Thursday, February 20, 2014

Southern Ohio Police Training Institute graduates make the grade with 100 percent pass rate

The current class of cadets poses for a photo

OU-C’s Southern Ohio Police Training Institute (SOPTI) Peace Officer Basic Training Course’s commitment to offering a focused, quality educational experience is paying dividends. The last two classes of academy graduates attained a 100 percent pass rate on the test for certification as Ohio Peace Officers.

The peerless pass rate is a testament to the academy’s ability to provide practical instruction with an emphasis on professionalism.

“We pride ourselves on being structured and disciplined,” Commander Christopher Jones said. “Beyond learning the basics, our cadets learn how to do their jobs with a high level of
professionalism. Everything we do is relevant to what they will do on a daily basis once they are in the law enforcement profession, and we have designed the curriculum accordingly. For example, we have a court scenario that involves local judges and lawyers so that our candidates learn how to conduct themselves in an actual court case.”

“Cadets are also required to wear SOPTI uniforms and bullet-proof vests since that will be required when they are on the job.”

The last two classes each included 14 students. The program lasts six months and includes 600 hours of instruction.

The academy’s instructors have the knowledge and insights to prepare the cadets for challenging careers in law enforcement.

“All of our instructors work full-time in the area in which they are teaching,” Jones said. “Consequently, the teaching is especially relevant.”

The academy’s effectiveness is drawing attention, helping with recruiting efforts.

“Our reputation is spreading in the law enforcement community largely through word of mouth,” Jones said. “People see that we are doing the right things and going beyond the minimum standards. SOPTI is probably the number one academy of its kind, in which most of its candidates hold full-time jobs, in the region.”

Current cadets were drawn by SOPTI’s well-earned acclaim.

“The pass rate, of course, attracted me to the program,’ said current cadet Vincent Antinore of the Highland County Sheriff’s Department. “It is known for having world-class instruction and dedication to excellence as well as preparing officers to protect the lives and property of individuals in the community.”

Cadet Howard Skeens of Chillicothe said, “I could not ask for better training. We are receiving excellent instruction with lots of hands-on training that we will use in our jobs on a daily basis.”

The academy program is open for two types of students: (1) those associated with or employed by a qualifying law enforcement agency and (2) open enrollment students, who are not currently associated with a law enforcement agency but seek careers as peace officers.

SOPTI serves as an important community resource in ensuring that individuals who work for area agencies have the best training and, therefore, are qualified to provide the highest level of service to area communities.

Chillicothe Campus’ personable approach encourages collaborative efforts

Deb Nickles is among campus members who take students' success seriously.

By public relations student writer Megan Valentine

This is the first story in a series, “Who We Are,” which will examine the Chillicothe Campus experience from a variety of perspectives. Since the series was inspired by a talk that English faculty member and Writing Center Director Debra Nickles gave to her student-tutors, she is batting lead-off in this series, as we strive to get an authentic look at OU-C from campus and community members.
Regional campuses offer a variety of benefits and advantages that cannot be ignored. They are highly accessible to individuals from all backgrounds and income levels, and offer the “college experience” without the intimidation factor that often accompanies larger schools. According to English faculty member and Writing Center Director Deb Nickles, however, Ohio University’s Chillicothe Campus consistently exceeds the desires and expectations of those who attend and work there.

From Nickles’ perspective, the administration’s down-to-earth approach and genuine interest in the success of the students gives OU-C an edge above the competition.

“I have witnessed the campus coming together to identify problems and to seek real solutions that work,” says Nickles of the Chillicothe Campus. “The faculty is all tremendously smart and talented at what they do and are always looking for creative ways to teach their research to the students.”

For any individual looking to learn and move their life forward in a positive direction, OU-C provides a friendly and inviting environment that nurtures creativity and the development of new strengths.

“I see students come together, collaborate on projects and discover new things about themselves they didn't even know,” says Nickles. “Most remarkably, I see people discover their own potential for persistence, such as students who find themselves in hard classes but stick with it to pull off an A or B at the end of the class … I love to see people build confidence that way and tap into their professional selves.”

Nickles’ enthusiasm for the campus and her career extends far beyond the classroom.

“It was a professor here at OU-C who saw the potential in me and urged me to follow my passion in the humanities; I like to think I am passing that along,” she says. “I'd have to say that OU-C genuinely feels like ‘home.’”

Fittingly, she has remained in contact with many of her former students.

“I have built strong relationships with students who have continued their studies on to graduate school, and now I call them my colleagues. They graduate, they win awards and they let me share in those experiences. These are people I meet in class and who challenge me to learn with them as I teach,” says Nickles. “My journey at OU-C has been one long, inspiring chain of events and I can't wait to see where the next link takes me!”

Cheryl Hoffman earns Ohio University Classified Employee of Month Award

Cheryl  Hoffman (center) is joined by Classified Senate representatives Patricia Palmer and Chris Bailey-Brown.

OU-C staff member Cheryl Hoffman, records management associate in Student Services, has been recognized as Ohio University Classified Employee of the Month for February. She was honored during a recent reception on campus, when representatives of Classified Senate presented Hoffman with a plaque.

The purpose of the Classified Employee of the Month award is to acknowledge and recognize those who are setting the standards for excellence and innovation and whose contributions go beyond the extra mile in inspiring and supporting the achievements of others.

Letters of recommendation from those who work with her daily detail Hoffman’s professionalism and student-focused approach.

In her letter of recommendation, colleague Kim McKimmy wrote, “Cheri’s path to her present position points to the fact she has served as a role model for our community and co-workers at OU-Chillicothe. After being displaced from a previous job in our community, she decided to return to college and complete her degree as a non-traditional student … In her present position, Cheri has gone above and beyond the call of duty, helping students who have had holds placed on their accounts and with student appeals.”

Jaime Lowe, Hoffman’s supervisor in Student Services, wrote in a letter of recommendation, “Cheri embraces challenges and adapts to change easily, always has a positive attitude and serves as a professional role model for our student assistants … {she} goes above and beyond to help our students.”

Student Sissy Burggraf wrote, “Cheri is always willing to listen to ‘her’ students and is a friend to each of them. She is never too busy to listen to each student’s problem .. Cheri goes above and beyond to solve problems for students … If there is a delay in her getting the information, she contacts the students to let them know they have not been forgotten.”

Hoffman joined OU-C in February 2006 as a records management assistant in admissions and registration. She was promoted to records management associate in 2008. Her responsibilities include processing applications, transcripts, transcript evaluations, registrations, and payments, as well as assisting with student orientation sessions. She is currently on the Faculty/Staff Development Committee and has served on other committees.

Upcoming talk will discuss 1960s struggle for human rights

This is a reminder that Akil Houston, Ph.D., will speak at noon on Feb. 27 in the Bennett Hall auditorium. The title of his talk is “Beyond Dr. King in the ‘60s Struggle for Human Rights.” Houston is assistant professor in African American Studies at Ohio University.

His talk, which is free and open to the public, commemorates Black History Month at OU-C. It is sponsored by the OU-C Cultural Committee.

In this snapshot overview, Houston will consider the various people who participated in the civil rights movement. For example, the talk will examine the role of women involved in starting the Montgomery bus boycott, such as Ella Baker’s role as a teacher as well as a leader of activists and organizers during the period. He will also discuss how Dr. King became the symbolic “lone leader” of the movement.

Café, bookstore adjust hours for spring break

The Hilltop Café will be closed the week of spring break, and the campus bookstore will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed on Friday during the week of March 3-7.

Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship sponsoring ‘Pitch Us Your Plan’ contest for students

The Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship is seeking innovative and motivated students to participate in the annual “Pitch Us Your Plan” competition. The event gives students the opportunity to gain valuable experience in pitching their ideas, feedback from business professionals and the chance to compete for cash prizes ranging from $100 to $500.

Visit for the rules of the contest. Students can register at: Registration deadline is April 1.
To participate in the Pitch Competition, participants need to:
•    Attend a one-hour long workshop
•    Develop a 10-minute presentation
•    Create a one-page outline of the idea (full business plans are not required).

The verbal presentation will be judged on the following criteria:

•    Quality of the idea. Innovative thinking and degree of forward planning (analysis of competitors, markets, funding and general commercial feasibility)
•    Quality of the presentation. Style, vision, capacity for audience engagement.
•    One-Pager. How concisely and effectively the idea is summarized.
The focus of the competition is on the idea and the pitch, not on having a full business plan.
For more information regarding the competition please contact Blayr Richie,