Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Class project allows future educators to put community service into action

Faculty member Jamie Harmount (left) as well as education students Hannah Jury, Ashleigh Morgan Gray and Carly Joseph used the holidays to become involved in a lesson about community engagement.

A class project has allowed students in an early education class at OU-C to make an immediate impact in their community and learn lessons that will last throughout their future careers as educators.

For the third straight year, students in the “Social Studies Methods” class participated in a silent auction to raise money for the OU-C Helping Needy Children fund, which supports area families during the holidays. This year’s auction raised approximately $580 for the worthy cause, with students in the class donating and purchasing the auction items.

It is a project with a purpose.

“We hold the auction because the study of social studies involves a person's responsibility to the community and our relationship with others,” said early education faculty member Jamie Harmount, who teaches the class and organized the endeavor. “It is a lesson not only for early childhood education college students but for the future young children they will be teaching.  My social studies students also learn about developing citizenship and taking pride in the work they do to help others in their community.”

The students gained important life lessons from the effort.

“Being a part of this event allows me to do what I can to make sure that some of the joy that they deserve is given to them. Raising money for such a wonderful event feels natural to me at this time a year, which should be a time of giving and to be thankful for all that you have in life,” said Hannah Jury, a graduate of Greenfield McClain High School.

“It brings my heart joy to know that we have potentially made the lives of children a little merrier this Christmas season. I hope to be a part of many events such as this that spread love and hope to those who need it most.”

Ashleigh Morgan Gray, a native of Douglasville, Ga., also was moved by the experience.

“The silent auction was an awesome event to  be a part of and a huge eye-opener for me. Our class of maybe 20 to 25 students came together for a humbling cause to give back to the community,” Gray said.

“I love giving back and supporting the community in which I live so it was a ‘no-brainer’ to participate in this event. The silent auction really inspired me in more ways than one. Once I saw how much money was raised by one small class, I realized this would be a great event to hold at my church, Zion Baptist Church. I plan to propose this to my pastor in the near future.”

Carly Joseph, a graduate of Zane Trace High School, appreciates the fuller understanding of the impact that students can make.

“I have learned that one idea or thought can initiate a large impact. Dr. Harmount told us about the silent auction, and we each wanted to take part, not knowing how large an impact or how much money we would bring in.”

Summer and fall term graduates are recognized during first-ever graduation reception event

OU-C recognized students who have earned their Ohio University degrees while taking classes on the Chillicothe Campus during the recent graduation reception event in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons.

The event, the first of its kind, honored students who completed their academic programs during the summer and fall terms. The official Recognition of Graduation ceremony will be held April 29 in the Shoemaker Center.

Approximately 25 graduates attended the event, with about 75 individuals, including friends and family members as well as Chillicothe Campus faculty and staff members in attendance.

Each graduate was recognized and received a certificate. The reception represented a milestone of achievement in the lives of the graduates.

“Earning a college degree is a rigorous endeavor,” Dean Martin Tuck said. “It takes much time, perseverance and sacrifice. Additionally, many of you have balanced family and job responsibilities while attending college.”

“Today, that hard work plays off, and you are to be commended. Because of the effort it requires, a college education is a valuable and treasured asset. The lessons you learned during your college careers, both inside the classroom and beyond, have helped to shape you and prepare you for your future pursuits, and they will last a lifetime.”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Outreach endeavors share story of OU-C student Sharles Thompson’s adventures in Netherlands

A billboard in McArthur touts Sharles' overseas adventures.

The Ohio University-Chillicothe campus is highlighting the efforts of a local Vinton County resident, Sharles Thompson.  A graduate of Vinton County High School, Thompson is currently studying abroad in the Netherlands as part of the Ohio University-sponsored Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) program.  In an effort to share Thompson’s experiences abroad the Chillicothe campus is highlighting her endeavors on the Campus News Blog.

In the spirit of the campus’ mission to strengthening both students and the region, OU-C has dedicated resources to bring Thompson’s endeavors to the community. She is featured on a billboard in McArthur in Vinton County. The billboard references the study abroad blog that is prominently featured on the Campus’ news blog.

Thompon’s blog can be found on the home page of the OU-C News Blog by simple click on the link to “Sharles’ Study Abroad Blog” to view all of her posts so far. Or, her posts can be found at the URL: www.oucnewsblog.com/p/sharles-study-abroad-blog.html

A goal of these efforts was to provide Thompson with an outlet to share her experiences so others can benefit from her endeavors and even be inspired by her efforts.

Thompson arrived in the Netherlands in late August to begin her teaching internship at De Klinker in Oud-Bijerland, an early childhood education school. For the past three months, she has been documenting her experiences on a very insightful and thoughtful blog.  Thompson is featuring a variety of aspects of her life abroad, including the differences in educational systems and teaching styles, cultural nuisances and the barriers she faces as an English-speaking educator.

“I found that although I am working in a very different environment, there are certain aspects of the educational teaching experience that remain the same,” wrote Thompson in her post about her first day of school.

“No matter what part of the world, a child must receive a certain amount of care and support in order to grow and prosper in their education.”

Thompson pursued her higher education at the Chillicothe Campus right after high school. She selected the campus thanks to its close-to-home location and affordability. After enrolling in the early childhood education program, Thompson has had the opportunity to intern in classrooms in Vinton, Ross and Hocking counties. This was her first chance to observe a variety of different classrooms, districts and teaching strategies.

Now, through her program in the Netherlands, Thompson is diversifying her experiences even further with the hope of better preparing her to reach her future students. By learning how to function in a totally foreign environment with people she has never before interacted with, Thompson will be better equipped to look at the classroom with a perspective that is unmatched.
In her most recent post Thompson wrote, “I am experiencing barriers that I have not had any experience within my home culture. Overcoming these barriers proves to be challenging and somewhat overwhelming at points. However, the reward is worth the risk of always wondering what could have happened if I wouldn’t have simply stepped out of my comfort zone.”

“We are so proud of Sharles for taking her education one step, and many miles, further by pursuing such an exciting and challenging adventure,” said OU-C Dean Martin Tuck.

Sharpshooting guard Blake Warrington reaches 1,000-point milestone of his OU-C basketball career

Blake Warrington (left) and OU-C coach AJ McCray

While Blake Warrington’s offensive strength is his long shot, his ability to impact a basketball game as a prolific scorer is far from a long-shot proposition.

Warrington, a graduate of Wellston High School, recently scored the 1,000th point of his Ohio University-Chillicothe basketball career, netting the landmark basket in a recent game against the University of Rio Grande. The 6-foot-3 sharpshooting senior guard needed about 60 games to reach the milestone, and he is averaging approximately 16.5 points per game during his college career.

“My strong point is probably my outside shooting,” Warrington said in discussing his game. “This has been a pretty awesome accomplishment. Last year, our coach (AJ McCray) started talking about my getting near 1,000 points, and that is when I realized it was possible.”

During his college career, Warrington has adjusted his game from being primarily a perimeter player.

“In high school, I was mainly a jump-shooter, and I have had to adjust to the college game,” he said. “Here, I am going up against more athletic players, and I have needed to step up my game and learn to do more than shoot just 3-pointers.”

Warrington is more than just a scorer.

“As a shooter, Blake has unlimited range. But, beyond that, he is the epitome of a team player,” OU-C men’s basketball Coach AJ  McCray said. “He gets along with his teammates and blends in well with others. Most importantly, he is a good student.”

Playing basketball at OU-C has helped Warrington fulfill a long-time goal of his.

“Playing college basketball has been a dream of mine for a long time,” Warrington said. “I enjoy playing basketball at OU-C. It is a lot of hard work, but I have gotten a lot out of it. I really like my teammates, and we are like brothers. Many of the players are from this region, and it is a cool experience to play on the same team as players I competed against in high school. Plus, knowing them made the transition easier as a freshman.”

“Being on the basketball team has added to the overall college experience for me. It is something I enjoy and helps to provide motivation and focus,” Warrington said.

Warrington, a business management major, is able to apply many of his classroom principles to his basketball pursuits.

“I took a time-management course as a freshman, and much of what we studied has paid off. For example, with basketball, I have to learn how to balance everything, such as classes, studying and family. I am sure this will help me in the future, as well,” Warrington said.

That approach mirrors the vision that McCray has for the men’s basketball program.

“Although basketball requires work, I want the players to have fun and to look forward to going to practice. Hopefully, competing in basketball adds to their college experience and makes it more well-rounded,” McCray said.

“I explain to the players that, in the real world, they will have tough bosses and will have to meet deadlines. From playing basketball, they can learn qualities that will help them in the workplace, such as being accountable and the importance of teamwork.”

OU-C fields a robust athletic program with top-notch facilities, and its teams are members of the Ohio Regional Campus Conference. Competing in athletics allows students to pursue activities they were involved in high school, which adds to the overall college experience.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Workshop emphasizes best practices in online and blended educational approaches

Approximately 30 OU-C full-time and adjunct faculty members participated in a recent on-campus “Quality Matters” workshop. The event was coordinated by the curriculum committee’s “OU-C eCommunity,” a collaboration of faculty members who are engaged in utilizing technology in teaching and learning. Further similar sessions are planned to address best-practices models in online and blended delivery education approaches.

The Chillicothe Campus has been involved in online and blended models for a number of years. These types of learning environments are especially student-focused, particularly on the Chillicothe Campus, where travel to campus can be a challenge and many students are balancing academics with job and family responsibilities.

A focal point of campus initiatives in this area has been on upholding the quality of the offerings so that online students are having the same level of educational experience and outcomes as those in traditional classroom settings.

Marianne Cotugno, a faculty member at Miami (Ohio)-Middletown, moderated the recent workshop. She is expert in technology and pedagogy.

Reminder about designated smoking area

With the close of fall semester and the beginning of spring semester on the horizon, it is an appropriate time to remind members of the campus community that a smoking area has been established on the exterior east side of the Stevenson Center. The area’s perimeters are marked by red lines, and it includes receptacles for disposing of cigarette butts.

This area gives smokers a comfortable venue with steps on which to sit and an overhang for protection against inclement weather. It also enhances safety by not placing individuals near vehicles in the parking lots.

The focus is to create a space that offers a safe venue for smokers, with an emphasis on protecting non-smokers from second-hand smoke, particularly near doorways, and keeping the campus litter-free in terms of cigarette butts, especially the pedestrian plaza in front of Bennett Hall.

Winner announced for United Way computer raffle

Cliff Zempter won the recent raffle drawing for a Dell Optiplex 960 computer. The event raised $138 for the local United Way chapter.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Innovative learning communities endeavor supports student engagement; is tailored to commuter campus

In an innovative initiative that is designed to further strengthen campus engagement and enrich students’ educational experiences, learning communities have been being introduced on campus this fall. This concept is most often associated with residential campuses and usually involves students with shared interests and/or academic pursuits being housed together.

To tailor this initiative to a commuter campus such as OU-C, students take classes of different academic disciplines, which are focused on a central theme, back-to-back. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to approach a topic from different perspectives. It also encourages more collaboration among both the students and faculty members.

English faculty member Tony Vinci and art faculty member Darren Baker have launched one such endeavor, with Baker teaching “Introduction to Digital Photography” from 9:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. and Vinci teaching “Writing and Rhetoric” from 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Meanwhile, fellow English faculty member Deb Nickles and sociology faculty member Marguerite Hernandez have introduced another pair of classes in this model during fall term. Hernandez is teaching “Introduction to Sociology” from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. and Nickles is teaching “Writing and Rhetoric” from 12:30 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. the same days.

The interaction between students is also intended to deepen their connections to campus, which should support retention efforts.

Research shows there are several advantages to this type of learning environment, many of which are aligned with the Chillicothe Campus’ strategic emphasis on increasing student satisfaction, retention and success, in terms of course and academic degree completion.

“Students in learning communities tend to feel more connected to the campus and to their classmates. They also usually feel closer to faculty members and more comfortable in the college environment, which leads to a higher degree of satisfaction with their courses,” Vinci said. “Consequently, they have an overall higher GPA than their peers as well as a lower dropout rate.”

This type of approach also encourages collaboration and teamwork, skills that are beneficial to students throughout their academic and professional pursuits.

Beyond practical outcomes, there are intangible benefits for the students.

“A learning community represents a way to work beyond the traditional academic frame work and develop a more personal understanding of yourself and the world,” Vinci explained.

Participating faculty members have experienced the benefits of collaborative approach of the learning communities.

“For my class, I have designed assignments about sociological topics to help students retain what they are learning in ‘Writing and Rhetoric,’ and I know Deb has designed assignments to help students retain what they are learning in ‘Introduction to Sociology,’ so students are getting similar information from two different sources. We think that is beneficial in helping the students retain material,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully, I am helping them improve their writing skills, which will assist their success in English, and Deb is helping them improve their sociological imaginations, which will help them in my class.”

The Learning Community concept is an approach that extends beyond time in class.

“The students in the classes are acting like a community,” Hernandez said. “I see them studying together and spending time together on campus. A goal is that this community extends beyond class and the students build friendships from this experience. Also, I enjoy working with other faculty members and the teamwork that is encouraged by this initiative. I hope I have the opportunity to teach additional learning community classes in the future.”

A video about the learning communities that was produced by student videographer Madison Corbin is available here.

Upcoming OU-C theater production “Almost, Maine” examines many dimensions of love and relationships

Ryan Kight and Haley Gray rehearse a scene from "Almost, Maine"

The Ohio University-Chillicothe theater program will present the play “Almost, Maine,” at 8 p.m. on Dec. 3, Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 in the Bennett Hall auditorium.

Written by John Cariani, the play deals with a small town’s dealings with the many excitations – and complications – of love on a magical midwinter’s night. The comedy is set in the fictional remote town of Almost, Maine, and includes a series of vignettes exploring love and loss, as well as the perils of romance. It is also the first OU-C production for director Lance Mekeel, who joined the campus’ faculty this fall.

Tickets are $5 for the general public, $3 for campus faculty and staff members, and OU-C students are admitted free with university ID. Tickets are available in the box office outside of the auditorium the evenings of performances.

“This production should appeal to a broad public because, if there is something everyone has experience with, it is love,” Mekeel said. “The play shares instances in relationships that are what I would consider threshold moments, when the relationship could break in several directions. With the theme being so universal, I thought this would be a great play for our premiere event this season. It is somewhat simple, yet very powerful, at the same time. The cast has shown a strong connection to the play, and the actors understand the themes and characters even better than I could have anticipated.”

The cast members are reacting well to the upcoming play.

“I like how the play covers all aspects of love: the good, the bad and the crazy moments,” said stage manager Rachael Ridout, a human services technology major from Portsmouth. “It is something that audience members can connect with in some way. The play is more than just a comedy, and there are lots of deep moments.

Ryan Kight, an education major from Florida, is making his acting debut with this production. “I have enjoyed the experience, and it has been a fun and challenging time. Also, as a future teacher, it has been helpful in learning to talk in front of people. Plus, being a teacher is somewhat similar to acting in a play in that you learn to connect with an audience in both situations.”

Haley Gray, a Unioto High School graduate and communication studies major, is a veteran student theater performer with Chillicothe Civic Theater as well as campus productions. “I have done a lot of backstage work the last few years, and it is fun to be back on stage. I think of this as a romantic comedy. It is easy to relate to this play. The actors and audience members can easily put themselves into the play and the relationships they see throughout it.”

For more information on the play or the OU-C theater program visit www.ohio.edu/chillicothe/studentlife/theater/index.cfm

OU-C students in education class present posters as part of International Week events

OU-C students in the education course, EDEC 2600 Global Early Childhood: Programs and Practices, recently presented their international early childhood education and care (ECEC) posters as part of International Week. Some students from the summer section joined fall semester students for the event.

Among the countries represented were Afghanistan (Kirsten Bradley presented by Hannah Jury), China (Dominique Watson), Germany (Sarah Leasure & Nate Meddler), Haiti (Rachel Rodriguez and Drew Brown), India (Abby Storts), Mexico (Emily Ross presented by Ashleigh Gray), Nepal (Kathryn Rapp), North Korea & South Korea (Brittany Howard), Poland (Shannon Stroup),  Italy (Caitlynn Whitten), Japan (Leslie Lemo) and Uganda (Emily Richards).

Education students from other classes helped host the event. Kelsey Clay, Lydia Coleman and Sarah Cydrus coordinated international-themed foods for sampling; Lauren Stout designed passports to visitors to the various ECEC posters; Sara Palmer hosted a table that displayed a variety of multicultural books; and Chelsea Irvin and Becca Schutte were greeters and passport checkers. They were among other students who supported the International Week event.

“When OU-C students learned about International Week at OU, they wanted to be a part of it. The idea of a poster presentation actually came from a small group of students, who inspired me to adapt a course assignment from a PowerPoint presentation to an academic poster presentation,” said Mary Barbara Trube, professor of education and the faculty sponsor of the event.

The students gained insights that will help them in their academic and professional pursuits.

“It was interesting to learn of a different culture and the diversity that exists,” said Drew Brown, a middle childhood major. “During my career, I will probably have students from different cultures in the classroom. From this, I will be better able to relate their experiences to our educational system in the United States.”

Shannon Strop, an early childhood education major, said. “This will make me a better teacher by helping to understand international students and their point of view. There are so many different countries, and the way that other systems function can be different than in the United States.”

Ashleigh Gray, an early childhood education major, said, “I am a big fan of diversity, so I think this is great. In fact, I just wrote a research paper on the importance of diversity in education.”

EDEC 2600 is a Tier II Cross-Cultural course that focuses on early childhood education, care, and development from an international perspective, and includes studying the United Nations; Convention on Rights of the Child and elements within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development impacting the global community.

Annual Heritage Day event commemorates campus’ rich history and community connections

The Chillicothe Campus celebrated its rich history and promising future during the recent Heritage Day event in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons.

Heritage Day is an undertaking that is unique to OU-C and captures the forward-thinking, creative approach that distinguishes the Chillicothe Campus. It is undertaken in the spirit and includes many of the trappings of a traditional college homecoming endeavor but is tailored to a regional, commuter campus and the constituencies it serves. Heritage Day offers an opportunity for former students and community members to visit campus and visit with former classmates and long-time friends as well as for current campus members to join the celebration.

Perhaps most significantly, the event provides an opportunity for the Chillicothe Campus to celebrate its community connections and say “thank you” to residents of this region for their continued support.

To capture that spirit the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the third annual community service awards. These awards were presented to students who are making a special impact on their communities.

Whether working as individuals or as part of a larger group, the recipients undertook a range of projects. Through their efforts was the common thread of community service. Together, these individuals provide a tapestry that exemplifies the spirit of the Chillicothe Campus and its emphasis on community connections.

The current student community service award winners include:
•    Tiffany Graves
•    Casey Oates
•    Shania Logan and Emily Ross
•    OU-C softball team

Honorable mention recognition was presented to:
•    Human Services Technology club
•    OU-C Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Program

Further, Hilltopper volleyball players and coaches were recognized for the state tournament championship they captured this past fall as were tennis players Alley Collins Newland and Dakota Collins, who won the state doubles title.

Over the years, Heritage Day has grown to become the second-largest annual OU-C annual event, second-only to the Recognition of Graduation ceremony.

Local musicians Kenny Valentine and Ashley Good of the Kenny Valentine Band provided the entertainment.

Hilltop Café and campus bookstore will adjust hours of operation

Because of the holiday break and to meet the needs of students, the Hilltop Café and campus bookstore will have adjusted hours during portions of November and December:

Hilltop Café
•    Nov. 25-29. Closed
•    Dec. 7-8. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
•    Dec. 9-10. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
•    Dec. 11. 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
•    Dec. 14-Jan.10. Closed
•    Jan. 11. Resume normal hours of operation

•    Nov. 25. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
•    Dec. 14-17. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
•    Dec. 18. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
•    Dec 21-23. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
•    Dec. 24-Jan. 3. Closed

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sharles' Study Abroad: Breaking Barriers

The classes are in full swing here at De Klinker. The students are lively and energized with each new day. I am visiting various classrooms on a regular basis. The American grade level equivalent to these classes would be from Pre-Kindergarten through early Fourth grade. The more I visit the students, the more I realize the barriers that come between us. Some of these barriers I am experiencing are totally new to me. As I face these new circumstances I must begin to adapt my teaching practices by applying new and unfamiliar strategies. This can sometimes be a very challenging task depending on extremity of the barrier. However, it is important to keep in mind that the barriers we face as professional educators prove to help us grow continually in our approach to instruction in addition to improving our relationships with students.

In the the Pre-K classroom, many students express excitement when I come into their room. Some will stop what they are doing and say,”Hello Miss Casey” while others will greet me with a hug. Even yet, some students will come and immediately begin talking to me in Dutch. I can see by their facial expressions and body language that they are excited by this interaction. By now, there are some words that I understand and I can sometimes recognize key phrases that will help me talk with them. However, more times than not I am unable to decipher what they are trying to say. This disheartens me because I am missing out on the important information that these young students are trying to express.   I fear that my personal relationships with the students are suffering because of this fact. I could get to know the students better by talking to them and finding out their interests first hand. Instead, I must ask the teacher for a translation if she isn’t busy. This language barrier is a daily occurrence and this is only one example.

In order to break this language barrier I have found several strategies that help. When the students see that I am putting forth effort to get to know their language, they immediately become interested all the more. This usually comes with the children who are in first grade and older. As I teach them new English words, I incorporate their corresponding Dutch vocabulary. If time permits, I will invite them to teach me their Dutch words. The learning becomes reciprocal in that it allows for student growth in addition to my own. Also, the students have to think of other ways of communication if they want to express something. This strengthens their English language skills due to the fact that they know they have to use it to communicate with me. Also, they begin to think “outside the box”. Some students will use hand gestures while others will show me what they are trying to say with an action. 

Through all of this shared learning, I can see something that all teachers should strive to gain in their classrooms. This is motivation. When students are interested and personally related to the instruction, they will WANT to learn. They will have a desire to learn about new and challenging things. As a teacher, I have to be able to scaffold their learning so that they feel free enough to make this leap. Sure, learning new things may be hard but when properly supported it can create a masterpiece. Students will have improved self confidence and be even more likely to take more educational risks.

I am experiencing barriers that I have not had any experience within my home culture. Overcoming these barriers proves to be challenging and somewhat overwhelming at points. However, the reward is worth the risk of always wondering what could have happened if I would have simply stepped out of my comfort zone.  We have to realize that these students will be and are currently a part of our community in which we live.  By modeling ways to overcome these school based barriers, the students are seeing first hand how to deal with some of the obstacles they will face as young adults in the world outside of school.  Every aspect of the classroom can contribute to the well being of the community inside and out.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on Sharles' personal blog: www.sharlesabroad.wordpress.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Heritage Day community service awards recognize OU-C students making an impact in their communities

Heritage Day is a homecoming-type event tailored to the Chillicothe Campus.

The third annual community service awards will be presented to students who are making a special impact in their communities when Ohio University-Chillicothe commemorates Heritage Day beginning at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons.

Recipients were nominated by campus members, and final selection was made by a committee comprised of a student, faculty and staff members.

The community service award honorees involve both groups of students and those working individually. Their endeavors are diverse and, collectively, tell the campus’ story of engaging with the region it serves in a compelling manner. These students have displayed a passion for community service and using their time and talents to help others. In many ways, they exemplify the campus’ mission of “paying forward” by helping others while pursuing lives of impact.

Heritage Day is designed to offer a homecoming-style event that is tailored to a regional, commuter campus. It offers an opportunity for former students to visit campus and meet with past classmates and faculty members, as well as for the campus to further engage with the region it serves.

The event is free, and members of the campus and area community are invited to attend. Local musicians Kenny Valentine and Ashley Good will provide entertainment. Refreshments will be served.

In addition to the community service award winners, members of OU-C’s state championship volleyball team will be recognized. The Hilltopper volleyball team recently won the Ohio Regional Campus Conference tournament, defeating Ohio University-Eastern in three straight sets in the title match. Jackie Kellough, a junior from Huntington High School, was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Following are the community service award winners:


Tiffany Graves. Graves, an education major, is already making a difference in the lives of youth. She has assisted with the Literacy Alive! event, which is sponsored by the Kappa Delta Pi education honorary. This event is designed to foster a love of books with area children. A lifetime Girl Scout, she was also a speaker at the Lancaster campus’ “Celebrate Women Conference 2015.”

Casey Oates. This summer, Oates sought to provide a positive opportunity to his fellow community members. By partnering with the Pioneer School, a local organization to aid students with developmental disabilities, he was able to organize and execute an athletic camp for children who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to participate in sports.  “I’ve really wanted to do something like this since I was in high school,” Oates said.  “I’m just trying to give kids an opportunity to do something they’re not used to.”  At his football camp, participants were provided helmets and uniforms, led through a series of stretches and warmups, and invited to participate in an array of football drills. 

Shania Logan and Emily Ross. These two students proved the power of creativity and teamwork in creating a project that energized the campus and benefitted the community. Logan and Ross spearheaded a campus Halloween door-decorating contest, in which winners were chosen by the number of canned good placed in collection boxes. The winning department earned a pizza party donated by Cristy’s Pizza. More importantly, the canned goods were then donated to a local food bank. These two enterprising students showed a great deal of initiative and event-planning skills in taking the project from concept to reality. Further, they have humbly worked behind the scenes in an endeavor that sparked increased collaboration on campus and stronger bonds with the community. As they said, a lesson learned from this effort is that everyone can make a difference, and they certainly exemplify that spirit through their actions.

OU-C Women’s Softball Team. Members of the OU-C women’s softball team sponsored a clinic for students of the Pioneer School for individuals with developmental disabilities. The players took time from their busy schedules on a weekend for this event, which captures the spirit of community service. The campus’ athletics program strives to help our student-athletes develop as students and individuals as well as athletes, and this endeavor puts that concept into action. The participating players demonstrated their ability to put others first and to use their talents to assist others who are not as fortunate. Many of the participating players remarked that the clinic broadened their horizons and helped them develop important skills that will serve the student-athletes in their academic and professional careers as well as their lives in making them more aware of others around them and the importance of reaching out to help others.


Human Services Technology (HST) Club. In continuing a local tradition, HST Club members organized the 10th annual Trick or Treat Extravaganza. Through their leadership, more than 50 current and former HST students, as well as students from a range of academic majors and student groups volunteered at an event in the Shoemaker Center. Approximately $2,500 worth of candy was distributed to area youth at the event, with the items donated by OU-C students as the result of fund-raisers as well as area businesses and social service organizations. Thanks to donations at the door, approximately 180 articles of clothing were donated to the First Presbyterian Church Children’s Food Bank, and 1,571 pounds of canned goods were given to the local Good Samaritan Network food bank.

OU-C Nursing Class. Students in the campus’ bachelor’s degree nursing program hosted a breast cancer awareness event outside of the Stevenson Center this fall. The endeavor included student poster presentations, games, food and prizes. The event provided an enjoyable setting with serious purposes, especially in terms of preparing the students for their nursing careers. This event was meant to involve students in a community activity that promotes public awareness and to help get both students and faculty members involved in an active learning activity. This type of experience helps students develop the ‘soft’ skills they need in their profession, such as people skills and the communication skills that allow them to talk with patients and their family members in layman terms; an extension of the learning that goes on in the classroom.

Ohio University alumni share career insights on the field of education during recent panel discussion

By public relations student writer Leah Sternberger

Ohio University-Chillicothe Career Services and the Ohio University Alumni Association recently hosted OU-C's first Bobcat to Bobcat Panel. During the dinner event, OU-C students and faculty had the opportunity to hear from several panelists who offered practical advice about preparing for careers in the field of education.

The panel was moderated by Jennifer Domo, Ohio University instructor and director of the Science Co Operative of Elementary Students (SCOPES) Academy at Unioto School District.
The three panelists are all Ohio University alumni who took time to share their perspectives with current Chillicothe Campus students. The panelists represent a variety of educational backgrounds, which provided a breadth of experience and advice for the current students, providing an in-depth look into their chosen profession.

The panelists covered a range of educational topics such as how to approach their jobs on a daily basis, connecting with students, creating a dynamic classroom environment and career paths that education graduates can pursue.

Students and attendees also had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions about their experiences.

The panelists emphasized the human side of the education field and the importance of the “soft” skills that are gained outside of the traditional classroom learning.

Panelist Brent Taylor, principal of Warren Middle School in Vincent, is a former OU-C student and graduate of Miami (Ohio) University. He later earned his master’s degree in educational administration from Ashland University. Taylor’s role in the discussion was vital in gaining perspective about working in educational administration.

“Get to know your students,” Taylor said. “It is important to gain an appreciation of where they are from and what they face every day. Get into the neighborhoods and know the kids. That will make you a better educator.”

“I encourage you to become involved in extra-curricular activities and to see the kids in a different light. That also helps to build rapport with the students,” Taylor said.

“Also, you need to be able to listen,” Taylor advised. “Sometimes students need to have an outlet. Be supportive and do not overreact. You will find there are conditions in the kids’ lives that are beyond your control.”

Panelist Libby Arnold has 35 years of experience teaching middle school students at the Warren Local school District in Washington County. Arnold has been an active mentor throughout her career and has supervised more than a dozen student teaching interns from Ohio University, Marietta College and Ohio Valley University. She holds a masters of education degree in educational media from Ohio University, and she serves as the secretary for her local education association.

“It is important to have a passion for the profession,” Arnold said. “Students have changed over the years but I still enjoy every day on the job.”

“The biggest skill that I seek in future teachers is collaboration. You need to be a collaborator. There is a lot of material available to use in the classroom, and you need to bounce it off of others. You are not on an island, and you need to work with other people,” Arnold said.

“Also, the use of technology is an important ability to have. Any time you have the opportunity to learn the use of a new technology, say ‘yes.’ This is the type of thing you can discuss at a job interview,” Arnold said.

The third panelist, Karen Corcoran, serves as the program coordinator of the middle childhood education program at OU-C. Corcoran is also the regional coordinator of professional internships in teaching for OU-C. Additionally, she is a consultant for Gallia Vinton Educational Service Center and leads the residency program in Wellston City Schools. She has previously served as a faculty member at the University of Rio Grande. Corcoran also has experience teaching family and consumer economics at Urbana City Schools, Bishop Flaget School and Paint Valley Local Schools.

Corcoran said, “I tell my students at OU-C that the things we cannot teach you are to have love and joy in your heart for the students and for your job. You need to love teaching students. Otherwise, it can be a very tough job.”

“The only thing we can count on is that there will be change,” Corcoran said. “Help people navigate these changes and be positive. Remember that students are the reason we go to work each day.”

“I value people skills and the ability to nurture students, think on your feet and multi-task. You also have to be willing to work extra hours,” Corcoran said.

Ohio University-Chillicothe Career Services and the Ohio University Alumni Association hope to host similar panels in the future to give OU-C students the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others.

Recent efforts underscore campus outreach efforts

It just figures that recent community service activities by Chillicothe Campus members made an impact on area residents, and the figures are in.

Central Processing Center (CPC) student employees Shania Logan and Emily Ross co-sponsored a campus-wide Halloween door-decorating contest to benefit The Good Samaritan Network, a local food bank. Their efforts resulted in 1,028 items being collected to help area households. The Information Technology Help Desk in Stevenson Center won the competition with 381 items, followed by the CPC, 186 items; and the nursing office, 164 items.

Also, in continuing a local tradition, more than 50 current and former HST students, as well as students from a range of academic majors and student groups volunteered at the recent 10th annual Trick or Treat Extravaganza in the Shoemaker Center. Approximately $2,500 worth of candy was distributed to area youth at the event, with the items donated by OU-C students as the result of fund-raisers as well as area businesses and social service organizations.

Thanks to donations at the door, approximately 180 articles of clothing were donated to the First Presbyterian Church Children’s Food Bank, and 1,571 pounds of canned goods were given to the local Good Samaritan Network food bank.

Further, the third annual silent auction to raise funds for the Ross County Coalition against Domestic Violence again raised more than $1,000 for the effort. All funds support the coalition’s shelter and related program.

Health and Wellness Center offering free month membership during November

The OU-C Health and Wellness Center is offering a promotion to help campus members lose pounds and save money over the holidays. During the month of November, any campus faculty or staff member who joins the center will have a free month’s membership beginning when they sign up.

The health and wellness center, which is located in the Shoemaker Center, offers a convenient way for campus members to get in a well-rounded workout, with facilities and equipment tailored to a range of individuals’ goals and fitness plans. Among offerings are cardio equipment, free weights and a walking track.

Center director Steve Clusman and his staff are available to offer tips and design the right regimen. For more information, contact Clusman at (740) 774-7760 or clusman@ohio.edu.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

OU-C student Mariah Cox making an impact through research endeavors, pursuits in campus Learning Center

By public relations student writer Leah Sternberger

OU-C student Mariah Cox began conducting her own science experiments in the fourth grade. During the summer her passion for food science and agriculture took those experiments abroad to India.

Now a senior at Zane Trace High School, Cox has been taking college classes at OU-C for two years through the college credit plus one program. In addition to playing soccer for her high school, she works as a chemistry student supplemental instructor and writing tutor in the OU-C Learning Center.  Cox believes that helping other students helps her keep critical skills fresh for her future career.

“I plan to major in food science and technology in college, which is a very chemistry heavy field of study. On the other hand, by conducting research studies, I will also need technical writing skills to communicate my research to others through written reports,” Cox said.

The research that led Cox to India began when she started examining the properties of raspberries for a science fair competition in 2013.

“I was taking a food science class at the time, and we were looking at red and gold raspberries. I wanted to do an experiment on what the difference was between them.”

In search of a lab to conduct her experiments, Cox reached out to faculty members at the Ohio State University Department of Food Science and Technology. Ohio State University Associate Professor Monica Guisti allowed Cox to work in her lab at OSU to complete her experiment. She was later hired by OSU Professor of Food Science and Technology Steven Schwartz to continue working on her research, and is also working with graduate student Jessica Cooperstone, although Cox’s research is her own.

“I did my experiment at OSU on the phenolics, or color pigments, of red and gold raspberries,” Cox said.  “I compared them and found that gold raspberries contained less phenolics than their red counterparts. I found that not only are some phenolics missing in the gold raspberries, but they also possess different phenolics than the red raspberries altogether.”

From her findings at OSU, Cox began investigating the potential health benefits of the isolated phenolics. Her current research focuses on isolating alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase inhibitors in the phenolics of gold raspberries that inhibit the breakdown of starch in the human body.

“In the future, I’m hoping to be able to breed gold raspberries to have a higher of content of these inhibitor rich phenolics which could potentially help diabetics.”

Through her food science research Cox became involved with a program called the World Food Prize Organization. Every year the organization recognizes individuals who have done exceptionally well in helping to reduce world hunger with an award. The organization also awards youth who have made strides in agricultural and food science through their Global Youth Institute program. Cox entered the program by writing an essay.

“I wrote my paper on education issues in Haiti,” said Cox. “I wrote about how we can implement programs to educate the youth in Haiti on how to best utilize the land and modern agricultural techniques. They’re currently not very well educated on how to take care of the land and the best methods of growing crops. By implementing programs for their youth, we can empower them to grow up to be more efficient and practice overall better sustainable farming.”

After first presenting her paper at the Ohio Youth Institute, Cox was one of six students from Ohio selected to present at the larger Global Youth Institute. In October of 2014, she presented her paper at the GYI to global agricultural and political leaders.

Through the GYI, Cox applied for the organization’s prestigious Borlaug-Ruan international internship.  The student internship provides high school students with an all-expenses-paid, eight-week hands-on experience, working with world-renowned scientists and policymakers at leading research centers around the globe. Cox was one of 23 students selected for the international program, and was placed at the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) in Hyderabad, India.

“In India I researched vegetable soybeans, also known as edamame,” Cox said.  “A huge issue in India is that many people don’t eat meat. Their low iron diets cause deficiencies and anemia. One of the main objectives of AVRDC is to improve vegetables to contain more nutrients and grow more efficiently.”

Cox looked at a variety of vegetable soybeans with high germination rates and bred them with other strains that produced beans with high nutritional content to get the best results. During her research in India, she also examined the effects of electromagnetic waves on the length of mung bean sprouts.

Her passion for combating world hunger through food and agricultural science largely drove her research in India.

“It’s projected that in 2050 there will be 9 billion people on this earth. There are already people starving now. We are continuously growing, which shows we are successful as a species, but on the other hand it is only going to get harder to feed everyone. We can’t increase the amount of land we have so we must figure out more efficient and sustainable ways to produce food. “

Having completed her internship abroad, Cox returned to the United States this fall to complete her senior year of high school and to continue classes at OU-C and the university’s Lancaster campus.

Next year she hopes to pursue a college degree in food science and technology with a focus on medicine and global health. She is currently considering several schools including Cornell University, Ohio State University, Iowa State University and Penn State University.

“Following the completion of a bachelor’s of science degree, I plan to go to medical school and become a physician. I hope to pursue a career in humanitarian aid using my medical degree and my interests in food science and nutrition.”

College Readiness Forum begins dialogue to find practical strategies for student success

Rebecca Watts, Ph.D., of the Ohio Department of Higher Education delivered the keynote address.

The Chillicothe Campus recently hosted the College Readiness Forum: Focus on Critical Thinking. The event included educators and administrators from campus and Ohio University as well as other area college campuses, high schools and middle schools.

The event emphasized the value of a dialogue between individuals of diverse backgrounds with similar goals.

“I have always wanted to reach out to area teachers to see what is working in their classrooms,” event coordinator Deb Nickles said. “We are looking to build a community around language arts that would allow us to network and build meaningful relationships between local high schools and the university.”

The workshop pursued the very practical goal of preparing area students for success in college.

“We sought to find ways to continue improving college success and retention rates for OU-C students and those at other campuses. We wanted to listen to individuals at other schools to see what they are doing that works and then develop best-practices strategies to apply so that students can make the most of their college opportunities,” Nickles said.

“It provided an opportunity to look at the obstacles that students face throughout their educational careers as well as practical ways to help them succeed.”

Ohio University student videographer Madison Corbin produced a video of the workshop that best tells its story found here.

Mathematics faculty member Dywayne Nicely publishes article on problem-solving and college readiness

By student public relations writer Leah Sternberger

Ohio University-Chillicothe faculty member Dywayne Nicely, Ph.D., recently published an article, “Problem-Solving and Reading Strategies for ACT@ Preparation” in the Ohio Journal of School Mathematics. Nicely is an assistant professor of mathematics.

Nicely’s article outlines several reading and problem-solving strategies that were implemented at a rural Ohio high school over the 2012-2013 academic school year. The intervention strategies were designed to help students better prepare for the mathematics portion of college entry exams.

In his article, Nicely explains how the strategies were incorporated into the students’ mathematics and English courses. In the article he notes, “Research implies that reading comprehension plays an important role in how well students solve mathematical word problems.”

Throughout the year, students learned to identify and organize relevant information into strategic charts to solve word problems. They also practiced word breakdowns to enhance vocabulary and comprehension.

A statistical examination of pre-measures to post-measures confirmed significant statistical improvements in the students’ abilities to solve word problems.

Nicely hopes that his article will help high school students prepare for college entry exams by providing other educators with new teaching and learning strategies.

He notes, “… In particular, the hope is that some new ideas are gained in how to merge problem-solving strategies and reading strategies in mathematics courses. We welcome all readers to adapt our methods and activities for their own classes and wish to hear how they may have been improved.”

Nicely’s ongoing research efforts support the campus’ emphasis on college preparedness and positioning area students for success in their academic endeavors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Student volunteer endeavors capture the spirit of Heritage Day community service awards

Sara Winans and her fellow HST students make a difference in the community.

Kendra Barnes and the softball team made a hit with Pioneer School students.

Shania Logan and Emily Ross took a decorative approach to helping area families.

By student public relations writer Leah Sternberger
There is a long history of volunteerism at Ohio University-Chillicothe. In the spirit of serving the region, OU-C students have taken on several service projects this fall to make a positive difference in the lives of others.


Ohio University-Chillicothe’s Human Services Association (HSA) student organization is gearing up for their annual Halloween themed service event. The club will be hosting the 10th annual Trick or Treat Extravaganza from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 in the Shoemaker Center. Over the past decade, the event has become a much anticipated seasonal staple for the surrounding community.

The purpose of the event is to give local children and families a safe, family-friendly environment to celebrate Halloween. HSA students have partnered with more than 50 local businesses to provide children with treat tables, bounce houses, arts & crafts, face painting, and games. Pizza and drinks will also be available for purchase.

While admission is free, the HSA has asked those who attend to bring a donation of gently used or new coats, jeans or other clothing for the children’s clothing bank and/or non-perishable food items. The food items will be donated to the Good Samaritan Network.

HSA officers and members have been working hard to prepare for the event including working at bake sales and raffles to earn donations to purchase supplies. They have spent hours collecting event sponsors, designing and distributing promotional flyers and meeting regularly to discuss the logistics of the event.

HSA Co-President Sara Winans said that she believes all of their efforts are well worth their time knowing that the community will benefit.

“Giving back is one of the best things you can do for your community,” said Winans. “That's what makes the world go round. To pay it forward is a wonderful way to help your community. And I am happy to do all I can for mine.”

Last year, HSA collected more than 300 pounds of food and a van load of blue jeans, coats, and other clothing items for the Children's Clothing Bank.


In anticipation of the holiday season, two Central Processing Center (CPC) student employees are co-sponsoring a Halloween themed service project of their own to collect canned goods. OU-C students Shania Logan and Emily Ross have created a Halloween Door Decorating Contest to benefit The Good Samaritan Network, a local food bank.

To participate, OU-C departments are asked to decorate their doors for Halloween and place a pumpkin box outside of their office. Students, staff, faculty and the community are invited to place canned goods in the pumpkin box of the door with the best decorations. The door with the most votes, tallied by the number of canned goods collected, will win a pizza party donated by Cristy’s Pizza.

Ross, a junior who is majoring in early childhood education, was inspired to sponsor the decorating contest by her love of Halloween decorations and her desire to help others.

“With Thanksgiving coming up soon, I hope that the donations to the Good Samarian Network help a family in need. I also hope to bring the campus departments closer together by raising awareness around campus,” said Ross. “As a student, the most rewarding part is remembering that even the little things make a difference. Everyone can make an impact, no matter how small.”

Logan hopes the contest will inspire others to volunteer. “I hope this event motivates other people to find a way to get involved in the community. I hope that people look into already existing opportunities in the community and also take initiative in creating new and exciting ideas as well,” she said.


Recently, the Hilltopper softball team held a clinic for Pioneer School students. The Pioneer School’s mission is to provide life opportunities for children and adults in Ross County who have developmental disabilities. The clinic held at the VA Memorial Stadium covered the basics of softball and provided much more for the Chillicothe Campus and Pioneer School students.

OU-C Softball Coach George Beck said, “I believe it is important to foster the concept of ‘service to others’ as we move through this world. My players are expected to think of others before themselves and the Pioneer clinic is an important part of their educational progress. The Pioneer kids were happy and full of smiles and my players really enjoyed every minute of the event.”

For many students on the OU-C softball team, the clinic provided a unique opportunity to use their passion for softball to help others.

“I decided to participate in the clinic because I love the game and I wanted to share it with others,” said OU-C softball player Kendra Barnes. “It's important to get involved in events like these because it's good for people to come together and help others through the activities they love.”

“This experience will certainly help me in my future,” Barnes said. “I’m currently studying early childhood development, but I am going to switch to K-12 intervention specialist next semester. Being able to work with the kids helped me experience what I want to pursue in my career.”

Beck and the players who participated in the clinic hope to make it an annual event.


In this spirit of community service, OU-C is recognizing similar endeavors through the third annual Heritage Day Community Service Awards at 6 p.m. on Nov. 19 in the Stevenson Learning Center Commons. The service awards will recognize current and former students who are making a positive impact in their communities, locally or globally.

The service awards include:


These awards recognize current students (either individuals or groups) who are actively involved in efforts such as community outreach, volunteer activities and/or philanthropy efforts, either formally or informally.


These awards are designed to recognize individuals who have attended OU-C within the last five years and who have demonstrated outstanding service to their local communities or the global community through efforts such as volunteer activities, participation/leadership in civic organizations, philanthropy, engagement with OU-C and other service projects, either formally or informally.

To nominate a possible recipient, submit a nomination letter of 200 words or fewer by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30 to Kim McKimmy at kellyk@ohio.edu and/or Jack Jeffery at jefferyj@ohio.edu and include ‘Service Award Nomination’ in the subject line.

Letters should clearly describe the service activities the nominee has engaged in that warrant consideration for an award. Nominators should also indicate which award the nomination is for as well as their contact information and that of those individuals being nominated.

Reaccreditation visit scheduled for Chillicothe Campus

An individual from The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will be on the Chillicothe Campus Nov. 3 for a reaccreditation visit that routinely occurs every eight years.

Ohio University and its regional campuses are accredited as one system by The HLC, which is a subsidiary of the larger North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). NCA accredits K-12 schools and institutions of higher education across 19 states. More than 1,000 colleges and universities are accredited by the HLC.      

Since 2002, Ohio University has been following an accreditation track called the Academic Quality Improvement Program, also known as AQIP. Colleges and universities with strong records of accreditation are invited to follow the AQIP track if they make a commitment towards continuous improvement at their institution. Institutions maintain accreditation while on the AQIP track which is distinguished by its emphasis on continuous quality improvement.

As part of the reaffirmation of accreditation process, AQIP peer reviewers visit universities, including regional campuses if applicable, to perform a comprehensive quality review (CQR).

As part of the visit, the AQIP reviewer plans to meet with students, faculty and staff from the campus during open forums. Getting feedback from campus constituencies is very important for the reviewer to understand the mission and vision of the university and how OU-C helps fulfill this mission. Students, faculty and staff are invited and strongly encouraged to attend one of the following open forums on Nov. 3 in Bennett Hall room 105:

•    3:30 p.m. to 4:10 p.m. Open Forum for OU-C Students

•    4:10 p.m. to 4:50 p.m. Open Forum for OU-C Administrative and Classified Staff Members

•    4:50 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Open Forum for OU-C Faculty

The reviewers will strive to determine if the university has strategic action plans in place and if steps are being taken to achieve the objectives of the plans. Institutions following the AQIP track choose specific action projects as a point of focus in terms of quality improvement. At OU-C, as well as the entire university, much of the emphasis for improvement is on defining learning outcomes for its courses and programs and accurately assessing the student achievement of the outcomes. The goal of the most recent Ohio University action project is to develop a university culture of ongoing academic course and program assessment.

For example, internship programs and practicums that serve as a capstone experience to bridge the classroom with the workplace and prepare students for careers could be a focal point in determining success in defining and achieving course/program learning outcomes.

The Chillicothe Campus has placed an emphasis on internships and other experiential learning opportunities in recent years in preparing students for success in their careers. This effort aligns nicely with the AQIP continual improvement focus.

All OU-C faculty members are expected to incorporate learning outcomes and assessment measures in their courses.

For example, Allison White, program coordinator, has implemented relevant strategies in the Office Technology (OTEC) program.

“First, I’m following the new Bloom’s Taxonomy (Creating, Evaluating, Analyzing, Apply, Understanding, and Remembering) to incorporate appropriate verbs into course and program learning outcomes,” she said.

“Second, I follow Kirkpatrick’s Model with four levels of program evaluation that guide OTEC’s program learning outcomes assessment methodology,” White said. “These include:  Results (internships, intern evaluations by site supervisors), Learning (course and program capstone projects, portfolios, and grading), Reaction (student testing; Microsoft Office Specialist prep, practice test achievements, and certification; and field trips), and Behavior (alumni input, advisory board input, surveys).  Currently, I’m auditing verbs using the QM checklist to ensure an exact match between the chosen verb and the assessment tool used.”

“Finally, I incorporate a few of the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ (AACU) High-Impact Educational Practices with elements that include first year seminars, collaborative assignments, research, and service learning.

Other OU-C faculty members are also incorporating innovative assessment methods into their courses and academic programs. The HLC reaccreditation visit to the OU-C campus will provide a forum to discuss and showcase these methods.