Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OU-C partnership with REAP outreach program prepares area high school students for college success

Through a grant from the Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio University-Chillicothe is partnering with area high schools in a program to help prepare students for success in college. The REAP (Regional Education Access Partnership) provides support and resources that are tailored toward meeting the needs of college-bound students while they are still in high school so that these students have the foundation that is necessary to survive, and thrive, in college.

The program allows targeted high school students to take “bridge” classes that prepare them for success in college-level math classes. The bridge classes themselves include college credit, giving these students a jump-start on their higher educational pursuits.

Currently, approximately 10 students from Unioto and Chillicothe high schools are participating in the program. The students meet once a week at Unioto High School under the tutelage of OU-C faculty member Michael Lafreniere, who is donating his time to teach the courses. Director of Student Services John Fisher wrote the grant portion for the Chillicothe Campus and has done much of the legwork to manage the program at OU-C. The 10-week program continues through mid-March, aligning with OU-C’s winter quarter schedule.

The grant also provides support that allows approximately a dozen Chillicothe High School students to participate in ALEKS (Assessment and Learning In Knowledge Spaces), a computer-assisted math tutorial program, which is also geared toward college preparedness.

Students at Unioto and Chillicothe high schools who expressed interest in the program initially took the Compass Placement Test to assess their level of math skills. Students not at the level to enter a college mathematics course, but that needed improvement, were selected to participate in the REAP program so they could take a college mathematics course in spring 2012. The REAP grant pays tuition for some of the students, and OU-C covers the tuition for others.

A needs assessment that was conducted prior to the launch of the program indicated that Ohio University’s five regional campuses, of which the Chillicothe Campus is one, are well-suited to provide this sort of support.

“That determination was derived largely based on the regional campuses’ success in providing dual enrollment and other post-secondary enrollment options,” Fisher said.

The REAP program starts off by introducing students to course content and assessment via such tools at Blackboard and WebAssign. “Upon completion of this effort to build the students procedural fluency, we will then use the collaboratory approach to help connect the students’ procedural fluency to conceptual understanding of the material – ‘The why it works’ part,” Lafreniere noted.

The program is receiving rave reviews for its ability to help prepare students to succeed in college.

“This really helps our students, especially in regards to taking the COMPASS test and helping to evaluate if they are college-ready in terms of math skills,” Unioto High School counselor Sara Williams said. “It is nice to know that they have access to a college faculty member and college-level content. In addition to improving their math skills and knowledge, this program has also helped with the students’ confidence.”

“Many of our students are first-generation college students, and this type of exposure to college-level material is very helpful. It helps them to not only get to college but to then successful complete their college courses,” Williams said. “Mike is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the students understand the material.”

The students are getting much from the experience.

“I like how convenient the program is. I can schedule when I do the work so it does not interfere with my regular homework or part-time job,” Unioto senior Alyssa McDonald said. “This should give me an extra boost toward college and a sense of reality of what college courses are like.”

“This looked like a good opportunity, and I took advantage of it,” Unioto High School senior Dakota Davis said. “This gets me ready so that I can see what college will be like.”

“I am looking to complete as much coursework as possible at low or no cost,” Chillicothe High School senior John Bowen said. “I can go at my own pace and learn the material. This works out great for me.”

This initiative underscores OU-C’s role as a regional campus and provides important insights for programming that could benefit current and future Chillicothe Campus students.

“Reaching out to students while they are still in high school emphasizes the Chillicothe’s determination to serve as a gateway to higher education,” Fisher said. “Further, from this program and working with Mike, I have been able to develop thoughts on retention efforts geared toward academic success that should be especially effective on the Chillicothe Campus.”

Olivia Brumfield not horsing around as expert, competitive barrel racer

OU-C student Olivia Brumfield is not horsing around when it comes to her choice of hobbies.

Brumfield, 21, a Logan Elm High School graduate, has been a competitive barrel racer since the age of 16, competing with her horse, Tori, at events throughout Ohio, Kentucky and sometimes beyond. Tori, a 22-year-old American Paint, was a Christmas present when Brumfield was 12 years old, and they have been a team ever since.

Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which the rider and horse complete a clover-leaf pattern around three barrels. There is an emphasis on both time and precision, with penalties for knocking down the barrels. The average time for a single race is between 15 and 20 seconds. “There is not much margin for error,” points out Brumfield, who will graduate this spring with an associate degree in business.

The sport is a natural outlet for Brumfield, who describes herself as “horse-crazy” since a young age. Not wanting to have an equestrian that is a pedestrian, Brumfield quickly opted for the faster-paced barrel racing instead of other slower-paced types of competitions that focus on showmanship.

“I quickly realized that I did not like the slow type of riding. Instead, I was drawn to barrel racing where there are no judges, but just a clock. In barrel racing you compete against other riders but mostly against yourself.”

The competition is a real test of horsemanship and the rider’s ability to form a bond with the horse.

“The key to success for me, personally is consistency,” Brumfield said. “My horse is older and slower than many of the other horses. Since I don’t have the fastest horse, we need to keep it clean and not knock over any barrels. I take the focus off of competing against others and instead look to compete against myself and do better each time.”

Brumfield and her horse Tori qualified for the National Barrel Horse Association world championships in Mississippi in the 18-and-under age category in 2008. Although Brumfield elected to not participate in the event, she did attend.

Tori has been a good teammate for Brumfield. “With her, I feel that we click really well. She is a real honest horse; what you see is what you get. She has done everything I have asked of her.”

Building an effective bond with the horse is not an overnight success, Brumfield explains. “It takes a lot of time, not just riding but spending time with the horse. You have to know your horse and have the right match.”

Although it is a fast-paced sport, patience is a virtue, Brumfield said.

“For me, it has always been about patience and a sense of timing. You can’t get frustrated. This is a sport where winners and losers are separated by hundredths of a second. It is important to remember that, at the end of the day, it’s just a race and you can’t let it upset you.”

Horse-riding is also therapeutic for Brumfield.

“When I am riding, it is a nice distraction that gives me a break from school and work. There’s no room for other thoughts and is a good escape from the stresses of life.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Health expo emphasizes wellness activities

The emphasis will be on healthy lifestyles and entertainment during the Health, Wellness and Fitness Expo 2012 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Ohio University-Chillicothe’s Shoemaker Center.

The event is free and open to the public.

Free health tests and screenings will be available such as cholesterol, blood sugar, fat analysis, blood pressure, Alzheimer’s’, dental, glaucoma and scoliosis, as well as oxygen saturation and massages.

America’s Favorite Sister in the South, Robin Shea from Southern Fried Fitness, will be the guest emcee.

“This annual event always draws an enthusiastic crowd and offers an opportunity to provide health screenings for area residents who might not have health insurance or may be unaware of a health concern,” said OU-C staff member Kim McKimmy, a member of OU-C’s Health, Wellness and Safety Committee. “It underscores our commitment to providing the type of programming and worksite health initiative that benefit campus and community members in a meaningful way.”

Art show pays tribute to Women’s History Month

“Empowerment” is the theme of the Women’s History Month art show in the Patricia Scott Art Gallery in Ohio University-Chillicothe’s Bennett Hall.

The show is sponsored by GESS (Gender Equality Solidarity Society), a student organization at OU-C. The show is on display through March and includes artwork from individuals throughout Ross County and surrounding areas.

A reception to honor the artists will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 9 in the gallery.

Irish music concert scheduled at OU-C

‘Musicali’ will present a concert of Irish music at 2 p.m. March 3 in the Bennett Hall auditorium at Ohio University-Chillicothe. The event, which is sponsored by the OU-C Cultural Committee, is free and open to the public.

Musicali is a group of four trained musicians from Akron. They play the violin, oboe, guitar and keyboard. Their repertoire for their appearance at OU-C will focus on traditional Irish songs and jigs. As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, their performance will evoke the passion and exuberance of the Irish cultural tradition.

OU-C students select artwork for Pike County calendar

Ohio University-Chillicothe art students Kim Roush and Alyssa Logan, along with OU-C Professor of Art Margaret McAdams selected the artwork for the 2012-13 Public Information calendar in Pike County. The students and Prof. McAdams chose from more than 300 submissions that were created by Pike County students.

An article about the project is available online at:

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ceremony dedicates plaque, portrait in memory of Officer Larry Cox

A ceremony was recently held to dedicate a plaque to Larry Cox outside of the Law Enforcement Technology classroom of the Ohio University-Chillicothe Technology and Business Development Center.

Cox, an OU-C alumnus and member of the campus’ basketball team during his time on campus, lost his life in the line of duty in 2005. He was an officer with the Chillicothe Police Department and the DARE officer for the Chillicothe City Schools and Bishop Flaget School.

Officer Cox was the posthumous recipient of the Community Hero Award, in addition to being recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus, during the campus’ graduation ceremony in June 2011.

“Through his selfless devotion to others and commitment to safeguarding his community, Larry Cox epitomizes the spirit of the law enforcement profession and the best of human nature,” OU-C Dean Martin Tuck said. “In fact on the night that Larry was killed, he was not even on duty. However, in reality, Larry was always on duty because he answered a higher calling that led him to live an exceptional life of service to others. When he saw a threat to his neighbors and fellow community members, Larry did not hesitate to put his own life on the line to protect the well-being of others. There is no greater testament to an individual’s valor.”

Chillicothe Mayor Jack Everson was on hand to contribute a large, framed photo of Officer Cox that previously was displayed in the City Building as well as American and Ohio flags, which are on display in the LET classroom.

Mayor Everson, himself a former OU-C student and basketball player, said, “Larry Cox was a dear friend of mine. It is incalculable to estimate the number of students whom Larry impacted as a DARE officer. I hope that those who knew him smile when they see his portrait and think of him while remembering the dedication he brought to his profession.”

“Officer Cox exemplified those qualities common in law enforcement officers – pride in his chosen profession, pride in his police department, pride in his community and pride in his family,” said James McKean, associate dean of OU-C and coordinator of the LET program. “Similarly, we will display this portrait with the same degree of pride and enthusiasm as a constant reminder for those future officers trained in this room of the high standards to which we aspire and which have been set by those officers who have sacrificed everything to make their communities safe.”

Other speakers included County Sheriff’s Department Col. Jeff Keener and the Rev. Steven J. Schmidt. Members of Officer Cox’s family were also on hand for the ceremony and were recognized by Dean Tuck.