Regional Academic Center Gains Momentum
By Denise A. Milhollan
It all began in 1991 when the Chrysler Stamping Plant and Kent State University at Geauga became connected through education. As the demand for education grew, the campus decided to rent classroom space at the "old school" in Twinsburg on the corner of Rt. 91 and 82. The vision was quite simple; education connecting to the needs of the community. This is a concept the regional campuses of Kent State have delivered on from their conception.
Today, that concept flourishes even in a struggling economy and cut state funding. The old school building is completely dedicated to Regional Academic Center students and it became very apparent that the vision needed to expand to accommodate growth. With a new state of the art facility about to open its doors in August, Dean Mohan graciously hosted a breakfast meeting with State Representatives Lynn Slaby and Kristina Roegner, along with State Senator Frank LaRose, to explain just how the campuses are managing fiscal and educational responsibility. Joined also by Captain Juanita Stanford of the Salvation Army and two students currently attending the Regional Academic Center, Dr. Mohan addressed the campuses determination to reach out and offer opportunity for those that may not have ever considered a college education and to stimulate the needs of the economy. Both Nicolle Estevez and Ciana Haver echoed the dean's sentiments by witnessing how the regional campus setting allowed them to work and maintain family responsibilities while keeping tuition costs minimal and getting the extra attention in smaller classroom settings.
Representative Roegner wanted to know about the Salvation Army's affiliation with the campus. Captain Stanford explained that she works with people who are piecing their lives together and her ability to point them in a direction of higher education, no matter what their background, offers much hope.
After breakfast in a room at the old school, everyone was given a hardhat and transported to the new site to take a tour of the new building. John Granny, Director of Administrative and Business Services, explained that the three strengths of the new building will be state of the art science labs, medical labs and the executive business suites, which will have the potential to house an Executive MBA program along with healthcare programs. Dr. Mohan pointed out how those decisions were made while looking out the west wall of windows. The first thing you notice is the Cleveland Clinic and UH Healthcare Centers. While there will probably be many career areas that the center can support, the most immediate need at these facilities consists of Licensed Practical Nurses who would like to move toward an Associate Degree in Nursing or even a career as a Registered Nurse. The Regional Academic Center can facilitate that need without the students ever missing a beat in their current positions. That will be the primary goal of the center. The morning ended with Dean Mohan extending an invitation to the state representatives and senator to join the ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled to take place August 9,2012.