News Briefs

Return to Issue of June 15, 2009 

Kent State Alumni Recognized With Tony Awards

Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance proudly announces that alumni Alice Ripley, ’86, and John Moauro, ’07, are Tony Award winners.

Ripley won the Tony for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical for her role in the hit Broadway musical “ Next to Normal .” Ripley has also received Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Helen Hayes Award nominations for this performance.

“Next to Normal ,” currently playing at the Booth Theatre on Broadway, was nominated for 11 awards. The musical also won Tony Awards for Best Original Score Written for Theatre and Best Orchestration.

Ripley was born in San Leandro, Calif., and grew up in Cleveland. She attended Kent State and received her bachelor’s degree in musical theatre studying under the tutelage of well-known theatre experts Dr. Louis Erdmann and Dr. Bill Zucchero.

Her Broadway credits include “ Side Show” (Drama Desk, Tony Award nominations), “ The Rocky Horror Show ,” “ James Joyce’s The Dead,” “Sunset Boulevard” and “The Who’s Tommy .” Ripley’s Off- Broadway and regional theatre credits include Next to Normal,” “Five Flights,” “James Joyce’s The Dead,” “The Vagina Monologues,” “Tell Me on a Sunday , Shakespeare in Hollywood” , Company . She is also credited on the recordings Next to Normal,” “Little Fish,” “Skinner/Ripley: Raw at Town Hall,” “Sondheim: The Stephen Sondheim Album,” “Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens,” “The Rocky Horror Show,” “The Stephen Schwartz Album,” “Duets,” “Unsuspecting Hearts,” “Side Show” and “The Who’s Tommy .” With her band RIPLEY, she has written and produced the albums “ Everything’s Fine,” “Ripley EP andOuttasite .”

Moauro, from Canton, is currently performing in “Hair,” which won the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. Currently playing on Broadway, “Hair” was nominated for eight awards.

While at Kent State, Moauro appeared in the 2005 production of “HONK!” in the lead role of Ugly under the direction of Eric van Baars. In 2007, he was cast in the Roe Green Visiting Director series production of “Hair” in the role of Claude under the direction of Victoria Bussert.

An interview with Ripley can be found on WKSU-FM’s Web site.


Dr. Marlene Dorsey
Dorsey Selected to Discharge Duties of Chief Diversity Officer

Dr. Marlene Dorsey has been selected to fulfill a number of key responsibilities of the chief diversity officer this summer, while a national search to fill the vacancy is underway. Specific tasks include planning the University Diversity Retreat, establishing an agenda and plan for meetings of the University Diversity Advisory Committee and addressing designated diversity-related questions and issues, among others. Dorsey will also continue to serve as the Department Administrator for Justice Studies. She can be reached at 330-672-0319 or 330-672-2442, or via e-mail

Summary of Board Actions From June 4 Meeting

Kent State University Board of Trustees
At its June 4 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:

Center for the Study of Information and Religion to Pioneer Untapped Area of Research
Placing Kent State on the forefront of a relatively untapped area of research, the Board established the Center for the Study of Information and Religion within the university’s School of Library and Information Science. The center will facilitate research that explores how the various institutions and agents of religion affect social knowledge through the use and dissemination of information. The center, which will be part of the College of Communication and Information, will become effective fall semester 2009.

In addition, Kent State is home to the Ohio Pluralism Project, an effort to map and monitor the development of religious communities in Ohio and to encourage engagement among them. The center is expected to open opportunities for partnerships with Harvard University, since the Ohio Pluralism project is affiliated with Harvard’s Pluralism Project.

Kent State Creates International Institute for Human Service Workforce Research and Development; Pursues First National Effort to Credential Child and Youth Human Services Workers
To help meet an exploding need for well-trained human services professionals to work with children and youth, the Board established the International Institute for Human Service Workforce Research and Development, effective fall semester 2009.

Housed within Kent State’s College of Education, Health and Human Services, the institute will establish a partnership with the Child and Youth Care Certification Board to pursue the first national effort to credential individuals who work with children and youth from a variety of ages; from populations including developmental disabilities, emotional disorders and involvement with the juvenile justice system; and from settings including community-based prevention and residential treatment.

Establishment of Combined Baccalaureate/Master’s Program in Gerontology and Nursing Home Administration
To help meet a state and national need for highly trained nursing home administrators, the Board established a degree program that will allow Kent State students to earn a combined bachelor of science degree in human development and family studies with a concentration in gerontology and nursing home administration and master of business administration degree. The combined B.S./MBA program, which will be offered by the university’s College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services and its Graduate School of Management in the College of Business Administration, will be effective fall semester 2009.

Establishment of Undergraduate Degree in Public Health
As part of Kent State’s plans to meet an urgent state and national need for highly trained public health professionals by launching a College of Public Health, the Board established a bachelor of science degree in public health, effective fall semester 2010.

The degree program’s curriculum will be provided by the College of Arts and Sciences, the College and Graduate School of Education, Health and Human Services, and the newly formed College of Public Health, which will take advantage of nationally recognized Kent State strengths in areas such as nursing, biopreparedness, sociology and violence prevention; and will result in Ohio’s second college of public health.

Risman Plaza to Get Centennial Facelift
As a way of improving the learning environment on the Kent Campus, and as a way to commemorate Kent State’s centennial next year, the Board authorized a $3.3 million project to renovate deteriorating Risman Plaza.

The renovation project, which will use capital funds accumulated during the last four years, will transform the plaza, which was constructed in the early 1970s and partially improved in the mid-1990s, into an inviting gathering place with more lawn areas and improved views. The existing water fountain will be replaced with new water features, and the existing bus kiosk will be replaced by an air-conditioned bus shelter and visitor drop-off point that will be built on a redesigned and relocated Risman Drive and parking lot.

Annual Election of President
In keeping with the university’s constitution, the Board voted unanimously to re-elect Dr. Lester A. Lefton to a fourth term as Kent State University president. The university constitution requires the Board to hold an annual election of the university president. Lefton became Kent State's 11th president in July 2006.

Legal Briefs: Using University Network for Nonuniversity Business

“Legal Briefs” appears in e-Inside monthly to keep faculty and staff informed of legal issues and their implications. Content is provided by the Office of the University Counsel, whose mission is to ensure high-quality legal services to Kent State University in a timely, cost-effective manner, to reduce litigation and to ensure legal compliance.

It is generally understood that Kent State employees are not permitted to use university time or physical resources (supplies, equipment, facilities) for anything other than their university duties. What many employees may not realize is that these restrictions include the use of university e-mail accounts for private purposes.

University policy 3342-9-01.1, regarding responsible use of technology, prohibits the use of the university computing and networking services for personal or private commercial purposes or for financial gain. While a limited amount of personal communication is tolerated, university e-mail accounts should be primarily devoted to university-related activities. Violations of this policy may result in the employee being denied access to university computing resources. The employee may also be subject to disciplinary procedures.

Use of university e-mail accounts to promote outside business activities may also constitute a violation of Ohio law. An Ohio Ethics Advisory Opinion, 96-004, interprets Section 102.03 of the Ohio Revised Code to prohibit a public employee who engages in private outside employment or business activity from using public time, facilities, personnel or resources in conducting a private business. Criminal sanctions are possible for those who violate Ohio ethics statutes.

From time to time university employees may be asked by a family member or friend to use Kent State e-mail to distribute a message about an event or opportunity that seems harmless. Based on the reasons listed above, this should not be done, and the response to these requests should be “No, I am not able to do that.”

If you have questions, contact the Office of University Counsel at 330-672-2982 or


School of Fashion Design and Merchandising Announces New Director

J. R. Campbell
The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising will soon welcome J.R. Campbell as its new director. Campbell will succeed Elizabeth Rhodes, who is retiring as director after 15 years of service. Campbell will join Kent State on July 1.


“After meeting J.R. Campbell , the committee felt confident his experience would continue and enhance Dr. Rhodes’ forward vision of building an international prominence for the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising,” says interim Dean of the College of the Arts Dr. John R. Crawford.

For the past four years, Campbell has been directing research and coordinating the operation of the Centre for Advanced Textiles (CAT) at The Glasgow School of Art in the United Kingdom. Prior to joining CAT, Campbell served as a professor at Iowa State University in the textiles and clothing program.

Campbell has received eight awards for his wearable, digital, textile art in regional, national and international exhibitions. One of those awards was the Lectra Design Award, the top award for the International Textile and Apparel Association’s Annual Juried Design Exhibition.

Campbell obtained both of his degrees from the University of California at Davis. He was awarded a bachelor’s degree in environmental design with an emphasis in visual communication and textile arts in 1994 and a Master of Fine Arts in textile arts and costume design in 1996.


Hybrid Electric Vehicle is Public Safety’s Newest Recruit

The new car obtained by the Department of Public Safety is a Chevrolet Malibu and is known as a "mild hybrid."

Fleet Services, as part of its “green” initiative, announced that it took delivery of the Kent Campus’ first hybrid electric vehicle in May. That new acquisition is being used by the Department of Public Safety.

Hybrid electric vehicles use two or more distinct power sources to move and/or operate the vehicle. The new car obtained by the Department of Public Safety is a Chevrolet Malibu and is known as a “mild hybrid,” which means that the vehicle has some but not all the features of a more common hybrid.

Fleet Services has also added three more Global Electric Motorcars, more commonly referred to as neighborhood electric vehicles, to its fleet. These plug-in electric vehicles have been deployed to numerous departments across campus.

In July of 2008, Fleet Services sponsored an Alternate Fueled and Hybrid Vehicle Rodeo for the university community to showcase available alternative fuel-powered vehicles and to also “test drive” any of those vehicles. This event marked the official kick-off of the “green initiative,” although Fleet Services has been working with Campus Environment and Operations to “green” their fleet since 2003. Fleet Services’ green initiative aligns itself with President Lefton’s universitywide sustainability initiative. (link to past e-Inside article HERE)

Another key component in greening the fleet includes reducing the number of fossil-fueled vehicles that Kent State uses. Leading the way in these efforts is Campus Environment and Operations, who has trimmed its fleet of fossil fuel-powered vehicles by approximately 14 percent or 12 units. Other departments that have stepped up and incorporated alternative vehicles are Media Services, Network Services and Residence Services.


Reminder for Faculty Regarding Final Grading of Intersession Courses

Online final grading for Intersession 2009 courses began June 11 via FlashFAST. The deadline for grade submission is midnight on Tuesday, June 16.

FlashFAST is accessible from any Internet-capable computer that has the cookies function enabled. To access FlashFAST, login to FlashLine at and click on the Faculty and Advisor Tools tab. The link to grade rosters is located in the Faculty and Advisor Toolbox, under the Submit Grades heading.

Grade processing tips and deadlines may be found on the Registrar’s Office Web site. Any faculty member who needs personalized instruction on submitting grades via FlashFAST should contact their campus Registrar’s Office during normal business hours for assistance.

Also, as a helpful tip, it is recommended that users clean out their cookie and cache files regularly to help their computers run faster, and to potentially restore and/or improve access to FlashFAST and/or Flashline by improving the connection to the server. The Helpdesk is prepared to offer assistance with these issues. Contact them at 330-672-HELP(4357) for assistance.


Kent State Police Officer Michquel Penn Honored with Mental Health Services Award

Officer Michquel Penn of Police Services was recently honored with the 2009 Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officer of the Year in Portage County award.

Officer Michquel Penn of Police Services was recently recognized for her dedicated service to the Kent State community with the 2009 Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officer of the Year in Portage County award.

The honor is given annually by the Mental Health & Recovery Board (MHRB) of Portage County and the Portage County Police Chiefs’ Association.

Penn, who has worked in law enforcement for almost five years, was recognized at the MHRB Annual Dinner in Ravenna on May 19. She completed the Portage County crisis intervention training sponsored by the Mental Health and Recovery Board in 2007.

“Crisis intervention training allowed me to do what I once heard and have always believed in and that is to understand a problem before fixing it. Every call an officer responds to is different. These are situations dealing with people who have special needs. Crisis intervention training has trained and better prepared me to handle these types of calls,” Penn said after accepting her award.

The Portage County CIT Officer of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding work of an officer who has been trained in the national Crisis Intervention Training program and is using those skills on the job. Crisis intervention training provides officers and other law enforcement professionals with education and hands-on training to deal effectively with persons in crisis situations, especially if those individuals have mental illness.

Penn joined the Kent State department in 2006 after working for the Brady Lake Village Police as a reserve officer and the Kent City Police as a dispatcher. She graduated from the University of Akron in 2004 with an associate degree in applied science in criminal justice technology. In the fall of 2003, she successfully completed The University of Akron’s Police Academy training.

Penn was nominated for the honor by her supervisor Lt. Paula Rossi, Kent State Officer, CIT County Coordinator Jeff Futo and Director of Public Safety John Peach.


Human Resources Question of the Week: My spouse recently lost his/her job; can I add them to my health benefits plan?

Yes. University employees who are eligible for benefits may add eligible dependents to their health plan when a qualifying event occurs (i.e. termination of employment, layoff, divorce, etc.). This also includes benefits-eligible university employees who opted out of health coverage because they had other coverage and that coverage has been terminated due to a qualifying event.

Employees in either of the above situations have 31 days from the qualifying event to enroll themselves and/or eligible dependent(s). Enrollment must be supported by written documentation of the termination of coverage (including the effective date of the termination). The enrollment forms are available in the HR Forms Library, in the Benefits Information section. You can also contact the Benefits Office at 330-672-3107 or

View the HR Question of the Week archive.


Return to Issue of June 15, 2009 

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