Update on plans for Kent State Columbiana County campuses

As dean, I am writing with an update on plans for the fall semester at the Kent State Columbiana County campuses.

First, please understand that there are more than 100 people considering every problem and situation imaginable to make sure we have procedures so that we can welcome students back to campus in the safest way possible.

Second, over 250 faculty, university-wide, are spending the summer researching ways to make their instruction, regardless of the environment, more interactive and engaging so students can have the best educational experience possible. Their dedication is unprecedented, and I am proud of their efforts to help our students achieve their personal goals.

Third, the Kent State East Liverpool and Salem families are partnering with local groups and individuals to increase financial assistance to all students. We know that many are concerned about finances right now. Therefore, I asked some of our most dedicated donors to reach into their pockets to provide even more opportunities for students to keep moving forward in an affordable way. We are already one of the most affordable options for a four-year degree in our area, but now, during this time of crisis, we are finding ways to provide even more financial support.

We recognize that many families suffered direct economic hardships during the pandemic. In difficult times such as these, furthering your education will provide you with the knowledge and skills for current and future jobs. With a county unemployment rate of nearly 20 percent, it’s time to retool and/or get a start on a future career. The economy will recover. And, when it does, you need to make sure you have the educational tools to keep moving forward. Whether you are looking to retool or maybe questioning going away at this difficult time, we are a great local educational choice.

We will continue providing information about the fall semester. I can tell you two things: 1) we will look different this fall than last year, but 2) our dedication to educational success is unwavering. This will not change, no matter what we face. Some classes will be face-to-face; others will use interactive technologies to connect students with professors and peers; and some classes will be online. We need a mixture of courses to allow students to safely continue moving towards their educational goals while staying safe.

The Kent State East Liverpool and Salem Campuses are proud to continue serving our communities. For over 50 years, we have provided citizens access to one of the top universities in the country. This has not changed and will not waiver as we get through this pandemic. Students: please, reach out to your advisor or call the campus directly to discuss your options for the fall semester. You can also seek information via e-mail at infocolumbiana@kent.edu.

Stay safe and take care. I look forward to seeing many of you this fall.

Dr. Dees also serves as interim vice president-system integration at Kent State University


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