Thursday, December 31, 2009

Generosity of Vinton County couple helps make college education accessible for students

The generosity of an area couple is making it more possible for students to pursue their ambitions in a career field that impacts the quality of life for regional residents. Barbara J. and Jimmie L. Williams of McArthur have endowed a scholarship fund for single-parent nursing students at Ohio University-Chillicothe. The Jimmie and Barbara Williams Nursing Scholarship provides $6,000 for the academic year to a full-time nursing student from a single-parent home who has demonstrated financial need. Because I had a hard life early on, we wanted to help someone, especially a person in the medial profession who could go on to help others down the road,” said Mr. Williams, a semi-retired sub-contractor. “Since I have been involved in several construction projects in the area, we wanted to support a student from the Chillicothe Campus and give back to the community.” Mrs. Williams has a vested interested in education. She worked as an instructional assistant with the Columbus Public Schools and Southeast Career Center for 26 years before retiring in 2006, working mainly with special-needs students. “It means a lot to help a young person get an education,” she said. “From my career, I have seen the value of education and know its importance in people’s lives.” Kristy Dugger, a Chillicothe High School graduate who recently completed her first academic quarter in OU-C’s nursing program, is the first recipient of the scholarship fund. Mr. and Mrs. Williams, who have been married since 1967, moved from Columbus to rural Vinton County 10 years ago to enjoy its peaceful way of life. Mr. Williams was previously a co-owner of Black Star Drywall and was involved in the construction of many high-rises buildings in Columbus as well as commercial, office and apartment buildings throughout the region, including the first strip mall in Jackson. He was familiar with Vinton County from hunting trips to the area. He has also been involved in several construction projects on the Ohio University-Athens campus and in Athens, including the construction of Bromley Hall, the music building and former library. Mr. Williams “grew up poor” in Dawson, Ga., raised primarily by his grandparents. In 1962, at the age of 17, he moved to Columbus, Ohio, to live with an aunt and uncle “to better myself,” as he explains. He washed dishes, was a short-order cook and worked construction, eventually earning a strong reputation as a drywall-installer in the city. He learned to read blueprints and went into business as a sub-contractor in 1991, forming Black Star Drywall. He semi-retired two years ago but he still remains involved in some projects, including the current addition at Traditions retirement community in Chillicothe. “The way I moved up the ladder was through hard work,” said Mr. Williams, who was originally a carpenter and is also certified as a welder. Mrs. Williams, who is originally from Williamson, W.Va., also stays active in the community since moving to Vinton County. Since her retirement from public schools in Columbus, she has been involved with RSVP. “We are very appreciative for this gift by Mr. and Mrs. Williams,” OU-C Dean Richard Bebee said. “Their generosity will help make a college education and the doors of opportunity it opens a reality for area students. They understand the value of a college education, and this speaks highly of their commitment to young people and to this region. At OU-C, we share their commitment to utilizing higher education to further improve the quality of life for area residents.” The current recipient is grateful for this scholarship. “The scholarship money helps a lot. As a single parent, it allows me to focus more on my school work and helps to make ends meet,” Dugger said. “I want Mr. and Mrs. Williams to know how grateful I am and the impact this scholarship has made on my life. I have had relatives with long-term illnesses, and that has helped motivate me to become a nurse so that I can also have a positive impact on people’s lives.” Photo cutline: Jimmie and Barbara Williams understand the value of education and have endowed a scholarship fund to assist students at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Upcoming workshop to address online learning

Thirty faculty members are registered for a workshop to develop online blended courses from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010, in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons. The workshop was originally scheduled for Nov. 7, 2009. The workshop, which is designed for Group I, II and III faculty members, is presented by the campus’ Technology-Rich Learning Community and will specifically address the process for OU-C faculty members to complete the major areas of the campus’ rubric including objectives and outcome goals; authentic assessment practices/ engaging, quality assignment design; interaction and collaboration components/ and learner support checklist and tools. “This workshop is part of the campus’ commitment to utilizing online and distance learning tools to offer a quality educational experience,” said Schmittauer, a member of the OU-C Technology-Rich Learning Community. Other members are Patty Griffith, Lisa Wallace, Vicky Parker, Robb Moats, Nicholas Kersey and Jim McKean. “With the annual inclement winter weather approaching, this workshop is especially valuable in helping faculty members use Blackboard and other distance learning tools for those days when students may be unable to travel to campus. A unique aspect of this workshop is that it is tailored to OU-C’s learning environment, and it is based on the OU-C Course-Development Roadmap. Hands-on activities, ample Web resources and abundant examples will be hallmarks of our time together,” Schmittauer said.