Wednesday, January 7, 2015

OU-C in the news: Heritage Day service awards honor community service

 Chillicothe Gazette (November 2014)

Award winners support artists, domestic violence group

CHILLICOTHE – Before Thursday, Dannie Sutherland had gone her entire life without ever winning an award.

That improbable streak came to an end when Sutherland received one of Ohio University-Chillicothe’s Student Community Service Awards for being a “positive force as an arts organizer and advocate in Chillicothe.”

Sutherland was recognized for her work organizing a series of open art shows at the now-closed First Capital Music Hall. She said she sought to create a casual, inclusive atmosphere where fledgling artists could feel at ease.

“I wanted the community to have a comfortable place to not only display their art but talk about their art and connect with each other through art,” Sutherland said. “If they wanted me to put a name on it, I would. If they would rather be anonymous, that was fine, too.”

By the third show, there were more than 70 pieces on display. Sutherland ended up hosting more than a dozen art shows within a year before the venue closed in February. She tried to move it to another bar, she said, but “it didn’t stick,” likely because the space was too small.

Sutherland, a native of Circleville, is on pace to graduate in spring 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in studio arts. She said that while she appreciated the recognition, the real reward was seeing the open art show concept take off.

“I’ve always just done things for the community — for the community. That was my pay, I guess,” she said.

Also receiving a Student Community Service Award was Samantha Rearly, a double major in sociology/criminology and women’s and gender studies whose class project on domestic violence led to a casino night fundraiser raising nearly $6,000 for the Ross County Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Rearly later organized a silent auction to benefit the coalition. Now, she’s turned her focus to creating a resource center for OU-C students affected by domestic violence. She learned while doing research for the class project that half of the coalition’s clients are current or former OU-C students.

“What we’re trying to do is reach students who might not be in a safe environment when they leave (campus), so we built a proposal to form a liaison group between students here and the coalition, a safe place they can go with student advocates who can help them come up with a safety plan and maybe a way to leave if that’s the safest thing for them to do,” she said. “The proposal is done. We’re just working out the kinks.”

Other award recipients Thursday included human services technology students Joanna Graham and Morgan Masters and recent alumni Kimberly Bowers and Sue Colley, both of whom are 2012 graduates of OU-C.

The awards were part of the OU-C Heritage Day celebration.

OU-C in the news: Faculty member Lisa Wallace authors textbook

Chillicothe Gazette (November 2014)

Creating her own ‘journey’ guidebook

CHILLICOTHE – Ohio University-Chillicothe associate professor of communication studies Lisa Wallace recently accomplished a major goal in her effort to offer a more appropriate text for her communications students.

Wallace spent about eight years compiling and creating the materials for publication of the textbook “The Amazing Journey: Exploring the Fundamentals of Cultural Differences.”

While teaching the COMS 1100 course, she realized that the majority of the textbooks used in the class were written for a more advanced level of coursework. To help fill in the gaps, Wallace provided students each term with a rough workbook that she copied and bound together.

“The text is based on the idea that achieving intercultural communication competency requires a personal ‘journey’ that begins with understanding our own cultural identity, recognizing the various other worldviews that exist, acknowledging the obstacles that we might encounter and eventually practicing our skills in various contexts,” Wallace said.

In keeping with that theme, one of the projects assigned in the course is modeled loosely after the reality television program “The Amazing Race,” in which contestants travel around the globe performing activities that are reflective of the various cultures they visit.

Toward the end of the semester, the class “travels” from continent to continent with the help of student presentations, speakers and activities.

Wallace’s text provides the basic information and research to meet course objectives as well as activities that assist students with their “journeys.”

The foreword of the text is written by Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis, who speaks of his own journey, beginning with his days as a student at Ohio University and continuing with the university’s commitment to issues of diversity today and tomorrow.
“He set the exact tone that I hoped to achieve with this text through his encouragement that students embrace this journey in their own lives,” Wallace said of McDavis’ contribution.
Students’ feedback on the text has been positive, Wallace said.

“My goal has always been to provide materials appropriate for a beginning level course, but challenging enough to spark a true reflective experience that leads students down the lifelong and very personal process of understanding self and others and adopting a tolerant worldview,” she said. “It is my hope that this text assists in the beginning steps of that ‘amazing journey.’ ”

OU-C in the news: Campus reopens training center

Chillicothe Gazette (September 2014)

CHILLICOTHE – On the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Ohio University-Chillicothe reopened a seven-acre facility that helps prepare local fire and law enforcement personnel for harrowing situations.

The campus' Emergency Response Training Center, which has been sitting dormant since 2008, bustled with activity Thursday as first responders joined university officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony before taking part in the Ross County Safety Council's annual training exercise.
Originally conceived and built in the late 1990s, the center now boasts training stations for rappelling and climbing, silo rescue, propane firefighting training, confined-space entry, hazardous materials training, vehicle extrication and decontamination.

In addition, the Chillicothe Police Department provided active shooter and K-9 demonstrations.
Calling the reopened center a "real labor of love," OU-C Associate Dean Brenda Phillips said, “Today is the day Ohio University-Chillicothe makes a commitment to continue to repair our first responders.”

Phillips, who taught in the Oklahoma State University's Fire and Emergency Management Administration program before coming to OU-C a little more than a year ago, was given the go-ahead by campus and university officials to revive the training grounds. As part of that effort, she had the rappelling tower rebuilt and tested by a structural engineer.

Phillips also obtained a confined-space trailer, which along with two hazmat trailers can be taken off-site for training.

“We have more women going into the profession, so we bought female firefighting gear,” she said.

Phillips is optimistic local agencies will utilize the facility. To that end, the university is allowing it to be used free of charge until the beginning at November, at which point a fee — set by an advisory board — will be charged to cover the expenses of maintaining the grounds and structures.

Later this month, the Chillicothe Fire Department will lead training in vehicle extrication. In early October, the fire department will come back to train in a flashover simulator. In 2016, a countywide training exercise will be conducted at the center, Phillips said.

“This is a great asset. ... It gives us a little more freedom and more room to train,” Chillicothe Fire Chief Jeff Creed said. “We do send people to the fire academy in Columbus for training, but that's usually on an individual basis. This gives us the ability to train as a team, as a shift.”
Ross County Sheriff George Lavender used the facility when he was the commander of the tactical team. He said he expects his deputies will get a lot of use out of the rappelling tower and the obstacle course, not only for physical fitness but to help prepare for potential SWAT team scenarios.

“You never want to flush someone out of a building from the bottom up. You want to start from the top flush them toward the bottom,” Lavender said while explaining why rappelling exercises are helpful.