Monday, May 22, 2017

OUC Associate Dean keynotes Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference in Mexico

--> Ohio University Chillicothe Associate Dean, Dr. Brenda Phillips, will be a keynote speaker discussing social vulnerabilities and early warning disaster preparedness at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction’s Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference in Cancún, Mexico, May 22 through 23, 2017.

Phillips is a renowned scholar in emergency management and disaster preparedness and serves as a subject matter expert for the U.S. Office of the Federal Coordinator of Meteorology.

The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, as recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, is the main forum at the global level for strategic advice, coordination, partnership development and the review of progress in the implementation of international instruments on disaster risk reduction.

The Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference, held by invitation only, aims to demonstrate to countries how they can build, improve the availability of, and their community’s access to, multi-hazard early warning, risk information and assessment. Specifically, it seeks to inform how countries and international organizations can address key gaps in information dissemination, while highlighting the importance of strengthening efforts for individual and cluster hazards early warning systems.

Dr. Phillips’ talk, titled, “Risk Informed Early Warning Systems – the first mile with socially vulnerable populations,” will highlight social vulnerabilities and how to utilize early warning systems to inform highly vulnerable populations.

“The goal is to try to improve early warning systems and to help people understand what their risks are and to help organizations, emergency managers, meteorologists and others be ready to help people, involve people, and support people through that process,” Phillips said. “We want to make sure that people can get information, understand it and can act on it as quickly as possible.”

“My role in giving the keynote is to motivate and inspire people to get them focused on who is most vulnerable and how do we reduce that vulnerability,” she noted. “How can we make this planet a safer place for everybody?”

Phillips’ topic emphasizes building partnerships in a variety of groups that will increase efficacy for early warnings of disasters.

“How do we work at the household level with encouraging families to be more risk informed and more ready to be able to evacuate or shelter? Or, how do we work with the faith-based sector and involve Pastors, Rabbis, or Imams to be able to help us get information out to their followers and to understand what the risks are that face them,” she questioned. “They’ve been involved in response efforts for a long time, so let’s get them involved on the front end and then build partnerships to make sure that those who are in the highest risks can do that.”

Vulnerabilities are particularly dependent based upon the location of the people, and how they live and work to sustain their livelihoods and families. These populations each face unique challenges in regard to early warning notifications and risk reduction, which aren’t carried out in the traditional means of notification that we would use in the United States.

“In certain locations, people have to be at the coast because that’s where their homes and their work is located – even when we’ve tried to move them further inland, they resist because it makes their life more difficult. So, people are actually forced into hard choices about where they’re going to live in order to feed their families,” she noted. “So, there are some island nations that are pretty isolated that are vulnerable to climate change, increased sea level rise and tsunami events. In these locations, there are also legends and stories that have been passed down from generation to generation about how they survived previous catastrophic events, and my question to the audience will be, ‘How can we leverage that knowledge that people have within their own cultures to act on it so that they can recognize what happens [when a disaster is approaching]?’”

Phillips noted a particularly sad story about the aftermath of a tsunami in India when approximately 18,000 residents died due to the storm surge and flooding that occurred.

“When the water pulled back, people ran forward because they saw fish and shells and things that they kids could get to and they’d never seen anything like this before and they didn’t have an understanding of what was about to happen,” she explained. “So, when the wave came back, it was 30 to 40 feet high and we lost approximately 18,000 people in a 5 kilometer stretch of India.”

Phillips talked about other island nations that have legends about previous tsunamis including Vanuatu, which describes the weather event in the form of two bears who were angry with each other. One is very arrogant and stays on the shore and the other bear decides to seek higher ground after seeing the water pull back and he goes up the hill and survives.

“You can leverage these stories – the knowledge bases that people have - to be able to make them safer,” she said. “Maybe in the U.S., it’s in a tweet that this information can go out, but maybe some place else, it’s a story that has to be passed down.”

The overall goal is to seek ways to get information to people so that they can make good decisions so that when they get these warnings they can respond appropriately.

“We know that when we give people warnings they hesitate or wait to confirm with each other before taking action,” Phillips noted. “We really need to kick start that, but how? We can combat it through social networks such as their faith communities, their neighborhoods, parent-teacher organizations, and even medical providers.”

She underscored that someone you know personally, and trust, holds more credibility and increases the likelihood of people responding to the message, in this case, an early warning for a disaster.

A large portion of the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction focuses on the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a global agreement adopted at the third UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction, which Dr. Phillips talk in the Multi-Hazard Early Warning Conference deals with. By discussing risk informed early warning systems, the message becomes clear, as the Sendai Framework outlines the shift from disaster management to risk management. The goal of the UN adopting the Sendai Framework is, over the course of 15 years, to develop mechanisms across the globe that address the underlying drivers of disaster risk and establish a clear expected outcome focused on reducing risk.  

Throughout the rest of the conference, leaders from around the world will meet to discuss the challenges being faced to reduce the risk of disasters. More than 300 dignitaries, leaders, Parliamentarians and others global partners will be in attendance.

Dr. Phillips’ talk is one of seven sessions held over the two-day Multi-Hazard Early Warning conference, which is aligned to meet the goal of the Sendai Framework’s Seventh Global target: Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.

Dr. Phillips earned her Ph.D. in Sociology and has authored and co-authored numerous books including “Disaster Recovery” and “Introduction to Emergency Management” and she has published research, funded by the National Science Foundation, in a variety of journals. Dr. Phillips earned the Blanchard Award for excellence in emergency management education and the Myers Award for work on the effects of disasters on women and she is an inductee in the International Women’s Hall of Fame for Emergency Management. In Chillicothe, Dr. Phillips volunteers for the Local Emergency Planning Committee and a multi-county Health Care Coalition addressing issues of social vulnerability.  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

OUC to host Religious Tolerance Forum in honor of Stanley Planton

Ohio University Chillicothe will be hosting a Religious Tolerance Forum May 21, 2017 at 2 p.m. in the Quinn Library in honor of the late Stanley Planton, former Quinn Library Director at OUC.

Pastor Janet Hatch, Jack Burgess and John O’Keefe will serve as panelist for the forum and guests will be able to view the Religious Tolerance Collection and memorabilia from Stanely Planton’s personal collection.

The Religious Tolerance Collection at the Quinn Library was made possible by a generous donation from renowned author Dan Brown, best known for his works Angels and Demons, Digital Fortress, and The Da Vinci Code.

Interested attendees can contact Joyce Atwood, Resource Development Coordinator, at 740.774.7732 or at

(Provided by Brandi Weaver, Quinn Library Director)

In 1998, Stanley Planton, Quinn Library's head librarian, connected with novelist Dan Brown via a mutual contact.  Planton accepted the daunting task of assisting Brown with research for his new novel, Digital Fortress.  This began a nearly decade-long camaraderie between the two as they worked together on Brown's additional novels Angels and Demons, Deception Point, and The Da Vinci Code.  While writing the novels, Brown would email Planton lists of keywords without revealing the plot; Planton would then dig up research on the keywords in question and send them to the author. 
            In an interview for Outlook, Ohio University's electronic news and information publication, Planton is quoted, "Dan typically sends me a list of key words and phrases with no clue about how they are tied together.  For example, while writing Angels and Demons, the list included:  The number of murdered Popes, causes of death, and examples of proof.  He also asked whether it was possible to make a branding iron white hot, without it losing its shape."  The article continues, "The answer is no, but Brown used it in the book anyway.  Planton laughs when saying Brown doesn't always take his advice."
            Regardless of whether Brown used every piece of advice or not, Planton's research proved invaluable to the novelist.  Brown inscribed a copy of his book The Da Vinci Code for Planton:  "Stan—Without you, this book would have been a lot shorter!  Thanks for all the info, Dan." In 2006, Brown gifted Quinn Library with a generous donation to be used for print resources as a way of showing gratitude for Stan Planton's hours of assistance.

Beginning the Religious Tolerance Collection
            By the time of Brown's monetary gift, Planton had retired from the library.  His successor, Allan Pollchik, used Brown's generous donation to create a collection on religious tolerance.  Pollchik established the Special Collection on Religious Tolerance.  He is quoted as saying, "At this time, when religious tolerance is fanning the flames of violence and war around the globe, it seems especially appropriate and valuable to study this topic so that we can learn from current authors as well as the same authors who influenced Jefferson, one of the framers of our own Constitution."  Not only has this topic been a burning social issue since the Enlightenment, it also reflected the topic of The Da Vinci Code--the book that made Dan Brown a household name.
            The idea of religious tolerance is not a new one.  After hundreds of years of blood struggle between Catholics and Muslims, Protestant and Jewish philosophers of that period suggested the "radical" idea of tolerating people of other religions.  For suggesting this, they were exiled, excommunicated, pilloried, or worse.  However, these philosophers had planted the seeds for tolerance to become an integral part of Western civilization. 
            The idea of a religiously tolerant society continued to develop in Western countries.  Among the earliest philosophers in this movement were Locke (Item A), Bayle (Item C), Voltaire (Items F.1, F.2), and Spinoza (Item G).  Included among the authors of our rare books are Grotius (Item E), who extended these ideas into the international sphere, and early writers Defoe (Robinson Crusoe) and Montaigne (inventor of the essay), whose fame resides more with their literary accomplishments (Items H, D).  Seminal books by Rousseau (Item K), Montesquieu (Item J), and Paine (Item M) demarcated the topic in the 18th century.  The 19th century saw Findley (Item N), Mill (Items O.1, O.2, O.3), and Spencer (Items P.1, P.2, P.3) extend our understanding.  The books of the major 20th century philosophers, Rawls (Item Q), Foucault (Items R.1, R.2, R.3), Nozick (Item S) and Arendt (Item T), are not yet rare, but our collection is preserving them for future generations of scholars.

Creating Opportunities for Transformative Exchange
            Quinn Library's vision is to be a point of pride not only for our nationally distinguished Special Collection, but to foster opportunities for transformative intellectual and cultural exchange.  On September 24-25, 2010, Quinn Library brought the world to Chillicothe by sponsoring and hosting an international conference on Global Citizenship, Collective Identity, and Tolerance.  The conference attracted scholars from ten countries representing western, eastern, northern, and southern hemispheres.  Life-long learners in the community and OU-C students attended the conference for free, allowing them an opportunity to share their considerable insights with scholars from around the world.  A local band played at the conference dinner, including Appalachian music and insight as part of the cross-cultural exchange.
            On January 14, 2017, after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease, Stanley Planton passed away.  It is in his memory that the Religious Tolerance Collection continues under the library's current director, Brandi Weaver.  In April 2017, in the wake of Planton's death, Dan Brown generously gifted an additional substantial donation in the memory of a decade-long working relationship and friendship.  The Religious Tolerance Collection, which exists because of Stanley Planton and Dan Brown, puts Quinn Library and Ohio University-Chillicothe firmly in the realm of international repositories for historically valuable collections.

Sue Colley earns May Employee of the Month achievement

Ohio University Chillicothe’s Sue Colley, an administrative associate in the Central Processing Center, was awarded the May 2017 Classified Employee of the Month by the Classified Senate.

The purpose of the award is to acknowledge and recognize those who are setting the standards for excellence and innovation at Ohio University. It is used to award those employees who have shown outstanding individual achievement and performance of their jobs, while inspiring and supporting the achievement of others.

In her role in the CPC, Sue oversees the operations of the campus’s printers, supplies, mail room, teacher evaluation and Scantron processing. She serves as a main point of contact for students, faculty and staff on processing needs of the campus community.

In her nomination, she was described as “customer service minded, going above and beyond when providing support to the faculty and staff at OUC.” Additionally, she was described as a one who “works relentlessly and selflessly to make OUC successful,” and has adapted changes and policies to “provide both reliability and accountability to her customers and student staff.”

For her outstanding performance, Colley received a certificate of appreciation, a certificate for one regular work day off with pay and a goodie bag.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

OUC wins ORCC Title

Story courtesy of the Chillicothe Gazette

Ohio University Chillicothe won the ORCC title game Sunday, beating OU-Zanesville, 6-4.

OUC finishes with a 21-8 record and was both regular season and tournament champs.

OUC has finished in 1st place in the regular season in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2105, 2106 and 2017 seasons.

OUC scored 6 runs on 13 hits and 2 OUZ errors. Lexy Cooper was 2-for-4 with a triple. Kendra Barnes was 2-for-3 with a double. Mary Howard and Brantly Warren were 2-for-2.

Lexy Cooper tripled to left scoring Rachel Roque. A sac fly by Sadie Fox scored Cooper to tie the game at two in the first. OUC added two in the third and two more runs with double by Barnes in the fourth.

Mary Howard started the game pitching for OUC but an injury brought in Cooper in the fourth to finish the game. Cooper picked up the win in relief (9-2)

Earlier in the tournament, OUC beat OU-L, 4-1.

OUC scored 4 runs on only 4 hits. Mary Howard got the win.

OUC also beat Zanesville in Game 2 of the tournament, 5-0.

OUC scored 5 runs on 7 hits and one OUZ error. Roque was 2-for 3 with two runs scored, and two stolen bases. OUC Moe Ison was 2-for-3. OUC scored 3 in the top of the sixth with four hits and one OUZ error. Lexy Cooper got the win.