TWINSBURG — Kent State's academic center in Twinsburg now reflects the name of its home community.

Around 40 people attended the official ribbon cutting for the facility on Feb. 25, which changed its named from Regional Academic Center to Twinsburg Academic Center.

"This is a big day for us," said Walt Hoffman, who serves as the the chair of the academy's advisory board and serves on Reminderville Village Council. "The advisory board wanted the Twinsburg name on this."

Twinsburg Mayor Ted Yates called the renaming "a really proud moment for the city of Twinsburg."

"We always embrace Kent State and all they've done for the city," Yates said. "This is really important for all of us. As the campus continues to prosper and grow, I think we are all looking forward to seeing what the future has to hold at that site."

Angela Spalsbury, the dean and chief administrative officer for the Twinsburg Academic Center, gave a history of the center, which traces its origins to 1985 at the former Twinsburg Chrysler plant.

"The Chrysler Corporation reached out to the Geauga campus to offer workforce dev course for its employees at the Chrysler plant," Spalsbury said. "But within five years we outgrew that facility, so the city of Twinsburg offered us the use of the Old School."

At the Old School, located in the center of town, the Kent State campus started offering four college credit courses, Spalsbury said. But soon, Kent State outgrew that space as the demand for college courses grew.

"In 2012, this beautiful building was built, the Regional Academic Center," Spalsbury said. "It formally opened as a second location of the Geauga campus."

 

Today, there are more than 2,000 students, and enrollment was up for the fall 2019 and spring 2020 "for the first time in over five years," Spalsbury said.

New Criminology, Justice program offered

Students interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice are encouraged to look into the newest program offered through the Twinsburg Academic Center, the Associate of Applied Science degree in Criminology and Justice Studies, Spalsbury said.

Officials say the program can lead to jobs in probation offices, social service agencies, courts, law enforcement and crime labs. There also is an optional concentration, the Peace Officers Training Academy. This is only open to open only to students admitted to the Kent State Basic Police Academy. The coursework covers the basics of defensive tactics, firearms, driving, traffic, patrol, civil disorders, and first aid. In addition, students learn investigative methods and the fundamentals of policing, the criminal justice system, constitutional law, and homeland security, according to information provided by the academy.

Business Leadership program launched

The Twinsburg Academic Center, in partnership with the Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce, also started a new guest speaker series, Business Leadership Training, which started in late January.

The series is free and open to all local business representatives. The BLT is scheduled once a month at the Twinsburg Academic Center, 2745 Creekside Drive. Networking begins at 7:30 a.m, including a light breakfast. The hour-long speaker presentation begins at 8 a.m. Seating is limited, so preregistration is encouraged at twinsburgchamber.com or by calling Chamber President Angelo Carcioppolo at 330-963-6249.

"This new leadership development program is designed for anyone at any point in their career," says Amy Murfello, Marketing & Community Engagement Manager at KSU Geauga and Twinsburg Academic Center. "If registrants attend all five remaining sessions in the series, they will receive a certificate of completion. This is a perfect program for those looking to gain information on topics that experienced or emerging leaders face."

The next BLT presentation is March 12. Two KSU TAC/Geauga faculty members will speak on the topic of Mindful Leadership.

"The Twinsburg Chamber of Commerce is excited to expand its relationship with Kent State and the Twinsburg Academic Center in 2020," Carcioppolo says. "We feel the BLT series will be a great opportunity for our members to get a great array of valuable and new information for their businesses that they cannot find anywhere else around."

Self-care, fitness partnerships

A $1,000 Seeds of Wellness mini-grant awarded by Kent State University in October for the Twinsburg Academic Center allowed for the opening of a Wellness Corner.

This area offers students informational pamphlets and relaxation-related tools, including stress balls, coloring pages, puzzles, visuals, and physical elements, to provide distraction or offer students opportunities to de-stress.

In addition, the academic center recently partnered with the city of Twinsburg to offer free memberships at the Twinsburg FitnessCenter to students and staff at the TAC, Spalsbury said at the ribbon cutting, "which supports our Kent State wellness priority."

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC