Dean’s report May 1, 2015

Happy May! Spring Semester 2015 is winding to a close, and so this will be my last biweekly report until Fall Semester 2015. We have witnessed a tremendous amount of forward progress these past nine months, and have much to look forward to during the 2015-2016 academic year. Here’s a quick look at some of the issues impacting us at the moment.

We are currently in the midst of two searches in Admissions: one to replace Shari as Director and one to replace the Admissions Counselor position vacated by Kelly (and Collin previously). In the meantime, we are placing a great deal of responsibility on Natasha’s shoulders to carry the work of the Admissions department forward. Many thanks to her and everyone else who is pitching in to help carry the load!

I hope you remembered to RSVP for our Fifth Annual Day of Celebration events taking place on Friday May 8th. We will be experimenting with our first off-campus lunch and awards ceremony this year, as well as enjoying the tried and true hospitality of Dawn Kitchen and Jim Nicholson for the evening festivities.

On Monday May 11th, the first workshop recommended by the Campus Culture Committee will take place, with a focus on civility, trust, and dealing with change. Once again, I would strongly encourage everyone to attend. From my vantage point, this is an opportunity to strengthen our entire campus through active participation of all faculty and staff members, which is why I will be in attendance for all three sessions that day.

Renovation activity is scheduled to begin in Eisenhower in the very near future. By the time that faculty and students return to campus this fall, there will be plenty of evidence that a remarkable transformation will have taken place in our dining facilities. How exciting!

In closing, I wish to express the hope that faculty members will have a productive summer, and will rejoin the rest of us this coming August with a reinvigorated sense of mission and purpose. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

Dean’s Report April 17, 2015

Hello from Davenport, Iowa and the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators (NABCA) conference! While I was invited here to present on the town-gown work I have been doing, this has also been a tremendous opportunity to find out how well things are (or are not) going on other regional and branch campuses across the nation. Given what I have heard this week, we should be counting our blessings. If you think the headlines about cuts to universities in other states have been startling, you need to double (at least) your shock about the hits that the regional systems have been absorbing. No doubt many of these regional and branch campuses are in crisis mode, yet at the same time I am learning quite a bit about the creative opportunities that also are arising as a result. And for you long-timers on the Mansfield campus, you will appreciate the fact that I had the chance to meet Charlie Bird, who was the Associate Dean under John Riedl. Now retired from Ohio University, Charlie recently wrote a book on this subject area entitled “Out on a Limb: A Branch Campus Life.”

Here is a quick rundown of some of the things that have happened on the Mansfield campus over the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • Our Department of Student Life hosted their Annual Student Success Luncheon at the beginning of last week, celebrating the achievements of faculty, staff and students. Many students who made the Dean’s List for the Fall 2014 semester were in attendance, as were students who faculty and staff recognized for their leadership, service, work orientation, and “noble character” (you just have to love the fact that 25 of our students were recognized in this last category!). A variety of additional awards were given out to faculty and staff members who were identified by students for their many contributions to student success or otherwise were distinguished as having made a significant difference in the lives of our students.
  • The Advancement Team hosted a very lively luncheon last week for donors who have given to our scholarship efforts, paring them with the students who have actually benefited from their generosity. It was abundantly clear from the testimonies that we heard that scholarships have an enormous positive benefit to our students, even when the amounts seem modest.
  • We await reactions to the campus culture committee’s report from Faculty Assembly (scheduled for next week). Following this, the committee will meet to finalize their recommendations.
  • Dave Tovey and I have started to meet with faculty for their annual reviews. At the time of this report, we have already met with one-third of the faculty members. If you have not yet scheduled your meeting with us, please do so as soon as possible!


  • Last week, the English department sponsored a panel discussion on career options for English and history majors. Maura Teynor, Director of Donor Services and Communications at the Richland County Foundation, and former OSUM English majors Jason Spoon, Associate Human Resources Representative at Stonegate (formerly Hi-Stat), and David Yoder, Platform & Technology Manager at Richland Source all gathered in Ovalwood Hall to help students answer that nagging question: “so what can you do with that English or history degree?” All three participants recognized the important skills that English and history majors bring to the work force and offered advice about how students can use campus resources—such as writing and digital media courses and internships—to make the most of their degrees. We plan more events like this for the fall along with strategically publicizing the success of our OSU English alumni. Many thanks go out to Cynthia Callahan for her leadership on this exciting initiative!
  • Following a very successful meeting several weeks ago with Jeff Sharp, Director of the School of Environmental and Natural Resources, Heather Tanner has been leading the charge to develop a brochure that SENR faculty and staff members will begin to use immediately in referring students to the Mansfield campus. Your efforts to jumpstart this partnership are much appreciated Heather!

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • As you know from my last report, we kicked off the No More campaign on our campus two weeks ago. In addition to thanking Renee Thompson for her leadership on this effort, at this time I would like to point out that our College of Social Work Student Association (CSWSA) also had a big hand in forming the No More group and pulling off this initial event. Many thanks to Mary Jo Hawk, Luann Howard, and all of the members of the CSWSA team for their hard work and dedication to making this group become a reality on the Mansfield campus.

Property and facilities

  • Last week, Brian White and I met with members of the Richland County Foundation in order to discuss possible partnerships surrounding the desire to build a comprehensive trail system on the Mansfield campus. Their administrative team has agreed to host a community summit of potential stakeholders in this project, likely to convene in the latter part of May. More details will be forthcoming.

Town-gown relationships

  • While at the NABCA conference, I met a group of Chicago-based real estate developers who specialize in building walkable communities near regional and branch campuses (who knew?). I am now working to connect this group with the appropriate decision-makers at the local level.

From the flight deck

Last week I joined a group of Mansfield faculty members on the Columbus campus to wish Terri Fisher the heartiest of congratulations on her having received the Susan Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award. Also accompanied by members of her family, our presence during the reception was gratifying both in terms of the amount of support lent to Terri and the significant visibility we exhibited to our Columbus colleagues. As I learned from colleagues at the NABCA conference this week, conspicuousness is one of the keys to success for regional campuses. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

Dean’s Report April 3, 2015

On Tuesday, I was joined by a number of Mansfield colleagues in witnessing the Investiture of President Michael Drake. It was a grand ceremony, punctuated by a number of inspiring welcoming remarks, and brought to a climax by President Drake’s own speech to the campus. I was heartened by the fact that he emphasized access and affordability, two topics that speak directly to the mission and values of the Mansfield campus. Additionally, he highlighted the ever growing importance of diversity in all of its forms on the university campus, something we have been paying more and more attention to in recent years as our student body has diversified.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the things that have happened on the Mansfield campus over the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • Our top candidates for the Education and History positions have accepted our offers! I was pleased to have both Kate Nelson and Kip Curtis agree to join the Mansfield faculty early last week.
  • The regional deans met collectively with the TIU chairs in order to share performance review information. I was pleased to see how much more effortlessly these conversations were occurring with the chairs as compared to years past. Most if not all of the bumps in the road we had experienced previously seemed to have been smoothed over now. Also, I was very happy to have heard about the significant number of faculty members who already had met with their chairs in order to receive their scholarship evaluations.
  • Initial reactions to the campus culture committee’s report have been collected from faculty and staff. Committee members will be meeting to plan next steps in response to this feedback.


  • Jeff Sharp, Director of the School of Environmental and Natural Resources, visited our campus yesterday along with a group of SENR faculty members. A number of partnership-oriented activities are in the planning stages to increase the SENR presence on our campus.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • Yesterday, we kicked off the No More campaign on our campus. This chartered student group, led by our own Renee Thompson, is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault. There were a number of very moving presentations made during this very well attended event.

Property and facilities

  • Comments regarding the second floor Conard space utilization study were due this week, and plans are underway to roll out information from this work to the campus as a whole in the near future.

Town-gown relationships

  • The Campus District Development Segment group met yesterday to solidify work on a number of actionable steps over the course of the next twelve months. This includes the development of a site plan, a zoning overlay, and utility extensions for the Town Center, extending the sidewalk/bike path from Route 30 to the campus entrance, and preparing a marketing plan for the broader Campus District.

From the flight deck

Normally, my summary remarks “from the flight deck” are meant to play off the metaphor of our campus soaring ever higher as we expand our expectations about future possibilities. This time around, however, I leave you with a very real flight deck update. Yesterday, a number of us met with Randy McCoy, the instructor for our first year aviation classes. Plans are being made for a more concerted effort to attract students to this coursework, which works very nicely for students in our engineering program (Aviation Studies is housed in the College of Engineering). We also are looking to increase our ties with the Columbus campus and Don Scott Airfield, something that might eventually land us (pun intended) an airplane of our own!

Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

Pen pal program unites students, Bitty Buckeyes

The Ohio State University at Mansfield cares as much about future Buckeyes as it does its current students and alumni. The Bitty Buckeye Leadership Project pairs Ohio State Mansfield students with local schoolchildren as pen pals to promote community relationships and plant the seed that they too can attend college.

The project is being coordinated by First Year Experience Coordinator Natasha Stouffer and First Year Experience Junior Coordinator Savanah Osborn. While this isn’t the first year the program has existed, it is the first time that they’ve started expanding the number of students involved.

“The program started with a few Buckeye Ambassadors,” Stouffer said. “When I got here, I found Buckeye Ambassador Kaitlyn Miller’s instruction manual for the program. I saw the potential in the project and thought that we should continue the outreach into local schools. The instruction manual has allowed us to replicate the program in various schools.”

The program has now grown to include Buckeye Ambassadors and First Year Student Leaders.

The university students get a lot of satisfaction out of the program. Michael Morgan, a freshman from Cleveland suburb Shaker Heights, has a pen pal at Sherman Elementary School.

“I think the Bitty Buckeye letters are amazing,” Morgan said. “My participation in the Bitty Buckeye Program has truly helped me in my first year in college, and I hope it helps the children understand the importance of education and hard work.”

Morgan is an example of what Stouffer likes about the program.

“I see The Bitty Buckeye Program as a great way to make students who aren’t from the area feel connected to Mansfield,” Stouffer said. “I think it shows what can happen when a community and the university work together.”

The program has been well received in the community, according to Stouffer.

“The teachers really like it because it gives their kids a way to practice their creative spelling and writing,” she said.

The children really enjoy the program as well. The conversations between students and the children are typically about education.

“They’re really excited about being able to talk to Buckeyes and learn about the college experience,” Osborn said. “We talk about college and what they want to be when they grow up and what they think college is like. Then we explain to them what our experiences are.”

The conversations will continue throughout the school year as letters are exchanged every couple of weeks. The program culminates when the college students meet their pen pals face-to-face at the local schools and spend a half-day talking about college and doing educational activities focusing on college access.

Stouffer and Osborn believe Bitty Buckeyes is a scalable project and expect the program to expand.

“We have more interest in it than we have students to write letters,” Stouffer said. “I expect to see it grow and grow over the next year.”

In memorium

Lowell Smith

Lowell Smith

Ohio State Mansfield lost a significant friend and partner this winter, Lowell T. Smith. He inspired youth about higher education as a teacher, coach, administrator, and finally board member for Mansfield City Schools, in the College of Education at Ashland University, and as founder of the Tyger Scholarship on our campus.

Memorial contributions can be made to this scholarship benefitting Mansfield City School graduates online at to fund number 313982, or by mail to 1760 University Drive, 222 Riedl Hall, Mansfield, Ohio, 44906.

From the Dean’s Office

From the Dean’s Office

Dr. Terri Fisher

Dr. Terri Fisher

Just like their counterparts on the Columbus campus, Ohio State Mansfield faculty are active researchers whose scholarly contributions are recognized worldwide.

Thus, students at Ohio State Mansfield can benefit in the classroom from the scholarly expertise of our faculty by learning about the most up-to-date research findings.

Beyond the classroom, students can learn about how research is designed, implemented, analyzed, and disseminated. Working with students in the lab, studio, or theatre is just another form of teaching for our faculty.

Some of our students take learning about research one step further and actually carry out their own projects, the results of which may eventually be presented at a conference or even published.

A few events during the month of April will showcase the scholarly activities of both our faculty and our students. On April 9, we will hold the first of our two-part Faculty Research Frenzy, featuring faculty from a variety of disciplines who will be discussing their scholarship in short and sparkling five-minute segments.

The second Faculty Research Frenzy, featuring the work of different faculty members, will be held April 13. Both events will occur between 12:40 p.m. and 1:25 p.m. in 229 Riedl Hall.

Beginning on April 20, the Ohio State Mansfield Undergraduate Research Forum will take place in the Epperson Atrium of Riedl Hall. Students will display their research findings in the form of posters and papers for the entire week. Visitors are welcome anytime, and the students will be available to talk about their work from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. April 23.

Throughout the semester, students and faculty will be sharing the results of their research at various conferences and research forums, publishing articles and books, and displaying their artistic endeavors—all part of the vibrant scholarly atmosphere at Ohio State Mansfield!

Terri D. Fisher, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean


Students love Buckeye experience

Homecoming Queen Jordan Morse and King Joey Burley are involved in activities.

Homecoming Queen Jordan Morse and King Joey Burley are involved in activities.

At Ohio State Mansfield, our students love being involved in campus activities, from student engagement to athletics programs, making Buckeye memories and friendships they will carry with them for life.

Homecoming king and queen, Joey Burley and Jordan Morse, were chosen for their extensive involvement in campus activities as well as volunteerism in the community.

Morse plays on the intercollegiate Mansfield Mavericks volleyball team and volunteers with children with disabilities at Raemelton Therapeutic Equestrian Center and at a local dog shelter.

Burley is involved in Psychology Student Association, English Club and Boxing Club. He participates in theater productions and is a summer cleaning and maintenance staff manager at campus housing Molyet Village Apartments.

They also have a lot in common. Both are Psychology majors, resident advisors at Molyet Village Apartments and graduates from Ashland High School. And they have been a couple for about four years.

“We have so many similar interests that we can explore those interests on campus, and we also, just like any other couple, have very different interests,” Burley said. “So it’s great that not only can we achieve all the experiences we wish to do together here but we can also achieve all the experiences that we want for ourselves as well.”

Burley, looking for sparring partners, started the boxing club on campus. He credits both the Office of Student Engagement and Athletics for guiding him through the process to succeed in his goal. They helped him craft liability documents, create club flyers to recruit members and granted the new club $800 for equipment. The club has grown to about 10 who are regular participants.

The couple decided to apply for homecoming court because it was something they could participate in together. The selection process included interviews with a committee of faculty and staff who evaluated their campus and community involvement.

“I was so nervous for the interview but it went so well,” Morse said. “Everyone was so calm and I got to talk about my interests, which was the best part.”

Students chose them as king and queen.

“Something told me that it was going to be a really good experience for both of us and it wound up like a fairy tale,” Burley said. “We were treated like royalty for the whole weekend. Especially standing right alongside the one you love – it was awesome.”

While both live close enough to commute to campus, they chose to live in the campus dorm. They love the community atmosphere and the friendships they have made.

“I absolutely love it here,” Burley said. “I choose to get involved in so many different things because it’s a part of who I am and the opportunity presents itself so often here even at a regional campus.

“I think a lot of people consider getting involved to be either something that you are innately able to do or innately unable to do and I don’t think that’s true. Everyone wants that Buckeye experience. Just open your eyes, because even here at the Mansfield campus, it’s available.”

#313112 OSU Mansfield Student Life Support Fund

#312001 OSU Mansfield Recreation Center Fund

Student’s research has implications across Ohio

Freshman Jeff Hensal received a research scholar award to study long-term trends in precipitation across Ohio.

Freshman Jeff Hensal received a research scholar award to study long-term trends in precipitation across Ohio.

An Ohio State Mansfield student is conducting a research project that may have broad implications across Ohio for its number one industry – farming.

Freshman Jeff Hensal is the first from Ohio State Mansfield to receive a Research Scholar Award of $1,000 from the Ohio State University Undergraduate Research Office. His proposal looks at historical precipitation data to identify long-term trends in precipitation amounts, moisture regime and water availability in Ohio. Results from this study will help managers better prepare for extreme weather events and support farmers in their planning for irrigation and water usage.

Drawing from precipitation data from NOAA National Climatic Data Center going back to the 1970s from 205 weather stations in all 88 Ohio counties, Hensal and research mentor and professor Ozeas Costa hope to gain knowledge about the trends and patterns of climate change to be able to make accurate predictions about the weather, especially extreme weather events such as floods and droughts. They also hope to discover some of the factors that impact this change to help better predict future climate variability.

The Earth’s climate is intrinsic to everything important to society – the production of food and energy, human and ecosystem health, the functioning and characteristics of the hydrologic cycle, and much more, Hensal explained in his proposal.

“Natural and human-induced changes in the Earth’s climate thus have widespread implications for society,” he said. “We are particularly interested in the role of climatic changes on the hydrological cycle, since water availability is crucial to agriculture, one of the major drivers of Ohio’s economy.”

Tracking historical information means that researchers can determine what could be expected from the future, both in terms of intensity and frequency of rains, which will help farmers determine when to plant, and how much fertilizer and pesticides to use, according to Costa.

The Engineering major is expected to prepare a three-month progress report and to create an online research portfolio and update it each semester until he graduates.

Hensal’s work will be displayed at the Mansfield Undergraduate Research Forum April 20-23 and he will be available from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. April 23 to answer questions about the project.

About 300 scholarships will be awarded through the program this year. Students can conduct research or pursue a creative activity with a faculty member’s supervision in any discipline, on any campus of The Ohio State University.

Tradition way of life for Buckeyeman and granddaughter

Buckeyeman Larry Lokai and granddaughter Catherine Williams visit the Cyber Café.

Buckeyeman Larry Lokai and granddaughter Catherine Williams visit the Cyber Café.

No one has more Buckeye pride and enthusiasm than Buckeyeman. For the last 17 years, the Ohio State alumnus has been plastering face paint on, hanging buckeyes around his neck, and cheering for The Ohio State University.

What people may forget is that there’s an ordinary man underneath that red and grey exterior. Larry Lokai, of Urbana, Ohio, isn’t just a Buckeye on the outside; he’s a Buckeye through and through. Lokai graduated from Ohio State in 1967.

Granddaughter Catherine Williams is carrying on the tradition as a freshman at Ohio State Mansfield. Twenty-four of Lokai’s family members have attended Ohio State including five other grandchildren who are currently attending the university at the Columbus and Lima campuses.

“If all goes well, we will have our 25th degree from our immediate family by 2018,” Lokai said.

Williams, a Special Education major, always knew she wanted to go to The Ohio State University. She learned more about regional campuses as two older sisters chose to attend Ohio State Lima.

“I already knew I had an option to go to a regional campus, but was not sure which one would be the right fit for me,” Williams said. “I narrowed down my search based on the option of housing and if my major was offered. My search was narrowed down to Lima and Mansfield, but when touring Mansfield, this campus seemed more of a fit for me even though I already knew people who were going to Lima.

Lokai has visited every regional campus as Buckeyeman, but didn’t stop at Ohio State Mansfield until this past November when he visited Williams at off-campus housing Buckeye Village and toured the campus.

He liked the modern buildings and the smaller campus setting.

“The primary value is the smaller setting with a closer group of fellow students,” Lokai said. “Plus, the Mansfield campus is located in a spacious, clean and safe part of town.”

When asked whether Williams will carry on her grandfather’s tradition, she said, “I will continue the tradition of being an avid Ohio State fan and will always speak highly of not only Ohio State, but how much of a fan he is for OSU.”

Dean’s report March 20, 2015

Happy First Day of Spring! (It couldn’t have come a moment too soon!).

When I first toured the Mansfield campus four and a half years ago in November 2010, there were three things that I saw that were “broken”: the library, the dining area, and the weight room. And so when I took the dean’s position I vowed to “fix” all three items (in addition to pledging to not take no for an answer about housing, of course). Fast forward to 2015: Our BLIC is the envy of the regional campuses, the dining area has new furniture and a major renovation scheduled for this May, and as of today (ta da!) our weight room is the amazing new gem of our campus! It’s strange to say this, but out of all the “fixes” accomplished during this time I am most proud of the renovated weight room… must be because I am a gym rat at heart!

You will soon be receiving an invitation from Mike LaCroix to attend an Open House to view the new facility. Please take the opportunity to check out the new equipment, bright new walls and mirrors, and workout floor. I hope you will experience some of the same “shock and awe” that I did!

Meanwhile, here is a quick rundown of some of the things that have happened on the Mansfield campus over the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • Offers are now out to the top candidates coming out of the History and Education searches. I will make announcements as soon as I get each candidate to sign on the dotted line!
  • Next week (W/TH) is the set of two-day meetings between your TIU chairs and the regional deans to discuss teaching, scholarship and service effort ratings.


  • Gary Kennedy received a fairly comprehensive response from the College of Arts & Sciences regarding our proposition to create new majors in Environmental Studies and Emerging Media in the Arts. It looks like we will be scheduling a time in the very near future to discuss the proposals with the affected TIU chairs and divisional deans.
  • Yesterday we were paid a visit by Blaine Lilly, an Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering, who walked us through some of the second year engineering issues we are going to be facing as we ramp up our program. It was an encouraging meeting, and plans are for some quick follow through on itemizing equipment and space needs.
  • Jeff Sharp, Director of the School of Environmental and Natural Resources, will be visiting our campus next week to discuss the pros and cons of that program re-establishing a presence on our campus.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • I have been recruited to participate in the “White Men as Full Diversity Partners” training that is taking place May 18-21 in Ohio. I am one of 15 Ohio State administrators selected to take part in this training.

Property and facilities

  • Ozeas Costa has identified some funding possibilities through USDA with regard to the development of a trail system on our campus. As a result, we have initiated some informal discussions with local funding outlets to ascertain the possibility of receiving some planning money in front of our application for the USDA money.

Town-gown relationships

  • Brian White and I met with Ontario government representatives on the Campus District this past Monday. We were provided with an update on sidewalk/bike path installation, which is scheduled to begin sometime later this spring, as well as sewer negotiations between Ontario and Mansfield, which are expected to be concluded successfully in the very near future.

From the flight deck

I am very pleased to see the work of the campus culture committee moving forward. Their report was released last Friday, and senior staff’s extensive discussion of the report this past Monday morning concluded with an endorsement of the plan. Later that same day, MSAC sponsored an open forum to discuss the report, resulting in lots of good discussion about a variety of topics. Informal lunches to continue this dialogue were on Wednesday and Thursday of this week as well, and both Executive Committee and Faculty Assembly will be taking up the discussion next Friday. Please, please, please take part in the conversation. All voices need to be heard!

Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!