KSU to develop more tracks in popular fields

Rachel Abbey

Provost Paul Gaston wants higher education to be more like Amazon.com.

When someone purchases a book through the Web site, it offers suggestions on related books the individual may also enjoy, Gaston said.

If students enter college interested in nursing, they should look at it as being interested in caring for people in general, he said. They should be able to get a science base, and then decide what area is the best fit for them.

“We should be looking for opportunities to let them do what they love doing, even if it’s not exactly what they had in mind,” Gaston said.

Kent State has been looking at developing different tracks within already popular fields of study to increase enrollment and retention, he said.

The Board of Trustees learned about some of these measures, such as the general category for the College of Education, Health and Human Services being launched, at its meeting yesterday. The major will let students enter the college with a lower grade point average, said Joanne Arhar, associate dean in the College of Education, Health and Human Services.

Like a pre-major, the entry education major will let students explore the field while they raise their grades enough to be able to earn their teaching license; however, students cannot earn a degree in this general entry major.

Next fall, the major will just be available for current students, Arhar said, but it will be available to entering freshmen beginning Fall 2007.

Fields such as fashion design, architecture and education are popular at Kent State, Gaston said, but it may be difficult for students to get accepted.

New offerings, such as a technical design major in fashion, could give students more opportunities to be involved with their preferred fields.

“It directs students to different niches in the hiring market,” Gaston said.

Currently, the fashion design major is aimed at creating runway-style fashions. A technical design major would take those kinds of designs and adapt them for mass-market release, Gaston said.

These kinds of majors would allow the programs to expand, letting them take in more students, said President Carol Cartwright. Now, many students get turned away from some of the more selective fields of study.

The university plans to hire as many as 12 to 15 faculty members in those fields with projected growth, Gaston said.

With recent budget cuts, these hirings will be a risk, Cartwright said, but Kent State wants to move forward with the plans.

“We think the revenue stream to support that investment will come from the additional enrollment,” she said.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].