Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,
Last Monday we celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday, and subsequently on Wednesday of that same week many of us gathered to enjoy the MLK Day of Unity held in the Student Union. In between those two days, an event held at the Mansfield Senior High School entitled “The Debate: Then and Now” focused attention on both the historical perspective and contemporary application of issues stemming from the Lincoln-Douglas debates (with our very own Professor Emeritus Ted Dahlstrand and Assistant Professor Dan Amsterdam as moderator and panel participant, respectively). Many thanks to Dametraus Jaggers and The Ohio State Mansfield Multicultural Center team for all of their efforts to plan, execute, and publicize these activities, all designed to bring important attention to issues of diversity and inclusion on our campus and beyond. And as a quick check of the upcoming Black History Month calendar indicates, this is only the beginning kickoff on an extended itinerary of these types of activities that can be enjoyed by students, faculty, staff, and community members in the coming weeks.
Last week also was marked by a gathering on our campus of education professionals who represented many of the school districts that surround our campus. Initiated and coordinated by Tim Hilborn, the Race to the Top Coordinator for the Mid Ohio Educational Service Center, I was joined by Assistant Professor Christian Winterbottom and Education Program Coordinator Margaret Hersman in a very productive dialogue with these educators about ways to better reach potential first generation students and their families. Later that same day, I traveled with Nick Orosan, our Development Director, to meet with the new superintendent of the Shelby City Schools, Tim Tarvin, members of his staff, as well as Shelby Mayor Marilyn John. In many ways an extension of the discussion that had taken place earlier that day, we quickly brainstormed a variety of activities designed to better acquaint Shelby students with our campus. Bottom line: there are many, many students and families out there who need little more than some sustained encouragement and direction in order to find their way to our doorstep. I am encouraged that all of these outreach efforts to local school districts will continue to pay large dividends as we seek to end our status as – in the words of one educator I spoke with last week – the “best kept secret in Richland County.”
Last week,Tthe Ohio State Mansfield Board members debated and eventually approved some fairly substantial changes in its operating procedures. Starting immediately, the full Board will move from meeting every month to a bi-monthly meeting format, meant in large part to offset the increased number of committee meetings that will be taking place. The upsurge in meetings for each of the four main committees – academic affairs and student life, external relations, fiscal, and facilities and planning – is designed to amplify opportunities to take advantage of the natural expertise that our Board members bring with them as a function of their backgrounds and knowledge base. On another significant note, Board members decided to begin to attend Executive Committee meetings whenever possible, and I am pleased to report that Board member Dr. John Shuler was able to attend his first EC meeting this week. Once again, I wish to express my overwhelming appreciation for the ongoing support these Board members are willing to contribute to the health and well-being of our campus.
This week marked our first 2012 meeting of the Campus Implementation Plan (CIP) committee. This meeting covered quite a number of issues, most of which were focused on the final version of the Regional Campus Cluster Strategic Plan (RCC-SP) and the accompanying CIP template. These documents can be found at:
As has been reported previously, our CIP is due to the Office of Academic Affairs by May 15th of this year, so the committee will be working efficiently to pull everything together by this due date. For the sake of efficiency, the committee agreed to divide into subcommittees, and I am pleased to report that Ken Sigler will be chairing the Teaching and Learning subcommittee, Terri Fisher will be chairing the Research and Innovation subcommittee, Terri Winnick will be chairing the Outreach and Engagement subcommittee, and Carol Freytag will be chairing the Resource Stewardship subcommittee. I will be sending out a communication to all CIP members in the very near future that will ask for their first and second choices with regard to these committees. Once again, if anyone – students, staff, or faculty – are not currently involved but would like to become a contributing member, please contact one of the subcommittee leaders and express your desire to become a part of the team. And of course if you have any questions or concerns along the way, please contact me or any of these individuals as this work moves forward.
Between now and May 15th, the subcommittee chairs have been tasked with hosting face-to-face meetings in order to define the specific initiatives our campus will be using to meet the strategies contained within the RCC-SP. As well, the subcommittees will be identifying initiatives and corresponding metrics for any and all strategies our campus wishes to add that are specific to Ohio State Mansfield. In addition to these meetings, the subcommittees will be working electronically through emails and CARMEN in order to conduct their work in the most efficient manner possible. Many thanks in advance to Mike Collura for setting up the Carmen Wiki site that will be used to compile this information for the subcommittee members and the campus community as a whole.
The work plan/timeline for the CIP committee and its subcommittees is as follows:
Next week Subcommittees are formed
February 10 Dates for face-to-face meetings are arranged by subcommittee chairs
March 30 Last date to host face-to-face subcommittee meetings
April 1 First drafts of subcommittee work circulated to full CIP committee
April 12 Mid-course full CIP committee meeting (1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
April 15 First full draft of the CIP distributed to campus community for feedback
May 1 Feedback due from campus community
May 10 Final full CIP committee meeting (1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
May 15 Final version of the Ohio State Mansfield CIP submitted to OAA
Is this an ambitious timeline? Yes, frankly it is. It is also doable, and necessary. And ambitious is the operative word here. Our strategies, initiatives, and metrics all should stretch us with visions of our impending eminence among peers.
In closing, I would be remiss if I did not mention one of the crown jewels on our campus – the Pearl Conard Art Gallery – and the brand-new exhibit being shown there entitled “CONFLUX: An Exhibition Celebrating the Intersection of Art, Science, and Technology.” The opening reception last week drew significant public attention to our campus, and Kate Shannon and John Thrasher are to be commended for serving as both hosts and managers of this amazing exhibition (and they have my thanks as well for the personal guided tour I received today!). If you have not yet been a visitor, I strongly urge you to get to the Art Gallery sometime before the show closes on March 2nd. In addition to being highly entertaining and intellectually stimulating, this is the kind of exhibit that makes you proud to know that our campus can make such a stunning contribution to the arts community.