Regional campuses work to recruit and retain students

Matthew Carroll

Twinsburg Center undergoes dramatic student increase

At a time when Kent State has seen its total student enrollment decline by 2.5 percent from the previous year, Geauga’s Twinsburg Center has nearly doubled its student population over the same span.

During the past two and a half years, the one-building campus has seen its enrollment increase from around 160 students to a robust 400 students registered for the fall semester – 120 more than this time last year.

“This is really Kent’s gateway to Cuyahoga County,” Geauga dean David Mohan said. “(For) students who are not going to drive all the way to Kent, this is their alternative to being a part of the Kent State campus.”

For students, small class sizes and lower cost play a factor in their decision to enroll at Twinsburg.

“I love going here,” said technology major Jennifer Parrish. “We’re kind of like a small family. Everybody knows everybody.”

Parrish went to the main campus for two semesters before deciding to make the switch to Twinsburg.

“At the main campus you really don’t know who the dean is,” she said. “Here the dean comes around, (and) the assistant dean comes around. You’re not considered just an ID number.”

One of her classmates, Shaleeka Jones, is a 33-year-old mother of three and a resident of Twinsburg who is working on her associate’s degree in computer technology. She said living only a few minutes from the Twinsburg Center has allowed her to pursue her career interests while still raising her children.

“When you look at the Kent campus and you look at the people that don’t fit in to what the traditional student is, that’s the type of people we have here,” Twinsburg adviser Vania Alvarez-Minah said.

“We get a lot of everything,” administrative clerk Shelley Urchek-Geist said. “Students … have gone away to Ohio State or Toledo and didn’t do so well, so they came back to this area. We have a lot of students that started here and decided that they didn’t want to go to the small place; they wanted to go to Kent. They went to Kent, did not have a good experience there, and decided to come back.”

And as people continue to choose small over big, the Twinsburg Center – which can handle a maximum of 650 students – may soon be faced with an interesting dilemma: Where is everyone going to fit?

Contact regional campus north reporter Matthew Carroll at [email protected].