Professors create a community for the arts

Members of the Theatre department at The Ohio State University at Mansfield present The Tin Faces Project.

Members of the Theatre department at The Ohio State University at Mansfield present The Tin Faces Project.

Through unique venues and community collaboration, professors of the arts at The Ohio State University at Mansfield provide extensive learning experiences for both their students and the local community.

Most students who participate in theatre productions, art shows and chorus at Ohio State Mansfield likely will never pursue a degree in the arts; instead, they participate to earn general education credits and for the chance to perform.

“I think one of the things that is very different about our program is that we really get to know our students,” said art professor John Thrasher. “We definitely build a learning community here, and in the case of art, it becomes a very creative cauldron. There’s a great energy within the group.”

Professors blend community outreach with class assignments to give deeper meaning to the art students create.

The University Chorus last year performed at the NAACP Martin Luther King event and partnered with St. Peter’s Catholic Church and First Congregational Church to sing Puccini’s Messe di Gloria with a full orchestra and soloists.

“Most of the students had never sung with an orchestra,” said music professor and chorus director Joel Vega. “So it was really fun and a great learning experience for them.”

Kate Shannon, art professor and curator for the Pearl Conard Art Gallery, and Thrasher try to relate the content of the gallery art shows to the curriculum each semester.

“The gallery is our way to expose them to a wider variety of artists,” Shannon said. “We try to bring in artists who are working in non-traditional ways, or ways that we don’t typically see in the community. We aren’t looking to showcase artists who are primarily interested in selling their work. It is more of an experimental space.”

The art instructors also volunteer at the Mansfield Art Center. Shannon recently was on the board of directors while Thrasher and his students have created several pieces of art for fundraisers.

“One of the benefits of the connection with the art center is that my students realize that I am very engaged in a place outside of here,” Thrasher said. “They know that I am a regular participant in exhibitions. They know that I volunteer for their events. It excites their interest a bit and they end up showing up where they might not otherwise do that.”

The Theatre department produces three to four performances each year, combining the talents of Ohio State Mansfield students and community members. They also partner with The Children’s Theatre Foundation and the Renaissance Youth Theatre to produce children’s theatre productions hosted on campus. Theatre director and professor Joe Fahey serves on both the Children’s Theatre Foundation and the Ohio Theatre Alliance.

When a production has a community services connection or social cause behind it, Fahey reaches out to groups that support or advocate for the issue. Fahey partnered with The Welcome Johnny and Jane Home Project during the recent production, The Tin Faces Project.

“We offer patrons both an entertainment experience and an educational experience,” professor and theatre director Joe Fahey said. “They are getting a chance to see our students on stage doing really impressive work. It represents the campus very well.”

#311180 OSU Mansfield Friends of the Theatre

#604166 James C. Lewis Technical Theatre

#606065 Gerald B. Rice Theater Prize

#602640 Goodman Scholarship

From the Dean

The Ohio State University at Mansfield is fortunate to have a great partnership in North Central State College. As campus partners, we constantly strive to create an extraordinary campus experience for students and the communities that surround us.

Non-academic services began to be shared several years ago as a cost-saving measure. Each institution still has its own academic mission, programs and faculty, but shares resources on the non-academic side. Today, that efficiency has resulted in a more dynamic student experience for all.

Co-location has many advantages that ultimately benefit students. The Bromfield Library and Information Commons, Campus Recreation Center, Theatre, and Student Engagement activities are open to students of both institutions. A vibrant athletics program is beginning to take shape, fed by students from across campus. The Business and Industry Internship Program has placed hundreds of students from both institutions with local companies to provide workforce experience.

Work is underway with representatives from both institutions to establish brand principles to further enhance the shared student experience and to think in terms of a singular campus as opposed to two co-located institutions. We want our students to feel that the programs and activities are here for them regardless of the institution at which they are enrolled currently.

The branding group intends to focus on the commonalities across campus while recognizing the differences in the types of students. Approximately 75 percent of our students have just graduated from high school, while NC State students mainly include non-traditional students who are returning to college to train for a second career. We want all of these students to feel that there is something here for everyone.

Ultimately, the group will explore questions such as “What do students need for an extraordinary campus experience?” and “What is the most essential thing we can focus on that will fulfill their needs?”

The bottom line goal is to create a seamless campus experience for students while maintaining access, affordability and program excellence. Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.

Mansfield Homecoming Court active on campus and in community

Members of the Ohio State Mansfield homecoming court include Nella Blackford, Jordan Landis, Jordan Morse, Joey Burley, Maris Bucci and Greg Palmerton. Morse and Burley were named queen and king at ceremonies in Columbus.

Members of the Ohio State Mansfield homecoming court include Nella Blackford, Jordan Landis, Jordan Morse, Joey Burley, Maris Bucci and Greg Palmerton. Morse and Burley were named queen and king at ceremonies in Columbus.

Ohio State Mansfield junior Jordan Morse and senior Joey Burley were crowned Mansfield Homecoming Court queen and king at a ceremony Oct. 17 on the Columbus campus. The court also included Nella Blackford, Maris Bucci, Jordan Landis, and Greg Palmerton.

The court was chosen through an interview process with faculty and staff, who looked for campus and community involvement, volunteer work and GPA. Students then selected the king and queen from the court.

“The 2014 Homecoming Court was a fun and unique group this year,” said Elise Riggle, director of Student Engagement.  “They were leaders from many different areas on campus.  Collectively, they were six students, each with unique and wonderful personalities, coming together in a joyful, perky, ball of Homecoming goodness!  It was truly a pleasure to work with them this year, and to experience their celebration with them.”

Morse is from Ashland and is studying Psychology. She plays on the Mansfield Mavericks Volleyball team and is a third-year resident advisor & office assistant at university housing Molyet Village Apartments. She also works with children with disabilities at Raemelton Therapeutic Equestrian Center.

Joey Burley also is from Ashland, pursuing degrees in Psychology and English. He is involved in Psychology Student Association, English Club and Boxing Club. He participates in theater productions and is a certified research assistant in the Psychology department. Burley is also an office assistant and resident advisor at Molyet Village Apartments as well as a summer cleaning and maintenance staff manager.

Nella Blackford, a senior Early Childhood Education major from Ashland is involved as an ally in OutLoud, as well as Club Ed and the Book Bunch.

Communications major Maris Bucci is a sophomore from Bellville. She is a Buckeye Ambassador, an intern in the Office of Student Engagement, Campus Activities Board co-leader, Camp Hetuck facilitator, a member of the Mavericks Volleyball team, and involved in the Haiti Empowerment Project and 2014 OSU LeaderShape Institute.

Jordan Landis, a senior from Crestview, is studying Middle Childhood Education. Landis has worked as a tutor in the Conard Learning Center since 2012. He is also a member of Club Ed – a student organization for education majors.

Greg Palmerton, a sophomore from Norwalk, is studying Biology and Pre-Med. He is a Buckeye Ambassador, an intern in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and is involved in undergraduate research.

Homecoming events included a number of activities on the Columbus campus – the Ohio State homecoming parade, pep rally and recognition during the Buckeyes homecoming football game.

The Mansfield Homecoming Court commits to a year of service projects. During Homecoming Week they took whipped cream pies to the face to raise money for the Domestic Violence Shelter.

Renovated BLIC brimming with learning and technology

DSC_5089eOhio State Mansfield student Mark Matthews plugged in his USB drive to the instructor’s console and his group launched into a presentation for the Professional Writing class. Two 80-inch and two 60-inch flat screen monitors, as well as two projectors beamed onto motorized, semi-transparent screens at the back of the room, offered a 360 degree view of their presentation.

“The room is perfect for learning because no matter where you sit, you can see and hear the instructor and see the material on the screen without having to move around,” said Diane Hixson, a student in the class.

The class is just one of many using learning-centered technology in the Richland County Foundation Learning Collaborative classroom located in the Bromfield Library and Information Commons.

“This classroom shines through its extreme flexibility and access to a wide variety of technologies,” said David Au, instructional technology coordinator. “The way that the classes are taught can be approached with methods that foster collaboration and participation by students.”

As a resuslt of a recent $3 million dollar renovation, the BLIC is now a place not only for research, but a space to hang out with friends, attend class, or conduct a study session in one of six touch-screen equipped study rooms that can be booked in two-hour blocks.

Faculty also are able to use a high-tech Richland Bank Faculty Media Center in the BLIC that allows them to record lectures and video for online courses and to supplement classwork. The studio includes a soundproof video and audio recording space with a green screen and professional lighting.

“The center also will be a primary location for workshops given to faculty and staff,” Au said. “These workshops will cover a variety of creative applications, university systems and techniques for course development.”

Students explore career options through speaker series

Planners of the Career Speaker Series What are YOU into… hope to illustrate to Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College students the bridge from academics to the world of work.

“The Career Speaker Series focuses on connecting local employer experts with students who are in the process of making important career choices,” said Troy Shutler, coordinator of career development at NC State. “Students can learn a great deal about careers by tapping into the knowledge and advice from local professionals and experts in the field.”

Themes for the series came from the Explore Careers section of Shutler, along with Pam Schopieray, coordinator of career services at Ohio State Mansfield, and Tracy Bond, internship coordinator for both institutions wanted to cross-reference the career themes with majors offered on campus to introduce students to the professional world before graduation.

Topics change each month. September included representatives from banking, sales, human resources and entrepreneurs. Those from communications-based careers spoke in October. Future sessions include engineering, computer-aided design, manufacturing and medicine as well as writing, photography, graphic design and environmental careers.

Then it was a matter of saying “who do we know,” to begin to build a speaker’s list, Schopieray said. The trio relied on relationships they have cultivated in the community – employers who have provided internships, as well as associates from Leadership Unlimited and Richland Young Professionals.

The goal is to provide networking and mentoring opportunities and words of wisdom for students as they further define their future careers. Many of the speakers have been interns in college and mentioned the value of adding real-world experience to a student’s resume.

“We want students to realize that there is a benefit to networking and completing internships early in their college career,” Schopieray said. “They are building relationships with employers during their college years that may lead to a future job in the community.”

Dean’s Report Nov. 14, 2014

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

On Wednesday, Carol Landry’s recent promotion to Associate Professor with tenure was celebrated on the Columbus campus during a reception held at the Faculty Club. A tradition to mark the occasion has emerged whereby the newly promoted faculty member is asked to select a book that in some way stands as a symbol for the academic achievements involved in the promotion process. Professor Landry chose Waser and Ollerton’s “Plant Pollinator Interactions: From Specialization to Generalization” because, in her words, “the editors and authors of this book have strongly influenced the way that I think about pollination mutualisms specifically and, more broadly, about the importance of species interactions in the maintenance of biodiversity.” Congratulations once again to Carol!

Here is a quick rundown on the past two weeks:

Human Resources

  • The request for nominations regarding the position of Assistant Dean was sent out last week. Please remember that the deadline for nominations is this coming Monday, November 17th at noon.
  • We recently received the results of the Ohio State culture survey. Given our desire to have the best possible work environment created on our campus, I have asked the following individuals to form a working group that will be tasked with making recommendations concerning the one or two issues emerging out of the survey that can become the main focus on work for the campus: Donna Hight and Heather Tanner (co-chairs), Mary Jo Hawk, Michelle Kowalski, Phil Mazzocco, Darla Myers, Andy Kinney, and Cathy Stimpert. Many thanks in advance to the members of this working group for the efforts to create meaningful and pragmatic recommendations. Please note that those recommendations will be distributed to the campus and discussed in an upcoming town hall meeting.


  • Several meetings recently have occurred that spoke directly to the development of an environmentally focused program of study on the Mansfield campus. Brian White and I will be presenting the EcoLab vision to the School of Environmental and Natural Sciences (SENR) faculty on the Columbus campus this coming Monday (11/17) in order to further understand their interest in offering SENR courses and majors on our campus.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • Last week, in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Cherokee recording artist Michael Jacobs was on hand to entertain our campus through a blend of Native American, folk and pop music. Additionally, he discussed the triumphs and challenges of the Native American community with a crowd of approximately 50 participants.
  • Discussions are underway regarding activities for the 2015 Black History Month. We are looking to collaborate with a variety of community partners for next year’s activities.

Property and facilities

  • Yesterday, the Ohio State Mansfield Board joined the Executive Committee in voting to support two expenditures related to property and facilities management. The first item concerned the authorization to spend up to $50K on improvements to the Campus Recreation Center, while the second item involved an expenditure of approximately $12K to hire a woodlands conservation expert who would be responsible for creating a woodlands stewardship plan for our 640 acres. As noted in a previous biweekly report, 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.

Town-gown relationships

  • Last week, NCSC and Ohio State Mansfield hosted a conversation on the campus district concept. The mayors of Mansfield, Ontario, and Shelby were in attendance (I am happy to note here that Shelby’s Mayor Marilyn John also was present as County Commissioner elect), as were various interested parties from across Richland County. A second meeting will be convened in order to discuss the priority level that our surrounding communities will affix to the development of the campus district.
  • Yesterday, a sizable contingent of Ohio State Mansfield and NCSC representatives were on hand at the Kehoe Center for the United Way’s Mid-Campaign Breakfast. You may or may not know that Ohio State Mansfield Board member Dan DeVille currently is serving as the United Way’s Board President. In many ways, Dan is the very embodiment of the town-gown partnership as he works tirelessly for the betterment of both campus and community. Next time you see Dan, please join me in thanking him for all of his efforts!

From the flight deck

It’s getting closer and closer to the most wonderful time of the year, that amazing mix of holidays and traditions that mark the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. Two weeks from now we will be on Thanksgiving break, so my next biweekly report will come your way in December. And just before turkey day we will have celebrated the Buckeye Bash, which at the time of this report’s writing already is sold out! This is great news for the Richland County Ohio State Alumni’s scholarship program, which the Buckeye Bash helps to support. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!