On Feb. 1, the Kenyon Board of Trustees concluded their first meeting of 2019 in Cleveland. The agenda contained no action items beyond an annual budget approval; instead, the meeting was an opportunity for President Sean Decatur, along with a small group of Kenyon students and faculty, to inform the Board of projects and challenges the school faces in the coming year.
Much of the meeting was spent discussing the Kenyon Academic Partnership (KAP) program, a collaboration between Kenyon and 24 high schools around the state. Through the KAP program, high school students are able to take a variety of courses of the same level as those taught at Kenyon. The courses take place in classrooms at the schools, and are taught by qualified high-school teachers, who are given adjunct professorship positions for the purpose of teaching each course.
The KAP program has been active for 40 years; Decatur, who learned about Kenyon through a KAP-provided U.S. History course, is one of its alumni.
“I remember it being an interesting experience because unlike the standard AP history, in which you just had a textbook and you were working from that textbook, it was adopted from the college course,” Decatur said. “It was a nice introduction to what a college course and a college experience is like.”
The Board, in collaboration with a number of high school leaders, also discussed issues of student anxiety and well-being at Kenyon. The focus of this conversation was not only on ways to support students at Kenyon, but also on ways that students across the country need support. While much of this conversation will take place in the Board meeting in April, Decatur believes it is important to lay the groundwork for a large-scale discussion.
“This is a broader national issue, and a broader national issue that’s not just about Kenyon and not even just about the college experience,” Decatur said. “I think when we think about what the role of the board is in terms of helping to guide and support decision-making in the College, it should really be about thinking about things in the bigger picture.”