Interview with a First-Year Transfer Student

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Eric (above) is a first-year transfer student majoring in finance in the Fisher College of Business. He transferred from Passaic County Community College in Wayne, NJ.

What attracted you to Ohio State, and what made you decide to apply?

I was always aware of the great reputation Ohio State had regarding academics and athletics. Coming from a small community college in New Jersey, I decided I wanted to change my life in a dramatic way. The size of Ohio State intrigued me because I was searching for a school that could provide me with ample social, academic, and professional opportunities. When I took a campus tour, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. My gut feeling actually played a major role in my decision to apply. I felt I had to be here.

What are Ohio State’s best qualities and drawbacks?

The campus is beautiful. The interaction between professors and students is phenomenal, especially if you are willing to go to office hours and meet with your professors one-on-one. The food is excellent compared to other schools, both on and off campus. Student life is awesome if you are willing to sometimes step outside your comfort zone and get involved. There is so much to get involved in including intramural sports, clubs and Greek life.

The only downside for me was getting used to the sheer size of the campus and the amount of students here. It definitely took me a few weeks to learn how to navigate my way around campus without getting lost. Sometimes it feels hard to stand out among all the other students here, but I advise all first-year students to get involved with different student organizations and clubs so that they find their niche.

You are in a fraternity. How has that affected your college experience?

Being in a fraternity has made a strong social impact in my life. I definitely have a special bond with the members who joined at the same time as myself. My fraternity interacts with the community through our work with charities and we are heavily involved with intramural sports. But I wouldn’t say joining Greek life is completely necessary to enhance your social life. As long as you get involved through clubs and student organizations then you will meet a ton of unique individuals and make strong bonds.

How has your experience at Ohio State been different from  your previous institution?

Ohio State is totally different from my previous institution because I feel that I am truly on my own here. I cannot stress enough the idea of learning independence. You discover so much about yourself. At Ohio State you need to motivate yourself because there is no one to make you do your schoolwork, set your schedule, or get to class on time. I have gained a better sense of self and often find myself maturing because I simply have to in order to succeed. There are lots of academic resources available to students but it’s up to the student to take the initiative and utilize these resources.

Tell me more about the professors.

Most of the professors that I’ve had thus far have been brilliant. Most have been published many times. Since I am majoring in business, I am aware that the professors have various certificates including CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFA (Certified Financial Analyst) MBA (Masters in Business Administration), and PhDs. The professors have had careers in business before teaching here. They are always trying to help you and I feel that they truly care about students.

Any advice for incoming/current first-year students?

Get involved! I cannot stress that enough. Get involved early and often. It is never too late to meet people through clubs and student organizations. You just need to make the effort to do so. There’s nothing worse than feeling alone on this relatively large campus. So take a step outside of your comfort zone and realize that you have the ability to determine your social and academic outcomes here at Ohio State.

Reflections of A First Year Out-Of-State Student

Where are you from?

Long Island, New York

What is your major?

Speech and Hearing Science

Why did you choose to come to Ohio State?

I chose to come Kiley Nolan Pictureto Ohio State because after looking at 19 schools, I knew I wanted to go to a large university where everyone was able to be themselves. I really loved the athletic atmosphere and traditions. I felt like I was very welcomed here.

What has been the best part about coming to Ohio State?

The best part about coming to Ohio State has been getting to learn so many different things from so many different people, faculty and experiences. I have learned so much outside of my realm of knowledge, my major, my prior experiences and places I have been.

What’s been your funniest moment as an out-of-state student?

The first week of school we were trying to order a pizza and I kept asking if we were going to order a pie. My friends looked at me and kept telling me they were ordering a “large.” I kept asking if we were getting a “pie,” and then someone said, “We’re not going to a bakery Kiley, we’re getting pizza!” At that moment I realized they don’t call “large pizzas” a “pie” here. I still to this day do not understand why these crazy Ohioans don’t call it a pie. All I know is I’m not in New York anymore!

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What has been the most surprising part about coming to Ohio State?

The most surprising part about coming to Ohio State has definitely been that you are MUCH more than just a number. Coming to a large school, I was kind of excited to be just a number because I came from such a small high school. However, now that I am here I realize that I am WAY more than just a number. I can walk anywhere on campus and know at least one person.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given coming into college?

I was given two really good pieces of advice:

1. Make every day an adventure

2. Sleep is for when you are dead.

Both of those have held true this past year!

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of your college experience?

So much! I’m excited to have the opportunity to leave my mark on the university. I have seen how the people above me have accomplished so much in the Ohio State community and I would love to be able to do the same by the time I graduate.

If you could give one piece of advice to other out-of-state students what would it be?

I would tell them to say “YES!” Say yes to things people who live in Ohio tell you to do, to taking a random class, to having lunch with a family member, to going to a new state. Just say “Yes!”

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Interview with Dean Manderscheid of Arts and Sciences

Questions for Dean Manderscheid

Walking across the Oval, you might not think twice about the tall, scholarly individual walking across campus. You might totally mistake him for a professor walking to class. After all, Dean Manderscheid is a professor of mathematics, having taught for well over 30 years before becoming a Dean in academia. However, today he spends most of his time traveling around the country while also overseeing the largest and most diverse of Ohio State’s colleges, the College of Arts and Sciences. Although a humble and warm person, he holds a position of immense influence for the university — he is  the visionary behind a large section of the university’s academic growth, expansion and future.

What is a college Dean? What does it take to be the Dean of Arts and Sciences, one of the largest colleges in the nation? What is this man’s deal with donuts? After sitting down in his office in University Hall, my questions were answered as I had the opportunity to learn more about the man behind “Donuts with the Dean.” I learned that the Michigan-native came to the university from Nebraska a little over a year and a half ago and that he perfectly fits in the Arts and Sciences, due to his own wide realm of interests, from the social sciences to mathematics.

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It’s now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, it’s time to get to know the donut dean himself, Dean Manderscheid:

Can you tell me a little bit about what brought you to Ohio State? (Your background before becoming the Dean of Arts and Sciences?)

“Well I was Dean at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln College of Arts and Sciences for six years … I was contacted by the search firm for this position, that I’d been nominated Ohio State is always a university that I’ve looked towards at as a leader so I decided to look at this position. Before that I was at the University of Iowa for 20 years, on the faculty, starting as an assistant professor up through department chair, and so my wife and I decided to make the move here.”

How do you like Ohio?

“We love it because my wife is originally from upstate New York and I’m originally from ‘that state up north’ as they say, and so it’s closer to home for both of us.”

How is OSU different than Nebraska?

“Well Ohio State is a much bigger institution. At Nebraska there wasn’t a medical school for example, there wasn’t Vet Med, so it’s just bigger in general. The entire University of Nebraska, when I was there, was 24,000 students and here the College of Arts and Sciences (alone) is over 20,000 students, which gives you a feeling as to the size differential. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln is in a town of 300,000 and here you’re in a town of 2 million. So there’s lots of differences.”

Can you tell me about Donuts with the Dean? Was it your idea? 

“I’ve always loved donuts. And so I had a tradition in Nebraska where I often brought donuts into the dean’s office, and I mentioned this to our communications staff and they said, ‘well maybe we can do something around students with that’ and so we put our heads together and came up with ‘Donuts with the Dean.'”

“Students are very fond of it, it’s become the type of thing where I will show up at Donuts with the Dean and there are already 50 students waiting to get donuts and we tweet out the location just the day of, so it’s incredible.”

What is your favorite donut?

“A buckeye donut of course (laughing). But we tend to use glazed, because everyone seems to like Buckeye Glazed.”

Can you tell me about the event “Win the Dean’s Money” that took place right before Spring Break?

“That’s something that I started at Nebraska but I just carried over completely, the only change was we asked students to write essays at Nebraska, here they just have to do a tweet and follow me on twitter and have to hashtag ‘Win the Dean’s Money’ or something like that.”

Why did you choose to engage with students on both of these forums? 

“Social media fascinates me, because I see that’s where the future’s headed and it changes so quickly. And so, for example, when Twitter first came out people said, well you can’t say anything in 140 characters, and I thought “wow, what can you say in 140 characters” and I really got into it very early on. And blogging I started early also, just because I love the idea of sharing what I love and sharing things about the university I love.”

What do you think is the most important role of a Dean?

“A Dean sets a vision for a college, and where is the college headed. For example, what are the new majors that will be attractive to students. For example we started a neuroscience major recently and now over 800 students are enrolled, we started a data analytics major that just started this year and I predict we will have hundreds of students very soon … so setting a vision and setting a program that students will find attractive.”

Are there any potential new majors in the making for the future?

“One that I can talk about is coming fall of ’16 is Moving Image Production. Years ago we used to have a film major … for an institution of our size and given the importance of video these days, its really something and a mission that I think is obvious. Our students are finding it on their own and finding it at Ohio State, but we have to make it easier for them; we have alumni very well placed in the entertainment industry, we have contacts in the entertainment industry — we should use that. They’re happy to help our students, once again this is a major for those with artistic talent, where it can pay off very well.”

You have a background in mathematics, where did that stem from?

“I’ve always been good with numbers. I was always the kid in school who was first to memorize his multiplication tables and things like that and I’ve always been fascinated with numbers. When I went to college I was a math major but I thought I’d go to law school but I was just having too much fun with math so I decided to become a math professor … I became a professor — oh gosh — 30-some years ago.”

What is a misconception that students might have about a Dean?

“Well I’m not sure they even know what a Dean does … I think students aren’t sure who a Dean is, they think of a Dean as maybe the principal, but it’s a different role.”

How is the college of Arts and Sciences different from other colleges?

“The College of Arts and Sciences is the largest college on campus. We teach over 60 percent of the credit hours at the university because we teach the bulk of general education courses, so every student on campus will take a course in the College of Arts and Sciences. We’re the college where they get their math, where they get their English, where they get there chemistry … basic subjects that are common to so many different majors.”

What is a typical day like for you?

“Well, lots of meetings, a day full with meetings. It starts pretty early, I tend to get to the office at 7:30 or 8. Sometimes I’ll have events in the evening and sometimes not. A dean’s day is pretty long, emails into the evening, but mostly meetings with faculty, with students, other administrators trying to set the agenda for the university.”

When you do meet with students, what types of issues do you normally meet about?

“I like to know whats on their minds. For example, I have a student advisory board (with about 16 students) and one of the things I asked them recently was, ‘well, we changed advising in the college, do you think it’s working? What are the things that we can improve? Or do you think we should have more students who are international? Or do we have the right number?’ Those types of questions. Really, I think student input is very important.”

Do you have any comments about the faculty you interact with at Ohio State?

“We have a very world-renowned faculty here at Ohio State but one of the things that distinguishes the faculty is that they could work many other places, some who have come to Ohio State because they felt Ohio State cared more about teaching, and that’s why they came here. That connection with the students is very strong here; the value we place on being an outstanding research institution, which we are, but also one that teaches and values teaching.”

If you could change one thing about the role of a college Dean, what would it be?

“(More) interacting with students. Fundamentally I went into being a professor to teach. As a Dean it doesn’t make sense for me to teach because of my travel schedule, and I wish I could teach more, and I do teach classes every so often … but interacting with students — it’s what I miss most about being a professor.”

**** Testament to this statement:

Instead of this being a one-way interview, the Dean spent just as much time asking me about my life as a student. We talked for more than an hour about my studies, family, favorite classes and my goals for the future. 

What is your favorite part of your job in general?

“Oh, feeling that I can have a positive impact on education in particular students … I work long hours but I really see the benefit when I hand a student their diploma and see how happy they are … graduation is my favorite time of year.”

 I noticed you said you took a lot of social science course in addition to your mathematics, do you think these interests help you with your role in the diverse College of Arts and Sciences?

“When I was an undergraduate I was in a special program at Michigan State where I could take any courses I wanted as long as my advisors or faculty members signed off on it so I took courses all over the place … and I feel like I’m doing that again now. Because I talked to a chemist one day, I talked to an English professor the next day, I talked to a linguist the next day, and I just have this, it just satisfied my intellectual curiosity which I haven’t lost, in fact it’s gotten stronger, so that’s why I think, in part, I make a good Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, that intellectual curiosity — I’ve never met a subject I didn’t like.”

Do you have any upcoming events?

“The April ‘Donuts with the Dean’ is coming up.  What I like about the April one is hopefully the weather is warm enough so we can set up outside.”

Do you have any goals for your college in the future?

“(To be the) best College of Arts and Sciences in the country, period. As simple as that. This college used to be five separate colleges that were put together in 2010, so (it’s) the idea is we are one of the largest colleges of arts and sciences in the country and we’re one of the best, now let’s use our size to be the best. So let’s do things to cut across boundaries … Departments on campus are kind of artificial things set up based on what was important hundreds of years ago sometimes, so let’s find out what’s important now and build on what we have to get there. It’s not that the traditional departments are unimportant, its just that there are other things that are important now too.”

Do you have any advice for students regarding their academic career/experience?

“Meet lots of people, take some chances, don’t do anything crazy but take a course, maybe take an anthropology course, you might not even know what anthropology is but you might like it. Take some chances in the courses you take and the people you meet, get outside your comfort zone every so often. Another bit of advice I’d like to give students: get to know your professors. They may look scary but most of them will want to talk to you because they’re passionate about their subject and if they see you’re passionate about it too, they’ll want to talk to you.”

What is your favorite Ohio State tradition?

“‘Carmen, Ohio,’ the singing of ‘Carmen, Ohio.’ You know, I didn’t get it until I first saw it… I knew it was a great tradition and it took me a while to see how important it was but now I just think it’s fabulous … I mean very few schools have an alma mater that everybody knows, and sings … I mean, I even know it now. I still remember, it was my first month or two on the job and I was at an Alumni Event in Los Angeles, and just seeing the alumni sing ‘Carmen, Ohio,’ — bam — it’s like they’re back on campus immediately.”

Is there anything you wish the student body knew about you, and if so what would it be?

“I love Ohio State just as much as they do.”

5 Q&As with Those People Who Walk Backwards

You probably know exactly who I’m talking about when I say “those people who walk backwards” — University Ambassadors. For many of you, they were some of the first students you had contact with when you took your tour of the Ohio State University. While you “ooh” and “ahh’-ed” they watched you fall in love and decide that Ohio State would be your home for the next four years.

If you don’t personally know an Ambassador, you may not know anything more than the fact that they give tours of the university.

“But I want to know more!”

Well you’re in luck! I have reached out to my dear friend Holly Yanai and asked her five questions that shed light on the position.

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1. How does one get into the art of tour-guiding?

“Great question, Leila! First, one must apply, go through an interview process and be hired. However, just because you are hired does not mean you are ready to lead students throughout the campus. First you have to complete several full days of training where you will be introduced to the various routes, scripts, scenarios and questions that you may encounter on tour. After that you are ready to go through the certification process where you will memorize scripts, shadow two tours, before working your way up to giving a full tour. If the senior ambassador who is evaluating you believes you are ready to move on then you will give a certification tour. You have three chances to successfully complete your certification tour and then, once completed, you will officially be a University Ambassador!”

2. Do you only give tours to incoming freshmen?

“Ambassadors give tours to anyone who wants to sign up for a tour. We give admissions tours for students applying to the university, transfer tours for transfer students, admitted tours for students who have been admitted and even group tours which can be given to anyone who requests a tour whether that be a high school or a new Ohio State employee.”

3. How hard was it the job when you first started?

“When starting the process it was definitely nerve-wracking to talk about my Ohio State experience and to convey all of the facts to the students and their parents. However, it became easier not only because I had memorized my tour over time, but also because the training that we went through was meant to ensure our success. Once I was certified I felt comfortable leading guests around campus. On occasion, there will be a question that I don’t know the answer to or a guest who is not as excited about the visit as I am but there are ways to work around that and make sure that by the end of the tour, their questions are answered and they feel better about Ohio State than before.”

4. What’s your favorite story to tell from becoming an Ambassador?

“Over the summer, about a month after President Drake began his tenure here at Ohio State, I was walking past Bricker Hall and telling my tour group that Bricker Hall houses the offices of the president of the university. I was just telling them about President Drake when I turned the corner and ran right into him. Although slightly embarrassed that I was just talking about him, I turned to say hello and he stopped my tour group and talked with me, the parents and the students for a few minutes. It was awesome because it created a moment that, to me, proved Ohio State is not as large as people make it out to be and that people are always there support you, no matter how high-up their position may be.”

5. Do you have any advice for freshmen at Ohio State?

“I say this so many times on tour and I will say it again here, get involved. Whether a student is involved with Greek Life, a student job, an internship, research or one of our 1,000 student organizations, it is the best way to figure out what you love, meet amazing friends, and discover a home here at the university. My involvement with various organizations and with the Ambassador program is what has made my time at Ohio State memorable and talking about those experiences is what gets the students on tour excited. I promise, even just joining one organization that you are passionate about will impact your Ohio State experience in ways you had not thought possible.”

With that, I’d like to thank Holly and all the other wonderful Ambassadors for helping new Buckeyes find their home.

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Behind the Title: Academic Advisor

One of the first people first-year students have in their corner is their academic advisor. I sat down with Shannon Peltier, an academic advisor with Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, to learn more about what advisors have to offer and why students should visit them.

What are the most common reasons students visit their advisors?

Most students see us for adding and dropping classes, and for scheduling concerns. Not enough students see us for referrals to other resources.

What resources do advisors offer that more students should utilize?

Really, students can see us for any problem, even if you’re sick for a week and miss class, we can refer you to student advocacy or elsewhere. You can come to us if you’re feeling lost, not feeling right about your major.

Really, it’s anything. If you don’t know who to ask, ask your academic advisor. We can refer you to student legal services, landlord services. We are trained to know Ohio State’s resources—emotionally and academically related—from scheduling, finding your major, interview prep, or any smaller details of your life at Ohio State.

What are some common mistake students make in their first year?

Not dropping classes they should have. As Ohio State becomes more competitive, a lot of students were in the top of their class in high school: they never had to study, never had to ask for help. Some students are too stubborn or don’t realize that dropping is an option. Editor’s note: be aware of your credit hours; dropping below full-time–12 credit hours–could impact your financial aid.

Another mistake, going along with that, is not seeking tutoring resources we have here. Some students see it as a challenge to their sense of self, to ask for help when they might benefit from it.

What would you say to a student considering changing their major?

I’d say, “Why do you want to change? What drew you to the major you have in the first place?” and then we’d look for something similar that might suit your skill sets. I’d have them talk about their long-term goals, where they see themselves in the next five years after graduation, and figure out how to help them get there.

I might also refer them to other advising offices, or to university exploration to help narrow down their choices. Another great resource is the Counseling and Consultation Service, to help with any emotional side to changing a major.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I’d have to say seeing the moment when the student “gets it”—whatever “it” is. Whether it’s a major or realizing they can start their own student organization, it’s just such a growing moment, an empowering moment for them.

What are some resources on campus that students should utilize more?

Oh, Ohio State has so many resources. I think a mistake some students make is not getting familiar enough with everything Ohio State offers. You’re not just here getting a degree, you’re crafting who you want to be. You have to think about, “where are you going?” and then find what at Ohio State can get you there.

More specifically, the Writing Center is a great tool students should take more advantage of. The Wellness Center is always doing supportive and innovative things. And we’re a research university, and more students could always be involved in undergraduate research. I don’t think some students realize how easy that is.

What is your favorite Ohio State tradition?

It might sound really corny, but the singing of Carmen Ohio on senior day at the football stadium. It’s just really beautiful—the words take on an extra depth.

What else would you like first-year students to know?

I’d like them to know that advisors want you to come see us! The days I hate are the ones with no appointments and no one to talk to. We’re here to help you gain life skills.