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.

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