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!

Capital Campaign exceeds $3 million

Group study rooms at the Bromfield Library and Information Commons will be named for donors.

Group study rooms at the Bromfield Library and Information Commons will be named for donors.

Ohio State Mansfield will celebrate reaching it’s $3 million capital campaign goal and dedicate the new Bromfield Library and Information Commons at a public reception the evening of Thursday, April 10. Support from hundreds of campus and community members, including capstone gifts from Next Generation Films and the John & Pearl Conard Foundation, will provide new and expanded student scholarships and internship opportunities, as well as key improvements to campus facilities.

The Bromfield Library and Information Commons, the campaign’s main strategic priority, nears completion of the $3 million renovation into a vibrant high-tech learning environment. The crowning jewel of the space is the Learning Collaborative Classroom, funded through a $300,000 grant by the Richland County Foundation. This innovative space, shared by Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College as well as available for business and community programs, will leverage advanced technologies to support collaborative learning.

Other vital study rooms and instructional areas have also been created through gifts from Mechanics Bank, Richland Bank, CenturyLink, FirstEnergy, and Shelby Foundation. With a $500,000 gift from the Conard Foundation, the building will be renamed Conard Hall at the April 10 ceremony.

The Gorman family helped establish a new Business Internship Program endowment with their generous leadership gift. More than 75 students from Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College have benefited from internships this academic year with 40 local businesses, getting paid while gaining hands-on experience in engineering, business and other trades. An internship meet and greet in December attracted more than 200 students and potential employers, evidence of the great need within the community.

More than $600,000 has been pledged for scholarships in the But for Ohio State Mansfield campaign, including generous support by Vic Smith of Galion to create the new NCSC Buckeye Scholarship. The new Tyger Scholarship will help local students start college, and the new Board Leadership Scholarship will help them complete their four-year degree on the Mansfield campus. With an expanded Engineering program, the new Jack Hire Scholarship will also help the campus recruit and support new students in this exciting growth area.

“This goal could not have been met but for the dedication of our campaign volunteers who spent countless hours meeting with prospective donors, explaining our vision for our students,” Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi said. “Our students will reap the benefits of their hard work for years to come.”

There will be many people to thank. Former Director of University Relations Rodger Smith laid the groundwork for the campaign through his decades of service before he retired in 2012. Campaign co-chairs Pam Siegenthaler and John Riedl, along with honorary chairman James C. Gorman, provided essential leadership throughout the campaign in partnership with Ohio State Mansfield Board members. NCSC Chief Public Affairs Officer Betty Preston, on loan for the campaign, was instrumental in securing the Hire Family Foundation grant; English Professor Susan Delagrange led support efforts for Bromfield renovations. Community volunteers also played key roles by raising tremendous awareness and funds for the campaign. They include Mary Bolin, Dave Carto, Don De Censo, Evelyn Freeman, Scott King, Jay Miller, John Mount, Brad Preston, Lydia Reid, John S. Roby, Doc Stumbo, Karin Turowski, Dick Walters, and Sheila York.

From the Dean

You should be aware that Ohio State Mansfield has an exceptional faculty, with nearly all having the terminal degree in their field. They also are recognized frequently for their commitment to research and service responsibilities, both in the community and abroad.

Steven Joyce, associate professor of German, is one of 10 university-wide faculty members to be awarded the 2014 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching. Joyce developed a study abroad program in Corfu, Greece, Mansfield’s first study abroad with a humanities emphasis. Joyce joins Joseph R. Holomuzki (2011), John Thrasher (1999), Deborah Bainer (1996), Thomas Foster (1993), James McCleod (1991), Janet Torino (1990) and Ted Dahlstrand (1983) as past recipients of this prestigious award from the Mansfield campus.

Sergei Chmutov, professor of Mathematics, received the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Faculty Service Award for his work with Math Honors students in his summer program in Columbus entitled “Knots and Graphs.” Those students have given talks at prestigious undergraduate conferences, received Goldwater Awards and published their work in research journals.

Lee McEwan, Mathematics professor, and Terri Bucci and Michael Mikusa, Mathematics Education professors received a $203,789 grant from the Ohio Board of Regents to provide an Algebra Project-based professional development program for kindergarten through fifth grade teachers in the Mansfield City and Lucas Local School Districts.

Rachel Bowen, assistant professor, Political Science, was recently notified that she has been nominated for a Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor Award. Students participating in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum nominated Bowen for the award. She will find out later this month at the forum if she is an award winner.

These awards across disciplines demonstrate the commitment our faculty has to their scholarship and to our students and community. Congratulations!

Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.

Mansfield campus ideal place for environmental studies

Deer often graze in grasslands at the edge of the forest at Ohio State Mansfield. Ohio State Extension is conducting a study on deer pressure at the campus.

Deer often graze in grasslands at the edge of the forest at Ohio State Mansfield. Ohio State Extension is conducting a study on deer pressure at the campus.

If you drive through the SR 39 environmental entrance to The Ohio State University at Mansfield at the right time of day, you can see a small herd of deer grazing near the tree lines. Just how many deer roam the campus’s 640 acres and the impact on the surrounding woodlands is the goal of a study by Ohio State Extension Wildlife Program specialist Marne Titchenell. She and several volunteers erected fencing on a tenth of an acre behind Kee Hall to monitor the abundance of the deer and the pressure they place on vegetation. The deer exclosure allows an area of woodlands to grow naturally, while the area outside the fencing provides data about how much the deer are eating.

“It will probably take a season or two before we see a difference, but we put it in an area easily accessible for students and where we know deer are browsing so we should get some good data,” Titchenell said.

It’s one of several woodlands-based research projects Ohio State Mansfield and Extension would like to conduct on the land, akin to Stone Laboratory projects on open waterways conducted on Lake Erie. Mansfield campus is a unique combination of terrestrial, wetlands and aquatic areas, and one of the largest contiguous parcels left in the state. The forest also is the ideal location to offer an environmental studies program.

“We are eager to create an Environmental Studies program that takes advantage of our natural resources,” Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi said. “In our next several rounds of hires, we will be looking for faculty who can lend expertise to that area of study.”

Kathy Smith, Extension program director – Forestry, worked with a capstone class of 35 environmental studies students last May to collect woodlands data. Another class will continue the study this May, with a goal to create a forest management plan.

Mansfield campus administrators hope the community will come to enjoy the increasing numbers of classes offered by the Woodlands Stewards program. This year’s classes… include a day-long Tree School designed to teach woodland owners and others how to plant and maintain trees. Extension, in conjunction with the Ohio Forestry Association, will offer two chainsaw safety classes in June. And Ohio State photography instructor Jim Doty, Jr. will lead a hands-on session on Capturing Nature’s Wonders, combining classroom and living laboratory experiences.

Four chosen for prestigious Denman Forum

Tanesha Gardner-cropped

Tanesha Gardner

Senior, History
Mentors: Dr. Mollie Cavender and Dr. Heather Tanner

Ruffs, Slashes, & Farthingales: Fashion at the Court of Elizabeth l
My project is on Elizabethan Court Fashion. I look at how the fashion of the nobility changes when Queen Elizabeth I takes the throne.

Research is an integral part of being a History major and eventually a working Historian. Being able to do a large scale research project was a great opportunity to put my skills to the test.

I have loved every second I’ve been at Ohio State Mansfield! The small campus life lends itself to creating lasting relationships with peers and professors.

Leah Schwechheimer-cropped

Leah Schwechheimer

Junior, Biology
Mentors: Dr. Carol Landry

White Mangrove Pollination

The study is an investigation of reproductive barriers between two closely related, co-flowering Croton species on San Salvador Island, The Bahamas.

This project has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about scientific investigation and the process of experimentation, as well as get some experience doing field work.

I believe that study-abroad programs are extremely important for students to discover new places, people, and cultures, as well as learning about the projects they are studying.

Collin Sipe

Collin Sipe

Senior, History
Mentors: Dr. Mollie Cavender and Dr. Heather Tanner

Death, Silk, And Spices: The Issue of Gentleman Merchants and the Policies of the English East India Company

My experiences in research have increased my confidence in my work and academic studies, as well as provided me with networking with both fellow students and established academic scholars.

Ohio State Mansfield’s most important attribute has been it’s amazing professors, who allow  students to explore their interests while providing support and encouragement that inspire them to reach new levels of academic success and personal growth.

Sam Ulrich-cropped

Samantha Ulrich

Junior, Public Affairs
Mentor: Dr. Rachel Bowen

The Arab Spring: A Clash with Principle or another Unexpected Wave of Democratization?

My project seeks to discredit a school of thought in political science which states that Catholic, Buddhist, or Islamic nations cannot neither create nor maintain a democratic government.

I have gained so much from this experience – research skills, confidence in my own capabilities, and a mentor.

This has been an amazing opportunity for me not only because of Dr. Bowen’s research knowledge, but for her ability to mentor me as a law school hopeful.

Engaging elders, fathers part of creating youth success

Renee Thompson, Ohio State Mansfield Family Engagement and Outreach Coordinator, explains the Fatherhood Initiative to a group of community leaders.

Renee Thompson, Ohio State Mansfield Family Engagement and Outreach Coordinator, explains the Fatherhood Initiative to a group of community leaders.

“What would happen if a university, a school district, and a community worked together to promote healthy youth development?” The question was posed two years ago as Renee Thompson became Family Engagement and Outreach Coordinator at The Ohio State University at Mansfield.

Out of that question came a series of community conversations dubbed “Beginning Anew.” Since then, Thompson has been instrumental in creating outreach programs and community collaborations centered on that theme, ensuring college-readiness for youth and creating greater ties between the university and the community.

Engaging Elders: Connecting Children, Campus and Community, to be hosted May 21 at the Mansfield campus, is a collaborative effort by the university, Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc., the North End Community Improvement Collaborative Inc., and Richland County Children’s Services. Recognizing that grandparents sometimes assume child-rearing responsibilities, the day includes discussions centered on that theme, along with a luncheon to honor elders.

Realizing that it takes a family to ready a student for college, Thompson brought the Fatherhood Initiative to Richland County. Funded through the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties, the initiative will help fathers strengthen their parenting capabilities by providing them with the tools and strategies to become committed fathers for their children.

Thompson maintains offices at Mansfield High School and the campus to provide a link between the university, students and parents, ensuring students are college-ready through the Algebra Project and other tutoring opportunities. A family resource room has been established at the high school to provide an informal place for parents to gather and talk. A summer camp for high school students transitioning to college also is in the planning stages.