Kent State Board of Trustees Approves Master’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies

The Kent State University Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a new master’s degree that will help meet two decades of sustained growth in the broad field of conflict studies. The new Peace and Conflict Studies major within the Master of Arts degree will be offered in person on the Kent Campus and will prepare students for careers as practitioners in the fields of peace and conflict management and for doctorate study.

The School of Peace and Conflict Studies is Kent State’s “living memorial” to the four students killed by members of the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970. For nearly 50 years, Kent State has offered an undergraduate degree in this field, and for the past 10 years, the school has offered graduate courses in the conflict analysis and management concentration in master’s and doctoral degrees in political science.

With the new master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, the school will expand upon and enhance Kent State’s graduate program offerings and attract new graduate students. The program will provide students with a more complete grounding in the field of peace and conflict studies and will include concentrations in distinct subfields of the discipline. The College of Arts and Sciences will establish the new major, effective fall 2023, pending final approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Board Approves Four Naming Actions

To recognize the generosity of Lawrence R. and Sandra C. Armstrong in providing gifts totaling $1 million to provide education-abroad support through the Global Education Endowment, the Board approved naming the Architecture Program in Florence, Italy, the Lawrence R. and Sandra C. Armstrong Architecture Study Abroad Program. Lawrence Armstrong graduated from Kent State in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in architecture and a Bachelor of Architecture in 1980. Sandra Armstrong attended Kent State and studied theatre and dance. The Armstrongs are long-standing, generous supporters of Kent State who currently serve as co-chairs of the Campaign Executive Committee of the Forever Brighter campaign, the university’s largest-ever comprehensive campaign that is rapidly approaching its $350 million goal.

In recognition of the generous gifts by Judith and Thomas Phares totaling $1.25 million that provide endowed support to the Global Education Endowment, the Board approving naming the Global Issues Program the Phares Program in Global Issues. Judith Phares is a Kent State alumna who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1966. Supporters of higher education in Northeast Ohio, the Phares have created a scholarship to support studying abroad, as they both believe in the benefits of an international education. With this additional gift to the Global Education Endowment, they will help ensure that even more Kent State students have opportunities to study abroad. The Phares Program in Global Issues is located at Kent State’s flagship center in Florence, Italy. 

To recognize Donald S. Grant’s commitment to support the construction of Crawford Hall, the new home of the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship that is currently under construction, the Board approved naming the atrium of the building the Donald S. and Johnna F. Grant Atrium. Donald Grant graduated from Kent State in 1970 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics. He was an early and generous supporter of the Crawford Hall building project, for which the Board previously named the Donor Recognition Lounge in his honor. The naming of the atrium recognizes his additional gift totaling $1 million that benefits the students, faculty and staff of the college.

The Board approved naming the store in the Kent State University Museum the Dixie Lee Davis Museum Store in recognition of the generosity of Dixie Lee Davis in providing gifts totaling $100,000 to enhance the visitor experience at the museum. Davis has been tagged as “one of the chicest women in town” and a “Cleveland-area fashion icon.” She worked in the fashion industry for almost 70 years and has been recognized as an authority on women’s fashion trends, a subject on which she continues to advise the luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue. The museum’s store is located within the lobby of the Kent State University Museum.

The Board also heard an additional naming action that has been approved by the university president, who has the Board’s delegated authority to approve philanthropic naming opportunities with a total value or cost under $100,000. The president approved the naming of the Cheryl Swinehart Dariushnia Laboratory located on the third floor of Merrill Hall. The laboratory conducts innovative, cutting-edge research in the field of sociology. Dariushnia, who graduated from Kent State in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, had a lifelong interest in sociology. The laboratory has been named in her memory through a $50,000 gift from her son, Ali Dariushnia.

Board Ratifies Fiscal Year 2022 Efficiency Report

The Board ratified the university’s Fiscal Year 2022 Efficiency Report, which indicated effectiveness and savings for Fiscal Year 2022. The report is submitted annually to the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

The Fiscal Year 2022 report focuses on regional collaborations, the impact of policy reforms, such as the implementation of the Second Chance Grants, and academic practices related to textbook affordability. For instance, nearly 1,300 course sections utilizing the Flash Books program amounted to more than $1.8 million in savings to Kent State students for the prior academic year. The report also highlights several collaborations with Stark State College, Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and others.

Among other Board actions: 

  • The Board confirmed the conferral of a total of 1,163 degrees for summer 2022 on those Kent State students who have been officially recorded by the University Registrar as having completed the requirements of their respective programs of study during the period of May 15, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2022.
  • The Board approved a new university policy regarding campus free speech. Given its standing as one of the nation’s top research universities and its unique history, Kent State has a deep and abiding commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, which is reflected throughout its core values and institutional policies. Following a review of existing policies and processes, the university administration recommended that the new policy be adopted to ensure conformity with Ohio law, including but not limited to Section 3345.0215 of the Ohio Revised Code and the Ohio Campus Free Speech Standards. The establishment of University Policy 3342-5-23 Regarding Campus Free Speech will be effective Jan. 1, 2023.
  • The Board approved the College of the Arts to revise the degree designation of the Art Education major from the Bachelor of Arts to the Bachelor of Fine Arts, effective fall 2023. The Bachelor of Fine Arts is the preferred undergraduate degree for those seeking careers in the arts.
  • The Board approved the College of Education, Health and Human Services to revise the name of the Speech Language Pathology major to the Communication Sciences and Disorders major within the Doctor of Philosophy degree, effective fall 2023. Renaming the university’s program will allow faculty to better communicate to prospective students the nature of a cohesive research doctoral degree that offers a range of educational opportunities to study communication sciences (e.g., speech science, language science, cognitive science, and developmental speech and language science) and disorders (e.g., autism, age-related changes in communication and hearing, and the mechanism of swallowing).
  • The Board approved the College of Applied and Technical Studies to inactivate the Legal Assisting Technology major within the Associate of Applied Science degree, effective fall 2023. Established at Kent State University at East Liverpool in 1991 and at Kent State University at Trumbull in 1996, there has been a steady decline in enrollment at both Regional Campuses with the last students enrolled in the program at Kent State East Liverpool graduating in spring 2007 and the last student who enrolled in the program at Kent State Trumbull graduating in spring 2022.
  • The Board approved the university to enter into a contract(s) with the selected vendor(s) for the purchase of electricity, if the cost is lower than the Standard Service Offer and will not exceed $4 million on an annual basis, for up to a three-year term. The university has issued a request for qualifications to pre-qualify potential bidders for participation in a reverse action to determine the lowest cost qualified supplier for the Kent State campuses. The results of the reverse auction will be compared with the Standard Service Offer to determine the method that provides the best value.
  • The Board approved second amendments to two construction projects on the Kent Campus due to unprecedented instabilities in the construction market and building commodities that have resulted in historic cost inflation and due to unforeseen conditions that require additional expenditures for both projects:
    • The Rockwell Hall addition and renovations has been approved to proceed with the design and construction of this project at an amended cost of $8.08 million. At its May 2022 meeting, the Board previously approved renovations to Rockwell Hall with an amended project budget of $7.9 million. Higher than expected heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) repairs and replacements, as well as the severely damaged underlying terrazzo floor, which was planned to be refinished, require a budget amendment of $180,000 that will be funded from university local funds.
    • The Aeronautics and Engineering Building addition has been approved to proceed with the design and construction of the project at an amended cost of $24.1 million. At its December 2021 meeting, the Board previously approved the construction of an addition to the Aeronautics and Engineering Building with an amended project budget of $23.1 million. Construction inflation and significant and unforeseen ground conditions that require almost $500,000 to correct water and sewer infrastructure necessitate a budget amendment of $1 million that will be funded by university local funds.

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Media Contacts: 
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797 
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Wednesday, December 7, 2022 02:52 PM
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 14, 2022 11:22 AM
University Communications and Marketing