Lefton speaks at USAC meeting, promotes ‘helping environment’

Jackie Valley

President Lester Lefton told the University Staff Advisory Council Friday that Kent State needs to create a “helping environment” to solve student problems quickly and efficiently.

Lefton said the goal is to avoid bouncing students around campus before they can find the right person to answer a question or solve a problem.

“We’ve built walls up around our divisions and I think it’s important to create a helping environment that cuts across those divisions,” he said.

Lefton said the initiative is part of “excellence in action” — and one that applies to all faculty and staff members.

“All of these pieces together in total make up the whole organism we call Kent State,” he said.

Beyond each person taking the time to address a student’s needs, Lefton said the university may need to develop an intelligence system so faculty and staff can point students in the right direction.

Lefton also asked any interested staff member to join the Commission on Inclusion, a study commission he announced in November to “look at how to create the best possible environment so people feel safe to be who they are.”

Lefton said he has already written to campus clubs, departments and deans, asking them to nominate people to serve on the commission, which will first meet in January.

Carla Wyckoff, coordinator of communications for Human Resources and co-chair of USAC, said the council meets 10 times per year as an opportunity for staff employees to gain feedback about university issues they may be impacted by and to share information with colleagues.

Friday’s meeting, which included all regional campuses via a videoconference, marked the second time Lefton met with the group.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].