The Kent State University Alumni Association is revealing the Homecoming date with a bang – a special aerial announcement. And you can be a part of it!

Between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on March 1 on the Kent Campus, take a break, go outside and keep your eyes to the sky to spot the 2016 Homecoming date.

The next step is to smile and snap a fun selfie with the Homecoming date in the background and post it on Instagram or Twitter with #KENTHC. All participants who post a selfie will randomly be entered into a drawing to win a Kent State prize pack.

Don’t miss out on this exciting announcement on campus, and make sure to mark your calendars tomorrow with the 2016 Homecoming date!

University College is pleased to announce the launch of the Office of Alternative Credit and Articulation Agreements, formerly known as Dual Enrollment Programs. The office will continue to be responsible for coordinating all aspects of the College Credit Plus program and will assume the additional roles of overseeing and coordinating domestic articulation in support of student degree completion. In collaboration with academic departments, the office will coordinate other alternative credit opportunities at Kent State University, such as prior learning assessment, transfer credit, Credit When It’s Due, International Baccalaureate (IB), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP) and Credit by Exam (CBE) to ensure appropriate course equivalencies are published and marketing of them occurs. 

The formalized process for articulation agreements begins with completion of the Certification of Curriculum Proposal form and articulation agreement template and concludes once the agreement has been reviewed, finalized and approved by all parties.

As director, Johanna Pionke will provide oversight for all programs and primary support for alternative credit initiatives and articulation agreements. A search is underway for a new assistant director who will assume oversight of the College Credit Plus program, working with Cara White, academic program officer. Julie Rayl, special assistant, will support all departmental programs.  

Fellowship to focus on open textbooks and affordable education

Assistant Professor Feng-Ru Sheu, Ph.D., of Kent State University Libraries, is one of 22 researchers nationwide who has been selected to be an Open Education Resources Research Fellow, a competitive research fellowship sponsored by the Open Education Group and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The Open Education Resources research fellowship program investigates the impact of open educational resources on the cost of education, student success outcomes, use and perceptions of open education resources.

Open educational resources are digital materials that support learning, which can be accessed, reused, modified and shared freely. Resources include articles, video, audio, modules, full courses and any other learning materials.

As part of the fellowship, Shue will attend two conferences on open education and receive mentorship. She also will receive a stipend of $1,000 for research, which will be completed in a one-year timeframe, and present at an upcoming Open Education conference to approximately 500 of her colleagues.

Shue’s research with the Open Education Resources fellowship will focus on the design, dissemination and impact of open textbooks. Open textbooks are a large subset of Open Education Resources and offer an alternative for expensive textbooks, ultimately making education more accessible and affordable.

Originally from Taiwan, Shue now resides in Stow, Ohio. She is an instructional design librarian at University Libraries.

Kent State University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Student Center received a $5,000 grant from the Gay Community Endowment fund, organized through the Akron Community Foundation, to create a mentor program for LGBTQ and ally students at Kent State.

Ken Ditlevson, director of the LGBTQ Student Center, says this is the first grant for the center.

“We knew that it was the perfect target grant because it serves the gay, lesbian and trans community, and is for this county, as well,” Ditlevson says.

The center recruited more than 25 adult mentors who are college graduates, gainfully employed and willing to have monthly contact with students. The center also recruited more than 25 Kent State students who are members of the LGBTQ/ally community. The program launched on Feb. 6, where the center provided training, and mentees and mentors met over lunch. 

“We’re trying to get freshmen and sophomores or students who’ve newly come out so we can add a layer of emotional support,” Ditlevson says. “We’re looking at vocation and career information and the networking piece, and then having another piece of our community there to support our students.”

The grant proposal was a joint effort between Ditlevson, the center’s former graduate appointee, Jenna Brinker, and Fall 2015 Semester’s LGBTQ Student Center internship team. Ditlevson says the group looked to develop a strong proposal for a program to meet the community’s need.

“Students wanted exposure to different career information, and they wanted to know what it was like to work as a gay, lesbian or trans person in a particular field,” Ditlevson says.

Ditlevson hopes this leads to a widening network of mentors meeting other mentors to build what he calls a strong community within Kent State and beyond.

“I think this program has great potential to connect different generations,” Ditlevson says. “There’s learning to be done on both sides. The students are going to learn the vocation information, but I think our graduates are going to learn what it’s like for students today. There’s different terminology they might not be as familiar with, and identities and orientations they’re not as familiar with, so I think there’s going to be a lot of learning going in both directions.”

The LGBTQ Student Center is planning to relaunch the QUEST mentorship program this September. People who are interested should contact Ditlevson at LGBTQSC@kent.edu for an application. Ditlevson says LGBTQ mentors who also are people of color are especially needed for the program.  

The LGBTQ Student Center is located in the Kent Student Center under the supervision of Dana Lawless-Andric, who also supervises the Student Multicultural Center. Ditlevson is the director of the LGBTQ Student Center, and the Student Multicultural Center is under the direct supervision of Oscar Ramos.  

“We’ll continue to collaborate with the Women’s Center, just like we always have with the multicultural center or the Jewish community center or any other partners and departments across campus,” Ditlevson says. “Collaboration really enhances our ability to reach students and impact the community,”

The LGBTQ Student Center also will continue to provide safe space training for Kent State departments. The center completed its first training for a Regional Campus at Kent State University at Stark in December, and it offered training at Kent State University at Ashtabula earlier in February. Training will take place at Kent State University at Salem in May. To learn more about the Safe Space Ally Training, visit www.kent.edu/lgbtq/safe-space-ally-training

In addition to providing safe space trainings, Ditlevson says the LGBTQ Student Center serves as a resource for all Regional Campuses and provides information on a variety of issues, including the need to establish gender-inclusive restrooms on campuses.

For more information about the LGBTQ Student Center, visit www.kent.edu/lgbtq.

Kent State University’s third annual Game Day Challenge has helped increase recycling efforts.

The Game Day Challenge is a yearly event hosted by 64 colleges and universities across the nation. The main goal is to increase awareness about recycling.

Kent State has increased recycling per person each year since its first time in the Game Day Challenge in 2013.

As one of seven universities in the Mid-American Conference, Kent State placed third out of six Ohio schools in the Game Day Challenge. The event took place at the home football game on Oct. 24 against Bowling Green State University where more than 14,000 people attended.

Leah Graham, outreach recycling coordinator for Facilities Planning and Operations at Kent State, says there were a record number of 18 Kent State student volunteers at the event.

“They helped encourage fans to recycle, know what is and isn’t recyclable, and they also did a stadium sweep at the end of the game to help collect recyclables,” Graham says.

Graham says after five hours of tailgating and the football game, the attendees generated 6,147 pounds of waste and 2,907 pounds of it was recycled. She explained how 4.6 metric tons of greenhouse gases were avoided, which is the equivalent to taking a car off the road for about 10 months.

Graham says she received great feedback about the Game Day Challenge from football game attendees and student volunteers.

“One of the students said when they were going through the stadium, Kent State President Beverly Warren thanked them for what they were doing, so that was exciting for them,” Graham says.

Kent State is currently hosting another recycling challenge, RecycleMania, which began Feb. 7 and runs through April 2.

For more information about Kent State’s sustainability efforts, visit www.kent.edu/sustainability.

WKSU has launched a new website design to respond to the general increase in online viewing from mobile devices. WKSU.org is now responsive, allowing the layout to instantly adapt to screen sizes ranging from desktop and laptop to smartphone and tablet. The website is built in conjunction with NPR Digital Services to coordinate with the NPR Application Programming Interface (API).

Popular features from WKSU’s previous design, such as the music playlist and posts of WKSU News reports, are available through a cleaner looking front page and streamlined navigation. WKSU.org continues to offer four distinct audio streams: the on-air stream, FolkAlley.com, all Classical and 24-hour News, now accessed from a persistent player that creates a seamless listening experience from page to page. Visitors also will find station events, information from area arts and cultural organizations, details on WKSU membership and underwriting opportunities and more.

“We built the new WKSU.org to be Northeast Ohio’s news home,” says Chuck Poulton, WKSU’s director of information technology and engineering. “Its responsive design makes it easy for people to view the website on multiple devices, so that they can find the latest news from WKSU and NPR anywhere they go, any time of day, conveniently and efficiently.”

Future plans for the website include a rollout of WKSU news podcasts, including weekly conversations with sports writer Terry Pluto, Quick Bites segments on food and eating, Exploradio reports on research and innovation and the new State of the Arts series. The “ArtsLink” arts and culture listing will be transitioned into a new event calendar, currently in development, in late spring. Past stories from WKSU news are still available as archived posts

WKSU is an award-winning public radio station and service of Kent State University that broadcasts to 22 counties in Northeast Ohio from the station’s primary signal at 89.7. WKSU content also can  be heard over WKRW 89.3 (Wooster), WKRJ 91.5 (Dover/New Philadelphia), WKSV 89.1 (Thompson), WNRK 90.7 (Norwalk) and W239AZ 95.7 (Ashland). The station adds WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel over HD Radio and as streaming audio at www.wksu.org.