Q&A with new Vice President of Regional Campuses Peggy Shadduck

Margaret (Peggy) Shadduck is the vice president for Regional Campuses and dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies.

Margaret (Peggy) Shadduck is the vice president for Regional Campuses and dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies.

Olivia Futo Reporter

Serving as a voice for students and faculty, Kent State’s new Vice President of Regional Campuses Peggy Shadduck plans to focus on advocating for each of the seven branches, she said in an interview with Kent Stater reporter Olivia Futo. Shadduck, who came to Kent State from the University of North Texas, will take over as vice president of regional campuses and dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies in April. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

FUTO: What drew you to apply at Kent State?

SHADDUCK: Well, I’ve been familiar with Kent State my whole life. My family is from Northeastern Ohio, so it has an absolutely wonderful reputation and I have a high level of respect for the university as a whole. I think in particular what drew me to this particular position was the excitement of working with the regional campuses and then also with the College of Applied and Technical Studies.

I just see that in the time where we’re trying to achieve in helping students and helping communities and helping employers to really move forward in our very complex society right now. I see the things that Kent State is doing via the regional campuses to be a key part of that strategy for growth and change and adapting to this really quickly changing world that we’re in. To me that is fun to see what kinds of things we can do to provide the best possible opportunities for people. I think Kent State is set up through the regional campuses with an opportunity to do some things that go beyond what they could do with the Kent campus alone, so together they make something really beautiful and I’m excited to be a part of that.

FUTO: Can you explain your role as vice president of regional campuses?

SHADDUCK: The vice president role is really, in many ways, trying to compliment the great work that each of the deans of each regional campus does. The deans and chief academic officers are the absolute experts for each of those individual regional campuses. They know those communities; they know the students; they know the faculty. …  But the role of the VP for the regional campuses is to really look at a very big picture, to look broadly, at how these regional campuses as a group contribute to the university. The kinds of things that I’ll be doing are looking for things where I need to assist individual regional campuses in terms of advocating for their needs and serving as a voice for them. I’ll be looking very strongly for things that may be in common with [the regional campuses] where they might be able to work together on something. I also will be looking for the opportunities that if we linked a particular program from the Kent campus with one or more at the regional campus, we might provide a better opportunity for students. 

FUTO: What do you see in the future for the regional branches?

SHADDUCK: To me, the most important thing is to first really deeply listen. There are a lot of people who have a lot of experience, a lot of wisdom, a lot of deep passion for what they are working on and that goes from a person who is a part of the ground staff all the way to those campus deans and chief officers. There are ideas that are running around in all kinds of peoples’ heads. And so one of the first things that I hope to do is to really listen to some of the great ideas and to develop some processes where we’re regularly pulling out some of those great ideas. 

OLIVIA FUTO: What would you tell students who are feeling hesitant about going to one of the regional campuses as opposed to the main campus?

SHADDUCK: I think that depends on the student. There are so many different motivations for individuals to pursue higher education. For some people, there is a very important location tie, and the regional campuses can provide an opportunity where going to the Kent campus is not realistic for them at all. It’s too far or too much time. So the regional campuses for some people are opening a door that the Kent campus alone would not allow to be opened. Especially for some of the adult learners or individuals who are juggling jobs, families and mortgages and complications of life, it is often not realistic to try to do a really long commute to be able to take classes. So the regional campuses very much fill that role for some of those students.  

One of the reasons that I’m most excited about what Kent does is by having these regional campuses that do also provide some associate’s degrees as well as providing bachelor’s degrees and providing good access to core curriculum. They have some of the things that are the absolute advantages that are wonderful about community colleges. Community colleges can often be places where there’s a high level of support where you get to really know your faculty well. You may get to take multiple classes with the same faculty members and students, so there is a sense of a little smaller community that can be really nice for many individuals as they are making that transition from high school to their higher education experience. 

FUTO: How do you believe your work has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic? How are you going to be addressing these challenges?

SHADDUCK: The pandemic has certainly provided challenges to absolutely everyone in our lives. I see some of the things that we’ve learned about students in the past year in a more remote learning situation and how to bring people together from a variety of different locations. That is something we will not drop post-pandemic. One of the things I’ll be thinking about, along with a lot of other people, is which of the things that we’ve learned that we really want to keep.

Olivia Futo covers the regional campuses. Contact her at [email protected]