Faculty Senate sees switch from Blackboard to Canvas in Kent State’s future

The Faculty Senate discussed a potential switch to Canvas in the coming years and what the new year holds for the university at their monthly meeting Nov. 9.

Shelley Marshall, a computer technology lecturer who has worked to review how the university’s online environment needs to change, said that the completed review decided that Canvas would be the best platform to update the current Learning Management System.

Members of the board expressed their concerns about the migration of information from Blackboard to Canvas, which will be aided by committees built to help instructors move information. 

Marshall said that the switch to Canvas will be lengthy. 

“We’re aiming to make the full transition in 18 months,” James Raber, executive director of information services and chairman of the LMS review, said.

Marshall also discussed the universities use of Scantrons and the potential implementation of Gradescope, an online portal used to administer and grade assessments. 

University President Todd Diacon spoke to the board about how potential cuts may have to be made to the university budget. Diacon stressed the three core values of the university and suggested current spending may be re-organized in order to protect university values.

Diacon also discussed how COVID-19 has brought opportunities to the university. 

“In a post-pandemic world, will we see more employees and students stagger in their use of our physical facilities?” Diacon asked. He suggested that planned renovations be thought out to include how the university population will utilize campus after the pandemic.

“We’re thinking about how we can better use our resources coming out of the pandemic, even if our budgetary challenges continue,” Diacon said. 

Diacon also celebrated Kent State being named the fourth best employer in Ohio by Forbes. The university follows behind Procter & Gamble in first, Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati at second, and Children’s Hospital of Columbus in third.

In new business, concerns over international students time difference from Kent was discussed, asking faculty to record classes for international students. Residence halls for international students were also a concern, considering the pandemic and the closing of residence halls over break. 

“Historically, residence halls do close over winter break, but under the current circumstances I don’t know if our international students are being advised not to leave the country if possible,” Char Pamela Grimm said.

Dr. Lamar Hylton, Vice President of Division of Student Affairs, said that the university works with international students on a circumstantial basis on staying in the residence halls over university breaks. 

“Certainly this year we would want to pay close attention to that process given the dynamics of how the fall semester is shaking out, as well as impacts of the pandemic on our ability to travel internationally,” Hylton said.

No correspondence has gone out to international students about staying on campus over break.

The board meets monthly to discuss university proceedings and future changes. Meetings are held on the second Monday of each month at 3:20 p.m.

Megan McSweeney covers administration. Contact her at [email protected].


Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.