Monday, August 24, 2015

Current projects, initiatives position Chillicothe Campus for success in fall 2015 and beyond

The renovated Shoemaker pedestrian bridge adds to the look of campus.

 Campus initiatives are designed to help students succeed in college.

Several projects have been undertaken during the summer to position the Chillicothe Campus for success during fall term 2015 and beyond. Following is a snapshot of some of the major initiatives that are in place or are being launched this fall.

PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS

Perhaps the most noticeable renovation involves the new Shoemaker Center pedestrian bridge. The finishing touches are being applied to the renovated bridge with the installation of laminated glass panels with the campus’ name and logo. The bridge is visible from various locations, and the new structure’s appearance will serve as an attractive focal point of campus.

The 70-foot-long span includes a steel covering and roof to protect individuals from the elements and reduce the need to apply salt, which can corrode the structure.

The bridge, which connects the Shoemaker Center with upper-level parking lots, was built in 1979 and reinforced in 2005. The current construction project began in mid-November 2014.

The bridge is heavily used by individuals from the campus and community. The Shoemaker Center, in addition to its everyday campus-related functions, is used by the Chillicothe community for its walking track, wellness center, attending OU-C men’s and women’s basketball games as well as volleyball matches, various expos, and special events such as the annual Battle of the Bands. The parking lot served by the pedestrian bridge is a popular parking location to gain easy access to the center for those activities.

A ribbon-cutting celebration is slated for Oct. 7, and details will be announced as plans are put in motion.


ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

LEARNING COMMUNITIES

In an innovative initiative that is designed to further strengthen campus engagement and enrich students’ learning experiences, learning communities are 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 will 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 will pilot one such endeavor in fall semester 2015, while fellow English faculty member Deb Nickles and Sociology faculty member Marguerite Hernandez will introduce another pair of classes in this model during fall term.

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

POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS

As a regional campus, teamwork with the community is part of the Chillicothe Campus’ DNA and at the core of its mission. In that spirit, OU-C has entered into two partnerships that will unfold this fall and leverage the strengths of area organizations with various resources and a common goal of serving residents of this region.

In the first partnership, OU-C is partnering with Adena Health System to offer an academic degree-completion program that is tailored to help the health system’s employees gain the skills they need to advance in their careers. Beginning this fall semester, Adena Health System caregivers will be able to pursue a Bachelor’s of Technical and Applied Studies Degree, with an emphasis in health care administration and applied management.

The offering includes components of three bachelor’s degree academic programs offered on the Chillicothe Campus: applied management, health services administration, and technical and applied studies. The program is designed to give Adena caregivers the skillset they need to be eligible for advancement into leadership and management roles within the organization.

Also, Pickaway Ross Career and Technology Center students will pursue a sports medicine technology program certificate by utilizing the Health and Wellness Center facilities and classrooms in the Shoemaker Center this fall. This academic program is offered by Pickaway Ross, and OU-C is providing the venue.

Again, these programs capture the spirit of partnerships by combining expertise and facilities in a way that best benefits the region.

TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES

Interactive, high definition projection systems, high definition document cameras, stereo sound, and/or movable hard screens have been installed in approximately half of the Bennett Hall classrooms, and the other rooms will receive similar upgrades as the classrooms become available. The sliding white boards, which ride over the existing fixed white boards, offer flexibility and allow for faculty members to utilize the underlying white board for writing information while using another board to project images, documents and other related material.

Also, the two OULN video/audio systems in Bennett Hall have been replaced and updated. The former systems were removed and replaced with high-definition systems that include 60-inch, high definition LCD screens to enhance the learning experience. Three high-definition, voice activated video cameras track the interaction between the instructor, students in the local classroom, and students on the remote sites.  Additionally, there are now two screens in the front of the room, instead of just one, allowing for the projection of a faculty member and one screen and corresponding material (documents, PowerPoints, etc.) on the other screen. Among other purposes, these rooms are highly used for classes that are offered on one regional campus or in Athens and allow for individuals on the Chillicothe Campus to join the class or presentation.

Further, a high-definition projector and large screen system will be installed in the Bennett Hall auditorium. The three-screen system will be used for instruction, and the single large screen will be used for presentations and events sponsored by the cultural committee.

Finally, the entire analog telephone system on the Chillicothe was replaced and a Cisco VOIP telephone system installed.  Among features, the new system allows for video phone calls within the campus, enhanced calling features such as multiparty teleconferencing, and an integrated telephone directory.

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