Dean’s Report March 7, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

Over the past thirty years in my role as a family therapist, I regularly gave the advice that “you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself.” Well, this week I ended up being forced to self-administer that admonition after having suffered a rather severe lumbar muscle pull in my back. It’s now the end of the week, and after many visits to my primary care physician, a chiropractor, a physical therapist and a massage therapist, I am about three quarters of the way to a full recovery. Many thanks to everyone for the patience, understanding, and flexibility you showed as I worked my way through this injury.

Decision-making about faculty and staff positions

We are waiting for word on the rank (full professor versus associate professor) we can offer to our leading candidate for the T&L position. This of course is in the hands of the TIU, and we hope to hear something definitive no later than the return from Spring Break. Meanwhile, interviews are being scheduled for the EEOB position, so please stay tuned for invitations to hear the candidates give their research and teaching presentations. There also was a bit of informal chatter on campus regarding positions we would be searching for next year. Please know that I have received the Curriculum Committee’s suggestions, which will be vetted by Executive Committee and Faculty Assembly in the coming weeks alongside the latest information about our budget outlook.

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

As has been reported to campus and through various media outlets, the major capital campaign gift from Next Gen Films will result in our ability to hire a professor of practice in engineering, which triggers our ability to create a full second year offering in engineering on our campus. Jennifer Cowley and David Tomasko of the College of Engineering will be on campus Monday March 17th to address Curriculum Committee members regarding this exciting opportunity, including how this lays the groundwork for our ability to offer a four-year engineering degree in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. Meanwhile, Terri Fisher currently is attending the Complete College America conference in Boston, with the hope that she will be bringing back lots of important updates to the Mansfield campus on our efforts to advance intrusive advising efforts inside of engineering and other STEM related program areas.

Diversity and inclusion issues

Our Soul Food Dinner was the very best of the four I personally have attended since 2011. Great food and unbelievably good jazz music was enjoyed by all. If you were not in attendance, I daresay you missed the best party of the century held on our campus. Many thanks to Elise and her crew for putting on a spectacular event!

Land use

Last week I met with PPARE staff to discuss the emerging “Eco Lab” blueprints alongside real estate activities that will help complete a funding solution for our new front entrance (you will recall that presently we have 50% of the $1.5M needed to complete that project). A significant amount of brainstorming occurred that created some fresh ideas for land use that will be fed into the process, and I hope to bring an advanced conceptual scheme to EC for further discussion in the next couple of weeks.

Planning in support of a more residential campus

No news to report at this time.

Renovation and repair

No news to report at this time.

Town-Gown relationships

In partnership with RCDG and local media outlets, a survey on town-gown relationships is being prepared for use with campus and community representatives. More information will be shared with EC in the near future, with a planned distribution of surveys scheduled for release in mid-spring.

Mood elevator

I sat with two board members – Chairman Pat Heydinger and immediate past Chair Christ Ticoras – during the Soul Food Dinner. It’s safe to say that these board members were as thrilled as I was about the high quality food and music that was on hand. At the same time, however, both of these gentlemen were positively glowing about all of the great things that are happening on our campus. I have benefitted immensely from the solid support I have received from both of these board chairs – as well as from John Schuler, who was board chair when I was hired – throughout the past three years I have served as Dean and Director of the Ohio State Mansfield campus. Literally nothing could have been done over this time period without their guidance and direction. I owe them a debt of gratitude.

Thanks as well 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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