UA has a new head of its engineering college after the previous dean stepped down, citing cuts that are part of a campus-wide phasing out of 80 degree programs.

UA trustees at their regular board meeting Wednesday named Craig Menzemer, who joined UA in 1996, as interim dean of the college that boasts more than 3,000 students. His yearly salary will be $206,000. That compares with the $225,000 salary of the former dean, Don Visco.

Also Wednesday, UA interim President John Green told trustees that on Friday, UA and Stark State College would formally announce a dual-enrollment program in which students can opt to be enrolled at both institutions.

This move has not been unexpected as Stark State, which offers two-year associate degrees and certificate programs, opened an Akron campus this fall in the University of Akron’s backyard. About 1,500 students are enrolled at the new Stark State College Akron, on 13 acres at Perkins and Union streets downtown.

Details of the dual-enrollment program will be discussed at a Friday event at the new campus. Stark State’s main campus is in Jackson Township.

Also Wednesday, trustees approved the creation of the Urban STEM Education Center in the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education.

The center will work with the increasing number of urban schools and communities that are expanding their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) offerings for students in grades kindergarten through 12. The center will offer school-based programs, professional development workshops for teachers, and research and evaluation of those initiatives.

Green also told trustees Wednesday that the university’s primary focus this fall is the creation of an “inclusive, realistic and actionable three-year-action plan.” That’s the new name for what UA leaders had previously called an action plan.

Green has lamented the lack of a strategic plan at UA, which has been dealing with enrollment declines and budget gaps.

Green told trustees he hopes to have the plan finished by the end of December, in time for it be used to develop the 2019-2020 budget and  during the search for a new UA president. The budget process begins in January.

“This is a challenge,” Green said. “It’s a very short time frame,” he said.

Among other personnel changes trustees approved Wednesday:

• Chand Midha is now executive dean of the Graduate School and senior vice provost for academic affairs and institutional analytics. He will now provide direction to Institutional Research. His annual salary is $308,831. His previous title was vice provost/executive dean-liaison to Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences.

• Janet Bean is now director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning. Her annual salary is $103,569. She will continue as coordinator of general education and associate professor of English.

• Joseph Wilder, professor of mathematics, is taking on the additional role of coordinator of academic data and analytics. He will oversee the implementation of software that will help identify at-risk students and barriers to student success. His salary is $119,689.00 for nine months with a nine-month stipend of $12,000. He will co-chair a committee overseeing future review of academic programs.

Trustees also:

• Approved naming training equipment in the Polsky Building downtown after UA benefactor the R.C. Musson and Katharine M. Musson Charitable Foundation.

The equipment will be used by students in the computer information systems degree programs and for IT professionals, and will allow them to learn to better monitor and manage cyber threats.

• Approved naming a conference room in InfoCision Stadium after benefactors Helen Maxine and Walter V. Peternell. He was a 1949 engineering graduate of the university who had a long career with the Monsanto Co. Helen Maxine Peternell graduated from Garfield High School in 1943 and worked for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. as a secretary.

Also Wednesday, Col. Trevor Liverpool and cadet Richard Desatnik, an engineering major, gave a presentation about the Army ROTC at UA, which is celebrating 100 years on campus. The anniversary will be celebrated Dec. 1 at Quaker Station in downtown Akron.

 

Katie Byard can be reached at 220-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.