Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Success Center continues to make impact in supporting sense of learning community on campus

The Chillicothe Campus’ Student Success Center is focused on earning its name by offering the resources that help students make the most of their college experience. The center’s efforts are vital to the campus’ retention efforts which, in turn, align with the statewide landscape of higher education.

As OU-C Dean Martin Tuck mentioned in the recent fall semester opening meeting, the state subsidy model for higher education is shifting toward an emphasis on course and program completion. In
practical terms, that is a key purpose of the Success Center, which is located in Quinn Library and includes tutoring services in math, writing and other academic disciplines.

However, the center makes an impact on campus that goes beyond measurable, pragmatic terms.

“The Success Center adds to campus life by offering students an opportunity to experience being an intellectual and engaging in those types of conversations,” said center coordinator and English faculty member Debra Nickles. “It can become an important part of their college experience. In terms of retention, those conversations are often what help students feel a special connection to campus and build the spark that keeps them coming back.”

Among outcomes of the center’s work are better and more engaged classroom discussions, which make for a more vibrant learning community on campus.

Mathematician Dennis Ray, who doubles as an adjunct faculty member and math center coordinator, noted, “As a classroom teacher, I see the success center pay off, particularly in terms of students’ participation in class. In addition to higher performance in terms of grades, the students have more confidence and, consequently, are more willing to participate in classroom discussions and ask the really good questions.”

Beyond technical skills, an emphasis of the center is on helping students develop the critical thinking and communication skills that cut across academic areas and will serve them well in their future academic and professional pursuits.

Nickles has a front-row seat to that component of the center.

“We look to stay true to our mission of helping students succeed, and that means working with students so that they become learners who can think analytically and express themselves. As both a faculty member and staff member in the Success Center, I tell my students that I am in a neat position. I get to see writing across the curriculum from a broad perspective,” she said.

The center supports classroom teaching by offering students an opportunity to talk with a fellow student about particular concerns they may not feel comfortable articulating in a larger setting.

“The center and classroom instruction complement each other, especially in terms of providing two learning environments,” Nickles said. “I see students writing across the curriculum and putting their writing skills to use beyond English and communication studies classes. No matter the subject, good writing is important as students learn to express themselves.”

A key to the success of the center is the focus on peer interaction between the tutors and their fellow students.

“Our student tutors are quality individuals who care about their fellow students,” Ray said. “The peer-to-peer approach is particularly effective. The tutors understand the student’s perspective and base of knowledge.”

The student tutors confirm that from their own experience.

“Our job is to help students get on their feet so they can succeed. If not for the success center, many
students may not have the opportunity they need to develop the skills they need for college,” said student tutor Hautumn Greenleaf. “The whole point is to help students find their academic voice.”

Greenleaf was a tutor as an undergraduate student at OU-C, and she is now pursuing a master’s degree in clinical counseling at Ohio University.

“We help to fill in the gaps for students,” Greenleaf said. “Faculty members have varying levels of expectations of students and teaching styles. Students can ask questions of us they may not feel comfortable raising in class. If students feel overwhelmed or intimidated, they may leave and wind up dropping out of college.”

Math tutor Ryan Holdren said, “It all comes down to the fact that there actually are students who are tutors. We can go more in-depth with the material than they can in class.”

Holdren, who is majoring in middle childhood education with an emphasis in math and science, is in his second year as a tutor.

“We often become more than just a tutor. Rather, we become a mentor to the students we are helping,” Holdren said. “Maybe if the students we help can excel in math, they will have the confidence to do better in other classes.”

The writing center is offering workshops this fall in Quinn Library room 19 on the following topics:

•    MLA/APA (Modern Language Association and American Psychological Association) Documentation, 3 p.m. on Oct. 10 and 4 p.m. on Oct. 11
•    Avoiding Plagiarism, 3 p.m. on Nov. 12 and 4 p.m. on Nov. 13

Seating is limited to 20 individuals on a first-come basis. The center also offers classroom instruction and in-class writing workshops.

For more information, contact Nickles at

Upcoming Diversity Discussion event explores range of relevant topics

Campus community members will have the opportunity to explore a range of relevant topics during the “Diversity Discussions” event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 24 in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons at Ohio University-Chillicothe. The event is sponsored by OU-C Student Senate activity and includes free lunch.

“The premise of the event is simple: Diversity Discussions consists of round tables in the Learning Commons, each with a different theme and expert moderator.  Students are encouraged to grab some free lunch and visit the tables to engage in a discussion about something not spoken about on a daily basis. Students can come and go as they please,” explained OU-C Coordinator of Student Activities Ashlee Digges.

Topics and moderators for the upcoming event include:

•    I Studied Abroad moderated by students Jennifer Adams and Kelsey Holmes
•    Diversity & Theater moderated by Ken Breidenbaugh, Ph.D.
•    Diversity in Sports moderated by Brea Close and OU-C athletes
•    The Importance of Voting moderated by the Chillicothe/Ross County League of Women Voters
•    Religion and Sexuality moderated by Pastor Terry Williams from the Orchard Hill United Church of Christ
•    When Fact Meets Truth: What happens when what we know collides with what we believe? moderated by OU-C faculty member Robb Moats, Ph.D.

“All moderators are donating their time and expertise and I’m happy to know we are creating new OU-C partnerships,” Digges said.

Nicholas Kiersey interviewed about his role as an author

OU-C political science faculty member Nicholas Kiersey was recently interviewed by former Chillicothe Resident Luke Abaffy for his Web TV show “AuthorFeast.” The interview concerned Battlestar Galactica and International Relations, a book that Kiersey recently co-edited.

The interview focused on the writing process and how writers find inspiration for their work. Abaffy is a former Chillicothe resident who is now a writer in New York City.

Battlestar Galactica and International Relations was published by Routledge, a firm based in New York City and London.  The book is part of the publisher’s popular culture and world politics series, which is described as a forum for leading interdisciplinary research that explores the interconnections between popular culture and politics. Iver B. Neumann, research director at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, is the other co-editor.

Following is a link for the interview:

Kiersey, assistant professor of political science, joined the OU-C faculty in 2008. His expertise is in comparative theories of empire, international relations and foreign policy. He holds a Ph.D. in planning, governance and globalization from Virginia Tech.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in European public affairs from the University of Limerick (Ireland), a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Ireland and a second master’s degree in international politics and social science research methodology from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Chillicothe Campus students balance academics with outside interests, obligations

OU-C students have busy lives outside of the classroom. This week, we asked a handful of our learners what they do when they are not in class. As their responses show, they balance academics with other responsibilities and interests.

“I work 40 hours a week at the VA as a nursing assistant, and I also have a 2-year-old,” said Helen
Neal, a nursing student who graduated from Chillicothe High School. “I have to manage my time well. I guess I do not have time for much fun at this point.”

Stacey Greene, a fellow nursing student, also needs to find time for family and work. “I have a 2-year-old daughter, and I take care of her. I also work as a nursing assistant at Traditions,” said the nursing student from Shelbyville, Ind.

Travis Hess also has a job in the medical field. “I work as a nurse’s
aide at Adena and work with kids with special needs. I also lift weights and play sports,” said the nursing student from Huntington High School.

For Tommy Septer, his pursuits outside of the classroom struck a chord. “I write music and I am a musician. I mostly play guitar. I also am a busboy at Tumbleweeds,” said Septer, a computer technology major from Paint Valley High.

Workshop to address credit and personal finances

A “How Credit Scores Impact You and Your Future” financial workshop will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on Bennett Hall room 105 on Sept. 19 and Sept. 25.

The workshop will address how credit works student loans and how decisions that individuals make now can impact them in the future. Andrew Brown, vice president of 5/3 Bank, will lead the workshop, which is sponsored by the OU-C Giving Circle Women in Philanthropy and Fifth Third Bank.

The workshop is free and will include pizza. For more information, contact Joyce Atwood at

University offers flu shot options for students, employees and their families

Ohio University has partnered with Anthem/Express Scripts to provide a convenient and expanded free flu shot program.  All employees and family members (14 years of age and older) covered by the University’s Anthem/Express Scripts health plan can receive flu shots and/or Pneumonia from our participating Walgreen. flu and/or pneumonia shots are covered 100 percent and Walgreens will submit the bill.  Employees must present their Express Scripts identification card at the time of services.  Students who are uninsured will be able to receive a free flu shot.  Walgreens will be on campus from noon to 2 p.m. on Sept. 24 and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sept. 25 in the Patricia Scott Art Gallery.