Jeff Nolte's resignation as dean of Kent State University's Columbiana County campuses leaves big shoes to fill in the local education community.
Nolte had been dean of KSU's Salem campus since 1998 and had been dean of the East Liverpool campus as well since 2004.
During his tenure both campuses have grown both in enrollment and in their course and degree offerings.
At Kent State East Liverpool enrollment is up 14.12 percent from 1,317 in the fall of 2010 to 1,503 this fall. In the same time period, Kent State Salem saw a 5.18 percent increase from 1,988 to 2,091. Since 2008, the combined enrollment at the two campuses has increased an impressive 44.76 percent.
Some of the major additions to the degree programs included a bachelor's degree in nursing and earlier this month, the Health & Sciences wing at KSU-Salem was dedicated.
Nolte helped turn the former Salem Junior High building on Lincoln Avenue into the Kent State Salem City Center, giving the old building new life. He also worked with local and county educators on programming for high school students, such as the Seniors to Sophomores program which allowed high school students to take classes and earn college credit while still in high school.
Kent State East Liverpool and Kent State Salem offer 28 degrees, 14 of which are bachelor's degrees. Tuition is less than $5,300 annually.
Having affordable and locally available access to a respected university such as Kent State should go a long way toward bridging the education gap present in this county. According to ConnectOhio.org, in 2009, only 10.7 percent of Columbiana County residents over the age of 25 had college degrees. This is well below the state average of 24.1 percent.
We hope Nolte's successor will continue to support his goal of continuing to improve the educational opportunities in Columbiana County.