Friday, October 11, 2013

Study abroad information session scheduled


An information session regarding study abroad experiences offered by Ohio University will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 17 in OU-C’s Bennett Hall room 105. Representatives from the university’s Office of Education Abroad will be on hand to share information and answer questions.
They are looking to meet with students who have an interest in studying abroad and to faculty members who may wish to create or sponsor a trip.

Information on the Office of Education Abroad, including the various programs it offers, is available online at http://www.ohio.edu/educationabroad/.

In an increasingly global society, these types of experiences can be of particular value. They can benefit students in both their professional pursuits by helping them remain competitive in their career searches and their personal growth by expanding the students’ horizons. The purpose of the session is to share insights, and there are no strings attached.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Strategic approach paves way for strong fall semester enrollment

OU-C's close-knit feeling of community allows faculty and students to develop a chemistry.

The Chillicothe Campus’ enrollment numbers are particularly strong for fall semester 2013, bolstered by a large number of incoming students. The number of admitted students, 922, is up 17 percent over the 766 admitted students in fall 2012, mirroring a similar 16 percent increase in applications, with 1,137 this fall, compared to 981 a year ago.

Preliminary numbers indicate the campus’ overall headcount enrollment at approximately 2,350 students, an increase of approximately 15 percent over last fall. These robust numbers are particularly important to balance graduating classes of 513 in the spring of 2013 and 512 the year before, which were the largest in the last 10 years.

“Having these large incoming classes provides stability and a strong base of students,” Director of Student Services John Fisher said. “In this age of increased competition, especially in terms of online programs as well as the emergence of private and proprietary colleges, these numbers testify to our commitment to serving our region and our ability to carry through with that commitment.”

“I am extremely pleased with these numbers. We are in the second year of the transition from academic quarters to semesters, and enrollment numbers usually decrease during these times, but we have seen growth,” Fisher said.

Ohio University-Chillicothe (OU-C) continues to offer several features that potential students find advantageous.

“With the ability to offer students the opportunity to earn a nationally-recognized Ohio University degree at an affordable price in a small campus setting with a wide range of extra-curricular offerings, we have the best of all worlds,” OU-C Dean Martin Tuck said. “Also, the fact that we are focused on offering academic programs that are aligned with area career offerings is especially important as students and their parents increasingly put a premium on finding a well-rounded, relevant college experience.”

At the heart of the student-recruitment endeavor is a smart recruitment plan, which mirrors the campus’ strategic efforts in providing a blueprint for moving forward with a purpose.  The campus’ advertising and other external communication efforts have been more closely aligned with recruiting strategies.

“The numbers are up, especially in areas we have targeted through our recruiting and communication strategies,” Fisher said.

Many of the efforts have been more focused on traditional recruiting areas, such as Jackson County (43 percent increase in applications) and Pike County (36 percent increase), with a renewed emphasis in Pickaway County (30 percent increase).

There has also been more of an emphasis on new recruiting grounds, such as Adams County, where applications rose from three to 25 in the last year, and Scioto County, which saw a 55 percent spike, from 20 applications in fall 2012 to 31 this year.

“Residents of these largely rural counties feel comfortable on the Chillicothe Campus, and find that it is a good ‘fit’ for them as their college home,” Fisher said.

With the success in recruiting comes a renewed emphasis on student-retention, which is aligned with the state subsidy model that stresses course and degree completion.

“OU-C is a campus of opportunity, and that extends beyond offering students the opportunity to attend college. It is important that we help them to make the most of this chance, realize their potential and earn a college degree,” Tuck said.

Along those lines, the Chillicothe Campus has put several student-success programs in place, such as the Success Center in the library, the supplemental instruction program that emphasizes peer learning beyond the classroom, the “Take 5” program that encourages students to take a full load of classes and increased and more focused academic alerts, which connect students who are struggling with the help they need.

Academic Majors Fair and workshops help students select paths that best fit their interests and visions


Past majors fairs have been well-attended.

By public relations student writer Megan Valentine

In the near future, OU-C will offer current and prospective students the opportunity to narrow down their academic interests and hone in on a major that best suits them. Participants will have access to a wide variety of resources including workshops, a personality assessment, discussions with faculty and advisors and ultimately the academic Majors Fair to aid them in making their decision.

The Majors Fair will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Oct. 17 in the Stevenson Center. Representatives of academic programs on both the Chillicothe and Athens campuses of Ohio University will be available to meet with individuals. An advantage of the OU-C educational experience is that students can complete more than 20 academic programs on the Chillicothe Campus or seamlessly relocate to the Athens campus, which offers more than 250 academic pursuits.

The event is preceded by “How to Choose a Major” workshops at noon Oct. 9 in Bennett Hall room 102, noon Oct. 11 in Bennett Hall 134 and at 5 p.m. on Oct. 15 in Bennett 134.

According to Hilltopper Advising Center Coordinator Cristy Null, the majors fair and workshops complement each other so that students are positioned to make the most of these opportunities.

“At the workshops, we discuss myths and facts of educational paths and ways that students can build the skills that employers value. We then complete the assessment, discuss results and instruct students in next steps to specific major exploration. Students can then attend the Majors Fair having a better understanding of self and careers that will match their skills, values and personality. We also encourage students to write out a list of questions to take with them to the majors fair about the majors in which they are interested.”

Even if students are still unable to choose a major there are many long-term advantages to be gained by taking part in the program, Null said.

“In a perfect world, we hope students can make a decision about a major. However, many students cannot quite make that leap. We hope students take away a better sense of what skills and personality characteristics they have and how those will fit in specific work environments. Then, students can look at any new, interesting career path or major and think critically about how that career or major fits,” says Null.

Students can attend one of the three workshops where they are given the Self Directed Search personality assessment. The results are then used to help them make an educated decision at the Majors Fairs with the help of faculty and “what if” DARS reports.

“We like this assessment because the tool itself is easy for the students to complete and score. Additionally, the theory on which it is based is easy for the students to understand and apply,” commented Null on the value of Self Directed Search.

In addition they are also introduced to many choices that they did not know existed at OU-C and given access to experts from different fields and representatives from programs such as ROTC, Study Abroad and Career Services. Members of Student Senate have also agreed to be involved with the event to add another dimension to the learning experience.

“By exposing them to the many opportunities for study at OU-C and OU it’s not unusual to overhear the statement ‘I didn’t know there was a major in…’ They have the chance to speak to an expert face to face and get specific information they can use to narrow their focus or make a decision,” added Null.

Many of the faculty members who volunteer to participate in the Majors Fair are able to provide reliable advice on required skill sets for certain careers and the qualities employers seek.

“Our faculty members are still very much connected to the fields in which they teach. Therefore, they are able to provide first-hand knowledge of employment, required skill sets and qualities that employers desire,” Null said.

Not only are these resources essential in the academic planning of current students, but according to studies they also play a major role in retention.

“The more opportunities we provide to students to connect to people and possibilities, the greater chance our students stay to degree completion,” commented Null. 

More than 500 prospective students from around the OU-C service region were invited to attend the workshops and Majors Fair. The events are requirements for any student presently enrolled in a UC 1000 course, which covers topics ranging from note-taking and money management to career research and education requirements and calls for them to complete a career research project.

“Among the obvious benefits of the class and career research project, we are teaching the students to build critical thinking skills, academic research skills, out of class experiences, and connect their academic coursework to a future career. The requirement to attend the Majors Fair helps to tie those concepts together,” Null explained.

Student employees develop skills that benefit them throughout their careers while representing the campus

By student public relations writer Mallory Laird

Campus employment opportunities have both immediate and long-term benefits, allowing students to earn money to help pay for college and learn professional skills that will benefit them beyond college and throughout their careers.

Among the greatest benefits of working on campus are the skills that students learn in terms of both technical abilities, which will be of use to them throughout their careers.

“There is a great variety of skills that an OU-C student worker can acquire that will be beneficial for future reference, especially pertaining to future jobs,” said Audra Bledsoe, who works in the student
recruitment area. “Student workers learn a lot of technical skills such as learning to navigate computer software programs including Microsoft Word and Excel. They also learn helpful office skills such as filing, and methods of data entry.

"As far as professionalism is concerned, the role of 'student assistant' is a job title that implies a sense of needed professionalism, as well as responsibility," Bledsoe said. "We, as student workers, are assisting other students with problems or questions pertaining to their future career which is a very serious subject.”

Chelci Borland, who works in Student Services, said, “The experience I have received  from working on campus will most  definitely  help me with, not only my future careers, but my everyday life. By
working on campus I have learned better communication skills, general office skills, and a number of technical skills that my future employers will take into consideration when reviewing my resume. I am treated like a professional in a professional setting, and I have a better sense of what it means to be respected and valued at a job. It’s safe for me to say that working on campus is more of a luxury rather than just something I have to do to get by.”

The ability to work with the public, which is important in any profession, is emphasized in these positions.

“The one thing that every student worker learns no matter where on campus the student is working is people skills. You are constantly interacting with other students, faculty, staff and community members and learn how to communicate with those people in different ways whether it is through email or just learning how to talk to people with different
personalities. Also with my job in financial aid, I have learned how to properly file items, deal with government forms, and my computer skills have rocketed as well,” said Casey Oates, a fellow student employment in the Student Services area. “Everyone is nice and treats you like an employee and not just a student.”

His colleague Dakota Davis, said, “In my opinion, working on campus is a wonderful opportunity for anyone and everyone who may get a chance to do so. You learn many wonderful life skills by working here, such as dependability, responsibility, people skills and customer service. Personally, I
am learning how a professional office works, and what is expected of each position daily.”

A benefit of campus employment is the flexibility and convenience these positions provide. Student employees are able to schedule their work commitments so they do not conflict with their academic schedules, offering an advantage over off-campus jobs.

“Any job on our campus will work with your class schedule so you never have to worry about any conflicting times. They really do a good job here making sure you can work as well as have enough time to do your class work and get your degree,” Oates said.

Davis said, “My boss knows and understands that this is a temporary position and not my career and supports that to the point where scheduling is never an issue.”

There are also practical aspects to the regular paycheck that student employment provides.

“The money I make as a student assistant is very helpful. My paycheck always covers my gas expenses, and for me, that's a huge relief,” said Bledsoe, who commutes to campus from Vinton County.

 “It really just pads my pockets, and gives me spending money to get back and forth to class, work, and still have money to run around and enjoy the college life.” Davis remarked.

The students also represent the Chillicothe Campus to individuals and serve as ambassadors of OU-C.

“I feel I help the campus attract more students to the campus, and drive them to want to attend OU-C.”  Davis said.

Borland noted, “As a current student, I love representing the campus to the public. OU-C is a great college with the best group of people you could ask for. I've found a home at OU-C, and that is something that I really want others to experience. It makes me excited, honestly, because I know that what I am telling a student or future student is going to help guide them with their future decisions; and that information that I may have just provided them with could be exactly what they are looking for in a college.”

Oates describes his position as serving as “the face of OU-C” and that people often recognize him from working on the Chillicothe Campus as well as his work with the campus’ public relations endeavors.

“I have been getting called the face of OU-C because I am on three different billboards, a mailer, and an online commercial. I constantly have people coming up to me saying that they have seen my face all over and sometimes it’s people that I don’t even know that approach me. Just being noticed as an OU-C student is pretty cool,” Oates said.

Bledsoe explains how her position in the recruiting office gives her a chance to represent the Chillicothe Campus.

“My position requires me to give campus tours to prospective students every Friday; therefore, I am given the chance to represent the school quite often. I truly enjoy representing OU-C; I feel proud to be working for an institution that is designed to help people reach their goals and better their careers,” Bledsoe said.

Working as a student employee gives students a chance to not only learn from professionals, but also share their knowledge with other students, who feel comfortable speaking with a peer.

“Most of the time, other students will come to me and ask my opinion on a situation, or just talk to me about the situation because they know that I am a student too. I think students find comfort in looking towards campus employed students,” said Borland. “For example, when students come to the admissions office looking to drop a class they often explain the situation. That gives me the opportunity to say ‘Hey, I've taken that class and these are the study tips that really helped me.’ Or I can say, ‘Did you know that the Learning Commons offers free tutoring to students? I went there for English, and they helped me a lot.’ I think we all like to talk to someone who has been through what we are currently going through,” said Borland.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Community sponsors are needed for Trick or Treat Extravaganza treat tables


Organizations, businesses, agencies and interested persons are needed to sponsor treat tables, game prizes, bounce houses, activities and arts and craft supplies for the upcoming eighth annual Trick or Treat Extravaganza. The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the Shoemaker Center at Ohio University-Chillicothe. Sponsored by OU-C’s Human Services Association student club, it provides a safe place for children and families to attend.

The treat table sponsors are to bring sealed bags of store purchased candy and arrive at the Shoemaker gym by 5 p.m. the day of the event.  Further information about the event can be obtained by contacting Barbara Mahaffey, Human Services Technology Program Coordinator at (740) 774-7287 or by email at mahaffey@ohio.edu.

Partnership at equestrian center benefits Pioneer students


The Chillicothe Campus has partnered with Ohio University-Southern and the Pioneer Center to offer events for students with disabilities at the OU-C Charles and Daisy Black Equestrian Center. During a recent event, the Southern campus’ Ohio Horse Park provided horses and equipment that enabled Pioneer students to have 30-minute individual therapeutic riding lessons, while another group of students learned how to care for horses.

OU-Southern provided six interns to assist the students in their riding and working with the horses.
These endeavors carry out the spirit of the horse farm. One of Charles and Daisy Black’s vision for the farm after their deaths was to have Ohio University Chillicothe sponsor equestrian events for individuals with disabilities.  Watching the faces of the Pioneer Students engaged in these activities revealed that riding and caring for horses instilled a sense of accomplishment for the participants.

Campus GESS group members attend lecture by renowned author at Ohio State

OU-C students who are part of the campus’ Gender Equality Solidarity Society (GESS) recently
heard Bell Hooks deliver a lecture, “Beyond White Supremacy,” at Ohio State University.
Dr. Hooks is a feminist scholar who writes about race, sexuality, gender, pop culture and other topics.  Her writing focuses on the interconnectivity of race capitalism and gender. She has written more than 35 books and numerous articles and is widely known and highly regarded in women’s studies and feminist circles. Bell Hooks (stylized as bell hooks) is the nom de plume that Gloria Jean Watkins took from her great-grandmother Bell Blair Hooks.

She has been a visiting professor at Ohio State for two years and is currently a distinguished professor in residency in Appalachian Studies at Berea (Ky.) College, the place she considers home.
The OU-C students who attended were Laura Erwin, Samantha Rearley and Samm Newman.  We were also able to meet up with previous OU-C post-secondary student Logan Hutson who is now in her first year at Ohio State.