Geauga campus grows with help of students’ opinions

Tessa Carroll

Give the people what they want. It’s a simple enough idea, but for Howard Mohan, it’s a philosophy for how he runs his campuses.

Mohan, who has been the dean of the Geauga campus and the Twinsburg Center for two years, has seen this philosophy improve both of his schools.

“We did a survey at the Twinsburg Center,” he said. “We asked students what they needed, and the changes we made have helped increase enrollment.”

Surveying students is not the only way Mohan and his faculty have taken a proactive stance on the education of their students.

“Our student lounge at the Geauga campus used to be more like a rec room than a study room,” Mohan said. “By fall, it will have been completely renovated into a ‘student learning lounge’ complete with computer access and study tables for groups and individuals.”

The employees at the campuses also said they feel the improvements being made are helping students continue their education.

“The standard for quality has always been set high at this campus, and it is continuous. That is the Kent standard of academic excellence,” Denise Milhollan, a Geauga campus employee, said. “The changes regarding building improvements are happening to meet the academic needs of the campus, which are meeting the academic needs of the community. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”

The new Geauga campus student lounge also comes with board games for those students who prefer to relax between classes instead of studying.

“We went to Wal-Mart and bought a bunch of games,” Mohan said. “I don’t know if it’s stress relief or what, but it’s not unusual to walk into the lounge and see students playing Monopoly.”

New lounges and board games aren’t the only ways Mohan and his “catering to students” philosophy are positively affecting the students of the Geauga campus and the Twinsburg Center.

“We ask the students what they want in terms of programs and classes,” Mohan said. “Then we determine the ones that are highest in demand and try to bring them to our campuses.”

This research has brought several new programs to both the Twinsburg Center and the Geauga campus.

“We’re starting a two-year associate nursing program,” Mohan said. “We’re also partnering with the Tuscarawas campus on an electrical engineering technology program and a computer-animated design program.”

The students at the Geauga campus and the Twinsburg Center are not only receiving more options as far as programs. The research conducted at the branch campuses has also given the students more class options.

“Most of our students are non-traditional,” Mohan said. “Because of this we need to provide students with not only the classes they want but also the times that fit into their schedule.”

Because of this, both campuses offer many sections of classes throughout the day.

“We need to provide students with the educations they want when they want it,” Mohan said. “Many of them have full-time jobs and/or families, and they need to get in and get out in a timely fashion.”

Mohan said he believes the extensive menu of classes available at the two campuses is part of the reason enrollment and number of credit hours taken at both places has risen.

“Being attentive to students’ needs has increased our success as a school by leaps and bounds,” Mohan said. “Knowing your students and focusing on learning are the keys to helping students get the most out of their education and your school.”

Milhollan agrees with Mohan that the students are feeling more involved in their education.

“Asking students for their opinions before making changes allows students to feel that they are not only the reason for the change but part of it as well,” she said. “The campus is not in survival mode. It is in futuristic mode, which brings hope.”

Contact regional campuses reporter Tessa Carroll at [email protected].