‘Elements of excellence’ reviewed

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Kent State provost looks to define what makes education, life unique and implement ideas for the following year

Employers are looking for Kent State students to have certain skills, such as being able to think critically and have global awareness, Provost Robert Frank said at yesterday’s Educational Policies Council meeting.

Frank presented plans to define what makes the Kent State experience unique, which is a Faculty Senate group in charge of long-range academic planning.

He has identified four “elements of excellence” to focus on: the philosophy of undergraduate education, curriculum, LERs and first-year experience.

For each one, Frank proposed forming a work group to research ideas and possible changes to ultimately improve retention. According to Frank’s proposal, each group will solicit Web-based feedback from the university community.

“When we admit a student, we must expect that they can and will earn a degree,” he said.

Frank said in his presentation that he wants to begin the conversations this December and look at beginning to implement the ideas that result at the end of the 2008-2009 academic year.

The council also voted to establish a Center for Materials Informatics. The center will emphasize information-sharing and research in materials science, which includes work in the fields of liquid crystals and polymers.

Jerry Feezel, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the center will help increase the university’s external grant funding.

“The research from the work of the center and proposals coming out of it will eventually pay back the investment in it,” he said.

Feezel said he hopes to unveil the program this spring.

The council also approved a new associate degree in allied health management technology at the Trumbull campus.

Shirley Barton, executive dean for regional campuses, said the program will help prepare students for careers in health care administration and is being formed in response to needs in the community.

Contact academics reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].