Blog to enable community input in educational needs research

Jackie Valley

Kent State, Lakeland begin second phase of NE Ohio study

Kent State and Lakeland Community College are launching the second phase of their study to determine the educational needs of three Northeast Ohio counties by creating a blog for community input.

The two institutions announced their plans in December to conduct a study in Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake counties to evaluate whether collaboration is needed to expand degree programs in the region.

K. Marie David, director of regional development and outreach marketing, said the study seeks to answer two key questions about educational opportunities in the region.

• To participate in the study, go to the blog for community input at The blog will be open through May 23.

“If there are barriers, what are they, and how can we address those needs?” she said.

David said the blog – open for comment through May 23 – serves as the vehicle for community participation. Phase two also includes public discussions with faculty and community leaders, a gap analysis of the counties to discover unmet needs and a survey of community members.

For phase one, David said the institutions interviewed students and used existing information to develop a background for the remainder of the study.

“Now that we have that foundation, we’re getting more interviews and more details about the barriers to higher education,” she said.

David said the study aligns with Chancellor Eric Fingerhut’s goal of increasing collaboration among Ohio’s public institutions to provide more avenues for Ohioans to receive higher education degrees.

“The intent is to expand educational opportunities,” she said, adding that existing programs will not be shrunk or cut as a result of the study.

David said the third phase of the study will involve analyzing the data gathered from the first two phases to help decide the best methods to expand educational opportunities in Northeast Ohio. The research portion of the study should be completed in June.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].