Wednesday, January 14, 2015

College Goal Sunday event offers insights to complete FAFSA forms for college financial aid

Area prospective college students can receive assistance in completing FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms at 2 p.m. on Feb. 8 at Ohio University-Chillicothe in the Advising Center on the second floor of Bennett Hall. The free event is part of “College Goal Sunday,” a statewide effort sponsored by the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA). This is the third annual time that OU-C has served as a host site for the event.

The FAFSA is the federal application that is required to receive federal financial aid including the Federal Pell Grant and student loans as well as the need-based state grants. The FAFSA is often the key to funding a college education and helping families overcome financial barriers that otherwise prevent students from attending the institution of their choice.

Families are encouraged to register for the free event at or by calling 1-800-233-6734. While walk-ins are welcome, registration is encouraged. The OU-C contact is Ashlee Digges, (740) 774-7229 or Volunteers are also needed to assist with the event and can use either the web site or contact Digges to participate.

Students and parents should bring their tax returns, if completed, and 2013 W-2 forms.

“College Goal Sunday is an opportunity for high school seniors, individuals returning to school, and other prospective students to come and receive assistance while completing the FAFSA,” OU-C Director of Student Services John Fisher said.

“Completing the FAFSA can be an overwhelming process for many people and College Goal Sunday gives prospective students and their families a chance to submit their FAFSA in a supportive, helpful environment,” Fisher said. “This event underscores OU-C’s mission of serving as a gateway to a college education and the opportunities it offers for area residents. No matter where individuals from this region pursue their college career, we hope they feel comfortable contacting OU-C for insights about the admissions process.”

The idea behind College Goal Sunday is to get students motivated to complete their FAFSA prior to the scholarship deadlines that most schools set for the upcoming fall term because a requirement for most scholarship applications is that the student have a completed FAFSA on file.

“This event offers an opportunity to get professional help completing your FAFSA so you feel assured that it is done correctly,” Fisher said. “It is held at OU-C which is convenient for most students in Ross County and accessible for students in Pike, Vinton and Pickaway counties where there is no college goal Sunday site,” Fisher said.

OASFAA is a non-profit, professional organization for individuals actively engaged in the administration of financial aid within the State of Ohio for higher education. As an educational organization, OASFAA strives to offer resources to students, families and high school advisors to promote higher education and increase awareness of financial aid opportunities.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Info session slated for ‘Justice for Fraud Victims’ group

An information session for a “Justice for Fraud Victims” student group will be held from 5:30 p.m. to :30 p.m. on Jan. 20 in Bennett Hall room 101. Students of all academic pursuits are welcome to join. The group will explore how to investigate complaints from victims of employment theft, Welfare fraud, fraud against seniors, identify theft and online fraud. Advisor is OU-C Manager of Accounting and Human Resources Jonna Depugh.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Amid challenging times, Chillicothe Campus taking strategic approach to enrollment management

Amid these current challenging times for higher education in Ohio, the Chillicothe Campus of Ohio University (OU-C) continues to experience solid enrollment while also looking at smart, innovative ways to sustain and increase its numbers.

While many similar regional and community college campuses around the state have experienced sharp declines in enrollment over the past few years, OU-C’s enrollment has been relatively stable. According to the Ohio Board of Regents’ 15-day headcount report for fall 2014, 18 of 24 regional campuses in the state had declining enrollment from the previous year for this past fall semester term. The Chillicothe Campus’ enrollment dropped 2.6 percent, compared to a 3.96 percent statewide average for regional campuses.

There are some external factors behind the statewide decline. For example, there is somewhat of an inverse relationship between the health of the economy and regional campus enrollment. Consequently, as the statewide and regional employment landscape improves, it tends to have an adverse impact on enrollment as fewer individuals are laid off and looking to retrain for other careers. Further, the number of high school graduates in Ohio has leveled off and in some regions decreased in the last few years, resulting in a smaller pool of potential “college bound” students.

There are also many internal factors. When Ohio University changed its academic calendar from quarters to semesters beginning in fall 2012, it impacted enrollment figures as many students made a stronger “push” to complete their degree requirements before the transition. Many students at OU-C are also balancing academics with job and family responsibilities. Consequently, they only have time to take four courses per term. Under quarters, most courses were worth 4 academic credit hours but, since the semester switch, they are now worth three credit hours, thereby negatively impacting Full Time Equivalent (FTE) student enrollment numbers.

To counteract these dynamics, OU-C is continually looking at being more strategic in its enrollment-management efforts. The emphasis is pursuing innovative approaches that build upon the campus’ core values. Some related initiatives include:

•    Academic programs. Pursue new academic offerings that align with student interest, emerging career fields in the region and the campus’ mission. Among examples are the social work bachelor’s degree program, which was introduced in fall 2013, and the BASE program, which allows individuals with bachelor’s degrees in another field/discipline to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing in an accelerated fashion. Both of these initiatives meet all the criteria for academic programs offered at OU-C. 

•    Articulating our mission. The campus continues to focus on having a strong, consistent and authentic message in terms of communicating with its various stakeholder groups. Rather than utter
jargon and catchphrases, the emphasis is on articulating the aspects that best define and distinguish the Chillicothe Campus. Main message points are the ability to earn a nationally-recognized Ohio University degree at roughly $5,000 a year in a convenient, small-campus setting that serves both traditional and non-traditional students.

•    Expanding the recruiting base. In 2014 Student Services completed and presented to the campus community a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan that focuses more effort on extending its student-recruiting efforts beyond Ross and into adjacent counties. There has been an increased focus on areas such as Highland and Adams County and other regions that are home to students who are likely to feel comfortable on the Chillicothe Campus, which offers a friendly atmosphere and the resources to help first-generation students succeed in college.

•    More aggressive and targeted recruiting efforts. There has been a strong focus on reaching out to area high schools to meet with prospective students as well as engaging with guidance counselors and others who influence students’ college decision-making process. These efforts also help to secure and expand the campus’ recruitment base, which is pivotal in maintaining and growing enrollment. For example, during the 2013-14 academic year, OU-C representatives made 2,231 contacts with prospective students and increased the total applicant pool by 307 individuals. A total of 427 students were contacted through high-school visits, while 407 were a result of the campus Friday Open House events and 270 through participation in college and job fairs. Interestingly, 1,011, or 45 percent, of the contacts were made through web requests and Cappex, an online recruitment database that targets prospective students with an interest in OU-C. Additionally, OU-C is working with area high schools to develop the new College Credit + Program which will offer college courses to qualified high school students in place of the Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program. 

•    Bolstering student retention. One ongoing initiative involves increasing and strengthening our student-success efforts to bolster retention and help students complete their academic programs in a timely manner. This type of effort is especially meaningful in that it relates directly to the success of our students. Further, strong retention numbers result in more consistent, steady overall enrollment, allowing for better planning and less emphasis on continual recruitment of new students. The Chillicothe Campus’ Student Success Center has been at the forefront of these efforts, earning its name by offering resources aimed to help students make the most of their college experience. The center, which is located in the Quinn Library, includes tutoring services in math, writing and other academic disciplines. A key to the success of the center is the focus on peer interaction between the tutors, who have a grasp of the students’ perspective and base of knowledge, and their fellow students. 

Further, at OU-C, retention efforts begin before students enroll in classes.  In the spring of 2014 Student Services implemented a new advising plan in cooperation with the Student Success Center to provide individualized academic assistance to students needing developmental coursework.  If they desire, those students can do an intensive review and then go directly into college level classes saving them tuition dollars and time to degree completion.  Students also attend mandatory orientations to help them get off on the right foot and if they do experience academic difficulty academic alerts, eProgress reports and specialized advising provided by Student Services is available to help them succeed.

At the end of the day, results are not measured simply in numbers. What truly matters is the more significant outcome in terms of the impact the Ohio University Chillicothe Campus is making on the quality of life for the region and its residents by opening pathways to a college education and all that it represents in terms of individuals pursuing fulfilling lives and rewarding careers.

New employees join Chillicothe Campus community

Some individuals are joining the Chillicothe Campus as new employees, or in new positions, with the beginning of 2015 spring semester. These individuals include:

Sue Colley, Administrative Assistant in the Central Processing Center.  Colley had previously
periodically worked in this position as a temporary contract employee. She has also been actively involved with the campus’ theater program’s operations, working behind the scenes as a student assistant and later as a dramaturge and costumer. Among her other work experience, Colley has been regional director for the Ohio Joint Council and a political director for a trade union as well as an office manager for a realty company in Memphis, Tenn., and Chillicothe. A former Chillicothe Campus student, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Ohio University.

Christopher Hicks, Library Support Associate. Hicks has served in similar positions on a part-time
basis for a number of years. Since 2012, he has been senior library associate as a contract employee, supervising student employees, cataloguing books, maintaining collections, providing classroom instruction and helping to maintain databases. During his college career, he worked as a student assistant for four years in the Quinn Library. Hicks also has extensive retail and restaurant experience. Hicks earned an associate degree in computer science technology and a bachelor’s degree in technical and applied studies from Ohio University as an OU-C student. He also attended the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute.

Brianna Hunstad, Administrative Assistant in Nursing. Hunstad has an extensive background as an
administrative assistant in health-care settings. Since 2013, she has been an administrative assistant at the Ohio State University Medical Center, and she previously provided office support for a physician’s office. Hunstad also has worked as an administrative assistant and an accounting clerk with Big Sandy Distribution in Franklin Furnace. Additionally, she is involved in several volunteer activities. Hunstad has completed coursework at Ohio University, Ohio State University and Shawnee State University.

Tabitha McDaniel-Martin, Lecturer of Nursing. McDaniel-Martin has a strong academic and
professional background. Since 2007, she has been a nurse in the emergency department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. She has also served as a clinical instructor for Ohio University nursing students from both the Chillicothe and Athens campuses at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, as well as Adena Regional Medical Center and the VA Medical Center in Chillicothe. McDaniel-Martin has earned her associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, all in nursing, from Ohio University.

Thomas Panek, Lecturer, Director of the Technology and Business Development Center. Panek
brings solid professional and academic credentials to this new position, which includes both teaching and administrative duties, especially in regards to utilizing the resources of the Technology and Business Development Center and engaging with the community. Since 2009, he has been an adjunct faculty member at Franklin University in Columbus, teaching a variety of business courses in the undergraduate and MBA programs. Panek also has approximately 20 years of corporate experience in areas such as business development, marketing strategy and as a management consultant. He has extensive consulting experience with a wide variety of businesses, both in the United States and overseas.  He has been a vice president with Corporate Performance Systems; vice president for business strategy with Chute Gerdeman Design; and the e-commerce practice leader with Sedlak Management Consultants of Richfield Ohio. Panek earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from Ohio State University and his MBA in marketing and logistics from Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business.

Inclement weather closing and information procedures

At the beginning of a new semester, it is an appropriate time to remind individuals of the campus’ policy on adverse weather and how it relates to campus operations. Campus faculty and staff members will make every attempt to maintain normal campus operations. Generally, the campus remains operational unless Ross County is under a level 3 weather emergency. Listen to local radio stations, view listings on TV programs and check the Chillicothe Gazette and OU-C Web site for closing information.

In situations when the weather is threatening but the campus remains open, members of the campus community are urged to exercise their judgment and to not imperil their safety. Please notify those who are affected by your absence – students, faculty, co-workers or your supervisor -- so accommodations can be made. All faculty members should notify the Dean’s Office if they are unable to hold class.

It is recommended that faculty members include in the course syllabi for spring semester how they will communicate with students should class be cancelled because of weather conditions.

University procedures are in place for employees who are unable to travel to campus or who need to leave early.

Campus members can sign up for text alerts via the university’s Blackboard Connect system. Instructions for faculty and staff members is available online at:

Instructions for students to sign up for the university’s emergency message system are available online at:

Further, individuals can also register for text messages regarding campus closings to be sent to their telephones through the ‘Mobile Text Alerts’ section of the NBC 4 TV Web site:

Informational sessions slated for spring sports teams

OU-C offers a robust athletics program that allows students to pursue their sporting interests

Informational meetings are scheduled for OU-C students interested in participating on 2015 spring athletics teams.

Open tryouts and informational meetings for students interested in playing on the softball team will be held at 10 a.m. on Jan. 16, Jan. 23 and Jan. 30 in the Shoemaker Center gym. Prospective players should contact coach George Beck at 740-649-8804 or email

Anyone interested in baseball please contact the Athletic Director, Kim McKimmy at 740-774-7222 or

An information meeting for potential golf team members will be held at 4 p.m. on Jan. 29 in Bennett Hall room 105.

Foothill Folk Society to present concert at OU-C

The Foothill Folk Society will present a performance at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the Bennett Hall auditorium at Ohio University-Chillicothe. Doors will open at 7 p.m. The event, which is sponsored by the O-C Culture Committee, is free and open to the public. The Foothill Folk Society consists of musicians and other artisans from Ross and surrounding counties seeking to advance creative efforts of area residents. The organization is interested in supporting the culture of this unique region.  More information about the Foothill Folk Society is available on its web site:

OU-C Health and Wellness Center offers range of fitness options for all types of athletes

This is a great time of the year for fitness. The beginning of a new year creates a lot of energy and positive thinking to help jump start many individuals, as well as guilt for those looking to keep their new year’s resolutions alive.

The mission at the OU-C Health and Wellness Center is to help members of all fitness levels reach their goals and keep their resolutions. The Health and Wellness Center is located in the Shoemaker Center and is open to members of the campus and local communities.

While the Health and Wellness Center can help to reduce the waistline, utilizing its services can keep the wallet nice and plump. Monthly membership fees range from $10 for OU-C students to $30 for community members. Day passes are available for $5.

The center has convenient hours of operation. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

For further information about the Health and Wellness Center call 740-774-7760.

“We have great equipment that can accommodate many different training styles,” director Steve Clusman said. “For example, we have a Cybex room that has an assortment of adjustable weight stack machines to hit every muscle group and is great for people who are unsure about using free weights. There is a free weight room that houses the dumbbells and barbells with their respective racks and benches great for those trying to build muscle and tone up.  We also have a great cardio room equipped with elliptical, treadmills, and bikes for those trying to train for events or drop a few pounds.”

The center has programs for a range of individuals, regardless of their level of fitness and workout goals.

“We want to maintain a comfortable environment for new comers and regulars alike,” Clusman said. “There is always a swarm of new members around this time and we have a great staff that is ready for the increase in members. The staff is made up of OU-C students, and they are always happy to show people around and help them become comfortable with the facilities and equipment.”

There are one-day passes available for purchase, and the center is even offering newcomers a free day to try out the wellness center’s facilities.

As a special offer, the center is waiving the initial fee for anyone who purchases a membership between Jan. 12 and Jan. 19.

Beyond the fitness facilities, the center is offering fitness classes:

Spin Classes Mondays at 5 p.m.
It is a high intensity hour long cycling class, where you ride a stationary bike with motivational instructions from Kim Lashley.

Low Impact Fitness Classes Tuesday and Thursdays at 5:30 p.m.
Focus is on balance, core strength, and flexibility! This is great for all ages and can be helpful for those dealing with aches and pains.  This is an hour long fitness class that covers a variety of exercises and movements that are intended to build strength and help with posture.

Total Body Strength/ Strength and Conditioning: Email to schedule
This is hour long strength and conditioning session that is intended for college athletes, but the invitation is being extended to members of the community and high school athletes.  This is for anyone looking to get a leg up on the competition and looking to increase speed, agility, strength, and aerobic conditioning. Clusman, a certified strength and conditioning specialist with an exercise physiology degree, directs the sessions.

Information and articles are posted daily on social media including Facebook and Twitter:
Facebook: OUCHealthandWellness
Twitter: @OUCHealthWell
Phone: 740-774-7760