Student trustee position needs filled

Jill Byerly

The time has come for Erin Kleman, graduate assistant for the School of Communication Studies, to pass on her position as the graduate student trustee to a new graduate student.

Although the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs is conducting the search, the chairman of the Board of Trustees appoints the student trustee.

“Any faculty or student can nominate any graduate student,” Dean of Students Greg Jarvie said. “We do not currently have any candidates, but in a week from now, the ideal situation would be to have 20 to 25 solid candidates.”

Kleman was nominated by Paul Haridakis, her graduate coordinator for communication studies.

“We are encouraging students to apply for the position if they are interested, even if they are not nominated,” Kleman said.

The position requires a minimum term of two years. The graduate student who is elected for the upcoming term will hold the position until May 16, 2009. Each year the board alternates between replacing the undergrad and graduate student positions.

“The graduate position is a little more exclusive because there are not as many graduate students,” Jarvie said.

Kleman said her usual duties are to attend each of the five yearly board meetings, plus any special meetings. She prepares for the meetings by reading through a book of material provided the week before the meeting.

The student trustee is expected to stay in touch with the Kent State community, both in terms of graduate students and the university as a whole.

“The job is hard in terms of trying to understand the university and how it works,” said Pete Goldsmith, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. “The student trustees have to think about a lot of things that higher-level bodies think about, such as the university and its future.”

Kleman said she is grateful she held the position during President emeritus Carol Cartwright’s retirement process.

“Shortly after the Governor’s Office called me to tell me I was chosen as the student trustee, I received another interesting call,” Kleman said. “Carol Cartwright called me to let me know that she planned on announcing her retirement. Carol’s last year was my first year as a trustee, and it was such a privilege for me to witness the end of her amazing tenure here at Kent (State). Additionally, I have been able to be a part of the presidential search and of President Lefton’s first year. The last two years at Kent has been historical for all of us, but as a trustee, I think I had a special vantage point.”

Jarvie said the graduate student trustee position is about being the objective voice of the graduate student population and voicing appropriate feedback about how students are affected by decisions.

“They are the pulse of the student body,” Jarvie said.

According to Jarvie, the student trustee applicants and nominees should possess qualities such as: outstanding communication skills, leadership skills and experience, the ability to stand up for what they believe in and to be the voice of the students. The student should also have an obvious passion for the university and have an interest in moving it forward.

“You couldn’t have a better experience than with this position,” Jarvie said. “The experience, exposure and what you see in general is a great opportunity for students who are interested in university governance, a career in higher education or holding a political office.”

Kleman said she plans on becoming a professor after she finishes her Ph.D., and plans on being in administration someday.

“I think that this experience has really helped me get a better feel for the inner workings of a university,” Kleman said.

Contact student affairs reporter Jill Byerly at [email protected].