Spring 2022 courses delivery to ‘reflect pre-pandemic’ levels, College of Business and Administration renamed

Melody Tankersley is the senior vice president and provost at Kent State University.

Emma Andrus Reporter

University officials discussed plans for course delivery in future semesters and the development of a new strategic plan for academic success at the Faculty Senate meeting Monday. 

Senior Vice President and Provost Melody Tankersley said that moving forward, only courses approved for online delivery by standards set by the state of Ohio can be scheduled as online or remote.

“Unilateral faculty choice of instructional delivery method will no longer be available beginning in spring 2022,” she said. “Instead, we expect that online and in-person delivery of courses and sections of courses will reflect the schedules of pre-pandemic spring semesters. We have a responsibility to our students and our colleagues to be present for them and the collective work we do together.”

Unilateral faculty choice for course delivery refers to the ability of instructors and professors to choose their desired mode of delivery. During the pandemic, this choice was up to instructor discretion based on levels of comfortability teaching in-person. 

“What this means is that only courses that are approved through standard curricular processes, or online delivery, … can be scheduled as we move forward,” Tankersley said. “The number of sections offered online must reflect the numbers prior to the pandemic.”

Kent State is also embarking on its strategic plan for academic success, according to Manfred van Dulmen, associate provost for academic affairs and dean of the Division of Graduate Studies. The plan, known as The Golden Road to Student Success, outlines objectives, goals, strategies and priorities of the university. 

“The next step for Kent State University is to move from becoming to being a student-ready college,” he said. “We will build a strategic plan based around Kent State’s commitment to providing access to education.”

Priorities for the plan include ensuring student success, enhancing academic excellence and innovation, community engagement and lifelong learning. A part of reframing the process of the strategy is explained through an acronym, “CLIME” — Continuous, Living, Innovative, Meaningful and Elevate.

“I firmly believe that our goal has to be fully committed to our guiding principles of being a student-ready college, providing access and [creating] a sense of belonging, and develop[ing] tactics consistent and supportive of our university programs,” van Dulmen said. “When we do that, I firmly believe good things will happen for our students, faculty and staff, including recognition and rankings and other ratings.”

The plan is currently in phase one involving discussions of strategies and metrics from previous plans, van Dulmen said, with a goal of finalizing the plan during the fall of 2022 and implementing it during the spring of 2023.

The Faculty Senate approved the renaming of Kent State’s College of Business Administration to the College of Business and Entrepreneurship to align with updated language at other universities. 

“Administration is an outdated term for a college of business administration,” said Deborah Spake, dean of the College of Business Administration. “Only one other public institution in Ohio, Youngstown State, continues to use that term, administration, in its name. A more modern approach is to name a college of business with a focal discipline reflective of its programs and co-curricular activities.” 

Spake cited names used in other universities in Ohio and across the country such as The University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation and Southern Illinois University’s College of Business and Analytics. The new name selected for Kent State’s specific college is the same as the college at Montana State University, Spake said. 

“We feel this name is reflective of who we are as a college,” she said. 

It was unclear when the name change would take effect.

The Faculty Senate also approved revisions to the university’s masters degree for digital sciences. Michael Beam, director of the School of Emerging Media and Technology, presented a proposal to revise parts of the delivery and courses affiliated with the degree.

“In this revised program, there are three new courses, along with other classes from our MDS program that cover the foundations, theories and methods of the interdisciplinary area,” Beam said. “The mechanics of the program will have changed a little bit.” 

Dean of University College, Ebony Pringle, reminded members of the Faculty Senate that Kent State will celebrate National First-Generation College Week from Nov. 8 to 12. The celebration is a part of the university’s annual “I AM FIRST” Week of Celebration celebrating students who are the first in their families to attend college and graduate with a four-year degree. 

The week consists of both virtual and in-person activities. Members of the university community can nominate a student, faculty member or staff member for an I AM FIRST award here.

Members of the Faculty Senate are invited to participate in its fall retreat on Friday, Oct. 29 from noon to 2 p.m. at Laziza restaurant in downtown Kent. Senators will discuss the goals of the Faculty Senate and the opportunity will allow the views of the senate as a whole to be heard, said Senator Darci Kracht. Members in attendance are invited to wear Halloween costumes and compete for a best costume prize. 

Emma Andrus is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].