Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,
Welcome to the first ever Autumn Semester at The Ohio State University! As part of my first bi-weekly report of the 2012-2013 academic year, I would like to provide a brief return to some of the themes I covered in the State of the Campus address given this past Tuesday. I began the address with some “points of pride” regarding the work we completed last year. We completed our revised Pattern of Administration document, we updated our Promotion and Tenure document, and we finished our Campus Implementation Plan, an offshoot of the Regional Campus Cluster Strategic Plan. This is quite an impressive array of accomplishments that will guide and direct our work together for the next five years and beyond. In the midst of all this, our outstanding faculty had a banner year, including but not limited to the following:
- • Assistant Professor of Psychology Joanne Ruthsatz received a grant from The Marci and Bill Ingram Comprehensive Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, and a feature story about her work aired on 60 Minutes.
- • Ohio State Mansfield's Algebra Project, co-directed by Mathematics Professor Lee McEwan and Heather Tanner, Associate Professor of History, received a $495,000 award from the National Science Foundation, as well as a grant from the Ohio Board of Regents College Access Challenge Program, for their work on the Algebra Project.
- • Associate Professor of Education Terri Bucci has joined forces with the Algebra Project group, gathering some initial professional development contracts with area schools regarding math education, and is helping to set the stage for some large grant applications in the very near future regarding STEM education efforts.
- • Professor of Psychology Del Lindsey, along with his co-investigator and wife, Optometry Professor Angela Brown, received a $450,000 three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for their research project on color and language in Somali and US populations.
- • Newly minted Associate Professor of English Susan Delagrange was awarded the Winifred Bryan Horner Outstanding Book Award for her digital media project, Technologies of Wonder, and was also named the 2011 Distinguished Book Award winner by the top journal in her field, Computers and Composition.
I pointed out that our outstanding staff also did great things this past year, and received recognition of their extraordinary efforts both here on campus and beyond. Perhaps our greatest staff point of pride: the University Distinguished Staff Award that was received by Connie Stitzlein. I went on to note that we also had plenty to celebrate with regard to our Ohio State Mansfield students. For instance, among a number of significant events, we celebrated two award-winning entries in the Denman Undergraduate Student Forum competition in Columbus:
- • Allison Hagley, advised by Associate Professor of Anthropology Dawn Kitchen, was awarded 1st place in the Social and Behavioral Sciences section.
- • Erin Richardson, advised by EEOB Assistant Professor Carol Landry, won 1st place in the Biological section.
Regarding one final point of pride, I noted that our outstanding Ohio State Mansfield Board members came together with the 83 living previous board members to create the Board Alumni Group, approximately 40 of whom gathered last fall for the inaugural Board Alumni Group meeting. A similar number of Board Alumni attended our Spring meeting with President Gee. Following my introductory remarks, one of our esteemed Ohio State Board members – Pam Siegenthaler – read a letter of support from the Chairman of the Board, Christ Ticoras. I cannot begin to do justice to the tremendous amount of enthusiasm our current board members and past associates bring to our campus. Please remember to say thank you for this support the next time you see one of them!
Next, Carol Freytag provided the campus with an update on budget and related fiscal matters (and subsequently sent to the campus community information about budget and enrollment figures for the past five years). Carol reported that, while we await the fifteenth day numbers, we are cautiously optimistic that we may be close to our original projections regarding enrollment. She went on to note that this will still require some additional belt tightening, especially in the area of course offerings, but that we are in much better shape than we had been projecting earlier in the summer.
Nick Orosan followed next with an update on our Capital Campaign, including the rather impressive faculty, staff, and board member participation rates we have witnessed already as a result of our early campaign efforts. Shari Petersen then provided us with an update on the new student programming that is coming on line this year, including perhaps most impressively the revamped SMART program and STEMpowerment offerings. Shari’s presentation set the stage for our guest speaker, Superintendent Dan Freund of the Mansfield City Schools, who focused attention on the expanding number of partnership opportunities that his school district and our campus are either already implementing or are planning to launch in the very near future. His presentation was quite moving, especially given the context of his having attended Ohio State Mansfield as a student in 1966, the year our regional campus came into existence at this location.
I ended this State of the Campus address by sharing some final thoughts, which included what I discussed as “bright spots” on the horizon. For starters, I noted that one enormously positive factor would be some additional off-campus housing located near our campus. Given that there are some fairly solid indications that at least one developer is planning to open a student housing complex in time for the 2013-2014 academic year, this would mean that more students from farther away (think here about Cuyahoga County residents and other areas of Northeast Ohio) would be able to attend our classes.
A second bright spot that I discussed is our partnership with the Mansfield City Schools and other surrounding districts. We are positioning ourselves for additional growth through students who otherwise might not go to ANY college or university except for the fact that a relationship has been established with one of our campus staff members who fostered that student’s aspirations to come to Ohio State Mansfield. Combining this work with the scholarship development we are undertaking as part of our Capital Campaign could bring in dozens of new students each year from Mansfield alone.
The third and final bright spot that I noted is located even closer to home. In fact, it’s just across the parking lot. There are a great number of North Central students who clearly would benefit from extending their education to a 4-year program. We are setting up an articulation agreement that would allow their human services students to roll into our BSSW program. Likewise, another articulation agreement could position their early childhood education students to matriculate into our licensed bachelor of education program. But the most significant articulation agreement of all relates to the pending AS to BS program in Rehabilitation Services. Here, we would be joining in as a partner with the Columbus campus, offering the third year experience to NCSC students in respiratory care, physical therapy and occupational therapy prior to those students completing their fourth year online with Columbus. This particular program is a response to the state of Ohio’s impending move to require professionals in these health care areas to practice only after having received a bachelor’s level degree.
I summed up the State of the Campus address with the statement that we are hoping for the best and planning for the worst. Good stewardship demands nothing less for this great campus and institution. With all of your hard work, determination, and can-do attitude, we can survive today in order to thrive tomorrow.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank Elise Riggle and all of the other campus personnel who came together to make the Convocation and Dean’s Picnic such a smashing success. Parenthetically, I was so inspired by the events that I made them the topic of my weekly Huffington Post article, entitled “The True Meaning of Convocation.” To check this piece out, please go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-stephen-m-gavazzi/the-true-meaning-of-convocation_b_1821893.html
Thank you in advance for all of your support and efforts in the coming academic year, and GO BUCKS!