state-of-the-art instructional facilities to replace the aging modular structures at the Kent State University Airport, the Board approved a new 18,000-square-feet Airport Classroom Building. The new building is anticipated to cost $6.5 million and primarily will be supported by existing and anticipated donations secured by the university foundation.

The aviation program at Kent State is one of the premier flight-training programs in the United States serving nearly 600 majors in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering. The new Airport Classroom Building is a university academic priority and is included in the first phase of the university’s facilities master plan. It also was included in the 2014 Federal Aviation Administration master plan for the Kent State University Airport, which was approved by the Board in September 2015. The new facility would include classrooms, flight debriefing rooms, flight simulators and faculty research labs in addition to student lounge space, faculty offices and airport operations spaces.

Board Approves Honorary Degree to Be Granted to Actor and Alumnus Michael Keaton

The Board approved the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters be conferred upon Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton for his extraordinary contributions to film performance. Mr. Keaton will return to Kent State on May 12 when he will serve as keynote speaker for the One University Commencement and receive the honorary degree. He attended Kent State in the early 1970s majoring in journalism and speech before shifting his attention and passion to acting. In a distinguished career spanning more than four decades, Mr. Keaton has earned critical and public acclaim nationally and internationally as an actor, producer and director.

In other news:

  • May 4, 2020, will mark the 50th Commemoration of the events of May 4, 1970. The Board acknowledged the historic significance of the 50th Commemoration of May 4 to Kent State, the extended university family, the Kent community, the nation and the world, and supports the development of appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities marking this important milestone.
  • The Board authorized changes in a variety of special program, course and other student fees, including eliminating 27 fees. University staff, including executive officers, extensively reviewed the fee changes for fall 2018 to ensure that all are in the appropriate amounts and are necessary to protect program quality.
  • The Board approved replacing the existing 12-year-old scoreboard system in the MAC Center with a new center-hung digital videoboard that can be formatted uniquely for individual sporting and community events and will include upgrades to the public address and sound systems. The existing static scoreboard uses obsolete technology and does not have the dynamic capabilities needed for the varied events utilizing the MAC Center. The estimated renovation cost of $1.7 million will be supported through philanthropic and advertising revenues.
  • The Board approved the following new degree programs:
    • The College of Aeronautics and Engineering will establish the Computer Engineering Technology major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The Regional College will establish the Information Technology major within the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
    • The College of Aeronautics and Engineering will establish the Mechatronics Engineering major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The College of Aeronautics and Engineering will establish the Mechatronics Engineering Technology major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The College of Aeronautics and Engineering will establish the Mechanical Engineering Technology major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2018, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
    • The College of Arts and Sciences will establish the Neuroscience major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2019, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
    • The Regional College will establish the Modeling, Animation and Game Creation major within the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2019, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
  • The Board approved the following name revisions:
    • The Studio Arts major in the College of the Arts will be changed to the Studio Art major within the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees, effective fall 2018.
    • The Biological Sciences-Cell Biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences will be changed to the Biological Sciences-Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics major within the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, effective fall 2018.
    • The Biological Sciences-Ecology major in the College of Arts and Sciences will be changed to the Biological Sciences-Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major within the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, effective fall 2018.
    • The Biological Sciences-Physiology major in the College of Arts and Sciences will be changed to the Biological Sciences-Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology major within the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, effective fall 2018.
    • The International Relations major in the College of Arts and Sciences will be changed to the Global Studies major within the Bachelor of Arts degree, effective fall 2018.
    • The Higher Education Administration majors within the Master of Education, Educational Specialist and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in the College of Education, Health and Human Services will be changed as follows, effective fall 2018:
      • The Higher Education and Student Personnel major within the Master of Education degree will be renamed the Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs major.
      • The Educational Administration-Higher Education major within the Educational Specialist degree will be renamed the Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs major.
      • The Educational Administration-Higher Education major within the Doctor of Philosophy degree will be renamed the Higher Education Administration major.
    • The Instructional Technology major in the College of Education, Health and Human Services will be changed to the Educational Technology major within the Master of Education degree, effective fall 2018.
    • The Computer Technology major in the Regional College will be changed to the Information Technology major within the Associate of Applied Business degree, effective fall 2018.
  • The Board approved the following inactivations:
    • The College of Education, Health and Human Services will inactivate the Reading Specialization major within the Master of Arts degree, effective fall 2018. The Reading Specialization major offered within the Master of Education degree will continue to be offered.
    • The Regional College and Kent State University at Trumbull will inactivate the Manufacturing Engineering Technology major within the Associate of Applied Science degree, effective fall 2018.
  • The Board approved the consolidation of the Crafts and Fine Arts majors into the Studio Art major within the Master of Arts degree, effective fall 2018.

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield, emansfie@kent.edu, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595