Developing New Ways to Support Student Success at Ohio State Mansfield
Mansfield, OH – In the 60 years since The Ohio State University at Mansfield was founded, it has built a reputation and created a culture surrounding the importance of supporting student success. It’s a reputation and culture Interim Dean Norman Jones feels sets the Mansfield campus apart and makes it a special place in the world of higher education.
“We are an institution of academic excellence, the highest caliber of learning and educational opportunity, wedded with Ohio State’s land grant mission of access to all,” said Interim Dean Norman Jones. “That’s not typical and makes us distinctive in higher education. We know we can propel students to transformational futures because of that vision of excellence in higher education and Ohio State’s international reputation. We know we are setting a high bar for students. We know that helps them succeed. At the same time, we make sure that students who did not have access to the same educational opportunities and resources in high school have strong support here because we are setting that bar really high.”
With an enrollment of approximately 1100 annually, the Mansfield campus serves students in Richland County and throughout northeast Ohio. Students can complete one of ten bachelor’s degrees on campus: Business, Child & Youth Studies, Criminology, Early Childhood Education, Middle Childhood Education, English, History, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology. Students also have access to any of Ohio State’s 200-plus majors and can easily transition to the Columbus campus to complete their degree after achieving 30 credits hours and a 2.0 grade point average on the Mansfield campus.
“I think we are really fortunate to have faculty and staff here who are just heart and soul dedicated to teaching. They love it,” said Jones. “We have a culture of people here who are very dedicated to student success.”
Students in Mansfield have access to all the opportunities Ohio State has to offer including conducting groundbreaking research with their professors, traveling overseas to study abroad, and taking part in meaningful career-building internships.
“We know that getting students involved in one-on-one projects where they can be brought into their own learning can really transform their experience,” said Jones. “Learning by doing is absolutely essential to our students and their success in the classroom and out of it. We are dedicated to getting students invested in their own education.”
However, supporting student success is not confined to what they learn and how they learn it. In autumn semester of 2016, 42% of the new first-year students were eligible for Pell Grant funding from the federal government. Jones said the Mansfield campus has been the Ohio State campus with the largest percentage of financially under resourced students over the last three years.
“We see students struggle with everything from the ability to buy textbooks after they’ve run through all their other expenses to not being able to make rent,” said Jones. “We are very cognizant how financial stability is the foundation that you have to have in place before learning can happen. If you do not have your basic needs covered, you are not learning effectively. So, we’ve really focused on trying to increase our funds for students who find themselves in a deep bind and can’t focus on their learning because they just need enough food, or they need a place to live.”
The Mansfield campus has established a student emergency fund to provide short-term financial assistance to qualified students who have
unforeseen expenses and lack the resources to meet those costs. Some examples of those costs include a tuition shortfall, a sudden health emergency or a natural disaster.
“We are also working on developing textbook purchasing funds to help students get the materials they need for class. At the same time, we’re trying to reduce the costs of our textbooks by helping our faculty find low-cost or no-cost ways to develop course materials that would be just as effective for students,” said Jones. “When it comes to helping our students succeed, we approach that as a team effort. Faculty and staff are working in many areas to make sure our students are getting the support they need to achieve their educational goals. It’s got to be a multi-pronged approach.”
The Ohio State University at Mansfield offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive as students become part of an academic tradition that leads the way in shaping tomorrow’s world. Students discover world-class teaching minds passionate about connecting to other disciplines while discovering new ways to see the world. With access to Ohio’s State’s more than 200 majors, Ohio State Mansfield is where learning comes to life. Research, education abroad and service learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.