Kent State University boasts an impressive record of over 27,500 students, 8 campuses, and 280 academic programs. As members of one of the top universities in Northeast Ohio, the faculty of Kent strives to constantly improve the administration and education system. I sat down with Melody Tankersley, associate provost for Academic Affairs, and learned some behind-the-scenes action regarding the planning and research that goes into the Kent State curriculum.
Dr. Tankersley works closely with the university’s provost, Todd Diacon, and is very knowledgeable of the academic programs and professionals that run different campus operations . Although the task of overseeing a campus as large as Kent State may seem intimidating, Tankersley is confident that she has a strong team. “We have wonderful deans, assistants, and department chairs who work very hard”.
Kent State proudly hosts some of the most successful professionals in their individual fields. Among these is Dr. Owen Lovejoy, a distinguished professor in the Anthropology department. Lovejoy is best known for the research he contributed to the evolution of bipedality and the reconstruction of the fossil Lucy.
The campus faculty are not the only ones striving to make successful improvements in research. You will often find many students in the numerous research labs on campus. The world-renowned Liquid Crystal Institute contributed significantly to the LCD industry, which is described as the “second revolution in information dissemination technology”. The LCI and other science laboratories on campus promote student involvement in research and encourage them to take initiatives and dive into their own ideas and hypotheses.
Dr. Tankersley was very passionate when she spoke about the launch of Kent State’s new “co-op” program. Expected to begin in the Fall 2015, the program will allow students to stop-out for a semester, work for an organization, and still maintain status as a student.
“Many students wanted more opportunities to work in their individual fields before they graduate. The co-op would help them build their resumes and also give them confirmation of what they want to do”.
I am very fascinated by the idea, and I hope to begin my beat with a story about the new program. It’s very important for today’s generation to be equipped with both critical thinking skills, as well as hands-on experience, when entering the work field. “We want to give students opportunities to allow them to hit the ground running once they are hired,” Tankersley said.
One of the biggest concerns that many college students face is whether they will find employment upon receiving their diploma. It is very assuring to know that Kent State has a motivated, passionate faculty that is dedicated to giving students the best preparation and skill sets for post-graduation.