Dean’s Report Nov. 14, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

On Wednesday, Carol Landry’s recent promotion to Associate Professor with tenure was celebrated on the Columbus campus during a reception held at the Faculty Club. A tradition to mark the occasion has emerged whereby the newly promoted faculty member is asked to select a book that in some way stands as a symbol for the academic achievements involved in the promotion process. Professor Landry chose Waser and Ollerton’s “Plant Pollinator Interactions: From Specialization to Generalization” because, in her words, “the editors and authors of this book have strongly influenced the way that I think about pollination mutualisms specifically and, more broadly, about the importance of species interactions in the maintenance of biodiversity.” Congratulations once again to Carol!

Here is a quick rundown on the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • The request for nominations regarding the position of Assistant Dean was sent out last week. Please remember that the deadline for nominations is this coming Monday, November 17th at noon.
  • We recently received the results of the Ohio State culture survey. Given our desire to have the best possible work environment created on our campus, I have asked the following individuals to form a working group that will be tasked with making recommendations concerning the one or two issues emerging out of the survey that can become the main focus on work for the campus: Donna Hight and Heather Tanner (co-chairs), Mary Jo Hawk, Michelle Kowalski, Phil Mazzocco, Darla Myers, Andy Kinney, and Cathy Stimpert. Many thanks in advance to the members of this working group for the efforts to create meaningful and pragmatic recommendations. Please note that those recommendations will be distributed to the campus and discussed in an upcoming town hall meeting.

Curriculum

  • Several meetings recently have occurred that spoke directly to the development of an environmentally focused program of study on the Mansfield campus. Brian White and I will be presenting the EcoLab vision to the School of Environmental and Natural Sciences (SENR) faculty on the Columbus campus this coming Monday (11/17) in order to further understand their interest in offering SENR courses and majors on our campus.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • Last week, in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Cherokee recording artist Michael Jacobs was on hand to entertain our campus through a blend of Native American, folk and pop music. Additionally, he discussed the triumphs and challenges of the Native American community with a crowd of approximately 50 participants.
  • Discussions are underway regarding activities for the 2015 Black History Month. We are looking to collaborate with a variety of community partners for next year’s activities.

Property and facilities

  • Yesterday, the Ohio State Mansfield Board joined the Executive Committee in voting to support two expenditures related to property and facilities management. The first item concerned the authorization to spend up to $50K on improvements to the Campus Recreation Center, while the second item involved an expenditure of approximately $12K to hire a woodlands conservation expert who would be responsible for creating a woodlands stewardship plan for our 640 acres. As noted in a previous biweekly report, the woodlands stewardship plan will allow us to more firmly wrap our collective minds around the resources we have within the borders of our 640 acres, while the facility upgrade will provide a long overdue facelift to the CRC.

Town-gown relationships

  • Last week, NCSC and Ohio State Mansfield hosted a conversation on the campus district concept. The mayors of Mansfield, Ontario, and Shelby were in attendance (I am happy to note here that Shelby’s Mayor Marilyn John also was present as County Commissioner elect), as were various interested parties from across Richland County. A second meeting will be convened in order to discuss the priority level that our surrounding communities will affix to the development of the campus district.
  • Yesterday, a sizable contingent of Ohio State Mansfield and NCSC representatives were on hand at the Kehoe Center for the United Way’s Mid-Campaign Breakfast. You may or may not know that Ohio State Mansfield Board member Dan DeVille currently is serving as the United Way’s Board President. In many ways, Dan is the very embodiment of the town-gown partnership as he works tirelessly for the betterment of both campus and community. Next time you see Dan, please join me in thanking him for all of his efforts!

From the flight deck

It’s getting closer and closer to the most wonderful time of the year, that amazing mix of holidays and traditions that mark the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. Two weeks from now we will be on Thanksgiving break, so my next biweekly report will come your way in December. And just before turkey day we will have celebrated the Buckeye Bash, which at the time of this report’s writing already is sold out! This is great news for the Richland County Ohio State Alumni’s scholarship program, which the Buckeye Bash helps to support. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

Dean’s report Oct. 31, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

Happy Halloween everyone!

As with my last biweekly report, I have another set of bittersweet commemorations to report this time around. Today is the last day at Ohio State for Michelle McLane, who has served our campus well for many years. We wish her the best of luck as she moves forward to take advantage of new opportunities. Fortunately, we recently welcomed her replacement, Rolanda Page, as our new Coordinator of Student Development and Access Services. The fact that we created an intentional overlap has given Rolanda the advantage of learning the ropes from Michelle prior to her departure. If you have not yet introduced yourself to Rolanda, please do so in the near future!

Another bittersweet moment occurred yesterday when I attended a reception and dinner following Anne Epperson’s last Alumni Council meeting on the Columbus campus. Anne has been our Alumni Council representative for the past six years, and has given much to our campus and university during this time period. We are fortunate to have had Dick Walters, a longtime supporter of our campus (including his having been a recent capital campaign committee member), accept our invitation to take on this important role for the Ohio State Mansfield campus. Many thanks to Anne for all of her service and to Dick for stepping forward at this time!

Meanwhile, here is a quick rundown on the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • On Monday, Nick Orosan helped to host an Advancement forum that included Dana Booth, (Assistant Vice President for Constituency Fundraising), Jeff Hilpert (Senior Director of Development), Jacqui Aberegg (Assistant Vice President, Brand & Marketing), and Chad Warren (Assistant Vice President for Engagement Strategies). In many ways this meeting resembled the HR forum that was held last year, especially from the vantage point of hearing how the Mansfield and Columbus campuses work together as a team to accomplish various missions concerning development, communications, and alumni relations.

Curriculum

  • Last week, Dolan Evanovich, Vice President for Enrollment Planning, brought a number of his staff members to the Mansfield campus in order to discuss our five year admissions projections. There was a great deal of enthusiasm expressed for the recent addition of the off-campus housing through Buckeye Village, as well as the activities we are undertaking to refashion ourselves as a more residential campus. We have chosen a theme of “under promise and over perform” regarding enrollment projections, asking for an official target of around 1400 students in the next five years (up from approximately 1250 right now, or about a 12% increase in enrollment by 2019).
  • On Monday, Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences David Manderscheid visited our campus and met with faculty members over the common hour for an informal chat about current issues and opportunities within the college regarding regional campus faculty and students.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • Renee Thompson continues to work with Ohio State Mansfield students to establish the “No More” campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault. An information campaign regarding the relevance of the No More campaign is slated to be shared by year’s end.
  • Bruce George, co-founder of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO, presented on our Mansfield campus last week. An estimated 40 students, faculty and community members were on hand to listen to Mr. George’s insight regarding entrepreneurialism, critical thinking and personal achievement. Afterwards, Mr. George met with students to give specific insight on the entertainment industries and the challenges of achieving musical success.
  • In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Cherokee recording artist Michael Jacobs will be on hand to entertain our campus through a blend of Native American, folk and pop music, as well as discussing the triumphs and challenges of the Native American community. Mr. Jacobs will present on our campus on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 (4:00 pm-5:00 pm) and at OSU Columbus on Wednesday, November 5th.

Property and facilities

  • Last week, a small contingent of the Ohio State Mansfield and NCSC leadership teams were on hand for the dedication ceremony of the “Founder’s Rock” commemorating the work that Avery Hand and Jim Gorman undertook to raise funds for the purchase of the property on which our campus now resides. Jim Gorman was joined by several members of his family for this event. Avery Hand (who passed away several years ago) was honored by a number of his family members who wrote tributes that were read out loud at the ceremony in celebration of his life as a father, grandfather and community citizen.
  • The third meeting of the Conard second floor programming study met last week to hear some preliminary findings from Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) staff members working with our campus on this project. Feedback from participants will now trigger a new round of fact finding, with the hope of a more rigorous set of recommendations forthcoming in the near future.
  • Senior members of the Ohio State Mansfield and NCSC leadership teams received a “sneak peek” regarding preliminary findings regarding the new entranceway work being conducted by MKSK Design group. The preliminary feedback generated through this meeting will be incorporated into the design plans that will be shared with the wider group of committee members before being vetted by our campus community.

 Town-gown relationships

  • On Monday, I attended the 100th anniversary celebration of Catholic Charities along with several members of our campus, including Nick Orosan and Renee Thompson. John and Mary Riedl also were in attendance, along with approximately 100 community guests. This event was hosted by one of the many local agencies and organizations we work with on a consistent basis in order to provide important services to community residents through the volunteer activities of our students, staff, and faculty.
  • I have been appointed to the International Town Gown Association (ITGA) Strategic Planning Group Committee.

From the flight deck

One proposal to hire a woodlands stewardship consultant and a second proposal to use strategic cash reserves to provide an immediate upgrade to the CRC workout facilities were approved by the Executive Committee yesterday. The woodlands stewardship plan will allow us to more firmly wrap our collective minds around the resources we have within the borders of our 640 acres, while the facility upgrade will provide a long overdue facelift to the CRC.

This past Wednesday I took part in the third annual meeting of Regional Campus Cluster deans and the Presidents of the co-located campuses. Among other things, this event represented a “passing of the torch” from Mike Boehm to Jennifer Cowley. There are so many reasons to praise Mike’s leadership over the past four and a half years, and just as much motivation for expecting much the same from Jennifer’s guidance and direction.

Finally, on a more personal note I wanted to share the joy I experienced two days ago when I returned to the undergraduate classroom. A former doctoral student of mine had adopted the textbook I had written on families with adolescents for her class, and asked if I would visit with her students. I provided a short lecture on the material of the day, facilitated small and larger group discussions, and then was grateful to receive feedback from students about the book I wrote. It was such a gratifying experience, and it prompts me to remind Ohio State Mansfield faculty members about how fortunate you all are to have the privilege of teaching our best and brightest on a regular basis!

All signs continue to point to friendly skies ahead. May your weekend be filled with maximum treats and a minimum of tricks. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

Dean’s report Oct. 17, 2014

Each year we welcome new members into the Ohio State academy. Last week, President Drake hosted a new faculty member reception at the Ohio State Faculty Club, and I was delighted to take part in this celebration with both Ruth Lowery and Agus Munoz-Garcia. We were able to catch the attention of President Drake for a couple of moments, and he spoke warmly about the regional campuses due to his recent visit to Newark. In addition to noting his interest in visiting the Mansfield campus in the not-too-distant future, he also was quite animated about the special role he saw the regional campuses playing in the realm of P-16 education. This certainly left Ruth with a big smile on her face!

Meanwhile, here is a quick rundown on the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • On Monday, NCSC President Dorey Diab and I hosted an Open Student Forum along with Ohio State Student Trustee Jaime Cruse and NCSC Student McKayla Cox. Special thanks to Andrew Kinney for offering extra credit to students who participated in the forum!
  • On Tuesday, I sent out a notice to the Mansfield campus regarding Norman Jones having accepted my offer to become the next Associate Dean. Norman will begin his new role on July 1, 2015.
  • NOTE: Following our ironing out of some last minute details in Executive Committee, we soon will begin the search process for our next Assistant Dean.

Curriculum

  • On Monday, Dave Tovey, Brian White and I met with Ozeas Costa and Carol Landry regarding both the BAIS (Integrated Studies with emphasis on environmental studies) and the SENR minor and major and how all of this curricular-based work would dovetail with our EcoLab initiative. Next steps include completing the BAIS curriculum outline and notifying the Columbus campus of our intention to begin offering students an Individualized Study Program (ISP) option while seeking official recognition of the new major from the Arts and Sciences faculty.
  • On Wednesday, Dave Tovey and I toured some of the Mechanical Engineering (ME) sites on the Columbus campus in order to gain a better idea about the facilities we would need to have to offer the second, third, and fourth years of an ME major.
  • On Thursday, several members of the College of Engineering (COE) – including Dean David Williams and Associate Dean David Tomasko – visited our campus. Special attention was given to the development of our four year engineering degree offerings, as well as connecting local employers with students and graduates from the COE.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • As a result of last week’s Woman2Woman conversation with Katherine Ezawa of The DomesticViolence Shelter, Inc., participants unanimously agreed to begin efforts to champion the “NoMore” campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Renee Thompson is working withthis group to develop mission and vision statements and will meet again with Katherine onWednesday, October 22nd to begin crystallizing a campus-wide “No More” campaign.
  • NOTE: Bruce George, the co-founder of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO, will present atthe Mansfield campus on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 from 4:00 pm-5:30 pm., EisenhowerStudent Union.

Property and facilities

  • Last Thursday, President Diab, Brian White and I met with members of the Ontario Growth Association in order to discuss a range of issues, including most significantly a series of zoning issues that are being considered by the Ontario City Council regarding the Campus District. Much of this work is being done in order to create a uniform look to new businesses that will develop on Lex-Springmill Road.
  • On Thursday, I spent some time with Larry Stimpert on a tour of our physical facilities, as well astaking the opportunity to meet with his Physical Operations and Maintenance (POM) staff.

Town-gown relationships

  • Last week, I attended the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) conferencein Syracuse, New York. In addition to presenting a talk on the recent campus-community surveywe conducted, I spent quite a bit of time talking to CUMU members who are facing similarchallenges as our campus in terms of improving town-gown relationships. One of the mostgratifying pieces of good news I brought back was that the baseline data created by our surveywas the envy of the conference!

From the flight deck

This is Homecoming week, and later today we will be crowning a new Mansfield campus Homecoming Queen and King. The following individuals are representing our campus this year as part of the Mansfield Homecoming Court: Nella Blackford (Ashland, Early Childhood Education), Maris Bucci (Bellville, Communications), Jordan Morse (Ashland, Psychology), Joey Burley (Ashland, Psychology & English), Jordan Landis (Crestview, Middle Childhood Education), and Greg Palmerton (Norwalk, Biology & Pre-Medicine). In addition, these students will get to participate in the Homecoming Parade and Marching Band rehearsal on the Columbus campus today, and then will be on hand tomorrow for the pre-game skull session and ensuing football game against Rutgers. This is a great bunch of students, many of whom have already positioned themselves as student leaders on our campus. Many thanks to Elise Riggle for working with the other regional campuses to coordinate these events for our Homecoming Court. This is another great example of our students benefitting from our small campus advantages while still being able to participate in the big campus events!

If you have any of the Homecoming Court students in your classes, please let them know how proud we are of them. There is a lot to be delighted about these days, and our stellar students are the centerpiece of it all. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

Dean’s Report Oct. 3, 2014

There was a bittersweet flavor to this week’s events. On Monday, we got the sweet treat, celebrating Carol Landry’s promotion to Associate Professor with tenure. Yeah Carol! The very next day, however, we had to bid farewell to Connie Stitzlein. While we all wish her the very best in her retirement years, it is always sad to see someone go who has been such a positive force on the campus. Fortunately, Tina Lillo has been able to learn all of Connie’s tricks (and I have been assured that Connie did in fact hand over her magic wand to Tina before departing as well). Meanwhile, here’s a quick update on how the main issues at hand for the campus were dealt with over the past two weeks or so.

Human Resources

  • The search for the new History position is underway through national advertisements and related recruitment efforts. The search for the new Education position will commence shortly.
  • Molly Driscoll made her first appearance on campus today to conduct interviews related to the “culture of coaching” work she will be conducting for us, and she will return again this coming Monday to complete those discussions.

Curriculum

  • Lots of attention is beginning to be paid to our environmental studies efforts. The Curriculum Committee has met already this semester to discuss this topic, and David Tovey and I have a meeting in two weeks with Ozeas Costa and Carol Landry in order to advance this conversation.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • Perhaps the best news of all in this category is the fact that we have 203 students of color on our campus this year, with large increases in our Asian, African American, Hispanic, and Biracial student populations. According to my last communication with Donna Hight, students of color now represent 16% of our student body, a 4% increase from last year.
  • Over the past two weeks we have welcomed two guest speakers for Hispanic Heritage Month: John Alvarez-Turner and Frederick Luis Aldama.
  • Quench Your Thirst Thursdays (QYT) kicked off the semester with its first meeting last week (with the next one to follow on 10/9).
  • Renée Thompson was a guest presenter for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s “It’s All About Love Retreat” last week at Deer Creek Lodge. It is important to note that Renée was the first regional campus representative to have ever been asked to present at this retreat for women of color.

Property and facilities

  • University Development staff paid our campus a visit today. David Ripple, (VP of Development), Matt Meyer (senior director of corporate and foundation relations), and Dana Booth (assistant VP, constituency fundraising) were on site to discuss capital campaign strategies alongside fundraising efforts for our EcoLab initiative.
  • This past Wednesday, Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) staff members were on hand to conduct a set of planning activities related to the second floor of Conard Hall. The results of this study will inform our next Capital Appropriations funding request, among other outlets.
  • Last Friday we witnessed the installation of new furniture for our dining facilities. Wow – what an improvement!

Town-gown relationships

  • The presentation made to the campus and community on our survey efforts yielded a number of positive news stories in local media at the beginning of last week, which have been posted to various social media sites in addition to our campus website.
  • On a more personal note, the first manuscript to utilize the data derived from our campus-community survey went live this week through Online First (gosh does it feel good to keep publishing scholarly articles in the midst of attending to my administrative responsibilities!). For anyone interested in the article the citation is:
    • Gavazzi, Stephen. M. and Michael Fox. 2014. A tale of three cities: Piloting a measure of effort and comfort levels within town-gown relationships. Innovative Higher Education. doi: 10.1007/s10755-014-9309-0

From the flight deck

As I explained in my first biweekly report of this academic year, the fact that the Ohio State Mansfield campus now seems poised for takeoff compelled me to adopt an aeronautical theme this year (after all, elevators can only get as high as the buildings they exist within!). From where I sit, the new semester seems to have gotten off the ground in fine fashion, and we are beginning to gain altitude at a smooth yet exciting rate. One sure sign of a comfortable flight ahead is the initial preparation efforts we are successfully undertaking to get ready for a new “co-pilot” to join the team in the cabin. Norman Jones facilitated an open forum today on his candidacy for the Associate Dean position, and I will be releasing a brief campus survey very soon that will allow faculty and staff colleagues to comment on his strengths and challenges coming into the position, as well as providing feedback about the job description and where he should be focusing the greatest amount of his attention come July 1, 2015. When this process is completed, we will next turn our attention to the next role to be filled in the cockpit: the Assistant Dean position. Stay tuned!

Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

From the Dean

There’s a new excitement in the air at Ohio State Mansfield, more so than in any other year since I became dean and director. You could feel it as our incoming freshmen and faculty proudly sang Carmen Ohio at convocation and then gathered for the Dean’s picnic. New students explored vast opportunities both on and off campus at the Involvement and Community Fair. They are filling the bleachers at volleyball games.

Our newly renovated Bromfield Library and Information Commons is the go-to place for students to meet with faculty for some extra one-on-one time or to curl up with a book. By the time you read this, there will be new furniture in the cafeteria although the actual renovation won’t take place until May.

We are meeting with North Central State College representatives and community leaders to plan for a new campus entryway, one that will also signal the entrance to an eventual campus district. Before the ribbon even had been cut at Buckeye Village, developers were talking about nearly doubling the original projected 500 beds. Ontario government officials revealed plans to provide sidewalks from Buckeye Village to the shopping areas.

We formalized a long-standing partnership with Ashland University’s Dwight Schar College of Nursing and Health Sciences to guarantee transfers for our best and brightest nursing students. The agreement allows students across the region to complete core coursework at state college tuition rates and then transfer as a junior to Ashland.

Surveyors could be seen outside Riedl Hall in the wetlands last week, marking what will become an outdoor classroom for both our environmental studies program and community school districts. You can read more about our EcoLab project on our Planning and Projects page at mansfield.osu.edu/about-osu-mansfield/planning-and-project-office.

So buckle your seatbelts. We’re rolling down the runway and Ohio State Mansfield is ready for takeoff!

Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.

From the Dean

Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College, our co-located technical partner, have been engaged in a process of surveying residents, employees, and employers of the communities that surround us in an attempt to figure out the current state of the relationship between our combined campus and the community, or what I like to call our “town-gown relationship.”

Happily, More than 700 people working and living in Richland County chose to participate in our survey, and the initial results are nothing short of fascinating!

First, we have made some important gains in building our town-gown ties over the last several years, especially with sectors of the community that historically have been disconnected from our campus.

Second, in many ways our best connecting points with the community are happening with and through our students!

I will be providing a brief overview of the results for the Richland Community Development Group in early August, and then will be laying out the first full sets of analyses during a campus-wide presentation I will make during the common hour on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

As dean, I’ve thought a lot about the relationships between universities and the cities where they live, and connecting these relationships to my own research interests in family dynamics.

I discovered that town-gown relationships and marriages share a lot in common. The vows that state “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,” and so on, are an applied fact of life for any college town.

During the presentation, I will define the four distinct types of town-gown relationships – devitalized, conflicted, traditional, and harmonious – and where respondents tell us we are in these relationships. I’ll also reveal where respondents think we are in terms of the level of comfort and level of effort of our relationship.

This is one presentation you will definitely want to attend!

 

Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.

From the Dean

This year, our Ohio State Mansfield students come from 42 of Ohio’s 88 counties. We truly have grown beyond a regional campus and into a destination spot for higher education.

Sixteen percent of our new students come from Cuyahoga County. Crystal Brown, who hails from Cleveland, has made a real impact on the Ohio State Mansfield campus. Crystal lived on campus and quickly got involved in the Campus Activity Board, as well as becoming a cheerleader for the Mavericks collegiate sports program. No doubt, you have seen her smiling face on area billboards as she represented Ohio State Mansfield in local and regional advertising campaigns.

Mikayla Bodey, from St. Paris, a town just north of Dayton, parlayed connections with internship coordinators Pam Schopieray and Tracy Bond into an internship with the National 4-H Council’s Citizenship Washington Focus Program. She is one of nine students from across the nation that have been chosen to participate in this leadership initiative.

Many students choose Ohio State Mansfield for the research opportunities available with renowned faculty. Leah Schwechheimer, a local grad and a junior in Biology, teamed with Assistant Professor Carol Landry to study white mangrove pollination in the Bahamas. Leah came back to Ohio State Mansfield from Columbus her junior year for the opportunity to conduct research with Dr. Landry. And her hard work has paid off. She recently received a $3,500 fellowship that will allow her to continue her research this summer in the Bahamas.

With our increasingly active recruitment efforts in both the Cleveland and the Akron/Canton metropolitan areas, the numbers of students who choose Ohio State Mansfield as their destination campus to begin college will surely grow. It is imperative that we plan for this growth, both on campus and in our anticipated campus district. Even the most studious of residential students expect on-campus activities nights and weekends, as well as 24-hour dining options.

To meet these needs, we’ve made headway with library renovations and the addition of an information commons in Bromfield Hall. In addition, a long-needed overhaul of the Eisenhower Hall cafeteria starts soon. But our key recreational and student gathering areas – the Campus Recreation Center and the Student Union – remain desperately in need of modernization, and therefore are likely to attract our immediate attention once all other renovations are complete.

Relatedly, the next phase of our capital campaign will focus on providing a better overall college experience for our students, whether they are here for a year or two, or choose to graduate at Ohio State Mansfield. We ask that you join us in the weeks and months ahead as we sharpen our focus on specific projects and objectives that will be designed to enhance the student experience of our campus.

Go Bucks!

Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.

Dean’s Report April 18, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

I continued the celebration of our esteemed faculty last week by attending the reception for Sergei Chmutov regarding his Honors Faculty Service Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. His department chair and several fellow Math Department faculty members from the Columbus campus were on hand for the Faculty Club gathering, with many accolades being made about his outstanding contributions to student learning. There was a clear sense of pride on display by his colleagues and chair!

Decision-making about faculty and staff positions

At long last, an official offer has been made to our top candidate for the T&L position at the rank of full professor. We hope to celebrate an acceptance soon.

Just yesterday, the EEOB department confirmed the search committee’s recommendations regarding the open position. I will open negotiations with the top candidate immediately.

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

Last Friday, I met with Bruce McPheron, the Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, in order to discuss potential partnerships stemming from the EcoLab plans and our desire to have an environmental studies program on our campus. Dean McPheron was very interested in collaborating with us on a number of fronts, and suggested that the next step would involve a meeting with Jeff Sharp, the Director of the School of Environmental and Natural Resources.

Diversity and inclusion issues

There is nothing new to report at this time.

Land use

Many thanks to Ozeas Costa and Brian White for donning rain gear with me and showing off our wetlands and vernal pools to a potential donor this past Monday. The donor was soaked and enthusiastic at the end of our outdoor meeting, with many ideas that I will be taking back to MKSK for inclusion in a first sketch about our EcoLab efforts.

Planning in support of a more residential campus
Last week we hosted a meeting on our campus with representatives of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Avita Health Care Systems. There are clear indications of interest in bringing health care to our campus in the very near future.

Renovation and repair

Last Thursday we had a reception and a soft opening of the Bromfield Library and Information Commons (BLIC), which also was used as an opportunity to thank donors and campaign volunteers for their efforts to bring the first $3M phase of our capital campaign to a successful conclusion. We also used this time to officially rename Bromfield Hall as Conard Hall in celebration of the significant amount of financial support we have received to date from the Conard Family Foundation.

Town-Gown relationships

Yesterday we finally received an IRB response regarding our proposal to conduct a survey on campus-community relationships (conditionally approved pending our supplying a small amount of additional information regarding our recruitment strategy). Residents, employees, and employers in Mansfield, Ontario, and Shelby will be invited to participate in this information-gathering process in mid-May, and then faculty, staff, students, and board members of both Ohio State Mansfield and NCSC will be asked to participate in the survey process in early Fall Semester.

Mood elevator

While Spring Semester is beginning to wind down, there are many activities that will keep us busy through the end of this month. Taken together, they have enormous influence on our ability to “push the up button” on the campus mood elevator. One great example is the student appreciation lunch that was held yesterday in the Conard Learning Center. This event was designed to thank the student tutors who gave generously of their time and efforts in order to help fellow students survive and thrive some of the more difficult courses offered on our campus. This has become one of my new favorite activities to attend, as I get the chance to rub elbows and break bread with some of our best and brightest students. Many thanks to Andrew Mueller and Darla Myers for hosting this event! And thanks in advance as well to all of the faculty and staff members who are involved in planning and executing the rest of the upcoming celebratory activities on our campus. Go Bucks… Going Up!

Dean’s Report April 4, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

Beyond any doubt, the headline news for these past two weeks has to be Steven Joyce being given The Ohio State University Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award. This is the highest instructional honor that anyone can receive at our university, and it is richly deserved. The testimony from students and faculty peers alike is unequivocal in its judgment of the impact that Professor Joyce makes to the classrooms of Ohio State Mansfield. Heartiest of congratulations!

We witnessed another component of teaching excellence that gets wedded to scholarship efforts vis-à-vis our students’ participation in the Denman Undergraduate Student Research Forum. Congratulations go out to Ohio State Mansfield students Tanesha Gardner, Leah Schwechheimer, Collin Sipe, and Samantha Ulrich, who were selected to showcase their research last Wednesday on the Columbus campus. I witnessed each of these students’ projects firsthand at the Denman show, and I must say that each and every presentation made during the poster session was nothing less than spectacular. The enthusiasm and knowledge base put on display by our students was extremely impressive. And behind every budding student scholar is a dedicated faculty member putting in countless hours of mentoring. This year’s students were provided exactly this sort of expert guidance and feedback from Rachel Bowen, Mollie Cavender, Carol Landry, and Heather Tanner. Many thanks to these faculty mentors for their ongoing efforts to foster such rich scholarship experiences for our Mansfield students!

Decision-making about faculty and staff positions

We finally have been given the go-ahead to make our leading EDT&L candidate an offer at the rank of full professor. We are compiling the paperwork and hope to have the formal offer to the candidate in the very near future. Interviews for the EEOB position have wrapped up this week, and it is now safe to say that we attracted three exceptionally impressive candidates. Many thanks to Carol Landry for leading this Search Committee, and thanks as well to everyone who attended the candidate talks and gave feedback!

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

Yesterday, our campus witnessed a signing ceremony regarding the articulation agreement between our campus and our co-located technical partners at North Central State College. Dr. Tom Gregoire, Dean of the Ohio State College of Social Work, was on hand with NCSC President Dorey Diab, and myself to bear witness to this accord. In brief, the articulation agreement creates a streamlined opportunity for NCSC students who graduate with an associate’s degree in human services to enter our bachelor’s degree program in social work with maximum credit for the academic work they accomplished while attending NCSC. Thanks go out to Social Work Program Coordinator Mary Jo Hawk for her unswerving pursuit of this arrangement in partnership with her Columbus campus and NCSC colleagues (including Molly McCue, an Ohio State MSW program graduate!).

Diversity and inclusion issues

This past Wednesday, Renee Thompson provided the Ohio State Mansfield Board subcommittee on External Relations with an update on the SMART (Students Making a Realistic Transition) program, which will focus on leadership, service, and academics for students of color in the upcoming year. The early arrival program (directly preceding Camp Hetuck) will consist of a two day introduction to the campus and community. The theme of the first day is “Be the Difference,” and will include a panel discussion of community leaders who will encourage students to lead by serving with excellence. The second day will focus on habits that lead to successful academics. In addition, Renee will be the lead instructor of the ASC 1101 Seminar for Students of Color, and will be incorporating concepts from Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World and Bridges Out of Poverty (you will recall that these resources were used in last year’s Beginning Anew initiative) to help students think through issues of generational and situational poverty among other important topics.

Land use

We hosted our sixth and final Community Engagement lunch this past Monday, with a specific focus on our budding environmental studies program and associated EcoLab initiative. This was one of the most well-attended lunches of this sort that we have hosted over the past two years, and undoubtedly it was because of the extraordinary interest being generated in the community about our nascent conservation and scholarship efforts in this area of inquiry. With Professors Ozeas Costa and Carol Landry being on hand to answer questions about our curricular efforts, I presented slides from the MKSK design group’s first attempt to create some visual aids regarding the emerging “Eco Lab” concept. That same day, our campus hosted a group of Ohio State faculty and staff who are interested in partnering with FirstEnergy on any number of research endeavors related to the power line right-of-way corridor that runs through our campus. Many thanks go out to Ozeas Costa for leading this meeting, as there were many potential next steps identified that can and will create opportunities to enhance student and faculty research efforts that focus on the natural resources found on the Ohio State Mansfield campus.

Planning in support of a more residential campus

The conversation regarding health care services on our campus recently has been revived. Although there are no details to report at this time, l look forward to near future communications about this important service for students (that quite possibly will be of benefit to faculty and staff as well). For now I will remain cautiously optimistic that we can and will have something available by Fall Semester of this year. Stay tuned!

 Renovation and repair

No news to report at this time.

Town-Gown relationships

Two Mondays ago, a meeting took place with the Richland Community Development Group (RCDG) long range planning committee to discuss the draft report presented to RCDG by City and Regional Planning students who have been working on their Richland County Economic Development project. Using the Mansfield campus as a meeting site, the committee plans to have these students make a presentation on April 22nd to key community stakeholders. More details about this gathering will be forthcoming.

Mood elevator

The end of March and beginning of April was a very busy time on our campus (and of course is a hint of more to come!), especially as it related to efforts to show off the high quality of our students and their work. Among other events over the last two weeks was the 2014 OSU Mansfield Student Art Exhibition, which opened with a public reception in the Pearl Conard Art Gallery. If you happened to visit this exhibit, you know what I mean when I say that I was astounded by the high level of quality represented by this body of work. And just yesterday, we hosted the 5th Annual Ohio State Mansfield Student Research Forum and the Academic Awards Celebration, which included book award presentations for academic departments and special awards in various disciplines. Again, the words “astounded” and “quality” equally apply here. The caliber of student work – and the amount of faculty mentoring that supports these activities – was nothing short of breathtaking.

It is very clear that there is so much hard work being undertaken to move the Ohio State Mansfield campus forward. Go Bucks… Going Up!

Dean’s Report March 21, 2014

To begin, I wish to express my sincere thanks to Mary Jo Hawk for all of the work she has been doing in partnership with the College of Social Work regarding the Certificate Program in Leadership in Human Services Management. I had the privilege of teaching a half-day course on program development and evaluation for this program two Wednesdays ago. Not only was I impressed with the caliber of participants hailing from North Central Ohio, but I was reminded how much I love to teach!

I also wish to thank everyone who came out for the Research Frenzy this past Wednesday, with special appreciation to the faculty presenters – Cynthia Callahan, Donna Farland-Smith, Gary Kennedy, Elizabeth Kolkovich, Carol Landry, Scopas Poggo, and John Thrasher – as well as Terri Fisher for organizing the event. Anyone in attendance would have been given only the latest set of reminders about all of the great scholarship that is going on in the midst of our parallel great teaching efforts.

Decision-making about faculty and staff positions

Still waiting (sigh) for word on the rank (full professor versus associate professor) we can offer to our leading candidate for the T&L position. Meanwhile, we have launched our interviews for the EEOB position. Please attend as many of the candidate talks as you are able over the next several weeks. During this past week, the Curriculum Committee’s recommendations for new faculty hires (searches to be conducted next year for positions beginning in the 2015-2016 academic year) have been discussed in Executive Committee, which decided to send the recommendations back to CC for further information gathering, analysis, and discussion.

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

This past Monday, the Curriculum Committee hosted two visitors from the College of Engineering – Jennifer Cowley, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and David Tomasko, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education – in order to discuss possible directions to pursue in terms of our second year engineering program. While this discussion is only at the beginning stages, our campus will need to select an area of emphasis (for instance, mechanical, electrical, chemical, etc.) in order to develop the coursework that will be offered in Mansfield in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Diversity and inclusion issues

There is nothing new to report at this time.

Land use

Last week I met with Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) staff along with representatives of the MKSK design group in order to see MKSK’s first attempt to create some visual aids regarding our emerging “Eco Lab” concept. Various concept maps and information related to environmentally interesting sites on our land (vernal pools, wetlands, new growth forest, legacy forest, pine plantation, and prairie land) subsequently were shared with Executive Committee, Faculty Assembly, and the Ohio State Mansfield Board. MKSK will be supplying e-files in the very near future that will be posted to the campus website.

Planning in support of a more residential campus

The meeting with PPARE staff and the MKSK design group also launched a parallel effort to map out possible community partnerships around recreational facilities. Additional concept maps and information related to a community recreational park (with ball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts, etc.) and associated indoor recreational center also were shared with Executive Committee, Faculty Assembly, and the Ohio State Mansfield Board.

Renovation and repair

No news to report at this time.

Town-Gown relationships

I had a preliminary meeting with Stephen Myers, Associate Provost for Outreach and Engagement, in order to discuss our efforts to conduct a community survey. Dr. Myers has indicated interest in this project, and may be able to commit some funds to help develop the survey for use by all of the Ohio State campuses.

Mood elevator

Lots of great things continue to happen for us! I am very excited about the possibilities surrounding our budding partnerships with the community around the recreational facilities, and think that there are plenty of win-win relationships to be fostered in ways that will create an extraordinary student experience on our campus. I am similarly enthusiastic about the great potential surrounding the Eco Lab concept and what this might mean in terms of putting the Ohio State Mansfield campus on the national map regarding research and conservation efforts. Look for us to have LOTS of conversations about all of these efforts in the weeks and months ahead.

And finally, I think we are finally starting to see more spring-like weather breaking through for us. I have noticed that most people on campus had at least a slightly more pronounced skip in their steps on the sunny days we got to enjoy over the past two weeks. And while we welcome Spring more officially this week, I want to thank each and every one of you for all that you are doing to move the Ohio State Mansfield campus forward. Go Bucks… Going Up!