Faculty Senate passes OCPM acquisition, new institute

Carrie Blazina

Faculty Senate unanimously approved at its Monday meeting the acquisition of the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine. It officially passed a motion to grant doctoral degrees for podiatric medicine and establish a College of Podiatric Medicine at Kent State.

The process to acquire the OCPM has been in the works for more than a year, President Lester Lefton said.

“This really is a big deal, and it’s been done in a relatively short period of time with no rancor,” Lefton said, and he said he thanked all the officials involved in the process.

Deborah Smith, an associate philosophy professor and senator, said the OCPM acquisition is “a very interesting opportunity for the university,” but also foresees some problems.

“If [OCPM’s faculty] are brought in as non-tenure-track faculty, as we were originally told they would be, then … there’s a limited number of NTT representation,” Smith said. “They wouldn’t necessarily have a representative from their college because there isn’t an NTT rep from every college.”

She said there were also some grumblings at Monday’s meeting that their faculty would be a third kind of faculty, in addition to NTT and tenure-track faculty, which is unprecedented. Smith said “there hasn’t yet been sufficient thought given to how the governance structure is going to work.”

The last hurdle for the OCPM acquisition is approval by the Board of Trustees. Officials had initially planned to propose the OCPM acquisition at the board’s June meeting, but Lefton said that will happen at its Wednesday meeting.

The senate also unanimously voted to establish a Cuban Studies Institute at Kent State. Provost Robert Frank spoke on behalf of the institute’s creation, and said the provost’s office has committed two years of funding to the institute.

“The challenge would be to go out and bring together across all colleges of the university programs that will be of interest to funders and the greater educational program,” Frank said, “and at the end of this time will be a review by the university … to see how much progress we’ve had.”

Another proposal that passed unanimously will make some changes to the course and program name approval processes. Therese Tillett, director of curriculum services, said the main changes are:

—Course changes within a university requirement such as the Kent Core or diversity requirement used to be approved by the Educational Policy Council and then Faculty Senate. Now it is only approved by the University Requirements Curriculum Council.

—Concentrations within majors are now approved by the appropriate department instead of the EPC.

“We’re now saying it’s really within the purview of the college to have final approval, and they’ll just send EPC a notification,” Tillett said.

—The creation of a certificate is now voted on by the EPC, not the department or college, because of changing federal regulations.

—Faculty Senate will now be the final approver for changes made to the names of academic units (departments, colleges) or majors, instead of the Board of Trustees.

Lefton addressed the senate about the recent capital budget struggles and said the money the university has received from the state “clearly falls far short in addressing critical needs in our academic infrastructure.”

He announced that until needs in other areas are addressed, he will be putting the Risman Plaza renovations on hold indefinitely. The plans would have included the construction of a clock tower in the plaza.

“[The renovation is] key to continued development of a welcoming campus … but it will have to happen after the classrooms are done, the student performance spaces are done and we’ve met [Americans with Disability Act] concerns,” Lefton said.

Some senators at the meeting especially complained about the state of some buildings that are not up to date, especially Van Deusen Hall, which Lefton called “the worst building on campus,” and the Art Building.

Lefton said the university has to work within the state budget and for now these are projects they will work toward in the future.

The senate’s next meeting is April 9 at 3:20 p.m. in the Student Center Governance Chambers.

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].