Faculty, trustees mingle

Jackie Valley

Candlelit tables, a buffet and an open bar provided more than 100 faculty members with a chance to socialize at yesterday’s Faculty Club, held after the board of trustees meeting.

The Faculty Club – an informal gathering of faculty members – began in the fall of 1999 at the suggestion of Provost Paul Gaston, who was surprised when he moved here that Kent State did not already have one.

“The main goal is to provide a social opportunity that otherwise doesn’t exist,” Gaston said, adding that the meetings do not have agendas or formal discussions.

Each month, an office or a college at Kent State sponsors the gathering, which takes place on and off campus, Gaston said. Past locations have included the Schwebel Room and the Rusty Nail in Twin Lakes.

All faculty members are invited to attend the free event.

The Kent State board of trustees sponsored this month’s Faculty Club meeting.

“One of the things we learned while doing the presidential search was that faculty and students wanted more interaction with the trustees,” trustee Doug Cowan said.

Sandy Harbrecht, chair of the board of trustees, thanked the faculty members for attending and introduced the members of the board.

“It’s a small way to say thank you for all that the faculty does for the students and the university,” she said.

Deborah Smith, associate professor of philosophy, said she enjoys the social opportunities of the meetings because “you tend to get stuck in your own world” on campus.

President Lester Lefton agreed.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to bring faculty from different disciplines and locations on campus together to interact,” Lefton said.

Although informal conversations dominate the meetings, Gaston said the meetings have sparked some serious discussions, including one of the first discussions about the plus/minus grading system.

Contact news correspondent Jackie Valley at [email protected].