July Update from the President
Dear Members of the Kent State University Community:
It is hard to believe we have crossed the threshold into the 2018 fiscal year; time is flying by this summer! The campus is alive with the energy and enthusiasm of students and parents participating in Destination Kent State, and we are seeing exciting news from our faculty-led education-abroad programs as our students post photos from China, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Following months of planning and communication, we have taken another bold step toward being the healthiest campus in America by becoming a smoke-free, tobacco-free campus. As we celebrate the accomplishments and success of our faculty and students this spring and prepare to welcome a bright new freshman class this fall, I want to share a number of updates, including the impact of the state budget decisions on Kent State.
State Budget Impact
The governor recently signed into law a new two-year state budget that keeps in-state, undergraduate tuition, which has not been increased since 2014, at its current rate for the next two academic years. Legislators also voted to freeze the State Share of Instruction (SSI) funding for Ohio universities.
Another year of flat funding from the state creates some financial challenges, but considering that other state agencies received substantial cuts, we fared better than some. In September, university leaders will present a balanced budget to the Board of Trustees. To ensure Kent State continues to provide a high-quality education for our students delivered by world-class faculty, we must all work together to step up our cost-saving and efficiency initiatives.
President's Faculty Excellence Awards
It is my great honor to acknowledge the extraordinary work of 13 members of our talented faculty with the President's Faculty Excellence Award. The honorees, selected from a list of talented nominees, represent a cross section of disciplines from multiple Kent State campuses and exemplify the diverse areas of excellence that make us such a strong academic institution.
The 2017 President's Faculty Excellence Award recipients are:
- Brian Baer, Department of Modern and Classical Language Studies
- Yossef Ben-Porath, Department of Psychological Sciences
- Pratim Datta, Department of Management and Information Systems
- Susanna Fein, Department of English
- Richard Ferdig, School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences
- David Hacker, Department of Geology
- Torsten Hegmann, Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program
- Spyridon Margetis, Department of Physics
- Carrie Schweitzer, Department of Geology
- Robin Selinger, Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program
- Jakyung Seo, School of Theatre and Dance
- Gregory Smith, School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences
- Elizabeth Smith-Pryor, Department of History
Celebrating Student Achievement
The national visibility and positive feedback of our first One University Commencement Ceremony certainly ended our spring semester on a high note. Guest speaker Octavia Spencer inspired students and attendees alike, and her comments were highlighted by national news media among the best commencement speeches of the year. Please take a moment to view this brief recap video of our One University Commencement Ceremony. I want to thank all of you for your participation and support of this milestone ceremony, along with the many other ceremonies celebrating our students' academic achievements. The tremendous dedication of our Kent State faculty and staff plays an invaluable role in creating the environment that our students consistently say "feels like home."
NCAA Recognition of Academic Distinction
Flashes of brilliance! There has never been a more apt description of our phenomenal student-athletes who have been recognized by the NCAA for achieving academic progress scores in the top 10 percent of their sports. Members of five Kent State teams — women's basketball, women's cross country, women's golf, gymnastics and volleyball — each earned these Public Recognition Awards. (Kudos to the women!)
Their hard work in the classroom elevated Kent State to the highest level of academic distinction among all institutions in the Mid-American Conference. Congratulations!
National Media Spotlight Kent State
Kent State's Wick Poetry Center brought its Traveling Stanzas project to the March for Science in Washington, D.C., in April. Traveling Stanzas joined the global demonstration in support of fact-based decision making and freedom of speech for scientists. The Wick Poetry Center staff, led by David Hassler, joined marchers in the Teach-In on the national mall to highlight the intersection of expressive voice and scientific inquiry.
Their efforts drew the attention of national media, including The Washington Post and The New York Times, reflecting greatly on the entire team of the Wick Poetry Center. At Kent State, we thrive in the intersection of the arts and the sciences, and purposefully cultivate the expression of meaningful voice. The power of poetry to give a distinctive voice to scientists, artists, activists and scholars makes an everlasting impression.
One of our most dedicated supporters — the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation — has pledged $2.5 million that will support our Fashion School director position, our dedicated faculty and the students in the Fashion School. The Fashion School at Kent State is consistently rated among the best fashion institutions in the United States and the world. It currently ranks No. 3 in the U.S. for fashion merchandising, No. 4 in the U.S. for fashion design and No. 19 in the WORLD in a global fashion school ranking.
As we charge ahead with summer sessions and prepare for an exciting fall semester, I offer my thanks to our devoted faculty and staff who continue to inspire and uplift me, and send you my warmest wishes for a rewarding and productive summer.
With best regards,