Dr. Ruth Capasso
Summer is an exciting time at the Stark Campus, with enrollment up 20 percent over last year’s summer semester. One reason for the increase is SummerFlex scheduling, which replaces Summer II on our campus. SummerFlex originated with BusinessFlex, our evening offerings of coursework leading to the baccalaureate in business management. Through BusinessFlex scheduling, courses run one evening per week for 10 weeks. Five sessions are held a year, and with just two courses per session, students can earn 30 credits per year, completing the degree in four years. It made sense to use the 10-week block for summer, as well. We have found that the extended period is excellent for day classes too, particularly sciences, applied music and internships. Increasingly popular, SummerFlex has doubled enrollment from its 2008 launch.
We are also busy preparing for record enrollment in the fall. The semester kicks off with Smart Start Saturday, an orientation for new students and their parents, which takes place on the weekend before the first day of classes. First Weeks of Fa ll, known on campus as FWOF, begins on the second week of the semester with numerous fun activities over several days to welcome students back to school. Our SwiftKick retention campaign engages students with a special topics academic success course and online just-in-time study advice. Student Services’ cyber world, located at swift-kick.org, links to resources and forums about campus life. Posters on campus convey that we are working hard to eliminate the “f” word by helping students understand that “failure” is not an option.
Another initiative is Freshmen Interest Groups, or FIGs. FIGs pair two classes, a Destination Kent State: First-Year Experience course and either an LER or the first course in their major. These cohorts of new students form small learning communities, allowing them to explore ideas in greater depth and develop academic and personal connections, leading to greater persistence toward degree completion. We will also continue our Student Government and Student Leadership Academy. These efforts are important because, as more and more students stay at Kent State Stark to complete their baccalaureate programs, student life is an essential area to help them develop skills, engage with the campus and build their resumes.
With high enrollment and innovative new offerings, including 12 bachelor’s and three master’s degrees, the faculty and staff of Kent State Stark look forward to a productive summer and an exciting fall of promising opportunities for our students.
Dr. Ruth Capasso
Interim Dean, Kent State Stark