Regional campuses present plans at priorities presentation

Abi Luempert

Jeffrey Nolte, dean of Kent State’s East Liverpool and Salem campuses, said yesterday in the Moulton Ballroom that tuition at regional campuses may have reached its maximum.

Deans from Kent State’s eight-campus network named enrollment, funding, programming and outreach as their main focuses at their Academic Affairs Priorities Presentation to Provost Paul Gaston.

Those priorities are especially important as Kent State begins to focus on “two fresh perspectives,” Gaston said. He cited the hiring of a new president and the approaching centennial of the university as those two perspectives.

Tuition is an integral part of attracting and retaining enrollment at regional campuses, Nolte said.

For the first time in 10 years, Kent State’s regional campuses have seen a decrease in enrollment, Shirley Barton, executive dean for regional campuses, said.

Enrollment between the eight campuses was 12,476 in Fall 2004 and fell to 12,241 in Fall 2005. The decrease this academic year is going to cause an adjustment in enrollment projections for the future, she said.

“Enrollment is our lifeblood,” David Mohan, dean of the Geauga campus, said. Funding, programming and outreach aren’t needed without steady enrollment.

There is a definite relationship between declining enrollment, diminishing state support and increasing tuition, Barton said.

Enrollment determines the funds that are allocated to regional campuses and helps determine tuition costs.

Regional campuses are struggling to find more funding for both their campuses and students, Barton said.

As satellite campuses expand and take on more space, their operational costs also increase, she said. Ashtabula is planning on building a health and science building. Stark is looking at retrofitting its library with classrooms and Geauga is planning on adding a student services center.

In addition to finding more funding, regional campuses are also looking into adding new and different programs to help attract students.

Trumbull is planning on adding an applied associate’s degree in industrial security for the fall of 2006. Salem is also planning on adding an applied baccalaureate in horticulture by the spring of 2007.

Ashtabula is going to add an applied associate’s degree in radiation technology by Spring 2006. Geauga is implementing an associate’s degree program in nursing for the fall of 2006.

Many new programs that are being added to regional campuses are through partnerships, Barton said.

Stark is adding a bachelor’s in commercial music in partnership with the Stark State College of Technology and plans to implement that program by Fall 2006.

Tuscarawas is exploring partnerships for its applied associate’s degrees for occupational and physical therapy assistants. Tuscarawas plans on debuting the two associate’s degrees by Fall 2007.

Adult students are a major part of the student body at regional campuses. Therefore, the campuses are looking into accelerated programs to fit adult students’ busy schedules, Barton said.

Regional campuses are also looking at the other end of the spectrum and attempting to add more post secondary education opportunities to high school students, too, she said.

More post secondary education opportunities options will help with outreach efforts and hopefully attract high school graduates to the regional campus nearest them, Barton said.

Outreach efforts include those aimed at finding new markets to help fund projects, too, Barton said. Efforts for greater collaboration among regional campuses to provide more effective and efficient programs is also necessary.

Contact College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services reporter Abi Luempert at [email protected].