Dean’s Report Feb. 21, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

Another packed two weeks of activities on our campus! For me, the highlight was the reception that was held for Carolyn Skinner and Phil Mazzocco in celebration of their promotion to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. Because scholars tend to experience so few moments of closure where something feels completely “done,” it always feels particularly good (to me anyway) to generate moments where faculty members can take the time to appreciate the finality of an effort. Congratulations once again to Carolyn and Phil!

Decision-making about faculty and staff positions

Our focus on the three “Need Now” staff positions, along with the active solicitation of “creative solutions” from campus community members about these positions, has resulted in the following three decisions to move forward:

1. David Au will become the Interim Information Commons Coordinator and Instructional Technology Specialist

2. Fran Bowes will be hired permanently as our 5th academic advisor

3. Renee Thompson will be hired as Interim Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator.

Thank you once again to everyone who participated in this process! Meanwhile, we are working diligently to finalize an offer regarding the Education Teaching and Learning position, and hope to initiate the on-campus portion of the search process for our open EEOB position in the near future.

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

Carol Landry, Ozeas Costa, Brian White, and I met with representatives of Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) and the design firm MKSK Associates last Monday in order to launch a discussion on how to conceptualize our “Eco Lab” conservation and research efforts. While this update easily could have been placed under the “Land Use” category below, it is important to note that Carol and Ozeas both believe that the development of an “environmental studies” major is a critical component of this work. Therefore, it hoped that the Curriculum Committee will be taking this issue up as part of our larger interest in an “integrated studies” program on the Mansfield campus.

Diversity and inclusion issues

Our celebration of Black History Month has continued over the past two weeks with several excellent on-campus events. Also, as a reminder Soul Food Dinner tickets are available through today, so please remember to buy your ticket through the Office of Student Engagement at 419-755-4314. Please remember that no tickets will be available at the door!

Land use

See “Development of majors…” discussion above.

Planning in support of a more residential campus

Our campus hosted the very first “Destination Mansfield” event yesterday, which was designed to provide information about all of the advantages of staying on the Mansfield Campus beyond the first year of study (aka the “Mansfield Advantage”). I was impressed with the amount of energy and enthusiasm that was in evidence throughout the middle of the day. And based on the preliminary reactions I heard from faculty, staff, and students, I believe this will be the first of many such activities we will undertake to remind our students about all of the benefits associated with the Mansfield campus. Many thanks to Fran Bowes for spearheading this effort, and to all of the faculty and staff members who made contributions to this very creative effort!

Renovation and repair

No news to report at this time.

Town-Gown relationships

Our campus hosted a Skype call this past Tuesday between the City and Regional Planning students and a number of Richland County Development Group (RCDG) members. By all reports, these Ohio State students continue to provide an invaluable service to the county. Expectations are high for a March 6th rollout of a draft mid-semester report by these students, which will be held on the Columbus campus as part of their regular coursework. Several RCDG representatives are planning on attending this presentation.

Mood elevator

This past Tuesday, the Senate Fiscal committee that I sit on (Central Distribution Services) has finally taken up the topic of regional campus funding! We have laid out a plan to review quite a number of issues that are relevant to how we receive revenue and other forms of support for the work that we do. Hopefully, I will have plenty of good news to report in the weeks and months ahead as this committee begins to formulate recommendations that will bolster our efforts in Mansfield and on the other regional campuses.

A couple of other events deserve quick mention in terms of hitting the “up button” on the mood elevator. Last Wednesday, we hosted a community engagement lunch that featured our arts faculty and students. Many thanks to Kate Shannon, John Thrasher, Joe Fahey, and Master of Ceremonies Dave Tovey for being on hand to meet and greet our community partners! And just yesterday we hosted the first ever Pecha Kucha event on campus. The efforts of Aurelio Diaz, Jen Hughes, Tracy Bond, Mike Thompson, Terri Fisher, Jim Snyder, Therese Backowski, and Paul Breit are much appreciated for making presentations at this inaugural event!

Thanks to each and every one of you who are doing all you can to move the Ohio State Mansfield campus forward. Go Bucks… Going Up!

Professors receive grant to provide math professional development to local school districts


Teachers from the Mansfield City School District interact with math camp elementary students at last summer’s professional development training. Teachers learned to integrate Algebra Project-based curriculum into their lesson plans.

Three professors from The Ohio State University at Mansfield will be teaching math to elementary teachers this summer through a $203,789 grant from the Ohio Board of Regents. The grant will provide an Algebra Project-based professional development program for kindergarten through fifth grade teachers in the Mansfield City and Lucas Local School Districts.

The Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program is funded under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The purpose of the program is to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping schools and school districts improve teacher, instructional paraprofessional and principal quality.

The funding comes at an opportune time for the Mansfield schools, who just declared a fiscal emergency.

“We’ve been doing professional development but on a shoestring budget,” said Betsy Alexander, executive director of state and federal programs for the school district. “This program will help us accomplish our main goal, which is to improve the academic achievement of our students.”

“CAMP: Collaborative Applications of Mathematics Pedagogy” is the collective effort of Lee McEwan, Mathematics professor, and Terri Bucci and Michael Mikusa, Mathematics Education professors.

“Most students think algebra is incredibly hard and utterly useless,” McEwan said. “We are working with elementary teachers to dispel that myth at an early age.”

In a recent report from the Ohio Board of Regents, 50 percent of Lucas Local School District graduates entering college and 48 percent of Mansfield City graduates required remedial math classes before they could begin college math courses.

The highly successful national Algebra Project, which McEwan has led locally for more than five years, works with high school students in the bottom quartile of their class, providing double the number of math classes throughout their four years of high school, with the goal to make them college-ready in math. McEwan’s first cohort is now entering college.

The recent extension integrates Algebra Project methods and philosophy into kindergarten through eighth grade curriculum. Bucci and McEwan expanded the high school work by providing professional development, lesson study, and working with Mansfield Mathematics Teacher Leaders in grades K-8. The MTL’s worked with Bucci last summer on a pilot of the camp and lesson study program. That work led to the successful grant for a continued and expanded version of the work.

This is the second year the summer math camp has been offered. The program has expanded to include a year’s worth of professional development with course credit through Ohio State.

Elementary teachers will attend one week of intensive coursework, followed by one week of summer lesson study connected to a math camp for district students. Teachers design lesson plans based on Algebra Project curriculum, then use the plan to teach during a summer camp, with other teachers silently observing. After the class, teachers discuss the interaction and offer feedback.

“The focus is to provide teachers with an opportunity to see the practices learned through their course in action with children,” Bucci said.

The professors will provide monthly follow-up professional development at the schools, culminating in a conference to showcase teacher growth and student work, with the goal to create inter-district professional learning communities.

“The camp was very successful last year,” Alexander said. “Our teachers who went through it really got to analyze a math lesson in its entirety and with that, they gained confidence. So to continue it with the money that Ohio State Mansfield has been able to retrieve through this Board of Regents funding is just phenomenal.”

Bucci is eager to work with Lucas schools this year. “There were 12 math teachers interested in the program in the preview session from such a small district. That just floored me,” Bucci said.

The key to preparing students for college, the professors say, starts with enabling teachers to create programs “where students can be mathematicians rather than receptacles of mathematics.” Local school districts make a huge investment in terms of time and training in Algebra Program teachers, McEwan said.

“It will take a generation of teachers to make this work,” McEwan said. “But the most phobic teachers are now the most passionate.”

McCune scholarship honors a working man

John McCune, Sr.

John McCune, Sr.

The John McCune Sr. History Scholarship is not your typical scholarship. Started by Marianne Parisi-McCune in her late husband’s memory, much of the funding comes from the many friends McCune met through General Motors, United Auto Workers, of which he was president of UAW Local 549 for several terms, and his work with politicians and the community.

“If anyone would be termed a ‘Mr. Richland County,’ it would be he,” Parisi-McCune said. “He mattered when he was living and he should matter after his passing.”

A $2,000 scholarship is given annually to a student majoring in history, political science or math. While it might seem an eclectic mix, the topics fit McCune, a blue-collar worker who never attended college, to a T.

“The scholarship envelops what I think he would have wanted,” Parisi-McCune said. “He always believed in education and he was an amazing history person. He was a very dynamic political strategist. He also was a mathematician. He could add a column of numbers before someone could key them into a calculator.”

The scholarship’s first recipient is History major Donald Shumaker, who is also the student member on the Ohio State Mansfield Board.

“I give Ohio State a lot of credit,” Parisi-McCune said. “They picked a young fellow that just epitomizes what John was like. He has that burning desire and he’s just energetic. I couldn’t be happier.”

A unique part of the scholarship is a service component, in which the recipient writes an historical essay about a local political figure. Parisi-McCune wanted to somehow honor local people who made a difference in Richland County.

“Most times, you get a scholarship and you fulfill the requirements via grades, but what do you learn from it,” she said.

Working with Brian McCartney and Parisi-McCune, Shumaker researched and wrote about Kenneth McCartney, a longtime Democratic Party activist in Richland County. He presented the essay at the annual K.E. McCartney St. Patrick’s Day Memorial Fundraiser last March.

“Of all the scholarships I’ve gotten, this is my favorite, in large part because I’ve gotten to meet all the people who were instrumental in getting it started, as well as the people I met while working on the project,” Shumaker said.

Engineering program gets boost from endowment

Engineering student Connor Wood studies in the state-of-the-art engineering lab at Ohio State Mansfield.

Engineering student Connor Wood studies in the state-of-the-art engineering lab at Ohio State Mansfield.

Ohio State Mansfield is a step closer to offering a four-year engineering degree with a $75,000 endowment from the Hire Family Foundation, as well as a national technical assistance grant from the Ohio Board of Regents to help bolster science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. Ohio is one of five states to receive the national Complete College of America Award from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The endowment will fund the Jack Hire Engineering Scholarship, the first engineering scholarship to be awarded at Ohio State Mansfield.

To enhance student retention and retain talented graduates in north central Ohio, the Business & Industry Internship Program for Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College is in its second year of placing students in area industries, including Stoneridge, formally Hi-Stat, which was founded by Jack Hire. A growing number of engineering students entering the four-year degree program locally will benefit from the newly established scholarship fund .

The regional campus is in its third year of offering freshman- and sophomore-level Fundamentals of Engineering, the same core courses engineering students take at the Columbus campus. Thanks to support by Kokosing Construction Company and others, the courses are taught in a state-of-the-art laboratory classroom. Students build upon a pre-calculus and calculus foundation to develop fundamental technical skills to prepare for advanced coursework in any engineering major.

In the near future, Ohio State Mansfield expects the program to expand to allow local students to complete a bachelor’s degree in at least one specific engineering field from start-to-finish on the Mansfield campus.

Through the technical assistance grant, NC State advisors will help students identify and be successful in essential STEM courses in order to advance in their engineering major and then continue toward a bachelor’s degree at Ohio State Mansfield.

The power of regional campuses

Noraisa Jones, left, a Respiratory Therapy student at Ohio State Mansfield, receives information about the Writing Center from writing consultant Katherine Nixon. Individual attention is one reason students are drawn to regional campuses.

Noraisa Jones, left, a Respiratory Therapy student at Ohio State Mansfield, receives information about the Writing Center from writing consultant Katherine Nixon. Individual attention is one reason students are drawn to regional campuses.

Ohio State’s regional campuses are quickly becoming the destination of choice for students throughout Ohio. Affordability, excellence in teaching, small class sizes and opportunities for research and internships draw students.

“By design, we are a small liberal arts educational setting,” said Ohio State Mansfield Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi. “We are an extension of Columbus, yet we play a vital role in the university’s land grant mission by offering accessibility through open enrollment.”

Students may complete one of eight bachelor’s degrees offered at Ohio State Mansfield—Business, Criminology, Education, English, History, Psychology, Social Work or Sociology, or start at Mansfield and transition to the Columbus campus after a year or two.

For most students, it’s the small class sizes taught by award-winning faculty rather than grad students that is the main draw. The entire faculty at Ohio State Mansfield has obtained terminal degrees; 97 percent hold doctorate degrees. Many are conducting groundbreaking research in addition to teaching classes.

“I’ve been in contact with some really great teachers,” said Nick Stevens, a senior majoring in History. “Instructors are more accessible. You can go to their offices whenever you want and that’s really helpful.”

Gavazzi also points to an excellent student support system, from Admissions and Advising to the writing and math labs that gives students a jumpstart to college life.

“It’s the friendliness of the Admissions and Advising staffs, the intimacy of contact between faculty and students, the high-touch environment that our student support services can give, that many students list as reasons they choose a regional campus, and in particular, Ohio State Mansfield,” Gavazzi said.

For many students, cost also plays a factor in the choice to attend a regional campus. Tuition at the regional campuses is $7,140 full-time for two semesters, $3,000 less than the cost at Columbus campus. Factor in nearly $11,000 in savings a year by living at home rather than in a dorm and it’s significantly more affordable.

Students from throughout Northeast Ohio are choosing Ohio State Mansfield. Cuyahoga County accounted for 16 percent of new students last fall. Crystal Brown, a business major from Cleveland, likes the hometown feeling of the campus.

“I chose Ohio State Mansfield because I wanted to be a part of a small campus where I could connect better with those around me. In a small class setting, I have the chance to speak up and engage. I also have a chance to get better advising and guidance when I need it,” she said. “Although to others it may seem ‘just an OSU regional campus,’ Ohio State Mansfield feels like home!”

Community newsletter – From the Dean

There’s no more exciting time than now to be a part of The Ohio State University at Mansfield! We are creating eminence in our teaching, research, and service activities while solidifying our relationships with local government officials and business leaders to create bridges between campus and community.

We are making significant inroads in building our Engineering program offerings at Ohio State Mansfield, a critical need identified by our business community partners. I’m pleased to announce a $75,000 gift from the Hire Family Foundation to establish the Jack Hire Engineering Scholarship endowment. This scholarship will further our goal of supporting our engineering students on the Mansfield campus.

As well, Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College recently were awarded a national technical assistance grant from the Ohio Board of Regents and Complete College America to help bolster science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. We are exploring the development of a collaborative associate’s to bachelor’s degree program in Engineering with this grant support.

While exposure to academic content inside the classroom is important, our students also are now being strongly encouraged to gain paid, hands-on, real-world experience through our new Business & Industry Internship Program. Nearly 150 students met with more than 50 businesses at an Internship “Meet and Greet” event this past December to learn more about this internship initiative. This semester, we have identified more than 30 local businesses that have or are actively looking for interns. In collaboration with NC State, Mansfield Campus students are now gaining valuable work experience, networking in their chosen field, and establishing roots in our communities like never before.

Students learn the value of service

Ohio State Mansfield Education students Mellissa Johnson, left, and Paige Poffenbaugh show some of the debris that students at Eastern Elementary School in Lexington found in a Clearfork tributary. The duo created the service learning project for the students.

Ohio State Mansfield Education students Mellissa Johnson, left, and Paige Poffenbaugh show some of the debris that students at Eastern Elementary School in Lexington found in a Clearfork tributary. The duo created the service learning project for the students.

By including service learning in his curriculum, an Ohio State Mansfield professor has created some unique local opportunities for his students.

Christian Winterbottom, assistant professor of Education (Teaching and Learning), received a grant from the Ohio State Service Learning Initiative last year to restructure a class in early childhood pedagogy to collaborate with local agencies. The idea was to teach Education students to incorporate service learning components into their curriculum. Students collaborated with the Richland County Development Group and United Way to identify potential community partners.

Ohio State Mansfield students paired up and completed several projects at area schools, including coordinating a clean-up day of a river near Lexington’s Eastern Elementary School.

“They were designing a science-themed module collecting fish and wildlife in the river, when they realized it was full of tires and cans and bottles,” Winterbottom said. “They pulled a lot of trash out of the river. It was a huge success.”

Some students partnered with the United Way Big Red Bookshelf project. In conducting research for the project, they found that some children in Richland County didn’t have access to books. They put bins around the Mansfield campus and in the community to collect books. They constructed a red bookshelf to give to United Way to house the books.

“They received so many books, just thousands of books,” Winterbottom said.

Another group partnered with Shelby Mayor Marilyn John on a similar project and donated the books to elementary schools.

At Madison, one group focused on collecting canned food to be distributed for Thanksgiving.

“A lot of children in that area are underprivileged, so it was interesting to see them give back something to other children who are also in a similar position,” Winterbottom said.

Another group at Lexington wrote letters to troops in Afghanistan.

“It is hard to get middle school students to write, in general, but when it’s something that’s really important to them, they write pages and pages,” he said. “And they write about things that are personal to them that you wouldn’t normally get to see.”

Winterbottom will teach a pure service learning class this fall, open to all students, where students learn to plan and implement a service learning project themselves.

“I’m really looking forward to starting that on this campus,” he said.


Dean’s Report Feb. 7, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

This past Thursday, The Ohio State University Board of Trustees announced that the 15th President of our outstanding institution was going to be Michael Drake, MD. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Drake for breakfast last Friday, and I came away from that encounter with great hope. Clearly, Dr. Drake is a strong proponent of access and affordability, and seems to know a thing or two about growing student housing as well (I couldn’t help but mention our excitement about the rapid construction of the Buckeye Village Apartments). Others have already taken notice of the clear connection between his agenda and our mission as a regional campus. I continue to believe that the best is yet to come for Mansfield!

Two weeks ago, I debuted a new look to my Bi-Weekly Reports. I noted my hope that the new format would facilitate the reader’s ability to track our progress on many of the most important initiatives touching the lives of our campus community. Immediately after sending that report out, I also extended an invitation to participate in a survey about the new format. A total of 26 individuals responded to that survey, and 85% of those participant indicated that they liked the new format either “much better” (58%) or “a little bit better” (27%). I’m going to take that as a fairly strong mandate to continue to employ this new look. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to provide feedback!

Without any further ado, let’s get to the business at hand in terms of what has occurred over the last two weeks in each of the main areas I have promised to cover in each edition of my Bi-Weekly Report.

Decision-making about faculty and staff positions

Last week, I met with all of the main leadership groups on campus – including Faculty Assembly, Senior Staff, and the Mansfield Staff Advisory Committee (MSAC) – prior to meeting with Executive Committee (EC) to discuss the next steps in process of applying findings from the Art of Hosting (AoH) report to our efforts to fill faculty and staff positions labeled “Need Now” by the AoH committee. After a spirited discussion, EC passed a formal recommendation requesting that I send out to the entire campus the justification documents regarding the three “Need Now” staff positions, along with the active solicitation of “creative solutions” from campus community members that might help us find some alternative paths to hiring three new fulltime staff positions at this time. Those justifications and the invitation to submit “creative solutions” went out at the end of last week, and at present I am beginning to sort through the ideas that have been submitted. My hope is to have something pulled together for further discussion at our next EC meeting, scheduled to be held on February 13th.

We welcomed the second of two candidates for the open Education Teaching and Learning position last Thursday. I will be acting on the recommendations of the Search Committee soon, and hope to have an announcement in the very near future. Also, a new Columbus campus representative recently was appointed to the EEOB Search Committee to speed up the process of getting critical feedback from the TIU. A first slate of candidates is expected to be Skype interviewed in the next couple of weeks, with campus visits to follow.

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

A meeting has been scheduled for Monday March 17th so that Jennifer Cowley and David Tomasko from the College of Engineering can present information about a possible second year engineering program to the Curriculum Committee. Also on the agenda for that meeting is a discussion about opportunities surrounding an eventual four year program in Engineering on the Mansfield campus.

Diversity and inclusion issues

I would be remiss if I did not mention the pride being expressed by almost everyone that I encounter regarding the appointment of Dr. Drake, who will become Ohio State’s first African American president. What a great note to sound during Black History Month!

This past week, our own Scopas Poggo presented “Nelson Mandela: A Celebration of His Legacy” in a talk sponsored by Ohio State Mansfield, North Central State College, and Ashland University’s School of Nursing.

Land use

Last Friday, I met with Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) staff, including Brenda Smith (who many of you will remember as having played a prominent role in our Framework Plan) and Keith Myers, the Assistant Vice President of PPARE. We were joined in that meeting by representatives of MKSK, a landscape architectural and planning firm. MKSK has offered to lend its expertise to the Richland County Development Group (RCDG) as it begins to think through their facilitation of development in the campus district, as well as for Mansfield and Ontario officials interested in the construction of a joint economic development agreement for the Lexington-Springmill corridor. Meetings will be scheduled shortly to facilitate those endeavors for our community partners.

Planning in support of a more residential campus

No news to report at this time.

Renovation and repair

No news to report at this time.

Town-Gown relationships

This past Tuesday, the RCDG leadership team officially approved the formation of the Campus District Sector. On the same day, a group of students from the City and Regional Planning course that has adopted Richland County as its focal point visited the Ohio State Mansfield campus. While here, those students received a tour of our physical facilities, and then met with Brian White to gain a conceptual overview of the campus-community ties that are being fostered through a series of projects stemming directly from our Framework Plan.

Mood elevator

We have a new president coming on board June 30th, and with him will come what is sure to be a new round of activities designed to move The Ohio State University to even greater heights of eminence. No doubt many of the items on Dr. Drake’s agenda will line up quite well with the major efforts we are engaged in already here on the Mansfield campus.

Thanks to each and every one of you who are doing all you can to move the Ohio State Mansfield campus forward. Go Bucks… Going Up!

‘Snow Dawgz’ brave winter weather to keep Mansfield campus open

By day, they are maintenance workers and groundskeepers at The Ohio State University at Mansfield. But when snow is in the forecast, the “Snow Dawgz” are the first, and sometimes only, employees who are required to report to work.

“They are relentless,” said Brian White, superintendent, Mansfield Campus Plant Operations and Maintenance. “They clear the snow and then are expected to take care of setting up for meetings and building maintenance and all of their normal duties. They are very proud of their ability to keep the campus open.”

Nicknamed “Snow Dawgz” by a professor a few years ago, they travel snow-packed roads from Lucas, New Washington, Crestline and Ashland, as well as from Mansfield, usually rousted by a phone call about 3 a.m., to prepare the campus by 7 a.m. for employee and student arrival. The campus rarely closes for snow events.

Tim Robinette, groundskeeper at The Ohio State University at Mansfield, prepares for an upcoming snow event by loading a salt truck at the Schuttera Service Center. The groundskeepers and maintenance crew are responsible for keeping the campus open for classes during the winter.

“We usually arrive within about a half-hour after the call,” said Tim Robinette, groundskeeper. “Some of us live in adjacent counties where it might be a higher level snow emergency than Richland County. We still try to report for duty if we can safely.”

The crew of nine is responsible for several miles of roadways on the Mansfield campus, as well as sidewalks and more than a half-dozen large parking lots that service both Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College.

Equipment does dual duty – six pick-up trucks are retrofitted for winter with snow plows, a loader is used to fill a salt truck, and tractors are fitted with plows and sweepers to clean sidewalks. A local snow removal company is on speed-dial in case heavier equipment is needed.

Their work this season has been nearly non-stop. They have had more call-ins, as they refer to the early morning phone calls, to date than all of last year, according to Larry Stimpert, building maintenance superintendent. In a typical winter, the “Snow Dawgz” respond to about 20 to 25 call-ins. By mid-January this year, they’ve already reported for snow duty 19 times.

There’s only one shift and they sometimes work 12 to 14 hours before leaving. Crews usually bring clothes, sleeping bags and food for the rare occasion when they can’t get back home.

Every snow is different, Robinette says. Depending on the temperature and humidity, at times crews can use brushes on the tractors to clear fluffy snow, while at other times plows are needed to push the snow into large mounds at the edges of parking lots. Crews must hand-shovel several stairways.

“That sub-zero weather tore us up,” Robinette said. “The last few snows, it’s taken us two or three days to clean the parking lots and access areas. Then the snow melts, it freezes at night and we are back at it the next day to remove the ice. We really look forward to spring.”