Kent -- Kent State University's new president, Dr. Beverly Warren, wants to know what the public thinks about Northeast Ohio's largest public college. And she's all ears.

When Warren took over for President Lester Lefton on July 1, she began her 2014 presidential listening tour.

The initiative will take the university's 12th president across the country to dozens of forums as she strives to learn "what is the heart" of KSU from alumni, colleagues in higher education, business professionals, corporate leaders, parents and other stakeholders.

She is joined at each stop by university vice presidents and cabinet members.

Learning about KSU from "all constituents," Warren noted, is one of the initial priorities she referenced when her selection as president was announced in January.

"I need to learn about Kent State University from faculty, students, staff, but also our alumni who are out there across the country," she said. "And I want to listen and learn with all those engaged with our graduates ... particularly in Northeast Ohio but also throughout the state."

About 50 events will be branded under Warren's tour, where she expects to interact with groups ranging between 20 and 150 people.

The university's alumni association has been helping spread the word by issuing invitations to KSU grads.

Besides interacting directly with the new face of KSU, participants will be able submit thoughts and feedback electronically. Those who don't make the event will have the same option by sharing their thoughts through a related website at

"We want to use the information we gather to shape what the strategic future of Kent State should be," Warren said. "As we embark on planning for the future, this will serve as the sort of basis point."

Warren comes to KSU from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she has served as provost and senior vice president since 2011 and interim provost since April 2010. She joined VCU 2000 as a professor and the head of its School of Education's Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Warren will reside in the university's presidential home at 1501 Elizabeth Court. A self-described "early riser," she plans to make regular use of the nearby Hike & Bike Trail with morning runs.

Warren prefers face-to-face interactions and promises "You will see me out and about" on campus and around the community. She appeared at the Stow July 4 parade and Kent's Heritage Festival on July 5.

In laying out her long-term goals for KSU, Warren said she wants to enhance the college's international presence and global opportunities through collaboration, while balancing those priorities with an ultimate focus on students at home.

"The important thing for me is that our work is seen as engaged, energetic, focused on students and their success and that we are transparent about what we are doing with the university," Warren said.


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