Tuscarawas branch connected, but is not owned by Kent State

Michelle Moore

Situated in Appalachia, a federally designated area of socio-economic stress, the Tuscarawas campus is the only university branch district in the state of Ohio.

In the mid 1960s, legislation was created through the Ohio Revised Code 3355 that enabled communities to create a university branch district. According to the Ohio Revised Code, a university district has all the powers of a corporation and is organized to operate a branch university district within the territory of that district.

As a result, the Tuscarawas campus is not owned by Kent State. The University District Board of Trustees owns the campus.

Tuscarawas Campus Dean Gregg Andrews said what that has led to is a unique sense of partnership between the community and the campus.

“We owe our very existence to this community,” he said.

The university district comprises a seven-member board of trustees who are appointed by the Tuscarawas county commissioners. The Board of Trustees has the option of contracting with any university or becoming an individual entity. A university contract can be from as few as four years to as many as 10.

The campus is in its seventh year of a 10-year agreement with Kent State, which it has contracted with for programs and services since opening in 1968.

Andrews said the community really wanted to have the opportunity to provide higher education in this rural area of Ohio.

“Our focus as a regional campus in the Kent State system, as well as a regional campus in the Appalachian region, means that we need to focus very heavily on access, affordability and a student population that has not been historically involved in higher education,” he said.

The campus also has its own Tuscarawas County University Foundation, separate from the Kent State University Foundation, which comprises a 12-member board – nine at-large members and three members of the university district board of trustees.

The Tuscarawas County University Foundation works to enhance scholarship opportunities for students at the Tuscarawas campus. It also assists with fundraising campaigns for capital projects and other important campus development projects.

“There is a lot of support in the community for this campus,” Andrews said. “I think it is a reciprocal relationship – we are heavily engaged, linked to and partnered with the local community.”

New Philadelphia mayor Ron Brodzinski said he values the relationship he and the community have with the campus. He said it has been a great pleasure to work with Kent State and the staff, and to participate in campus activities.

“The campus is an integral part of the New Philadelphia community,” Brodzinski said.

He said if it wasn’t for the Tuscarawas campus, the community wouldn’t be as far along economically as it is.

“This is a community that clearly has a can-do attitude, that we can accomplish a lot for a small rural community,” Andrews said. “This is a community that is very much forward thinking . this is a community that thinks that we have a great future ahead of us.”

Contact regional campuses reporter Michelle Moore at [email protected]