Dear Ohio State Mansfield Colleagues,
It’s Homecoming at Ohio State! Our campus is extremely well-represented this year through our Homecoming Court students, including:
- Samantha Johnson (Mt. Gilead, Early Child Education Senior)
- Kaitlyn Miller (Butler, Middle Child Education Junior)
- Tiffany Tilley (Galion, Early Child Education Junior)
- Joshua Hurrell (Shelby, Social Work Sophomore)
- Keith Karchella (Ontario, Psychology Senior, Art Studio Minor)
- Mark Matthews (Savannah, Psychology Sophomore, Professional Writing Minor)
Please join me in congratulating these students and in wishing them well as they take part in all of this week’s festivities. On our campus, these activities already have included the faculty/staff vs. student dodge ball competition, an ice cream social, a scavenger hunt, a candlelight vigil, and a tailgate party and bonfire. Today, we will be crowning our King and Queen during a luncheon at the Longaberger Alumni House on the Columbus campus. Tomorrow, we will be enjoying the football game against the Iowa Hawkeyes, which will include our Court taking part in halftime festivities on the field.
Regarding events of note over the last two weeks, there were quite a number of “dean meetings” on my agenda. Last week, the Regional Campus Deans met to discuss the organizational design effort to be conducted by Fisher Professional Services, the consultation service operated by Ohio State MBA students who are supervised by Fisher College of Business faculty. We worked out some of the parameters of this work, which will include a current state assessment of each campus’s present organizational structure, as well as a compilation of best practices on organizational design gleaned from surveying the administrative operations of other universities (including other regional campuses). All of this is meant to yield a set of recommendations surrounding an organizational design that can serve as an ideal administrative model for The Ohio State University regional campuses. In turn, this outcome could lend itself to other areas of inquiry, including how to align services with our co-located partners.
The Regional Campus Cluster Support Team also met this week to discuss some important teaching and learning issues. Particular attention was given to distance learning concerns. As a result, a number of faculty members will be asked to rekindle their efforts to participate in various cluster teams that will include, but not necessarily be limited to, offerings in both math and English composition. Dean Greg Rose will be reaching out to those individuals in the days and weeks ahead to reignite those group efforts.
Provost Steinmetz brought all of the deans together for a planning retreat this past Tuesday. Quite a number of new issues are emerging on the horizon, and it is the Provost’s intention to allow the deans to play a more significant role in the decision-making process than in years past. Here’s a brief sample of the areas under discussion: revenue generation, financial stability, improved quality of instruction, the role of technology and digital learning, research and research funding, capital planning and physical facilities, affordability and student debt concerns, and diversity. Whew! One of the more fascinating points of discussion was what the word “eminence” means, especially in the context of our land grant mission. Nothing was necessarily resolved from the many differences of opinion that were expressed around the table about the definition of that word, mind you, but I believe that this topic will reemerge in the weeks and months ahead. As I believe it should. After all, if we are on the path from excellence to eminence, we had better have a consensus view of where we are headed.
Further, the regional deans also met with the presidents of our co-located technical colleges just yesterday, and we were joined by Ohio Board of Regents (OBR) Vice-Chancellor Stephanie Davidson. Each co-located campus was asked to make a brief presentation on the partnerships that were in evidence. President Diab and I spent most of our time talking about our joint proposal within the Complete College America (CCA) initiative submitted recently by OBR that will focus greater attention on the building up of engineering programs offered on our campus. This includes working with the Ohio State College of Engineering to expand our first year engineering program to eventually offer a four year degree that can be completed on the Mansfield campus. The CCA initiative is designed to help our advisors track students into the correct sequencing of courses that will most rapidly place them by ability level, creating the greatest possibility for success as measured by degree completion.
Finally, our efforts to engage community partners in a dialogue about town-gown partnerships and the university’s role in economic development was advanced this past Monday when Blake Thompson, Ohio State’s Vice President for Economic and Workforce Development, met with stakeholders representing Mansfield, Ontario, Shelby, and Richland County as a whole. This dovetailed nicely with the community presentation made by Ed Gordon last week as well, in that he made a call for coordinated efforts among partners representing education, government, business and industry, and families and other elements of the social structure. The bottom line good news here is that we are all starting to speak the same language about campus and community collaboration. Next up will be an action plan that begins to put these ideas into practice!
In closing, I would be remiss if I did publicly thank Joe Fahey and the cast and crew of Arsenic and Old Lace, which I had the opportunity to take in last Thursday evening. It was very well attended, well-acted, and it was hilarious! It continues to be extremely gratifying to witness firsthand how many resources we have to offer on our campus. Go Bucks and Go Ohio State Mansfield!