Colleges prep for fall semester

Allison Smith

While students rest, faculty and staff work

An employee rewires the information desk of the Student Center on Monday afternoon. Jon Harper, Assistant Director of the Student Center, says that the new location of the desk will make it more approachable for students. The project will be completed b

Credit: DKS Editors

Once students leave for summer break, faculty and staff begin running in fast-forward mode in order to be prepared for the fall semester to begin.

The university does general preparations such as renovations, arrangement of classes and making sure technology works, President Lester Lefton said.

“You can’t go any place on campus without seeing work people fixing things, putting in new technology, improving air conditioning and heating systems, patching walls, installing AV equipment in classes, new desks,” Lefton said. “That’s a huge task, there are work people all over campus. That’s one of the significant things that goes on during summer time.”

Lefton said there are people working all year long, and especially in the summer, who are making sure everything works.

“People do all this work. It doesn’t happen magically,” Lefton said.

Within the university, each college is making its own preparations for the students’ return in the fall. While much of what they prepare for is similar, each college has something unique that has to be done before students head to classes in the fall.

College of Architecture and Environmental Design:

This college is unique because it is design studio oriented in both architecture and interior design, said Dean James Dalton. He said, for example, they have seven second-year architecture studios and they’re all coordinated. A faculty member is in charge of each studio, and they meet often to coordinate the entire year level. He said there are coordinators for each year level who also meet on a regular basis.

“We also have a lot of ongoing changes at any given time,” Dalton said.

He said they start having full-faculty meetings in the middle of August.

“We start meetings like mad to get ready for the fall to make sure that everybody is off and running on day one,” Dalton said.

College of The Arts:

Ralph Lorenz, the interim associate dean, said each school in the college has a retreat, or an extended faculty meeting, the week before school begins. The current discussion in the College of the Arts and the first year course is being planned.

“Each college has planned their own version of that course,” Lorenz said.

He said they are looking at how May 4th relates to the arts and the culture of the time and how to bring that into a modern discussion of culture.

Lorenz said different committees meet throughout the year and are always looking ahead.

“Even though the students and most of the classes are off during the summer, we still have quite a few committees that continue meeting during the summer,” Lorenz said.

College of Arts and Sciences:

Tim Moore, associate dean of advising and undergraduate affairs , has plans for the college to have greater presence beyond the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We expect (faculty advisers) to advise the students relative to the major and the minor and any career possibilities and options that might be available to them as a result of that major or minor,” Moore said.

The college is also working with the university’s efforts to decentralize advising.

“It fits with Kent State currently because each college has a particular way by which they handle their advising processes,” Moore said. “Our college has both faculty advisers and professional advisers. Other colleges don’t necessarily use faculty advisers.”

College of Business Administration:

All of the faculty in this college have been intensely scheduled because of the Destination Kent program for freshmen, said Marene Sanders, the director for undergraduate programs.

“It never stops,” Sanders said. “There is no specific preparation for a term, generally, that isn’t ongoing.”

Sanders said for the first time advisers are being assigned to students as opposed to letting the students select their own adviser.

She said a big preparation, also, is for the freshman course in the fall semester.

“We’ve always had a huge business flavor for our (First Year Experiences),” Sanders said. “This year, though, more faculty will be teaching it, and that’s a university push.”

Sanders said most students don’t think about probations and dismissals for students who aren’t doing well academically.

“I would say most students don’t understand what all we’re doing all summer long,” Sanders said. “People think ‘Oh, I’m on vacation. They must be on vacation.'”

College of Communication and Information:

Associate director Greg Blase said a big part of preparing for the fall is looking at class schedules.

“As you approach the fall semester, you have to look at enrollment in classes,” Blase said. “Some classes may get filled, and we need to add other sections, some classes may not get filled and we have to cancel them.”

Blase said the college looks at what the enrollment is going to be and that gives them an idea of how many students are going to be coming and how many are going to be taking classes.

He said students don’t think much about faulty teaching loads and the amount of students needed in the class in order for it to occur.

“Another thing we do a lot during the summer is advising so that students have the right schedule for the fall,” Blase said. “A lot of students wait until the summer because they’re not sure what summer classes they’re going to take.

“The other thing is that if students are taking classes during the summer that are prerequisites for other classes, they won’t know whether they’ve completed the prerequisites successfully until they’ve finished the class.”

College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services:

The advisers in this college are constantly reviewing and updating processes and procedures to better serve students, said Charity Snyder, director of undergraduate advising and licensure for the school.

“Summer is a time when we reflect on the past year and see what has worked and what has not, and determine a plan for future improvements,” Snyder said in an e-mail.

The college is also getting ready for the incoming freshmen and the first year experience course by preparing presentations to be given to all sections of the class, Snyder said.

“The office prepares an undergraduate student newsletter so students know what is new, different, important, etc., for the new semester,” Snyder said.

She said an e-mail is also sent out to students telling them about important dates and deadlines.

College of Nursing:

“We are trying to get everyone oriented to the many changes happening at the university,” said Laura Dzurec, dean of the college.

In addition to first year experience, these things include: making sure everyone is up to speed on technology; allocating enough budget to cover things that need to be covered; making sure people know who they need to go to if they have questions; making sure students have clinical placements and hospital contracts are in place; making sure new faculty have e-mail access; and many other things.

“We do a number of activities,” Dzurec said. These include an alumni event in which they recognize alumni leaders, convocations and commencement. Dzurec said the college needs to make sure these events are scheduled without any conflicts.

College of Technology:

“I think the biggest misconception is that we’re not here during the summer time,” said Michael Gershe, the academic adviser coordinator. “Everyone thinks ‘Oh, have a nice summer,’ well, as administrators or advisers, we’re still here.”

Faculty go through files and deal with students who have to be dismissed.

“The college of tech is a little bit different because we’re a little bit smaller,” Gershe said.

He said the college tries to build a community and tries to make a connection with new students.

“Now, if anything else, the students are making those connections before they come to school,” Gershe said. “So they can Facebook those new friends or keep in touch with them so that when school starts, they know other faces in there.”

He said the first year experience class will be more faculty driven so there will be a bond with the faculty as well as the students.

The college of technology is also doing some construction over the summer. Gershe said it is converting three classrooms into an air-traffic-control lab.

“It’s going to have the flight simulators and the flight tower, all that type of stuff in there,” Gershe said. “Usually in the summer there’s a lot of construction.”

Honors College:

“During the summer, it’s really a constant challenge to keep track of everyone who has accepted membership in the honors college,” said Becky Gares, coordinator of advising and communication.

The Honors College has staff members who are involved in planning activities and events throughout the year.

“Some of the things that we have traditionally are this fall, like the second day of class, we’re going to have a cookout here on the plaza,” Gares said.

One of the biggest activities that happens over the summer is assigning advisers to students.

“The student usually stays with that adviser their whole time in the honors college,” Gares said.

Contact principal reporter Allison Smith at [email protected].