Dean’s Report Feb. 21, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

Another packed two weeks of activities on our campus! For me, the highlight was the reception that was held for Carolyn Skinner and Phil Mazzocco in celebration of their promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. Because scholars tend to experience so few moments of closure where something feels completely “done,” it always feels particularly good (to me anyway) to generate moments where faculty members can take the time to appreciate the finality of an effort. Congratulations once again to Carolyn and Phil!

Decision-making about faculty and staff positions

Our focus on the three “Need Now” staff positions, along with the active solicitation of “creative solutions” from campus community members about these positions, has resulted in the following three decisions to move forward:

1. David Au will become the Interim Information Commons Coordinator and Instructional Technology Specialist

2. Fran Bowes will be hired permanently as our 5th academic advisor

3. Renee Thompson will be hired as Interim Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.

Thank you once again to everyone who participated in this process! Meanwhile, we are working diligently to finalize an offer regarding the Education Teaching and Learning position, and hope to initiate the on-campus portion of the search process for our open EEOB position in the near future.

Development of majors, destination programs, and other academic offerings and issues

Carol Landry, Ozeas Costa, Brian White, and I met with representatives of Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) and the design firm MKSK Associates last Monday in order to launch a discussion on how to conceptualize our “Eco Lab” conservation and research efforts. While this update easily could have been placed under the “Land Use” category below, it is important to note that Carol and Ozeas both believe that the development of an “environmental studies” major is a critical component of this work. Therefore, it hoped that the Curriculum Committee will be taking this issue up as part of our larger interest in an “integrated studies” program on the Mansfield campus.

Diversity and inclusion issues

Our celebration of Black History Month has continued over the past two weeks with several excellent on-campus events. Also, as a reminder Soul Food Dinner tickets are available through today, so please remember to buy your ticket through the Office of Student Engagement at 419-755-4314. Please remember that no tickets will be available at the door!

Land use

See “Development of majors…” discussion above.

Planning in support of a more residential campus

Our campus hosted the very first “Destination Mansfield” event yesterday, which was designed to provide information about all of the advantages of staying on the Mansfield Campus beyond the first year of study (aka the “Mansfield Advantage”). I was impressed with the amount of energy and enthusiasm that was in evidence throughout the middle of the day. And based on the preliminary reactions I heard from faculty, staff, and students, I believe this will be the first of many such activities we will undertake to remind our students about all of the benefits associated with the Mansfield campus. Many thanks to Fran Bowes for spearheading this effort, and to all of the faculty and staff members who made contributions to this very creative effort!

Renovation and repair

No news to report at this time.

Town-Gown relationships

Our campus hosted a Skype call this past Tuesday between the City and Regional Planning students and a number of Richland County Development Group (RCDG) members. By all reports, these Ohio State students continue to provide an invaluable service to the county. Expectations are high for a March 6th rollout of a draft mid-semester report by these students, which will be held on the Columbus campus as part of their regular coursework. Several RCDG representatives are planning on attending this presentation.

Mood elevator

This past Tuesday, the Senate Fiscal committee that I sit on (Central Distribution Services) has finally taken up the topic of regional campus funding! We have laid out a plan to review quite a number of issues that are relevant to how we receive revenue and other forms of support for the work that we do. Hopefully, I will have plenty of good news to report in the weeks and months ahead as this committee begins to formulate recommendations that will bolster our efforts in Mansfield and on the other regional campuses.

A couple of other events deserve quick mention in terms of hitting the “up button” on the mood elevator. Last Wednesday, we hosted a community engagement lunch that featured our arts faculty and students. Many thanks to Kate Shannon, John Thrasher, Joe Fahey, and Master of Ceremonies Dave Tovey for being on hand to meet and greet our community partners! And just yesterday we hosted the first ever Pecha Kucha event on campus. The efforts of Aurelio Diaz, Jen Hughes, Tracy Bond, Mike Thompson, Terri Fisher, Jim Snyder, Therese Backowski, and Paul Breit are much appreciated for making presentations at this inaugural event!

Thanks to each and every one of you who are doing all you can to move the Ohio State Mansfield campus forward. Go Bucks… Going Up!

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