Provost announces freshmen initiative

Jackie Valley

Groups of students to be monitored for progress

Provost Robert Frank announced two pilot summer programs for incoming freshmen aimed at bolstering student retention at the first Faculty Senate meeting of the semester yesterday.

“In my time here, I’ve realized just how complex a problem this is,” he said.

Frank said the two new programs, called the President’s Academy and the Kent State Academy, will target two groups of students at opposite ends of the academic spectrum — students at the top of the incoming freshman class and students with lower academic qualifications.

Forty students will be admitted to each program, he said, with students in the President’s Academy possessing high school grade point averages higher than 3.5 and ACT scores higher than 24. The Kent State Academy will cater to incoming freshman who have grade point averages lower than 2.5.

Frank did not elaborate what the students will do during the programs at the meeting.

Frank said Kent State retains 86.7 percent of the high-achieving high school students compared to about 54 percent of students with lower high school qualifications.

Although both programs seek to get Kent State students involved on campus earlier, Frank said the Kent State Academy will aim to “enhance their skills so they can do better when they get here.”

Then, he said the university will monitor both sets of students’ progress during their freshman year.

Frank said Kent State’s current 72.5 percent retention rate needs to be bumped up to 78 percent — or 84 percent like Miami University.

In addition, Frank said academic affairs is still putting a large portion of its focus on international efforts.

“We believe any university that succeeds globally will excel locally,” he said.

Frank said only 400 Kent State students studied abroad this semester — a figure he thinks should be tripled.

Current efforts underway to increase international study include better implementing the Florence program and the establishment of a Kent State Beijing Center where the university is looking into student recruitment opportunities for American and Chinese students, he said.

The Faculty Senate also approved the Responsibility Center Management guidelines and implementation recommendations made by the Budget Review Committee after discussing the importance of placing academic priorities at the forefront of RCM budget transition.

George Garrison, professor of Pan-African studies, asked the Senate to consider “What’s paramount?” — the RCM budget model or the Academic Plan.

Timothy Chandler, dean of the College of the Arts and a member of the committee, said academics will drive the implementation of the RCM budget model.

“Once academic priorities are developed, then RCM may need to change,” he said. “The academic priorities will lead this change.”

“We spent long hours discussing the fact that academic priorities had to be the number one feature in the model.”

In other business, the Faculty Senate:

• discussed the regional campuses administrative reorganization and realignment so that regional campus deans now report only to the provost.

• approved the revision of academic policy of grade recalculation for associate degrees.

• approved the establishment of a managerial marketing major within the bachelor’s of business degree program.

• approved the revision of the marketing major within the bachelor’s of business administration degree program.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].