ONTAP is on track as leadership shifts

Robert Taylor

Director of graduate orientation moves to dean position

After helping to found the university’s graduate orientation program 16 years ago and serving as director of the program ever since, Jerry Feezel has left his position and taken over as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The orientation program, ONTAP, was founded as a week-long orientation program in 1989 to help incoming graduate students prepare for the possibility of teaching at the university and to help them become acclimated to being a graduate student at Kent State, Feezel said.

“I developed the title for it, which stands for ‘Orienting New Teaching Assistants Program,’ even though it is for all graduate appointees, whether they are going to be teaching assistants or not,” Feezel said. “Some graduate students had never had any teaching experience before, while there were others who had taught a bit before but never had any training for it. I spent a lot of time putting meat on the bones of the program and developed the curriculum for it.”

ONTAP continued with Feezel heading the project for 15 years.

Through the success of ONTAP, Feezel introduced the idea for another orientation program, this one taking place in January. The program, named WOW, or Winter Orientation Workshop, would take place over the course of a single day instead of a week and serve to acclimate students coming in mid-year or transfer students who weren’t able to go through the program in August, Feezel said.

After helping bring that program into existence, Feezel stepped aside for a short time.

“I retired in January 2004 with the understanding that I would come back part-time to continue to run the program,” Feezel said. “I did that and was in the midst of planning for 2005 with the thought that there would be someone taking my place. Over the summer I got the appointment of dean of arts and sciences so there was no way I could continue with ONTAP.”

Feezel’s replacement was recently announced: Melody Baker, the associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

“Melody Baker has had a long career in Graduate Studies before this appointment,” said John West, dean of Graduate Studies. “By working in Graduate Studies she has helped greatly with the recruitment of many students, especially minority students, so she was well-positioned to bring ONTAP into a new era. I have complete confidence in her abilities and can’t wait to see what is in store for the program.”

Contact undergraduate/graduate reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected].