Thursday, February 25, 2010

Writing Center continues to make its mark with student-focused approach

The OU-C Writing Center continues to make its mark with its ability to help students learn the craft of effective writing while further fostering the sense of a learning community on campus. In fact, “business is booming” this academic year, with traffic up approximately 25 percent in fall quarter 2009 compared to the previous year, according to Writing Center Coordinator Debra Nickles.
The center’s success is built on a student-centered approach that focuses on peer education and encourages students to become critical thinkers in the written communication. The center’s tutors are OU-C students who can most easily relate to their classmates and continue classroom teaching in a more personalized setting.
“The best aspect of peer-to-peer tutoring is that tutors, as students themselves, have great insights into what it means to be a student here on the Chillicothe Campus and what is expected from various instructors,” Nickles said. “Finding that common ground as students builds trust in a way that may be somewhat unique to the Learning Commons. For example, when tutors offer guidance on writing assignments, they often have a great sense of what the instructor may be looking for and sometimes have more one-one-one time with students to talk openly about specific issues that instructors identify. We really see a lot of work as an extension of what goes on in the classroom, only in a one-on-one setting.”
The Writing Center, which is part of the Learning Center, is located inside of Quinn Library inside of the Stevenson Center and shares space with the Math Center.
“The students who visit the center are put at ease when they realize that the tutors are also students,” tutor Brandi Weaver said. “They tend to open up more around us, and it helps when they see we have similar perspectives and that we feel their pain, in terms of juggling school and other responsibilities.
Weaver, a Huntington High School graduate, is a Writing Center veteran of four years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in 2007 and is pursuing a library information degree from Kent State University while taking some classes at OU-C. “The most fulfilling aspect is working with students and seeing them make improvement. Sometimes you can see that light bulb go off in their heads when they understand a new concept,” Weaver said.
“Peer to peer tutoring, unlike student-professor relationships, can be relaxed and highly individualized,” said student-tutor Caleb Marhoover, a geology major from Eastern High School. “We can provide a tutee with thoughtful suggestions that are grafted singularly and not blanket statements meant to generally benefit a large group of students.”
“The OU-C Writing Center allows tutors and tutees to have a unique opportunity to interact with one another in a low-risk environment. Occasionally, fast-paced university-level classes may not allow the one-on-one instruction time that some students require. If students come into the Writing Center a bit overwhelmed by a task that lies ahead, simply having an assignment explained from another perspective may make it clearer to the student,” said tutor Sarah Cook, a middle childhood education, English language arts & social studies major from Beavercreek. “This peer-to-peer approach enables tutors to meet the needs of the varying learning styles innate to OU-C's diverse student body. I hope all students feel a welcoming atmosphere when they enter the center.”
“The Writing Center staff is a core community of peers and friends. Students enter this relaxed atmosphere and are able to participate in their own education in a way that many of their fellow students can appreciate because it is a shred experience. With each visit, tutees become more comfortable with the Writing Center and more confident in their abilities. Over time, this creates a larger pool of confident, competent, comfortable students,” Marhoover said.
“Speaking as a prospective teacher, I know that good instruction must be a reflective process. Helping one another make it through a difficult assignment or simply brainstorming ideas together creates a unique community of collaborative learners on our regional campus. It is through constant practice and our own interaction and discussion with our peers that we become better tutors,” Cook noted.
The Writing Center’s staff strives to help student-users learn and apply skills that are durable and not just focused on the assignment at hand.
“We take a writer-oriented, not a product-oriented approach,” Nickles said. “We are not an editing service, but we talk with students about the writing process and how to apply the critical thinking process to their writing at all times. We are looking to redefine the meaning of the word ‘tutor’ and break out of the remedial connotation. Rather, the center is for individuals who want to go more deeply into their writing and their learning.”
The center maintains a close relationship faculty members on campus to better understand their expectations. In fact, many of the tutors are recommended by instructors. The center has been involved in outreach activities, with quarterly writing contests that allow OU-C students to demonstrate their creative writing talents and workshops on relevant topics such as research writing and APA style.
To offer a range of insights and breadth of knowledge, the center looks to identify tutors from across the curriculum.
Its location in the library makes use of other resources, such as library staff members, as well as helping to strengthen the library’s role as the academic hub of campus.
“What really makes the Writing Center so effective is the thoughtfulness and dedication of each student-tutor,” Nickles said. “They really deserve kudos for juggling their own work, academics and personal life so well while at the same time providing top-notch feedback on writing.”
“More faculty members are finding the center’s services useful and are inviting us into their classrooms to offer brief research brush-ups and by requesting that their students work with the center before submitting papers and projects,” Nickles said. “Quite a few instructors have said that they notice a big difference in the students’ work once we have worked with them.”
The center has expanded its hours of operation this academic year to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 4 p.m. on Friday. Walk-ins are welcome, but students are encouraged to make an appointment by calling (740) 774-779 or by emailing the coordinator at
nickles@ohio.edu.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

OU-C faculty member Ken Breidenbaugh recognized for exceptional effort

Ken Breidenbaugh, the driving force behind the Chillicothe Campus’ theater program, was mentioned as one of the university’s faculty members who have especially made a difference during the university’s Founders Day convocation in Athens on Feb. 19.
During the event, Faculty Senate President Joseph McLaughlin remarked, “Finally, our activities are no less important in our own backyard. We need to celebrate the achievements of faculty like Dr. Kenneth Breidenbaugh, an assistant professor of Comparative Arts, Art History, and Theater on the Chillicothe campus, who this past fall celebrated the offering of his 50th production while at OU-C, an original play written and produced by himself. Dr. Breidenbaugh’s work, as recognized by colleagues who brought it to my attention, is crucial to the task of cultural development so central to our teaching and scholarly mission to the people of Southeast Ohio.”
Breidenbaugh was nominated for the recognition by fellow OU-C faculty member Barbara Trube, who responded to a request for the university’s “unsung heroes.”
“I am both honored and humbled by this recognition,” Breidenbaugh said. “It is always nice when colleagues recognize your efforts. I realize it is an old cliché, but when you like what you do, you never work a day in your life, and I feel that is true for me. I thoroughly enjoy what I do, and I enjoy sharing my interest in theater with others.”
“This is an exciting place to work, and our theater program is a joy to operate. We have support from the administration and the community, and our students are terrific. They come from a variety of backgrounds -- such as economic, age and life experience – and together form a happily volatile mix of people. They are hungry to know things, and being involved in theater offers them a great opportunity to learn quite a bit about different disciplines.”
Since presenting its first theater performance in March 1997, OU-C’s theater program has become a staple of the campus and has continued to support the cultural life of the campus and community. Its next performance will be a presentation of The Quick-Change Room at 8 p.m. on March 19 & March 20 in the Bennett Hall auditorium.
The OU-C theater program has nurtured the stage careers or pastimes of several students, who have landed roles in productions such as Tecumseh! and professional children’s theater.
Further, in recognition of the university’s bicentennial, Breidenbaugh co-authored and directed the play Two Ohios which was performed at Chillicothe’s historic Majestic Theatre. The project was funded by a $5,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Education. He wrote and directed Two Ohios and More in honor of the campus’ 60-year anniversary in 2006.
Breidenbaugh, a Chillicothe native, joined the OU-C faculty in 1989 while completing his Ph.D. He earned his bachelor’s degree in theater from the Athens campus.

Dean search committee is named

The Chillicothe Dean Search Committee has been named, and members held their first meeting Monday, Feb. 15. The committee refined the text of the advertisement for the position, and the advertisement was submitted for publication and posting in the proper outlets, such as The Chronicle of Higher Education. The search committee is charged with evaluating and interviewing candidates, then recommending high-qualified candidates to Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit for her decision. The expectation is to name a new campus dean by July. “I appreciate the willingness of these members to serve on this very important committee and to activiely participate in the process of selecting a new dean for the Chillicothe Campus,” Executive Dean of Regional Campuses Dan Evans said. “We have assembled a broadly-based representative group of individuals from across Ohio University and the community who bring various viewpoints to the discussion. I look forward to their further input and insights as we move forward.” Search committee members include: Faculty • Lisa Wallace, chair • Tom Brown • Lakhdar Hammoudi • Jamie Harmount • Charlotte McManus • Robert Moats Administrative Employee • Dave Scott Classified Employee • Tiffany Ragland Student • Kimberly Bowers Other OU Campus Dean • Bill Willan, Southern Campus Regional Coordinating Council Chair • Larry Gates Community Member • Kathy Sims Regional Higher Education • Kim Hayden Current Dean Richard Bebee has announced that he is leaving his position as dean of OU-C, effective June 30, after nine years as leader of the campus. He will be transitioning into other roles with the university, including teaching accounting classes, raising funds for the campus’ upcoming entrepreneurship center and assisting other regional campuses with advancement planning efforts. Bebee has served as dean of the Chillicothe Campus since July 1, 2001.

Upcoming Quinn Library event to showcase the craft of storytelling

The Quinn Library Salon Series has been successful in engaging the community with relevant topics, such as this January discussion regarding artists and their craft. Veteran storytellers will discuss their craft and display their abilities from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 4 in the Quinn Library, located in Stevenson Center, at Ohio University-Chillicothe. OU-C social work faculty member Gregg Hungerford will be joined by local narrator Bill McKell and Mathew Minter, a naturalist with the Ohio State Parks, who has made a name for himself with his ability to share a story. Hungerford, assistant professor of social work, combined the storytelling skills he has honed since a youngster with his observations during a career in social work to present “Social Storytelling: The Power of the Human Spirit to Overcome Adversity” at the West Virginia Annual National Association of Social Workers in May of 2009. McKell, a member of the campus’ Regional Coordinating Council, is an organizer of the annual storytelling festival in Chillicothe and is well-known in this region for his storytelling abilities. The Quinn Library event is free, open to the public, and it promises to be a kid-friendly occasion. It is part of the Quinn Library Salon Series, which is designed to engage members of the campus and local community in interactive discussions about topics of particular interest. “Quinn Library continually strives to fill its role as a community resource, and these types of events are part of that mission,” Head Librarian Allan Pollchik said. “We are looking to showcase the expertise and insights of individuals of this region and to bring together individuals in a venue where we can learn from each other’s viewpoints and experiences.”

Collection bins to recycle clothes will be placed on campus

Collection bins for clothes and shoes will be placed in the recycling station in the south central section of the campus in early March. The receptacles are part of an effort by the organization Planet Aid, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the lives of people in developing countries. Donations are tax-deductible. This effort is in addition to regular clothes drives and other efforts on campus for regional individuals. The organization was founded in 1997 and has more than 11,000 collection bins across the nation. The recycling effort also serves an environmental purpose by easing the strain on landfills.

Upcoming Campus Events

• MLA and APA citation workshop from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 24 in Stevenson Center Writing Center • “Lunch and Learn” with Tony Hunt at noon on Feb. 26 in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons. Topic: “A Year After – Obama and Holding on to Hope.” • Discussion regarding the craft of storytelling from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 4 in the Quinn Library. Part of the Salon Series. • OU-C theater program presents The Quick-Change Room at 8 p.m. on March 19 & March 20 in the Bennett Hall auditorium • Video Game Day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on March 27 in the Shoemaker Center. Sponsored by the HSA Club.