University considering tech bond

Abbey Stirgwolt

Improving the quality of education at Kent State will require some digging.

Digging into the creative assets of instructors, into the teamwork skills of administrators and into the pockets of students – but it can’t stop there.

“Money is important, but we’ve got to put it in the right place,” said keynote speaker George Kuh, director of postsecondary research at Indiana University.

Analysis of institutional technological assets were gathered in an address by various members of the Kent State administration about a proposed $100 million bond issue that would improve campus learning environments, with a focus on technology.

The investment would be financed through a $100 increase in tuition over five consecutive years, resulting in a $500 tuition increase by the fifth year.

“This is a very substantial reallocation of costs of students,” said Vice President of Administration David Creamer, who said the university continues to consider ways of implementing the bond in a cost-effective manner.

Kuh, who has conducted several years’ worth of research in the field of institutional effectiveness, opened yesterday’s Student Success Conference with a message about resources in the educational environment and how administrators can work together to utilize an institution’s technological and personal assets.

Kuh emphasized that though an institution’s resources contribute to its success, the most important thing is student culture.

“It’s not all about what institutions have,” Kuh said. “It’s about what students do.”

Kuh’s address was followed by a series of breakout sessions led by representatives from various leading universities in the nation, in terms of student success and graduation rates.

John O’Conner, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia, led one of the sessions.

O’Conner discussed the benefits of a cutting-edge, student-adapted curriculum like that of the New Century College division of George Mason, in which students produce electronic portfolios upon graduation as a demonstration of their skills.

“George Mason is considered a technology-rich campus,” O’Conner said.

At New Century, he said, technology is regularly integrated into students’ learning processes.

Provost Paul Gaston challenged those present to spend the next month researching, learning strategies and benefits of classroom technology. The bond discussion will be posted on a blog and re-analyzed at the March 23 Student Success Conference.

“We want Kent State University to be the Ohio university that offers the most fully engaging learning experience,” he said.

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected].