Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,
It’s a New Year, with new opportunities to take our work on the Mansfield campus to ever greater heights. May these next twelve months be our best ever!
Throughout 2014, my Bi-Weekly Reports will be used to track our progress on many of the most important initiatives touching the lives of our campus community. I have adopted a new format that will make it easier for readers to follow the ongoing development of these efforts. Each Bi-Weekly Report will use standard headers to highlight the distinct news about each of these initiatives, and will be placed in alphabetical order for even more user-friendly access to the updated information. Taken in large part from the Dean’s Report to Faculty Assembly that I presented this past December, I plan on using my Bi-Weekly Reports to track the following main activities for 2014:
- Decision-making about faculty and staff positions
- Development of majors, destination programs, and other academic offerings and issues
- Diversity and inclusion issues
- Land use
- Planning in support of a more residential campus
- Renovation and repair
- Town-Gown relationships
At the end of each Bi-Weekly Report, I will borrow another concept I used in my last Dean’s Report to the Faculty Assembly – the “mood elevator” – in order to provide other contextual information that might be affecting the state of the campus through the activities of the previous two weeks. I will be looking forward to receiving feedback about the new format of my Bi-Weekly Reports in the days and weeks ahead, including any and all constructive feedback that readers have about the list of topics covered and how that information is being delivered.
Without any further ado, let’s get to the business at hand in terms of what has occurred over the last two weeks in each of these main areas.
Decision-making about faculty and staff positions
I met with the Art of Hosting (AoH) committee last week and their report has just been released this morning to the entire campus. Discussions about the report and the recommendations for new hires will be taking place with members of the Executive Committee and Senior Staff, as well as being an agenda item for the Faculty Assembly next week, so there will be plenty of upcoming opportunities to have your voice heard about the contents and implications of this report. In addition, my informal lunches will become more geared toward a discussion of the AoH report throughout the remainder of the semester. The next lunch is scheduled for February 3rd from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the third floor faculty and staff lounge in Ovalwood Hall. All are welcome!
Regarding searches that currently are underway, we welcomed the first of two candidates for the open Education Teaching and Learning position this past Thursday, with the second candidate due in next week. We also should be hearing more about the EEOB search in the days and weeks ahead. Please make the time to meet and greet these candidates, and please take the time to provide feedback about your perceptions and experiences with these potential colleagues to the search committee members.
Development of majors, destination programs, and other academic offerings and issues
Last week, I met with the program coordinators. We discussed our plans to move forward on the effort to install a common hour within the 2014-2015 academic schedule. Lyndsey Anderson had presented a mock schedule to the coordinators, all of whom expressed their belief that the necessary coursework fit reasonably well inside of the time slots provided. Many, many thanks are due to Lyndsey for her dedicated work on this project.
The program coordinators also discussed an effort to match “campus change day” with a similar set of events that might well become labeled as “The Mansfield Advantage Day” (many thanks to Bill Bauer for coming up with that term!). In essence, we are looking at a variety of ways in which we can highlight the many reasons why continuing (and completing) one’s degree work on our campus may be a superior choice for many of our students. In related fashion, we also discussed the effort that the advisors will be making to reach out to this past year’s campus change students, reminding them about our upcoming summer offerings as well as jogging their memories about how well they were treated in Mansfield (you just never know who might return to us if invited!).
I was joined by Dave Tovey, Terri Fisher, and Lyndsey Anderson in a series of discussions orchestrated by the Ohio Board of Regents (OBOR) in order to plan out our contributions to the Complete College America initiative (CCA) that we have been asked to join with our NCSC partners. Our effort seeks to adopt an “intrusive advising” approach to our engineering program offering immediately, as well as looking to create additional course offerings that
eventually might result in a four-year engineering program on our campus. Terri Fisher and I will be traveling to Boston in early March to discuss our involvement in the CCA effort, and we have one more OBOR meeting in front of that trip to provide more shape to this effort.
Diversity and inclusion issues
We all celebrated MLK Day this past Monday with a day off, Amy Brunell and Phil Mazzocco co-hosted a workshop on implicit bias for the campus this past Thursday, which kicks off our celebration of Black History Month. Hats off to Amy and Phil, who attracted over 100 participants to this event! In addition to upcoming lectures throughout February, please mark your calendars for Thursday, February 27th when we will be hosting the 12th Annual Soul Food Dinner.
Meanwhile, this past Wednesday I joined a group of Student Life staff members in a morning long meeting with representatives from the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Office on the Columbus campus in order to facilitate a discussion about how to bring more D&I program offerings to the Mansfield campus. There will plenty of news in the weeks and months ahead as we develop some exciting new partnerships with our D&I colleagues, and some of these efforts might well be reported as planning for a more residential campus category (see below) as well. Stay tuned!
I met with Ozeas Costa and Carol Landry as a precursor to a meeting to be held this coming Monday with Physical Plant and Real Estate (PPARE) staff. Ozeas and Carol will be providing some initial ideas to PPARE that can be used to create artistic renderings of outdoor classrooms and other facilities, which we would then be able to show to potential donors as part of a request to develop an “Eco Lab” effort on our campus. While this does have obvious land use implications, these sorts of efforts also can and should be discussed in relationship to the development of an environmental studies academic program on our campus. Therefore, additional updates in the weeks and months ahead regarding the Eco Lab project might similarly be found in the Bi-Weekly Report category pertaining to the development of academic offerings as well.
Planning in support of a more residential campus
The Ohio State Mansfield Board’s Student Experience Committee met with student trustee Donald Shumaker and me last Thursday. Topics included student perceptions of our current meal options, with plans to work with Ohio State Food and Dining Services to discuss the results of our recent survey about food quality and service. We also discussed our upcoming ad hoc student advisory committee meeting (to be held next Monday), which will be co-hosted by Donald, me, and several Board members, with invitations out to a significant number of student leaders on our campus. Planning for a second lunch meeting with student leaders is already underway in order to maintain momentum on this important dialogue.
Renovation and repair
Due to a lack of quorum, we cancelled the Ohio State Mansfield Board Facilities and Planning Committee meeting yesterday. However, Brian White had prepared a report regarding a significant number of renovation and repair projects (also presented to the Shared Services committee yesterday), including but not limited to the following:
1. The Bromfield Library and Information Commons area is approximately 85% complete at this point. In order to construct the Learning Collaborative Classroom (LCC) funded by the recent $300K grant received from the Richland County Foundation, the contract completion date was moved to April 28, 2014. New furniture is expected to arrive during the first week of May 2014, with the library staff expected to return during the second week of May 2014.
2. The roof replacement for Eisenhower Hall is being re-bid in mid-February, with the actual work estimated to take place in May-June 2014.
3. The architect for the Eisenhower Cafeteria Renovation will complete a schematic design by end of February, to be followed by bids. The majority of construction efforts will occur during the 5 week window surrounding Thanksgiving and the winter break 2014.
4. A project team has assembled to guide the new primary campus entrance roadway project to Lexington-Springmill Road Road, and 3 architect finalists will be interviewed on 01/30/2014. This is related to the sanitary sewer line extension project that will provide needed connections for the new off-campus student housing project that opens in Fall 2014.
Brian and his crew deserve tremendous credit for keeping our campus open and operating throughout all of the harsh and stormy weather we have been having while, at the same time, maintaining momentum on all of the projects listed above. In other news that underdoubtedly will keep our facilities group busier than ever, we also received word that two positive recommendations were forwarded by the Higher Education Capital Funding Commission regarding our 2015-2016 capital improvement project requests from the state. If approved by the Governor, this will provide us with $850K to repave Parking Lots 1 through 5 and an additional $630K to replace sidewalks and curbs.
Richland County Development Group (RCDG) members working with me on long-range economic planning efforts for the county visited a City and Regional Planning class last Tuesday on the Columbus campus in order to discuss their efforts to create a studio project focused on the county’s needs. This past Thursday, a number of students from that class returned the favor by visiting with RCDG representatives here in Richland County, and they will make a second visit – this time to our campus – in the first week of February.
NCSC President Dorey Diab and I met with Ontario City Council President Larry Collins and Ontario’s new mayor, Randy Hutchinson, in order to secure their official participation in our plans to create a Campus District Sector as part of our work with RCDG. Coming on the heels of
similar meetings with Mansfield mayor Tim Theaker and the Richland County Commissioners, Dr. Diab and I will make a formal presentation to the RCDG leadership group on February 1st in order to launch the Campus District Sector effort.
Also, this past Wednesday I attended the inaugural meeting of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE) at the invitation of President Emeritus Gordon Gee, who had invited me to become a founding member of this Ohio State Center based on my town-gown work in Richland County. In Dr. Gee’s absence the helm has been taken by the College of Law’s Debby Merritt (you may recognize her name as the individual who has been leading the presidential search), who will be organizing the many and diverse interests that are represented by the faculty, staff, and students taking part in the development of this center. Our own efforts to create and implement some baseline measures of the relationship between our campus and the communities that surround us will find some early and significant support from CHEE.
Last Wednesday, our campus hosted a Community Engagement lunch that focused on our education programming efforts. An impressive number of education majors were on hand to meet and greet seven superintendents from local school districts with whom we have established ties over the years as sites for our student teaching placements. In addition to the sparkle that our students brought to the event, Christian Winterbottom did a superlative job in representing the local, national and international reach of our service learning and study abroad efforts.
Last but not least, we held a reception for our capital campaign committee members last Thursday. The Gateway portion of our capital campaign has ended on a high note, as we hope to release information soon about the latest donor contribution that puts us within inches of the goal line of $3M. That said, Nick and Chris will soon begin the process of generating the next set of asks for our capital campaign efforts outside of Richland County (here is the reminder that the “But for Ohio State” capital campaign stretches through 2016).
I trust that the campus “mood elevator” continued to rise as you read the round-up of activities that occurred over the last two weeks. Thanks to each and every one of you who are doing all you can to move the Ohio State Mansfield campus forward. Go Bucks… Going Up