Friday, September 10, 2010

Dean shares vision for campus during opening session

Dean Donna Burgraff shared some of her vision for Ohio University-Chillicothe and strategic priorities for the academic year during the campus’ opening session Sept. 9. More than 75 students, faculty and staff members attended the event in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons, which helps set the tone for a successful year and offers an opportunity to gather together as a campus community.

The dean, who officially began her duties Aug. 2, expressed her enthusiasm for her role as the leader of the Chillicothe Campus. “I hope you are as excited as I am to be here. There is nothing like the fall start to a new school year. You can feel the energy on campus as we begin. I feel fortunate to be y our dean and look forward to our continuing your great work,” she said.

The dean noted that has spent much of her first days at OU-C speaking with individuals across campus to gain their insights and perspectives, and that those discussions will continue. Words have already been put into action with early initiatives regarding plans to restructure academic divisions, develop a campus tobacco-use policy and designate the Stevenson Center parking area for full-time faculty and staff members.

Dean Burgraff also reviewed OU-C’s strategic priorities for 2010-11, which were outlined during the campus’ strategic planning session in August. Task forces are being assembled for each of the eight goals, and the dean encouraged campus members to participate on these task forces.

“I want broad-based involvement, particularly that of faculty members. Having this vested interest in the implementation of these plans is the real essence of shared governance,” Dean Burgraff said. “Faculty members are the lifeblood of any campus and understand our academic enterprise better than anyone else. Please consider your area of interest and explore how you can be involved.”

The eight areas and tasks forces, including the point persons who are responsible for organizing the tasks forces, are listed below. Those interested in serving on a task force should contact the appropriate point person:

• Recruitment for enrollment increases. Alicia Gray
• Retention. John Fisher and Kim Kelly
• Enhanced program delivery. Christi Simmons and Donna Burgraff
• Infrastructure plan. Dave Scott and Jonna Depugh
• Academic preparedness. Patty Griffith
• Grants/Scholarships. Joyce Atwood
• New degree possibilities. Christi Simmons and Donna Burgraff
• Marketing strategy. Jack Jeffery

The dean also noted that she will be formally inducted as dean of the Chillicothe Campus on Nov. 5. “This is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the qualities that make OU-C such a unique campus,” she said. Dean Burgraff shared that her family is establishing a scholarship fund named after her late cousin, and she pledged to match donations. The Gary Justice Memorial Scholarship will support a student majoring in either Law Enforcement Technology or Environmental Engineering Technology.

In closing, the dean said, “I pledge to work hard as your dean and to continue to listen to you. I believe in shared governance, which includes accountability and responsibility on everyone’s parts. I believe in you and the mission of this campus, and I believe that, together, we will continue to serve our students and serve our region.”

Thursday, September 9, 2010

OU-C conference to draw renowned scholars from various academic disciplines

See OU-C faculty member Nicholas Kiersey talk about the significance of this conference on the campus’ YouTube channel at

Scholars from various academic disciplines will share their insights during the International Conference on Global Citizenship, Collective Identity and Tolerance at Ohio University-Chillicothe on Sept. 24-25. Nearly 30 papers have been submitted for the conference, which will be held in the Stevenson Center.

Among those submitting papers are faculty members from the Chillicothe Campus and Ohio University as well as academics across the nation and around the globe.

Details about the event, including the schedule of events and title of the papers that will be presented, are available online at

“This offers an opportunity to become engaged in academic discourse and to showcase the Chillicothe Campus to the academic community at large,” said OU-C head librarian Allan Pollchik, who is helping to coordinate the event. “The conference allows for campus and community members to become engaged in meaningful academic discourse, which supports the mission of Ohio University-Chillicothe in supporting a learning community.”

“This event shines the spotlight on a world-class library and world-class minds right here in southern Ohio. It is rare to have these types of individuals together for one conference,” Pollchik said.

OU-C political science faculty member Nicholas Kiersey said, “An interesting feature of this conference is the cross-disciplinary aspect. I am looking forward to hearing the insights of individuals from a range of academic fields share their thoughts. It is always intriguing to see the various approaches to the same situation.”

Kiersey will present a paper, as will fellow OU-C faculty members Nirmal Niroula, a sociology faculty member; and Ann Rumble, a psychology faculty member.

As the call for papers stated, the conference seeks to draw papers from multiple disciplinary backgrounds on the relationships between citizenship and tolerance in the context of contemporary globalization … We invite papers that examine any social/political or psychological aspect of {this topic}.

Ohio University-Athens faculty member Amritjit Singh will deliver the keynote address during the opening session from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on Sept. 24.

Continuing students offer their advice for new Chillicothe Campus students

We regularly talk with OU-C students to gain their perspective on campus topics. This week, we asked new students how they are adjusting and continuing students what advice they would offer new OU-C students. Feel free to share your insights by adding a comment.

Becky Lee had some very practical insights for new students. “Get to campus early to make sure you get a good parking space, do not be late for class and keep up with your homework,” advised Lee, a continuing student from Southeastern High School who is studying anthropology and archeology. “Also, make sure that you have all of your books and hold on to them in case you need to return the books. Further, go to the Advising Center or find a buddy if you need help.”

Jason Hughes echoed Lee’s themes. “Get to campus early, get your books and go to the tutoring center if you are having academic trouble,” said Hughes, a nursing student from Jackson High School.

Paula Smith, an upper-class education student from North Gallia High School, advises students to relax and rely on others. “Do not be nervous; people are not out to get you. Also, ask someone if you need help.”

Tiffany Powers encouraged first-time college students to interact with individuals of different backgrounds and ages. “We have a broad mix of traditional-aged and older college students on campus. Broaden your perspective on people by hanging out with students who are older. They can offer guidance on career choices.” Powers is a second-year post-secondary option student from Huntington High School.

Josh Walter emphasized smart use of spare time. “Once you leave your parking space, a new one is difficult to get, so hang out in the Learning Commons between classes. You can always find someone you know in the library. And, find people you know to study with. That can be a big help. If you are having difficulty, the tutoring center is extremely helpful.” Walter is a nursing student from Unioto High School.

The rookies seem to be coping well in their new educational environment.

For first-year student Ryan Butterbaugh, the transition has been fairly smooth. “There are smaller classes than in high school, and I like having fewer students in class. It’s a lot different than high school in that the teachers are more relaxed,” said the business management major from Chillicothe High School.

Michel Kirk transferred to OU-C from Memphis (Tenn.) College of Art. “I have not had any major adjustments. The classes are about the same size as I am used to, and everything seems to be easy to find. Kirk graduated from Marin Center for the Arts in Florida.

“I am getting used to the commuter campus and need to learn how to best spend my time between classes,” said Caleb Appleman, a new OU-C student who transferred from Shawnee State University after graduating from Vinton High School.

Upcoming Campus Events

• Academic Council meets at noon in Bennett Hall room 105 on Sept. 14 & 28 and Oct. 12 & 26

• Classified Group meets at 9 a.m. in Bennett Hall room 105 on Sept. 21 and Oct. 12

• Global Citizenship, Collective Identity and Tolerance international conference in Stevenson Center on Sept. 24 & 25

• 5-kilometer (3.1 mile) race at 9 a.m. on Sept. 25 outside of the Shoemaker Center. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.

• Administrative Council meets at 9 a.m. in Bennett Hall room 105 on Sept. 23 and Oct. 14

• Induction of OU-C Dean Donna Burgraff on Nov. 5

• OU-C fall theater production at 8 p.m. on Nov. 12 & 13 and Nov. 19 &20

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beth Barnes named academic advisor at Ohio University-Chillicothe

Beth Barnes has been named academic advisor at Ohio University-Chillicothe, effective Aug. 24. In this part-time position, she is involved with assisting students in regards to both academic and career advising.

She held several positions with Pickaway County Community Action in Circleville from 1987 to 2009, including serving as youth education and employment program manager. Throughout her career with the organization, her responsibilities focused on helping students reach their educational goals. Among her duties were teaching GED classes, assisting with the completion of financial aid forms, helping students with their college searches and career selection, and the teaching of life skills.
Since 1991, she has served as a substitute teacher on various grade levels with schools in Pickaway and Ross counties.
A former OU-C student, she earned an associate degree in human services technology from Ohio University. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in education-social studies from Ohio University and has completed several graduate-level classes on education topics at the university.

“I am happy to have Beth join the staff at OU-C. Her career has involved helping students succeed and reach their educational goals, and this approach positions her well for this opportunity and supports the emphasis of the area of Student Services,” OU-C Director of Student Services John Fisher said.

Fall quarter welcome from Dean Burgraff

Following is a message from OU-C Dean Donna Burgraff to the OU-C campus community.

Sept. 8
Members of the Chillicothe Campus community,

As dean, I would like to welcome both new and continuing members of the Ohio University-Chillicothe community to campus for the beginning of the 2010-11 academic year. The opening of an academic year is an especially exciting time in the life of a campus. There is a sense of optimism and electricity in the air as we again gather together and re-focus on the shared vision of helping students realize their ambitions and aspirations.

I want to assure our students that our faculty and staff members are here to help you realize your goals and offer the support you need to succeed. In short, we are here for you, and it is our pleasure to help you, so do not be afraid to ask for assistance. Part of your college experience should involve learning to lean on others for assistance then, in turn, offering a helping hand to others. That type of approach is part of the culture of our campus and this region.

Having officially begun my duties Aug. 2, I am a relative newcomer to campus. During my time here, I have found a welcoming environment on campus. The Chillicothe Campus is a place where individuals from different backgrounds are drawn together for the common purpose of creating a true learning community. This type of student-focused approach is why I find higher education so appealing and one of the reasons I was drawn to this position.

I realize what an impact higher education has had on my life, particularly in regards to opening doors of opportunity. As campus dean, I want our students to have that same chance at success.

As you realize, change is a constant feature of the Chillicothe Campus. Following is some useful information about recent changes of particular impact fall quarter:

• Tobacco use policy. A strategic blueprint is being developed for a comprehensive tobacco-use policy on campus. A task force consisting of Health and Wellness Committee members and other students, faculty and staff members will be formed to spearhead this process. So that we obtain broad-based input, the task force will include both smokers and non-smokers. In the meantime, a temporary area for smokers has been established on the east side of the Stevenson Center.

• Parking. In keeping with its intended use, the parking lot near Stevenson Center will be limited to faculty and staff members. Employees need to obtain hang tags for their vehicles to park in this lot, and the tags are available at the Bennett Hall Information Desk. Vehicles without hang tags may be towed at the owners’ expense.

Again, I look forward to continuing to work with individuals across campus to help our students accomplish great things. That’s what makes higher education such a great profession, and I hope we all realize how lucky we are to be part of this exciting campus community.

For a more personal touch, you can view a video clip on the campus’ Web page at


Dr. Donna L. Burgraff, Dean
Ohio University-Chillicothe

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Extending a welcoming hand to students

To help make the settling-in process a little less unsettling for students, several OU-C students, faculty and staff members answered questions at an information table in the Bennett Hall lobby. Whether it was helping to determine the location of a classroom or how to revise class schedules, the advice was well-received. Spirits are again high at the Chillicothe Campus, the first regional campus in the state. There is always a special sense of excitement and optimism in the air at the beginning of an academic year, and that is certainly true at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

Message from Dean Burgraff regarding Christi Simmons being named interim associate dean

Following is a message from OU-C Dean Donna Burgraff to the Chillicothe Campus community.

Sept. 7

Chillicothe Campus community members,

It is my pleasure to announce that long-time campus faculty and staff member Christi Simmons has agreed to serve as interim associate dean of Ohio University-Chillicothe, effective with the opening of fall quarter on Sept. 7 through June 30, 2011.

Christi Simmons
As a former OU-C student, administrator and classroom teacher, Christi understands the essence of the campus’ mission and the distinguishing features of the campus. She also has earned the respect of colleagues across campus for her dedication to OU-C and her commitment to our students. I look forward to working with Christi to put our faculty and others in position to continue to offer an exceptional educational experience.

Christi first joined the Chillicothe Campus faculty in 1985 as a student teacher supervisor. In 1987, she was named director of Continuing Education, training and Development. In 1993, she again joined the faculty as associate professor of business management technology. Christi retired in March 2007 and has continued to teach part-time as a one-third option faculty member.

A native of this region, Christi is a former OU-C student who earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio University. She then earned a master’s degree in education administration from Xavier University and a doctorate of education (Ed.D.) in curriculum and instruction from the University of Cincinnati.

“I feel as if I owe this campus a lot. My life would not have taken the path it has if not for attending Ohio University-Chillicothe,” Simmons said. “I believe in our mission and look to build on the campus’ strengths. I think we have a lot of talented individuals who understand the importance of forming healthy, positive relationships and interacting with students of various ages and stages in life.”

Simmons replaces Mike Lafreniere, who resigned as associate dean to continue with his completion of a doctoral degree. In addition, he is teaching math classes and serving as program coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Technology program.

A national search will be conducted to fill the position on a full-time basis. During fall quarter, I will solicit input from faculty members to develop a profile of the next associate dean. The expectation is to name a person to the position on a full-time basis during the summer of 2011.

Information regarding the search, such as the timetable and search committee members, will be shared as the search progresses.

Best regards.

Dr. Donna L. Burgraff, Dean
Ohio University-Chillicothe

Dean Burgraff message to campus community

Following is a copy of an e-mail message from OU-C Dean Donna Burgraff to campus faculty and staff members

Sept. 3, 2010

It is with bittersweet emotions that I announce that Mike Lafreniere is resigning his role as associate dean of the Chillicothe Campus, effective with the beginning of fall quarter on Sept. 7. Mike will return to the classroom and teach math classes while also continuing to serve as program coordinator of the Environmental Engineering Technology program. In addition, he will continue with his completion of a doctoral degree, which will require Mike to take classes on the Athens campus four days a week.

In one regard, I am sad to see Mike leave this role as associate dean. He has been a tremendous colleague, and I have greatly valued his insights and counsel during my early days as campus dean. However, as a college campus, it is our privilege to help individuals take the steps to realize their goals and ambitions. While this is obviously true in regards to students, it is also applicable to our fellow employees.

Mike’s professional passion is teaching, and our students benefit from his active involvement in their instruction. As those of us who work with Mike on a daily basis realize, he is an active learner himself, and his passion for learning extends to his own personal development and growth. Therefore, I wholeheartedly support his endeavors to earn his Ph.D.

As we all know, Mike always puts his full effort into whatever he does, and I realize he cannot balance the role of associate dean with his other pursuits at this time.

While those of us in the dean’s office will miss our interaction with Mike on a daily basis, we are heartened that he is still an active member of the Chillicothe Campus community.

“This was a very difficult decision to make. I have greatly enjoyed working with Dean Burgraff and learning from her,” Lafreniere said. “However, it became apparent that, if I am to reach my professional goals as an educator, I need to focus on my pursuit of a doctoral degree and classroom instructions at this time. The associate dean position, while very rewarding, requires more time than I am able to commit at this time.”

An interim dean will be named in the near future, and a national search will be conducted to identify an individual for the position on a full-time basis. Information regarding the search, such as the timetable and search committee members, will be shared as the search progresses.

Best regards.

Dr. Donna L. Burgraff, Dean
Ohio University-Chillicothe

Montserrat basketball camp is fulfilling experience for OU-C director of athletics

National team to play on campus in October

David Shoemaker’s recent participation in leading a basketball camp on the island of Montserrat exceeded the high expectations he had for the camp, in terms of numbers and the experience itself. The first-ever “Reach One Teach One – Building Bridges to Success” camp was held Aug. 16-20, and organizers were hoping for 40 participants.

Instead, the actual numbers more than doubled expectations, the Ohio University-Chillicothe director of athletics noted.

“The organizers told me before camp began that if we had 25 kids attending the morning youth camp and 15 attending the over-17 evening camp, a total of 40, they would consider it a success,” Shoemaker said. “We ended up with 50 in the morning and 40 in the evening, a total of 90. Since the Montserratian government wants to use basketball to help in the development of their kids and the publicizing of their island, they were ecstatic at the results.”

As an added bonus, the Montserrat national team will travel to this region in late October for a series of games and practices. Included is a game vs. OU-C’s men’s team at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23 in the campus’ Shoemaker Center.

“Due to the overwhelming response from the citizens and athletes on Montserrat, the government approved a trip to Ohio for the National Team, a team I selected while there,” said Shoemaker, who coached the Montserrat national team in the 1990s. “The team will arrive on October 20 and stay a week, playing Ohio colleges and attending basketball practices at both Ohio State and West Virginia.”

It will be an adventure in many ways for the Montserrat athletes, many of whom have not travelled beyond the island.
Montserrat is a British territory in the Leeward Islands that is part of the chain of islands known as the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. The island is approximately 10 miles long and 7 miles wide with approximately 6,000 residents.

The basketball camp was an uplifting experience for Shoemaker, who was impressed by the enthusiasm of the participants and others on the island.

“Overall the trip was unbelievable. The people of Montserrat were warm, open, incredibly friendly, and amazingly hospitable,” he said. “The camper’s attitudes were amazing. Though many are displaced by an active volcano on the island, to an athlete they had the most wonderful and positive outlook on life. There are no McDonald's, no Walmarts, no movie theaters, none of the common conveniences that most kids have, yet none of this seemed to matter to them. They were so coachable, and it was refreshing.”

Further information about the camp is available online at

Details about the upcoming Montserrat national team’s trip to Ohio will be shared closer to the date of the trip.

Josh Anderson, a fellow coach and teacher at Adena, accompanied Shoemaker on the trip. Anderson, an accomplished nature photographer, documented the trip, and several photos from the trip are available online at