Dean’s report Oct. 31, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

Happy Halloween everyone!

As with my last biweekly report, I have another set of bittersweet commemorations to report this time around. Today is the last day at Ohio State for Michelle McLane, who has served our campus well for many years. We wish her the best of luck as she moves forward to take advantage of new opportunities. Fortunately, we recently welcomed her replacement, Rolanda Page, as our new Coordinator of Student Development and Access Services. The fact that we created an intentional overlap has given Rolanda the advantage of learning the ropes from Michelle prior to her departure. If you have not yet introduced yourself to Rolanda, please do so in the near future!

Another bittersweet moment occurred yesterday when I attended a reception and dinner following Anne Epperson’s last Alumni Council meeting on the Columbus campus. Anne has been our Alumni Council representative for the past six years, and has given much to our campus and university during this time period. We are fortunate to have had Dick Walters, a longtime supporter of our campus (including his having been a recent capital campaign committee member), accept our invitation to take on this important role for the Ohio State Mansfield campus. Many thanks to Anne for all of her service and to Dick for stepping forward at this time!

Meanwhile, here is a quick rundown on the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • On Monday, Nick Orosan helped to host an Advancement forum that included Dana Booth, (Assistant Vice President for Constituency Fundraising), Jeff Hilpert (Senior Director of Development), Jacqui Aberegg (Assistant Vice President, Brand & Marketing), and Chad Warren (Assistant Vice President for Engagement Strategies). In many ways this meeting resembled the HR forum that was held last year, especially from the vantage point of hearing how the Mansfield and Columbus campuses work together as a team to accomplish various missions concerning development, communications, and alumni relations.


  • Last week, Dolan Evanovich, Vice President for Enrollment Planning, brought a number of his staff members to the Mansfield campus in order to discuss our five year admissions projections. There was a great deal of enthusiasm expressed for the recent addition of the off-campus housing through Buckeye Village, as well as the activities we are undertaking to refashion ourselves as a more residential campus. We have chosen a theme of “under promise and over perform” regarding enrollment projections, asking for an official target of around 1400 students in the next five years (up from approximately 1250 right now, or about a 12% increase in enrollment by 2019).
  • On Monday, Executive Dean of Arts and Sciences David Manderscheid visited our campus and met with faculty members over the common hour for an informal chat about current issues and opportunities within the college regarding regional campus faculty and students.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • Renee Thompson continues to work with Ohio State Mansfield students to establish the “No More” campaign to end domestic violence and sexual assault. An information campaign regarding the relevance of the No More campaign is slated to be shared by year’s end.
  • Bruce George, co-founder of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on HBO, presented on our Mansfield campus last week. An estimated 40 students, faculty and community members were on hand to listen to Mr. George’s insight regarding entrepreneurialism, critical thinking and personal achievement. Afterwards, Mr. George met with students to give specific insight on the entertainment industries and the challenges of achieving musical success.
  • In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Cherokee recording artist Michael Jacobs will be on hand to entertain our campus through a blend of Native American, folk and pop music, as well as discussing the triumphs and challenges of the Native American community. Mr. Jacobs will present on our campus on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 (4:00 pm-5:00 pm) and at OSU Columbus on Wednesday, November 5th.

Property and facilities

  • Last week, a small contingent of the Ohio State Mansfield and NCSC leadership teams were on hand for the dedication ceremony of the “Founder’s Rock” commemorating the work that Avery Hand and Jim Gorman undertook to raise funds for the purchase of the property on which our campus now resides. Jim Gorman was joined by several members of his family for this event. Avery Hand (who passed away several years ago) was honored by a number of his family members who wrote tributes that were read out loud at the ceremony in celebration of his life as a father, grandfather and community citizen.
  • The third meeting of the Conard second floor programming study met last week to hear some preliminary findings from Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) staff members working with our campus on this project. Feedback from participants will now trigger a new round of fact finding, with the hope of a more rigorous set of recommendations forthcoming in the near future.
  • Senior members of the Ohio State Mansfield and NCSC leadership teams received a “sneak peek” regarding preliminary findings regarding the new entranceway work being conducted by MKSK Design group. The preliminary feedback generated through this meeting will be incorporated into the design plans that will be shared with the wider group of committee members before being vetted by our campus community.

 Town-gown relationships

  • On Monday, I attended the 100th anniversary celebration of Catholic Charities along with several members of our campus, including Nick Orosan and Renee Thompson. John and Mary Riedl also were in attendance, along with approximately 100 community guests. This event was hosted by one of the many local agencies and organizations we work with on a consistent basis in order to provide important services to community residents through the volunteer activities of our students, staff, and faculty.
  • I have been appointed to the International Town Gown Association (ITGA) Strategic Planning Group Committee.

From the flight deck

One proposal to hire a woodlands stewardship consultant and a second proposal to use strategic cash reserves to provide an immediate upgrade to the CRC workout facilities were approved by the Executive Committee yesterday. The woodlands stewardship plan will allow us to more firmly wrap our collective minds around the resources we have within the borders of our 640 acres, while the facility upgrade will provide a long overdue facelift to the CRC.

This past Wednesday I took part in the third annual meeting of Regional Campus Cluster deans and the Presidents of the co-located campuses. Among other things, this event represented a “passing of the torch” from Mike Boehm to Jennifer Cowley. There are so many reasons to praise Mike’s leadership over the past four and a half years, and just as much motivation for expecting much the same from Jennifer’s guidance and direction.

Finally, on a more personal note I wanted to share the joy I experienced two days ago when I returned to the undergraduate classroom. A former doctoral student of mine had adopted the textbook I had written on families with adolescents for her class, and asked if I would visit with her students. I provided a short lecture on the material of the day, facilitated small and larger group discussions, and then was grateful to receive feedback from students about the book I wrote. It was such a gratifying experience, and it prompts me to remind Ohio State Mansfield faculty members about how fortunate you all are to have the privilege of teaching our best and brightest on a regular basis!

All signs continue to point to friendly skies ahead. May your weekend be filled with maximum treats and a minimum of tricks. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

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