Cartwright offers tips for Toledo’s issues

Jackie Valley

Former Kent State President Carol Cartwright retired more than one year ago, but her retirement did not signal an end to her influence in higher education – in Ohio and nationwide.

In September, Cartwright traveled to fellow Mid-American Conference school, the University of Toledo, to participate in its President Emeritus in Residence program.

Michelle Martinez, special projects manager for the office of the president at Toledo, said the purpose of the program, initiated by Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs, is to gain firsthand feedback from former presidents of other large, metropolitan universities.

“She expressed what our strengths are and what kind of things we could build upon,” Martinez said, adding that Cartwright is the second president emeritus to participate in the program.

Cartwright said she spent the first and last week of September at Toledo attending meetings and appointments with Board of Trustees members, administrators and students, while offering suggestions about how to approach several issues facing the university.

Cartwright said one challenge facing Toledo is the consolidation of two Faculty Senates since its merger with the Medical University of Ohio in 2006.

While public universities and colleges in Ohio grapple with potential changes resulting from the new university system of Ohio, Cartwright said Toledo has already begun operating as a different type of institution since the merger.

“They are in a very important leadership position in the state of Ohio,” she said.

In addition to discussing shared governance, Martinez said Cartwright provided insight into the National Collegiate Athletic Association as Toledo undergoes its review process with the organization.

Martinez, however, said Cartwright also made time to interact with future university presidents – students working on masters and doctoral degrees in higher education administration.

“That was an amazing experience for people to see through her eyes,” she said, such as being able to hear about Cartwright’s journey to higher education and several of her hard decisions as president of Kent State.

Likewise, Cartwright said her experience on Toledo’s “beautiful campus” provided a similar opportunity.

“I had been there before, but generally just to run in for an event,” she said. “Being there day after day and walking around the campus was a very different experience.”

Martinez said she expects Cartwright to continue acting as a “sounding board” for Jacobs, whom Cartwright plans to meet with again later this month.

In the meantime, Cartwright said she plans to continue her involvement in higher education on the national level.

“I may get more involved in the kind of coaching and informal counseling like I did at the University of Toledo,” she said.

Currently, Cartwright said she makes frequent trips to Washington, D.C. and Indianapolis for work involving her commitments to the NCAA, American Association of Colleges and Universities, Knight Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics and National Public Radio.

Cartwright said she finished her year-long role at Kent State to help transition President Lester Lefton during his first year. Now, between juggling her other commitments, she is ready to enjoy retirement.

“I really wanted to establish a different identity,” she said. “It was exactly the right thing for me to do.

“I was ready to retire.”

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].