Outcomes of the Water Forum

We hosted a water forum for OSU faculty on February 8th with the goal of building community and developing a more clear identity in regard to water research. What happened: three groups formed and discussed the question “What would it look like if OSU was the premier scholar community focused on water security studies, advocacy, and world-wide change?” The keynote’s vision for water security and the SDGs were frequent touch points in these discussions. One group proposed a shift in focus to “water justice” rather than “water security,”emphasizing the social dimension with critical analyses of who benefits from water research and water management projects.
The human dimension of water research is central to the goals of our “Global Water Contexts” project. This forum and subsequent discussions have motivated us to more fully consider the human experience of water through the humanities. The value of community building with local community members is another part of this.  From a global standpoint, water is a part of advocating for a global perspective at Ohio State, inclusive of multiple cultural perspectives. We discussed outcomes in terms of both curriculum and potentials for our research and outreach orientations at OSU. Some next steps for the Middle East Studies Center and our partners at OSU include:
  • Addressing education/translation needs by identifying the key “units of study” (Taba, 1999) for water research at OSU, and explicitly communicating how we conceptualize water research.
  • Accounting for water justice in our educational and science translation work.
  • Working with stakeholders on campus to serve OSU’s water research marketing and communications needs – clarifying our strengths.
  • Community building as part of water research, both internally and in connection with outside stakeholders.
  • Developing a fund-raising plan
Many of the above are interrelated as we seek to “tell the story of water research at OSU” as one of the participants stated. By telling this story more effectively we will be able to engage potential students, faculty hires, and numerous partners who wish to support our water research goals. Since the forum, my group has continued to discuss a vision for water research communities at OSU and we have reached out to key stakeholders on campus and beyond.  So, I will continue to post updates here on this web site – if you have any comments or relevant information please do not hesitate to get in contact.