Graduate school combines all nine colleges

Nick Glunt

The graduate school at Kent State will streamline its programs into one college of Graduate Studies throughout the 2010-11 academic years to allow for more uniform policies within the graduate schools.

“It’s not that there was anything wrong (with the previous system),” said Mary Ann Stephens, interim dean of Graduate Studies, “but what we’re trying to do is have more coordination among the graduate schools.”

The program was changed from one college to three separate colleges for graduate school in 1973, Stephens said. Each school had a dean and a vice president to oversee them.

As the vice president position was phased out, however, each college began to operate independent of one another, Stephens said. This resulted in differing policies among the graduate colleges.

Currently, the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services; and the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management each operate independently, with the other seven academic colleges operating under the Division of Graduate Studies.

The aim here, Stephens said, is to unify all nine colleges of graduate studies under a single division, the name of which has yet to be finalized.

Provost Robert Frank put Stephens in charge of evaluating the benefits of an integrated graduate program in the fall of 2009. In spring 2010, a taskforce of faculty, staff and graduate students presented its opinions to Frank. After discussions with President Lester Lefton, Frank has decided to apply the taskforce’s recommendations.

Frank and Associate Provost Tim Chandler were both unavailable for comment.

Stephens said the university hopes to recruit more, higher-quality graduate students through this unified program.

“(The integrated college) will be able to advocate for graduate education and graduate students,” she said.

Stephens said that because this change will bolster the reputation of the university’s graduate program, the university will be able to market Graduate Studies to encourage more student and faculty applicants.

With the unification of all nine colleges, however, comes more work for the soon-to-be single college.

“The largest task is that all graduate applications for master’s and doctorate degrees will ultimately come through the new Graduate Studies College,” she said.

Contact administration reporter Nick Glunt at [email protected].