Dean’s Report Jan. 23, 2015

Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,

What a difference a month has made for Ohio State! Winning the first ever College Football Playoff National Championship has been a HUGE boost for our university. Almost every contact I have had with colleagues around the country these past few weeks has included congratulations for our football team’s great success on the field. This translates into lots of off-the-field benefits that range from recruiting to donations, of course. And it was great to have so much school spirit shown during the playoff run! Our tailgate party was tons of fun, and students, staff, and faculty members alike showed off an amazing amount of Buckeye apparel over those two weeks.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the other things that have happened on the Mansfield campus over the past several weeks:

Human Resources

  • I met with the Culture Survey Committee and charged them with the task of finding one to three core issues that we wish to work on as a campus. Many thanks to Heather Tanner and Donna Hight for co-leading this work, as well as to the various representatives of tenure track faculty (Terri Winnick and Heather), senior staff (Cathy Stimpert and Donna), associated faculty (Andrew Kinney and Michelle Kowalski) and regular staff (Mary Jo Hawk and Darla Myers). Please remember to contact these individuals with any comments, concerns, or feedback about this work!
  • Quarterly reviews are underway with my direct reports. That means that all staff members should have received their own second quarter review, or at least be scheduled to do so in the next week or so.
  • Annual review materials are being collected from tenure track faculty at this time, with a deadline of January 31st.


  • There is nothing to report at this time, although I hope to receive an update on the Curriculum Committee’s work on both the engineering program and environmental studies initiative in the very near future.

Diversity and inclusion issues

  • Renee Thompson, Donna Hight, and I hosted a very diverse group of students for the Ohio State women’s basketball game against Penn State this past Sunday. The Lady Buckeyes won handily, topping off a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon with the students. I got a chuckle from the way students reacted to the development suite we had for the event…several of them said they felt like “royalty” in the box. And well they should! Renee and Donna selected some of our most promising student leaders, who we hope will be staying with us as long as possible.
  • Soul Food Dinner tickets are now on sale for $10. Please remember that supplies are limited, and in any event no tickets will be sold at the door.

Property and facilities

  • Brenda Slack from Physical Planning and Real Estate (PPARE) has sent around a Doodle poll in order to schedule our next meeting of the Conard second floor planning committee. Please respond ASAP in order to select a time and date for this next very important meeting!

Town-gown relationships

  • The inaugural Joint Campus District planning meeting was hosted by the Mansfield campus two weeks ago, and included representatives from the City of Mansfield, the City of Ontario, the County Commissioners, the Regional Planning Commission, the Mansfield/Richland County Chamber of Commerce, the Richland County Community Development (RCDG) group, and the Richland Young Professional group. Our first task is to create a unified vision of the Campus District, coupled with the identification of resources that will allow our planning efforts to move forward in the most effective manner possible. This group will continue to meet on a monthly basis.

From the flight deck

I was also fortunate enough to have hosted a group of Ohio State Mansfield board members and their guests at the Ohio State men’s hockey game this past Friday against that team up north. Events such as these are one of the ways that we can say thank you to these individuals, who voluntarily give so much of their time and effort for the good of the campus. I can’t say it often enough to my board members: thank you so much for all that you do for Buckeye North!

I hope that everyone has a great weekend. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!

Students gain experience at professor’s alma mater

Nella Blackford, an Early Childhood Education major, gets field experience in a second grade classroom in Galion.

Nella Blackford, an Early Childhood Education major, gets field experience in a second grade classroom in Galion.

Early Childhood Education students from The Ohio State University at Mansfield finished a field experience opportunity in December at the Galion Primary School.

Twelve seniors spent the fall semester working with second grade teachers, gaining valuable field experience to help prepare them for student teaching.

Ohio State students were also placed at the Primary and Middle Schools last school year. The students had such a positive experience in the Galion schools that Ohio State Mansfield Field Placement Coordinator Regina Sackman, a Galion alumna, knew she wanted to place as many students as possible in Galion.

“Being a Galion graduate, naturally I wanted my students to experience and be a part of the quality education that Galion provides,” Sackman said.

While in the field, the university students worked with classroom teachers to meet the needs of students, often working with individuals and small groups to reinforce learning. The student teachers were responsible for individual lessons, as well as peer teaching and assisting the classroom teachers. Galion second grade teachers volunteered to be mentors and to share their experiences.

Heather Snow, a Clear Fork graduate, and Nella Blackford, a Mansfield St. Peter’s graduate, both taught Science and Social Studies lessons in Cindy Conner’s second grade class.

“All the students in class were nice, worked very hard and were really patient,” Snow said.

Field experiences provide opportunities for pre-service teachers to implement teaching strategies and theories that they learn about in their college course work. Working with students enables them to develop an understanding of how students learn and how to address each student’s specific learning needs.

“The atmosphere in the primary school was a breath of fresh air because the entire staff was very welcoming,” Blackford said. “Cindy gave us the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the students’ educational experience including parent teacher conferences. It was a great experience as a student aspiring to be a teacher.”

From the Dean

Graduate students from Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business just presented the third installment of a three-phase project designed to provide a plan to spur economic development in Richland County.

The Richland Community Development Group, who commissioned the project, is poised to release the plan soon, which includes many of the projects our campus is currently involved in – a campus district, an EcoLab and a wellness center – with an underlying message of community collaboration as well as attraction and retention of young professionals.

This group of students, as well as earlier groups from a City and Regional Planning studio class at the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture, for the most part have never set foot in Richland County, save for a drive along I-71. But they are precisely the future young professionals we hope to attract through the campus district project.

These students formed a very positive image of Richland County – a vibrant place with entertainment, nightlife and a business community who collectively is making Mansfield a better place to live.

Area residents always have had the perception that Ohio State Mansfield is more of a gateway to Columbus, and for many students that is still true. Depending on the degree they seek, they must transition to Columbus to finish. However, we are finding a subtle shift in the number of students who are staying at Ohio State Mansfield for at least a second year, and with more and more students deciding to stay all four years to earn one of nine bachelor’s degrees offered on our campus.

As noted in one of the articles in this edition, one way to entice these growing numbers of students to stay longer with us is through the vision of the campus district. By providing entertainment, shopping, dining, housing and other amenities that students have come to expect of campuses and the communities that surround them, we will enhance the quality of life for students, so much so that we hope they will stay in the community even after they graduate!

Collaboration among government, economic development partners and chamber of commerce members, along with input from students and young professionals, can bring this campus district concept to life. Come join us in making this vision a reality! Stephen M. Gavazzi, Ph.D.

Campus District envisioned

Presentation MKSK 14 11 06 FINAL small-5Imagine a walkable community, flourishing with businesses, entertainment and housing, to attract young professionals and college students. What would it look like? Fresh modern architecture or something that would blend in harmony with adjacent woodlands?

Community leaders are meeting to define the area on Lexington Springmill Road near The Ohio State University at Mansfield and North Central State College that has come to be called the Campus District project.

Representatives of the cities of Mansfield and Ontario, Richland County, Richland Community Development Group, Richland County Regional Planning, Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College, Richland Young Professionals and the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce have agreed to form a small working group to create a vision statement and definition for the Campus District. They will also identify needs such as site improvements and identify potential funding sources.

“We need to create the vision first,” said Ohio State Mansfield Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi at a recent meeting. “If we are not in agreement about what we want to see, no planning tool will get us where we want to go. Mansfield, Ontario, Richland County as a whole, our students, and young professionals living in the area, all should come together in agreement. Then long-term, the project will take on a life of its own.”

Young professionals are of special interest to the group because of the proximity to the campus. Campus officials hope that students from outside the local area who attend either institution will embrace the quality of life the area could offer and decide to stay longer.

“The old philosophy of wait until a job opens up – people don’t do that anymore,” says Brian White, planner and project manager at Ohio State Mansfield. “Young professionals go where they want to live and then figure out how to make a living. That’s probably the biggest paradigm shift that people don’t understand in economic development. They will create the economic growth if you provide the environment for them to come.”

The land adjacent to the Lexington Springmill campus entrance lies in Ontario. Officials plan to hire an architect to create a zoning overlay, a defined area that would detail a general look for the district.

Ontario Mayor Randy Hutchinson explained in a recent meeting that the goal is for the zoning to be business-friendly, not too restrictive, but still have a cohesive look and feel.

A key component of the project is the relocation of the existing campus entrance.

Paperwork has been submitted to Ohio State that lays out all the criteria for design of the new road, the right of way, as well as environmental concerns and costs. Once the paperwork is reviewed, the project will enter the schematic design phase to refine the details of the entrance road.

“At that point, during the schematic design phase, that’s when we start integrating our new entrance on a much more detailed level with the Campus District,” White said. “How does it tie in, where do the roads go, where do the utilities go?”

About half the funding has been raised to build the road. The hope is that through integrating the projects, more opportunities for funding will surface.

Ticoras gives back to campus, community

Mansfield dermatologist Christ Ticoras credits The Ohio State University for his success as a community volunteer.

Mansfield dermatologist Christ Ticoras credits The Ohio State University for his success as a community volunteer.

But for Ohio State, Mansfield dermatologist Dr. Christ Ticoras wouldn’t be the successful doctor, husband, father, philanthropist and community volunteer he is today.

“Ohio State opened a lot of doors and allowed me to succeed,” he said.

Ticoras is finishing his ninth of nine years on the Ohio State Mansfield Board. He was instrumental in starting the Ohio State Mansfield Board of Trustees Leadership Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to third-year and higher students who intend to graduate from Ohio State Mansfield and are actively involved in community service.

The endowment goal is to raise $200,000; Ticoras’ pledge is to provide a 50 percent match for donations.

Ticoras knows the worth of scholarships as he paid his own way through college, performing research as a lab assistant while he earned Ohio State’s Presidential Scholarship. He graduated from Ohio State in June 1987 at the top of his College of Pharmacy class, summa cum laude with distinction and honors.

Through an Air Force scholarship to Wright State University, Ticoras earned his medical degree; his return on the scholarship was active duty time in Tucson, Ariz.

Yearning to return to Ohio, he found a private practice position in 1999 in Mansfield.

“I’ve been really blessed to have 15 great years here in Mansfield,” he said.

Ticoras has become firmly entrenched in the community, early on supporting the Salvation Army and Richland Pregnancy Services. He and wife Heather belong to the Richland County Foundation Connections group.

Professionally, Ticoras, with Ohio Health, provides free skin cancer screening, coordination and care during Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May.

Ticoras recently donated funds for a group study room in the renovated Bromfield Library and Information Commons.

“I like Woody Hayes’ idea of paying forward,” he said. “I think as alumni we are really called to do that.”

Ticoras says there’s a distinct advantage to attending a regional campus – small class sizes taught by professors.

“And even though many professors are involved with research, they have a real passion to teach,” Ticoras said.

#644465 Ohio State Mansfield Board Leadership Scholarship


Mansfield alumnus provides valuable insight for study

Paul Privara

Paul Privara

Project managers at Fisher Professional Services didn’t know when they accepted a project with Richland Community Development Group that they would find local talent within their own group.

Paul Privara, an MBA student at the Fisher College of Business, is a 2011 business graduate at The Ohio State University at Mansfield. He has been with Walgreens for 15 years and operates the store on Park Avenue West. His knowledge of Richland County proved invaluable to the team as they created a Strategic Activities Development and Implementation Plan.

“It helps on a functional level to have someone who understands the actual culture of the community, the man-on-the-ground perspective we just weren’t going to find by doing research,” said Kurtis Roush, director, Office of Global Business at the Fisher College of Business.

The RCDG project was the third phase of an economic development project in which Ohio State has been involved. Ohio State Mansfield Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi brought in colleague Roush to provide real-life experience for Ohio State students, while meeting a community need for strategic economic planning.

The first two phases were completed last spring by students from the City and Regional Planning program in the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture.

Phase three took the vision and segmented it into an implementable plan.

“This is basically a skill that MBA students are going to be given regularly in their corporate careers,” Roush said. “It was a great opportunity for students to practice their skills, but it was also to benefit the greater good as well.”

Bridget T. McDaniel, Executive Director of RCDG, was appreciative of the input from the students.

“It is always good to get fresh eyes on the community,” she said. “Both reports provided insight into problems and especially into possibilities.”

Privara’s role in the project included identifying key groups that could provide input on the project and interviewing community leaders about topics ranging from wayfinding and parking redesign in downtown Mansfield to attracting young professionals to the workforce through education and quality of life.

“I actually do believe in that motto ‘pay it forward,’” Privara said. “People have been really nice to me in Richland County. I’ve been able to open a business and go to school. It was my chance to give back to a community that is really in need of help at this time.”

Next steps include implementation of the plan by RCDG. The Long Range Planning Sector, who has spearheaded this effort, will be taking the information and creating actionable items for implementation.

“RCDG is dedicated to making change and these documents will provide us with a platform upon which to build. That is our commitment to the county, ” McDaniel said.