Thursday, January 22, 2015

Student organizations add to life on campus



Chillicothe Campus students were able to survey the student organizations offered on campus during the recent Winter Student Organization Fair in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons. Participation in these groups allows for students to connect with fellow students of similar interests, and the organizations support a vibrant campus life that extends beyond the classrooms and labs. These groups can also help to connect classroom learning with practical activities. Some student organizations are aligned with academic and career pursuits while others are pegged to students’ pastimes and hobbies. For more information, contact Coordinator of Student Activities
Ashlee Digges, (740) 774-7229 or digges@ohio.edu

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Campus adapts communication endeavors to better engage with its audiences


The campus' communications and marketing efforts are focused on connecting with students on their terms.

Ohio University-Chillicothe’s marketing and communications efforts are continuing to pursue approaches that allow the campus to better engage with its target audiences. Among recent initiatives are efforts to better utilize social media to become more interactive and better connected with current and prospective students.

For example, communications with students have focused more on videos posted to the campus’ YouTube channel. These video pieces highlight and feature unique aspects of campus life, such as the opportunity to relocate to the Athens campus, life on a commuter campus, opportunities to get involved in activities outside of the classroom and tips on adjusting to campus life. Upcoming projects will address the impact of community service and the mix of traditional and non-traditional students on campus.

The video clips speak to students on their terms and in a medium they find more engaging than print copy. Further they emphasize topics of interest to this important audience and feature the insights and stories of OU-C students, taking advantage of the benefits of peer interaction and ensuring the credibility of the messages.

Student employees Megan Valentine and Madison Corbin, both students in the Scripps College of Journalism, have been instrumental in the social media and video efforts. Valentine’s talents are primarily in writing and social media use, while Corbin is a gifted video producer. These endeavors are designed to support the ongoing efforts by Student Services in communicating with students in support both student-recruitment and retention. Having current university students produce the videos helps to ensure the student-focused approach of the communication endeavors.

An added benefit of showcasing our current students in the videos is that it allows for ongoing dialogue with our students and gaining their perspective on the campus experience. From these conversations, campus communication and marketing efforts become more authentic, and connections with students -- both current and prospective OU-C learners -- are deepened.

Further, the peer communication aspect of the videos incorporates a theme that is an important component of the overall Chillicothe Campus experience.

The effort was undertaken to build on current strategies, such as the campus news blog, which continues to serve as the flagship of OU-C communication efforts. After performing an analysis to determine the topics that seemed to resonate with OU-C’s audience and themes that needed more coverage on the blog, Valentine and Corbin worked to create series-style stories and pieces with coordinating videos to keep readers coming back to the page. Corbin’s videos highlight the opportunities available on the Chillicothe Campus and address concerns that may be in the minds of future OU-C students.

In this way, the communication efforts are cohesive, in terms of message, while various platforms are used to segment the audience. For example, an interesting dynamic of OU-C is the nearly equal blend of traditional and non-traditional students. This causes a need for various communication avenues, including both traditional and emerging media, so that the communication channels are as diverse as the individuals pursuing their college careers on the Chillicothe Campus.

In response to the results of a recent communication survey of OU-C students, the campus has added an Instagram account to its social media outlets. The site, which mainly features photographic images, provides a snapshot of the Chillicothe Campus, both figuratively and literally. It can be viewed at http://instagram.com/ouchillicothe/.

All of these efforts work toward a goal of supporting OU-C’s mission of preparing students for the challenges of tomorrow and providing service to Chillicothe and the surrounding region.

See the videos produced in association with the new communications strategy on the OU-C YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz3G19qPK9MujodCWfjYiVw

College Goal Sunday event offers insights to complete FAFSA forms for college financial aid


Area prospective college students can receive assistance in completing FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms at 2 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Ohio University-Chillicothe in the Advising Center on the second floor of Bennett Hall. The free event is part of “College Goal Sunday,” a statewide effort sponsored by the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA). This is the third annual time that OU-C has served as a host site for the event.

The FAFSA is the federal application that is required to receive federal financial aid including the Federal Pell Grant and student loans as well as the need-based state grants. The FAFSA is often the key to funding a college education and helping families overcome financial barriers that otherwise prevent students from attending the institution of their choice.

Families are encouraged to register for the free event at www.ohiocollegegoalsunday.org or by calling 1-800-233-6734. While walk-ins are welcome, registration is encouraged. The OU-C contact is Ashlee Digges, (740) 774-7229 or digges@ohio.edu. Volunteers are also needed to assist with the event and can either use the web site or contact Digges to participate.

Students and parents should bring their tax returns, if completed, and W-2 forms.

“College Goal Sunday is an opportunity for high school seniors, individuals returning to school, and other prospective students to come and receive assistance while completing the FAFSA,” OU-C Director of Student Services John Fisher said.

“Completing the FAFSA can be an overwhelming process for many people and College Goal Sunday gives prospective students and their families a chance to submit their FAFSA in a supportive, helpful environment,” Fisher said. “This event underscores OU-C’s mission of serving as a gateway to a college education and the opportunities it offers for area residents. No matter where individuals from this region pursue their college career, we hope they feel comfortable contacting OU-C for insights about the admissions process.”

The idea behind College Goal Sunday is to get students motivated to complete their FAFSA prior to the scholarship deadlines that most schools set for the upcoming fall term because a requirement for most scholarship applications is that the student has a completed FAFSA on file.

“This event offers an opportunity to get professional help completing your FAFSA so you feel assured that it is done correctly,” Fisher said. “It is held at OU-C which is convenient for most students in Ross County and accessible for students in Pike, Vinton and Pickaway counties where there is no College Goal Sunday site,” Fisher said.

OASFAA is a non-profit, professional organization for individuals actively engaged in the administration of financial aid within the State of Ohio for higher education. As an educational organization, OASFAA strives to offer resources to students, families and high school advisors to promote higher education and increase awareness of financial aid opportunities.

Early Childhood Education instructor makes impact in the classroom and in the community

                         
By public relations student writer Madison Corbin

When Maryjo Flamm-Miller moved to Chillicothe 12 years ago, she had no intention of remaining a passive visitor to the town.  She proactively sought out creative ways to become an integrated and involved part of her new community.  She joined the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Project sponsored by the United Way of Ross County.  

“Both groups include a focus on literacy and education - passions of mine. Living in a small town
community affords many opportunities to meet and work with people equally passionate about literacy,” Flamm-Miller, an adjunct faculty member in education at Ohio University-Chillicothe, said.  Her efforts in each organization have proven successful.
In September, Flamm-Miller received a mayoral proclamation for “Forward Thinking Leadership” as president of the Chillicothe branch of the AAUW.  The honor came as a surprise to Flamm-Miller, but not to her fellow community members. 

In 2012, Flamm-Miller received the Irene Bandy-Hedden Community Leadership Award from the Ohio Department of Education.  She holds titles of program specialist for the Discovery Garden Family Playgroup and Dad & Me Adventures programs in Ross County, and has been an interventionist for South Central Ohio Job & Family Services for the last eight years. She was the visionary behind the after-school cultural arts program at Adena Elementary School.  She has also been a guest columnist for the Chillicothe Gazette in recent years.

When Flamm-Miller became an instructor in the early childhood education program at OU-C in 2007, her vibrant passion for the community meshed well with her role on campus.  Maryjo continually connects her community experiences with learning opportunities for her students.  Not only does she bring her outside knowledge into the classroom, but she takes the classroom outside into the world.    

“As a teacher, I have repeatedly seen the value of OU-C students interacting with families in our community. By working events and volunteering in programs, they expand their knowledge and sensitivities about what children need,” said Flamm-Miller.

In addition to encouraging their community service involvement, Flamm-Miller provides her students with tangible steps toward making a difference.  She practices an in-depth understanding of how community service benefits an individual’s character development and perception of their surroundings.

“Being with people who have curious minds is very stimulating, both socially and intellectually. Getting to know their stories and life experiences enriches my own. This is something I especially value about communities. Being an involved person allows me to contribute to, and benefit from, the social capital of Ross County. It makes life fun, too.”

Flamm-Miller is currently working to establish the Southern Ohio Storytellers Guild and the New Teachers Club for Early Childhood Education graduates in the early years of their career.  She demonstrates an unceasing dedication to her community, her students, and cultivating collaboration between the two for the best possible outcome.

“Because being exposed to diversity broadens our perspective and mindset, it’s important to me that OU-C students experience the world beyond Ross County, both virtually and personally. Technology helps us to have these experiences, and so does field work and travel. Like my students, I strive to take advantage of these exciting and innovative tools for learning.”