Faculty Senate discusses changes to commencement, fall schedule

Sydney Purtee

The Faculty Senate discussed commencement changes and future enrollment plans during their meeting on Monday.

Faculty Senate Chair Pam Grimm centered conversation around the May 4 commemoration. Grimm spoke about how she was grateful that the university is finally taking responsibility for the events of May 4, and extended her gratitude to the May 4 Task Force.

President Beverly Warren, seemingly nostalgic, stood in front of the members of the Faculty Senate and personally thanked them for everything they do. She also commented that since it is her last semester, she is truly indulging in the events and embracing the rituals of Kent State.

Warren said how thankful she is to be this year’s commencement speaker, but voiced her hesitation, joking that she “certainly isn’t Batman.”

Lashonda Taylor, the executive director of university events and protocol, sent out a survey after commencement in the spring last year to receive feedback on the event. Upon receiving a tremendous amount of replies, Taylor came up with about seven changes that were made to commencement this year in order to please the public.

The goal is to make commencement shorter and more accessible. Details on the changes are to come.

Mary Parker, the newly hired Vice President for enrollment management, updated Faculty Senate on her efforts to increase enrollment in the fall.

Enrollment has been down in recent years, but Parker said she is working hard on coming up with strategies to increase numbers. She is also working on the retention rates and scholarships available for students.

Associate Provost Marcello Fantoni and associate professor Swathi Ravichandran presented increased study abroad efforts through the Internationalization Efforts and the Global Initiative on Campus.

The two spoke about their efforts to broaden the options for locations that students are able to travel to. Fantoni and Ravichandran also informed the meeting attendees that study abroad participation numbers have doubled since last year and Kent State is in the top 3 percent of U.S. institutions for studying abroad.

The last item discussed included a nomenclature recommendation for the fall term weeks.

Associate professor Deborah Smith discussed the addition of fall break this past school year, and how classes starting in the middle of the week caused confusion for some faculty and students. There was no consistency in how faculty were labeling their syllabus weeks, and students were getting mixed up between their classes on what week it truly was.

The Faculty Senate’s Professional Standards Committee agreed on a recommendation that instructors label the first half-week of classes “Week 0” or “Welcome Week.”

Sydney Purtee covers academic affairs. Contact her at [email protected].