Kent State Designs First-of-its-Kind Graduate Program in Fashion

Kent State University’s fashion school is leading the academic runway with the creation of a master of fashion degree that is the first of its kind in the nation.

Kent State University’s fashion school is leading the academic runway with the creation of a master of fashion degree that is the first of its kind in the nation. The university’s Board of Trustees formally approved the path-breaking graduate program today (March 13), allowing the university’s Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising to begin enrolling students for fall semester 2013, pending approval by the Ohio Board of Regents.

Kent State’s fashion school, which is the largest fashion program in Ohio and one of the largest in the nation, already has earned a widespread reputation for academic excellence, innovation and highly prepared graduates. The popular fashion magazine ranks Kent State’s fashion school third best in the nation and 13th best in the world. In addition, the Ohio Board of Regents designated the school an Ohio Center of Excellence in the state’s Strategic Plan for Higher Education.

The new degree program is geared toward professional practice, responding to the fashion industry’s growing use of integrated technologies and the trend toward entrepreneurship that spawns small- to medium-sized businesses that manufacture goods locally or within the United States. It is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in fashion merchandising, fashion design or related fields who want to expand their employment options in the $300-billion, global fashion industry. Graduates of the program, who will be able to customize a course of study with a high level of specialization, will be prepared to advance their careers, expand their entrepreneurial opportunities or pursue initial careers in academia.

Kent State Offers Ohio’s Only Fully Online Doctoral Program in Nursing

Kent State’s College of Nursing has broken new academic ground in Ohio by creating a fully online doctoral program in nursing. The college, which is the largest nursing program in Ohio, will offer the online program simultaneously with the traditional, face-to-face program pending approval by the Ohio Board of Regents.

The university’s Board of Trustees heard a detailed report about the path-breaking program at its March board meeting, including the fact that there is an exploding, national demand for nurses who are prepared for advanced nursing practice and scholarship, and a related demand for online doctoral nursing education. In addition to providing convenient access to advanced education, online doctoral nursing programs address the national shortage of Ph.D.-level nursing faculty.

The availability of the online doctoral program strengthens the impact of the joint doctoral nursing program that has been offered by Kent State and the University of Akron since 1995. Graduates of the joint program conduct and disseminate critical research that informs healthcare agendas throughout Northeast Ohio as well as nationally and internationally. The online doctoral program will give students from both partners access to coursework, instruction and faculty mentorship from their chosen locations in real time.

The program will use a variety of technologies to provide online instruction, including web conferencing and share technology. To ensure that students are able to integrate what they learn with advanced research and practice, students in the online program will spend two weeks per academic year on campus.

University Ratifies Three-Year Agreement With Full-Time, Nontenure-Track Faculty

The Board of Trustees approved and ratified a new, three-year collective-bargaining agreement with the unit of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that represents Kent State’s full-time, nontenure-track faculty. A tentative agreement had been ratified previously by eligible AAUP members. The Board also ratified a memorandum of understanding that allowed all existing terms and conditions of employment to remain in effect from the time the prior agreement expired (Aug. 16, 2012) until the new agreement takes effect (Aug. 13, 2013).  The new agreement, which covers approximately 450 full-time, nontenure-track faculty members at the university’s eight campuses, will take effect Aug. 16, 2013, and expire Aug. 16, 2016.

Kent State Board of Trustees Recognizes University’s Success in President’s Annual Review

Each year, the Board conducts an annual review of the university president’s performance. The evaluation was very positive, finding that Kent State President Lester A. Lefton met or exceeded every strategic goal for the review period. The trustees are pleased and enormously proud of the university’s progress.

“In this era of unprecedented changes, challenges and opportunities, President Lefton continues to be the right leader at the right time,” said Jane Timken, chair of the Kent State University Board of Trustees. “He shares the Board’s vision that Kent State has everything it takes to stand among the best universities anywhere. For the past seven years, we have seen him demonstrate his deep commitment to this vision through the relentless pursuit of excellence—for the sake of our students, our state, and our nation.”

Lefton’s compensation is contractually specified. Given the Board’s conclusion that he has met his performance goals for the year, he will receive the full value of his performance bonus equivalent to 25 percent of his base salary, or $104,450, to be awarded July 1, 2013. Based upon the Board’s review of compensation data, his salary is competitive for universities of Kent State’s size and complexity. His current base salary is $417,799.68.

Under his leadership, the university’s financial position is stable, including consistent enrollment growth, a strong bond rating and responsible cost management.

Annual results of the university include:

  • The university is Northeast Ohio’s #1 public university – leading in enrollment, graduates and retention.
  • Kent State’s Fall 2012 enrollment was 42,513, the highest recorded enrollment in Kent State’s history.
  • The university’s Centennial Campaign total raised a record-breaking $265 million, surpassing its $250 million goal.
  • Significant progress has been made in enhancing the sense of place on the Kent Campus and downtown Kent, creating Ohio’s rising college town and making Kent a great place to study, work, live and visit.
  • With a focus on college completion, Kent State is making great strides and significant investments in student success and retention strategies.
  • This spring, the university will confer 4,375 degrees, which is roughly a 13 percent increase from last year.  
  • The university began a multi-year initiative implementing our strategic diversity plan with a focus on inclusive excellence.

In other actions:

  • The Board approved an overall 3.92-percent increase in the standard, undergraduate double-room and board rates, effective fall semester 2013. The increases will help offset rising costs for maintenance and repairs, utilities and food products. The increases will allow the university to continue operating its residence and dining programs on a self-sufficient basis while keeping room and board affordable for students and their families.
  • The Board authorized changes in a variety of program, course and other student fees, most of which are effective fall semester 2013. The changes, which were reviewed by a variety of university staff members and university executive officers to ensure that they are necessary, range from the elimination of a $25 fee for Regional Campus students who take a math placement test to an increase of $4,900 for students in the Executive Master of Business Administration program.
  • The Board approved a 3.9-percent tuition increase for the Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine (KSUCPM) for the 2013-14 academic year. Trustees also approved a variety of changes in student fees, ranging from the elimination or reduction of some lab fees to increases in the fee for the hepatitis vaccine. The KSUCPM operates under a different academic calendar than the rest of the university and billing for the fall semester occurs in April. The university currently receives no state support of instruction for podiatric medicine, and statutory constraints in the State of Ohio budget are tied to in-state undergraduate tuition and general fees. KSUCPM offers graduate-level programs. Therefore, there are no restrictions that prevent moving forward with this action at this time.
  • The Board established a dance studies major that will prepare students for expanding career options in the field of dance. The major is effective fall semester 2013.
  • The Board named the newly renovated health and sciences wing at Kent State University at Salem, and a number of facilities within the wing, in honor of the generous support of the following alumni and other friends of the university:
  • The health and sciences wing was named the James and Coralie Centofanti Hall to recognize Canfield philanthropists Jim and Coralie Centofanti. The charitable foundation formed by the late couple provided a $700,000 gift to complete renovations to the wing.
  • The following spaces were named to honor community leaders who provided more than $114,000 in gifts to complete renovations of nursing faculty offices, learning stations and student study areas: Dr. Frank, Salvatore, and Peter Apicella Families Radiology and Imaging Sciences Program Director Office; Ferranto, Hill, Kotsch, Martin and Zapko BSN Program Director Office; Marc N. Burgess Faculty Conference Room; Barbara and David Plummer Family Nurse Teaching Station; Louis & Kerry Ramunno Family Student Study Lounge; and the Joseph P. and Donna J. Sedzmak Radiology Faculty Office.
  • The Karen Sebo Nuclear Medicine Faculty Office and the Karen Sebo Nurse Teaching Station honor a $25,000 gift from Karen Sebo, a member of the Salem Campus Advisory Board, to complete renovations of the health and sciences wing.
  • The Richard and Karen Crouse Family Nursing Advising Suite recognizes Richard Crouse, a graduate of the university’s applied technology program, and Karen Crouse, a registered nurse, who gave a $30,000 gift to complete renovations to the nursing faculty offices.
  • The Salem Community Foundation Radiology Classroom recognizes the Foundation’s gift of $80,000, which allowed the completion of the Radiology Laboratory.
  • The Pearce Foundation Sonography Classroom recognizes the Foundation’s $75,000 gift, which allowed the completion of the Sonography Classroom.
  • The Salem Community Hospital Lecture Room in the new health and sciences wing recognizes the hospital’s gift of $200,000, which allowed the completion of the health and sciences lecture hall.
  • The Board authorized a $2.95-million project to renovate the Main Hall at Kent State at Ashtabula. The project, which will be funded from state capital funds and the Ashtabula Campus fund balance, will provide a needed expansion of space for offices and meeting rooms related to Student Services, as well as a new, quiet student lounge and improvements in the Student Commons and kitchen areas. The project is expected to begin this summer and to be completed by fall semester 2014.
  • The Board authorized a $1.45-million project to build a 200-car parking lot north of the Liquid Crystal and Materials Science Building and east of Henderson Hall on the Kent Campus. The lot will replace parking spaces in the science corridor that will be lost when the university begins construction of a new home for the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology along the existing science corridor. The project, which will be funded by parking facility funds, will include the construction of a new fire lane, an improved loading dock, site lighting and pedestrian paths. The lot’s site has been used as a recreation field. The soccer and other activities scheduled for the field will be relocated to the new Loop Road recreation fields.
  • The Board granted emeritus status to: Dr. Marya Bednerik, professor, Theatre and Dance; Dr. Rosemary DuMont, professor, Library and Information Science; Dr. James Durandetta, assistant professor, Chemistry, Kent State at Trumbull; Harbans Mathur, assistant professor, Technology, Kent State at Trumbull (posthumous); Becky Rigney, assistant professor, Kent State at Salem; Dr. Mark Seeman, professor, Anthropology; Dr. Metrechia Soper, assistant professor, Kent State at Salem; Donna Thomas, assistant professor, Nursing, Kent State at Tuscarawas; and Kelly Anthony, director II, Enrollment Management and Student Services, Kent State at Ashtabula. Emeritus status is a distinguished title that honors a faculty or staff member’s contributions by allowing him or her continued access to university resources after retirement from the university.
  • The Board conferred an honorary doctor of humane letters degree upon former Kent State student Jeffrey W. Richmond for his “extraordinary contributions to the arts and popular culture.” Richmond is renowned as a composer, actor, director and producer who has guided some of the decade’s most popular television shows. The Portage County native has earned success — including three Emmy awards and numerous other entertainment-industry accolades — as a composer for Saturday Night Live; as an actor on Late Night with Conan O’Brien; and as an actor, composer, director and producer for the critically acclaimed comedy series 30 Rock. He continues to compose television and film scores, and to perform on stage and screen.

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Media Contact:
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 16, 2015 - 9:49am
University Communications and Marketing