Wednesday, March 22, 2017

OUC students take on activism with consent, sexual assault and sex education event

Ohio University Chillicothe students Morgan Bivens, Tessa Byers, Vanessa Chandler and Leah Hollis organized a campus event centered around the issues of consent, sexual harassment and the importance of comprehensive sex education March 22, 2017.

As a part of their activism class, which focuses on teaching students about feminism, long-term activism and strategies for getting things done, the students put together the event stemmed from issues they saw effecting their environments.

Bivens, a junior at OUC who is pursuing a bachelor of specialized studies, wanted to emphasize consent and sexual harassment for her portion of the event.

“It’s just a huge issue,” she said. “I focused on sexual harassment and consent from the beginning of the class because it’s something that needs to be addressed. We’re hoping that people will hear the message and will understand what warrants consent and sexual harassment.”

Byers, who is pre-nursing major, concentrated on sex education and providing a pro-choice advocate for the campus community as her contribution.

“I’m very passionate about bringing

comprehensive sex education to our schools,” she said. “I’m focusing on comprehensive sex education for everyone, to help curtail sexual assault and harassment in the future. Plus, it will good to help lower the STD and unwanted pregnancy rates by having it.”

The event began with the four students hosting a discussion between themselves and their fellow campus members about consent, comprehensive sex education and sexual harassment. For over an hour, the students conversed about various topics, citing research and statistics while breaking down barriers and stigmas for the conversations to take place.

Bivens noted that she hoped the event would do just that, open the door to conversation among students.

 “We’re hoping it opens up discussion and makes it a public issue. Right now, it seems to be in the background and just by having the event, it lets people know that this is something we care about,” she said prior to their presentation.

Guest speakers included Dr. Marguerite Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Sociology who presented on the sociological effects of sexual assault and harassment; Ron Edwards, a professor in the law enforcement technology program who discussed the legal ramifications of sexual assault, harassment and consent; and Randi Gregory of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who discussed women’s reproductive rights and legislative challenges in Ohio.

Each guest speaker had one hour to present on their topics and were able to take questions from the audience. Topics included lengthy discussions on what constitutes consent in sexual encounters, defining sexual assault and harassment, the role comprehensive sex education plays in preventing unwanted pregnancies and curtailing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases as well as the role law enforcement’s plays in preventing and or reporting sex crimes.

These discussions were made possible thanks to the Women’s and Gender Studies activism class, in which the four students are currently enrolled.

Professor Debra Nickles explained, “The point [of the activism class] is to identify a local issue in the community that needs attention. Morgan and her fellow students have chosen to sink their energies and creativity into creating a positive change in our campus community by discussing topics of sexual nature that typically don’t get discussed in depth in the classroom. They’ve put a ton of time, energy, intellect, and heart into this project in the hopes of raising awareness about such vital issues surrounding consent, reproductive rights, and improving sex education in Ross county.”

Throughout the rest of the semester, the remaining students in the Activism class will be putting together events similar in scope and nature based around their specific issues. The Activism class was a new course created to conjuring deep analytical thinking and push students to go beyond conversations in an enriching liberal arts fashion with diverse viewpoints and multiple instructors.

'Equal Means Equal' film shines light on women's issues

As it stands today, women are not guaranteed equal rights under the law.

“Equal Means Equal,” a documentary directed by Kamala Lopez, was screened at Ohio University Chillicothe March 21 to an audience of students, faculty, staff and local women’s rights activists who were exposed to the fact that women are not afforded equal rights protection under the constitution.

The 90-minute film highlights the push for an Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution, which began more than 45 years ago, and underlined numerous equal rights issues that women are facing in society today.

As it stands, only two more states are needed to pass the ERA and once Congress drops the deadline originally imposed, it can become law.  

The passage of the ERA would ensure, “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

The film was brought to OUC by the efforts of the school’s cultural committee and student organization S.A.G.E. or students advocating for gender equality. Dr. Marguerite Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Sociology and cultural committee member, was instrumental in bringing the idea to life because of the important message it depicts.

“After watching the documentary and hearing Lopez speak about her work, I hope students are more knowledgeable about why Lopez and others are arguing for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment,” Hernandez said. “I also hope they gain a greater understanding that Lopez’s work is part of a larger social movement carried out by individuals from generations past. Many of the legal rights and protections that women enjoy today came as a result of social movement efforts to secure those rights despite great opposition from society. While these gains are significant, research demonstrates that inequality on the basis of sex and gender still exist in today’s society. Because of this, social movement actors, like Lopez, continue the work started by feminists in 1923 with the goal of guaranteeing all citizens the same legal rights and protections through the U.S. Constitution, no matter the sex of the citizen.”

Lopez, an actress who spent years traveling the country to document the issues facing women while working on the film, was a special guest for the screening and held a question and answer forum after the movie to discuss its importance and what actions could be taken in the future.

Questions during the question and answer forum included topics on feminism and the feminist movement, how to be more involved in activism, equality for all human beings and the future of the ERA.

It’s our responsibility…,” Lopez said in response to a student’s question. “It’s our responsibility to give them [the Supreme Court] the tools that they need so when the case arrives they can say, ‘no, you can’t do that,’ because women are human beings.”

When asked about feminism and the negative connotation surrounding it, Lopez commented,
“The definition of feminism is in no possible way controversial and in no possible way can be stigmatized.” She continued, “people aren’t looking up the word and its meaning. A feminist believes that all human beings are created equally and deserve equality, and that’s not controversial.”

Toward the end of the forum, Lopez summarized, “Equal rights are a basic human and civil right for all people.”

OUC professors plan to continue to conversation generated by the film.

“I am eager to discuss Lopez’s arguments with my students and to hear their thoughts on the subject matter,” said Hernandez, who teaches Sociology. “I also know that S.A.G.E. is committed to continuing the discussion sparked by this event with their fellow students, members of the community, and elected officials.” 

The “Equal Means Equal” documentary is available on iTunes for download and interested individuals can gain more information by visiting the website,  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

OUC teacher candidates share experiences in instructional strategies at NAPDS conference

Two Ohio University Chillicothe students, Emily Richard and Drew Brown, recently attended the National Association for Professional Development Schools conference in Washington, D.C. to share their experiences in the classroom at Chillicothe High School while conducting clinical field hours.

The focus of their attendance coincided with a joint presentation on instructional strategies, teacher retention and effective teaching by Karen Corcoran, program coordinator for OUC’s middle childhood education program, Dr. Jeffrey Fisher, principal of CHS and Lindsay Burns, a teacher at CHS.

Both Emily and Drew conducted their required clinical field hours for a semester at CHS as a part of the middle childhood education curriculum and were introduced to the bell ringer instructional strategy.

“We focused on the bell ringer process which is a review, preview or test prep question,” said Emily Richard, who’s concentration will be in math and language arts. “Each day the teacher cued the bell ringer process, which starts the class as soon as the bell rings and includes the big ideas and essential questions derived from the learning standards. Once completed, the teacher goes over the learning gap with the students and in turn builds rapport through the process.”

The bell ringer, one of many instructional strategies presented as best practices at the conference, challenged both Drew and Emily during their semester at CHS while also building their confidence in the process along the way.

“I struggled with the cueing at the beginning,” said Drew who’s also pursuing a concentration in language arts and math for his teaching licensure. “Getting the class started right away was difficult since I’m the type that likes to chat at the beginning. The learning gap was also challenging because I didn’t want to tell someone they were wrong, but it provided a good opportunity to correct their mistake and explain how to be successful going forward.”

The two were able to take these experiences and share with other educators from across the country about building relationships for success.

“At the conference, I talked about how I saw these relationships build throughout my semester at CHS. I also discussed the learning gap that we need to tell our students about,” said Emily. “I mainly spoke on the relationships that we need to build with our students in order to have a successful classroom for our students.”

Dr. Jeffrey Fisher described working with both students and the importance of this pilot program in instructional strategies.

“Drew and Emily were two of our best in the pilot program.  Despite pursuing licenses in the 4-9 grade levels and wanting to focus more in the lower grade levels, both teacher candidates bought into these instructional practices at the high school level understanding effective teaching strategies spans grade levels, ages, students, and schools,” he said.  “Because of this partnership and the opportunities gained through their experience, I believe both Drew and Emily are much more prepared to be effective teachers the first day they enter a classroom as a professional educator.”

The partnership between CHS and OUC was monumental for the two future teachers, who noted they would be taking what they learned and applying it in their classrooms.

“it makes us honestly better teachers because we got to personally see it [instructional strategies] and do it ourselves,” Drew stated.

Emily continued, “A lot of stuff we’ve learned about doing in our future classrooms have been in a textbook and we haven’t gotten to see it in person. But, we’ve seen this [instructional strategy] in person and we’ve actually done it ourselves and we know its successful.”

“The Chillicothe Schools partnership that helps OUC train the next generation of teachers is exemplary, which both Drew and Emily found out by attending sessions and talking to other students from across the country,” said Corcoran, who oversees the middle childhood education program. “They now know first-hand that our teacher preparation program with the partnership like the one we have with Chillicothe City Schools has set them up for a successful career in Education.”

Fisher, who was the 2015 Ohio Principal of the Year, described the partnership as one focused on teacher retention in American and one that answers the fundamental question, “what is good teaching?”

“The teacher candidates at OUC were placed at CHS to observe our teachers and their implementation of a set of research-based instructional practices,” he noted. “Effective teaching is the goal and these practices the teacher candidates were able to learn about, observe, plan, and eventually implement provides future educators a much deeper understanding of the intentional decision making that must go in to becoming an effective teacher.”

Karen elaborated that the relationship between the two schools is valuable in so many ways.

“Our teacher candidates certainly benefit by being immersed into a clinical field setting that models best practices in instruction which results in high student achievement,” she said. “Having the teacher candidates actually plan and implement some of these strategies gives these candidates practical skills prior to their internship in teaching. It certainly sets them up for success in the profession. I thank Dr. Jeff Fisher, Principal at Chillicothe High School for initiating this partnership.”

Both Drew and Emily described their experience at the conference as one that was unforgettable, a great opportunity and allowed them to learn, grow and mature through their attendance.

The two OUC students will be pursuing their internships in teaching, or student teaching, in the fall and will be graduating at the end of the semester in December 2017.

Master's in Education Counselor Education Cohort coming to OUC

The Counselor Education program at Ohio University is pleased to announce that we are assembling a regional Master’s in Education (M.Ed.) counselor education cohort program for the Ohio University Chillicothe campus beginning in Summer 2017, pending minimum enrollments are met.

The program will offer the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization, which is accredited by the Council of Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

With this degree, graduates are eligible for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Ohio. The regional program offers evening classes to accommodate a full-time working professional schedule for those who wish to retain their current employment as they complete graduate study in counseling. Our students remain full-time taking between 9-12 credits per term.

For more information, please join us at one of our two Program Information Sessions: March 23rd at 5:00pm or March 27th at 6:00pm in Bennett Room 110 on the Chillicothe campus.