Twinsburg Center is bridging the gap for students

Abby Laner

Imagine a freshman lecture hall full of 500 students compared to being in class with 25 people. Imagine spending $150 on a parking pass instead of parking for free. Despite being so different, these scenarios are very much alike. They are the differences between a class at the Kent campus and a class at the Kent State Geauga Twinsburg Center.

The center, which opened in 1991, started as an educational resource for Daimler-Chrysler employees. The center is now home to 410 Geauga students, four bachelor degrees, a master’s degree in technology and numerous associate degrees.

Director of Admissions and Advising Vania Alvarez-Minah said many students enjoy the campus because of its central location and small town feel.

“Students tend to feel more comfortable and at home at our campus. Many of them use us as a stepping stone to the Kent campus, and many others complete their entire degree here with us,” she said.

The Twinsburg Center building, which is also called the “Old School,” was originally built in 1920 and was the only school in Twinsburg until 1957. The historic building has traditional classroom sizes, which are now seen as an advantage to students and faculty. The average class size at the center is approximately 25 students.

“Students definitely get a more intimate setting and learn some of the basics of being a successful student … including being able to connect to their professors in the small classroom setting,” academic adviser Bryan Bedford said.

Many students are deferred to the Twinsburg Center before entering full time at the Kent campus. Even more students attend the Twinsburg Center because of the convenience. Alvarez-Minah said the student population is dominated by students who work full-time jobs, have families or have some type of financial difficulty.

Classes at the Twinsburg Center are lower in cost compared to the Kent campus. An average three-credit class at the Twinsburg Center costs $651; an average three-credit class at the Kent campus costs $1,152, according to the admissions page of the university Web site. The large difference in price entices many students to the Geauga campus for their higher education purposes.

“By offering lower tuition it gives students who might not have been able to afford college before a second chance and keeps them from not just quitting college all together,” Alvarez-Minah said.

Bedford was a full-time adviser at the Kent campus before coming to the Twinsburg Center. He said he didn’t even know what the Twinsburg Center really was until he started working at it.

“I used to drive by and see the sign. That was about it. Now I am involved in something that truly gives students a phenomenal start into the Kent State system,” he said.

The small campus offers students a one-on-one approach to learning with a student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1. Bedford said he believes students learn how to manage their time wisely and improve valuable study habits at the center. The Twinsburg Center offers students a way to get acquainted with the Kent State system beforehand instead of just throwing them into it on day one of classes.

“The faculty and staff really work with the students to get them ready for their next step, and we also work with the Kent campus transition program to get our students prepared,” Alvarez-Minah said. “I think we truly are bridging the gap for students, whatever that gap may be.”

Contact regional campuses reporter Abby Laner at [email protected].