Academic goals discussed by Board

Jackie Mantey

Kent State may be a team player, but it’s choosing to sit this one out.

The Board of Trustees held its second meeting of the semester yesterday, discussing actions around the future of Kent State and how to reach academic and educational goals set by President Lester Lefton.

For the trustees, a recent Cleveland State resolution was not a way to do it.

In October, the neighboring university passed a resolution calling for the Ohio General Assembly to establish a Northeast Ohio Public University Higher Education Council. Kent State would have been one of four institutions working to collaborate the region’s universities and creating research that could lead to more opportunities to students.

Cleveland State’s Board of Trustees said this council could improve the way resources are allocated and further economic development within the region.

However, in a committee meeting in the morning, the trustees saw leaving a collaboration attempt in the hands of Ohio’s General Assembly as a plan Kent State shouldn’t follow, deciding to not even vote on the issue.

“Forced collaboration on an institution of people never works very well,” trustee Brian Tucker said as he expressed his doubts about the program. He said the legislature in Columbus wouldn’t be able to see what was needed in Northeast Ohio.

Several members of the board echoed Tucker’s concern and backed the committee’s decision to dismiss this specific collaboration effort.

“You can’t legislate collaboration. KSU has always been a leader in that area, and it will continue to be,” trustee Douglas Cowan said. “It’s a big mistake to get the legislature involved in something of that nature.”

But chair Sandra Harbrecht said that doesn’t mean the university won’t consider other options.

“I don’t want people to think we’re not behind the idea of collaboration,” she said, citing Kent State’s 40 partnerships and joint programs. “We have collaboration in our souls.”

Along with expanding outside the campus, the trustees examined how to improve opportunities for students here at home.

Lefton outlined the components of making Kent State a key research university in his President Report.

“A great university is about creating new ideas and an understanding of discovery,” he said, mentioning the push for ingenuity starts with strong faculty and developing programs.

He encouraged the trustees to keep that in mind while they take action on future developments.

And they listened.

The board approved the installation of an associate of applied science in Aviation Maintenance Technology at the Ashtabula Campus. The major will give technical associate degrees to the students, as well as Federal Aviation Administration certification as Airframe and Powerplant mechanics, and will be effective Fall 2007.

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio has a strong need for mechanical professionals and the current demand for mechanics from an approved training program is expected to increase during the next 12 years.

At the meeting, the board also discussed:

n A proposal for an agreement between Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services at South China Normal University that would give international education students a chance to complete their degrees at SCNU.

n The new administration policy for reporting and investigating fraud and fiscal abuse. Wednesday’s meeting was the first since it went into effect Nov. 1. David Creamer, vice president for administration, said it is geared toward changing the way fraud reports within the university are viewed.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Mantey at [email protected].