1 University Commission invites student opinion

Hanna Moore

The 1 University Commission, which President Beverly Warren formed in September, has been working to find solutions to better connect Kent State’s eight campuses. 

The commission, headed by Warren and Todd Diacon, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs, has since divided into four sub-committees — structure and leadership, academics and curriculum, faculty roles and responsibilities and student experiences — that will present their findings in early 2015 to Warren. 

“The first thing that I see is that we need our policies and procedures and practices to more closely resemble a one-university structure,” Warren said. “Right now, regional campuses are somewhat autonomous and then somewhat driven by Kent campus policies and practices. So I think pulling together, it’s a 31-person committee commission of staff and students.” 

The commission gathers input from students during listening posts, online discussions and anonymous surveys, said Jennifer Kramer, director of public relations and marketing for the College of Communication and Information. 

The first listening post was at East Liverpool on Nov. 19 and allowed students, faculty and staff to complete a survey and speak with 1 University Commission committee members. 

The committee members will visit each campus, ending with Geauga on Dec. 4. 

The online discussion takes place on Civic Commons, a nonprofit, nonpartisan discussion website, and features a video message from Diacon, a schedule of the listening post dates and questions that students can answer. The discussion topics on Civic Commons correspond with each sub-committee’s focus. 

The subcommittees have posted three questions so far and will keep releasing new questions until Dec. 3. The discussion questions will be open until Dec. 19, when people will still be able to view the questions and answers but will no longer be able to respond. 

“The model was first used when the university was working through its academic affairs strategic plan in late 2012, and it was the first of its kind that the Civic Commons had done,” Kramer said. “The university engagement has since become the model for the Civic Commons to use with university clientele. After the success with the previous campaign, the university has circled back to the previous structure with the new campaign.”

Students, faculty and staff members have contributed to the discussion by responding to the different prompts.

“Congratulations to President Warren,” said Keegan Gillilan, who has participated in the online discussion. “I really appreciate her looking for opportunities to be creative by looking for ways to communicate with the students and to listen to what they have to say.”

Gillilan, a sophomore exercise science major, said he kept up with the different discussion posts by looking to see what people were saying in between going to class and working on homework. He said he wanted to participate in the online discussion because the lack of school spirit at Kent State bothered him. 

“Nobody has pride in the fact that they are a Kent State student,” Gillilan said. “I think that if the new president is going to come in and have a method to look for positive change, all it takes is a small percent of the school to stand up and have their voices heard.”

Each discussion topic has a link to the subcommittee’s survey that corresponds with it. The surveys, which are run by Qualtrics, each contain four-to-six fill-in questions that ask specific questions about problems within each subcommittee’s realm. 

So far, hundreds of students have completed the online survey, said Iris Harvey, vice president of University Relations. 

Contact Hanna Moore at [email protected].

Marissa Barnhart contributed to reporting.