Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sharles' Study Abroad Blog: Parent Night


Parent night at De Klinker was an insightful experience.  Having taken part in parent teacher conferences in the States I had some experience to various family relations.  There, parents would sign up for a certain time slot to discuss their child’s progress in the classroom.  The teacher would have a one on one conversation about their child.  Aspects of the students performance would be discussed and what measures should be taken to improve the educational experience.  However, in this new environment I had no prior knowledge of how the experience would take shape.  Questions arose in my mind as to how the night would progress.  Would parents come in as they do in the states, or would the strategy be totally different?

Much like the states, this night was dedicated to the parents and family members of each child. Parents of the children attending came out and visited their child’s classroom. However, instead of one on one appointments, the teachers invited all the parents and family members into their room at one time. The teachers created a display of materials that the students would be working with this year. They also compiled works that the children had already completed. The parents had open opportunity to join in the conversation and to ask any questions or verbalize concerns. Afterwards, there was coffee and tea available that created a open, social aroma.  There were also stations set up for other curricular areas.  Such area’s included music, gymnastics, and the English table.

As the night began, parents would enter the building through the main doors shown above. They would pass by the English station often asking questions in Dutch. I would communicate to them that I was American and unfortunately I only speak English. Everyone was very polite and would begin speaking English so that I could understand. It was interesting to talk with some of them as they assumed I was a replacement English teacher. Some children had told their families that there was a new English teacher visiting their rooms.  he regular instructor is on leave and won’t be back for a couple months. I went on to explain that I was simply an intern and that I would be visiting the classrooms in order to aide in their instruction.

Many times the conversations turned to details about where I was from and how long I would be staying.  At this point, I was able to personally get to know some of the parents and their children in small group interactions. We would talk about certain aspects of the students and the curriculum. The parents could see from my willingness to prepare and participate in Parent Night that I had a certain amount of care for their child’s education.

The families may now be able to better associate their child’s English educational experiences with me. This is the first stage of building trust and positive relationships that will ultimately impact my effectiveness as a professional educator. Positive communication with families will only prove to benefit everyone involved. It would have been much different if I had not been present to meet the families or if I had simply not tried to start conversations even though I was aware of the language difference.

I am very thankful to have been a part of Parent Night at De Klinker. This experience has enabled me to begin creating beneficial relationships with not only the students, but also their families. I must thank the school, and the staff  for inviting me to Parent Night. I also want to thank each family member for creating such a welcoming atmosphere. I look forward to having many more experiences such as this one.

NOTE: This post originally appeared on Sharles' personal blog:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Walgreens partners with OU-C to offer free flu vaccinations

Ohio University-Chillicothe has partnered with Walgreens to provide flu vaccinations for Chillicothe Campus members from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 16  in Bennett Hall (room to be determined). Individuals should have insurance cards available, and Walgreens will provide vouchers available for those without insurance.

Chillicothe Campus takes additional steps to help first-generation students realize their college goals

At OU-C, student success is more than a catchphrase.

By public relations writer Leah Sternberger

Several new initiatives have been implemented to position incoming first generation students for academic and social success this semester. The new measures are intended to increase retention rates among students who may lack the information or resources necessary to adjust to college life.

All new students have questions when entering college, but first generation students and their families often need more information to ease the transition.

“The most challenging thing has to be the simple fact that you have absolutely no idea what you are doing,” said OU-C senior and first generation student Luke Benning. “Not having anybody in my immediate family that has gone to college, I found it difficult to know what was required of me to

Luke Benning
even attend.” Benning, like many first generation students, needed assistance with scheduling classes, securing financial aid and knowing whom to ask for help.
Academic Advisor Beth Barnes is one of the many OU-C staff members involved in aiding first generation students. “This is the first year we have specifically focused on first generation students,” Barnes said. “As a first generation student myself, I understand the uncertainty the students feel.” The steps being taken this year focus on relieving some of that uncertainty for incoming students.

This semester, academic advisors started identifying first generation students prior to the start of classes. “We meet with all incoming OU-C students after they take their academic placement tests and identify first generation students at that point,” Barnes said.

 “After orientation, we conduct follow-up appointments with students to further clarify what was discussed at orientation. During these appointments we answer questions about class choices, schedules, purchasing text books and financial aid.”

 Advisors meet with all incoming OU-C students, but for first generation students the meeting is geared towards providing them with the resources they need to move forward. The follow-up meeting gives them the opportunity to ask questions and receive additional support.
OU-C faculty and staff have also made strides to make sure the parents of first generation students are equally equipped for their child to begin classes.

Coordinator of Student Support Martha Tanedo hosted a separate breakout group for parents and guests at this year’s student orientation session. This group helped each student’s guest or parent understand the adjustments, time restrictions and added responsibilities that the student will encounter while pursuing a degree.

“We’ve never done breakout sessions for guests or parents before. The process of entering college is overwhelming for students and can be just as overwhelming for first generation parents,” Tanedo said. “The session gives parents the opportunity to ask questions outside of being with students. They get the feel of some of the challenges students might face and the importance of doing well in higher education.”

Kelsey Crabtree
Kelsey Crabtree, a senior studying applied management, agreed that sharing the learning experience with parents is critical to success. “Since my parents never graduated from college, they didn’t really understand how to guide me through the process. Everything that was new to me, was new to them,” Crabtree said. “Even though your parents may not have the experience to guide you through college, always include them in the process. This allows them to have a better understanding of how to support you.”

After orientation, Barnes followed up with students to make sure they were ready to begin classes. “I sent an email to all first generation students welcoming them to campus and addressing some of the issues that other first generation students have asked about,” Barnes said.
When all new students schedule their first set of classes, they have the opportunity to enroll in an introductory course, “Mastering the University Experience” (UC 1000). All incoming freshmen are encouraged to take the course to give them a strong start to their college career.

Deidre Davitt
Nursing student and sophomore Deidre Davitt highly recommends the course to other first generation students. “The course helps new students transition to Ohio University, both academically and personally,” Davitt said. 

This year, for the first time, OU-C freshmen also have the option of joining a learning community to expedite a feeling of familiarity on campus. “There are two learning communities in place at this time,” said Tanedo. “One joins ENG 1510 and ART 1141 (digital photography). The other joins ENG 1510 and SOC 1000. Student must enroll in both classes and the instructors facilitate the community experience.”

In both classes the students cover similar topics, participate in group activities and get to know their fellow community members and instructors. Learning community enrollment is not limited to first generation students, but they provided much of the motivation behind implementing the learning community classes.

In addition to learning communities, students can expect to see examples of successful first generation students posted around campus. “We began a first generation poster campaign highlighting faculty members who were first generation students,” Barnes said.

She included a copy of the poster in the email she sent to first generation students before the start of the semester as a reminder that no academic goal is unachievable. 

Despite all of the new initiatives to help first generation students, their most valuable resource remains OU-C’s faculty and staff members and their interest in helping students realize their college goals.

“I hope that my students know that I am always available to listen to them and that no question is too trivial,” Barnes said.

Southern Ohio Police Training Institute to celebrate 20 years of excellence

The Southern Ohio Police Training Institute is known for its emphasis on professionalism.

The Ohio University-Chillicothe Southern Ohio Police Training Institute (SOPTI) will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an awards ceremony and dinner beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 in the Shoemaker Center on campus

The event will recognize past and current members of the program, such as past commanders, initial planning committee members, current and past instructors, advisory board members and SOPTI cadets and graduates. Among the honorees will be Dave Harding, whose vision made the program possible. There will also be a memorial wall dedication to honor SOPTI graduates who lost their lives in the line of duty.

For more information and/or to RSVP, contact SOPTI Commander Christopher Jones, (740) 774-7286 or

The program was launched in March 1995 and recently graduated its 40th class of cadets. In all, approximately 675 cadets have graduated from the program.

SOPTI Director James McKean, Ph.D., noted the visionary aspect by those who initiated the program to serve its region. “Recognizing a need to provide basic and advanced training to the southern Ohio area, Associate Professor Dave Harding moved forward with the creation of the Southern Ohio Police Training Institute.  As an original member of Dave's committee, I can attest to his dedication to advance law enforcement in our region. Without the vision of key individuals and support of our campus administration over the years, SOPTI would not be the excellent academy we know today. Today, SOPTI provides basic police training and advanced training to local area police agencies.”

Graduates of the program are qualified for certification as a Peace Officer in Ohio. Among agencies that have hired SOPTI graduates are police and sheriff departments as well as state and federal law enforcement agencies. SOPTI graduates are also positioned to continue their formal education at OU-C in the areas of law enforcement and criminal justice, if they choose. Over the years, approximately 25 percent of the cadets have continued their educational pursuits at OU-C.

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

The SOPTI program is distinguished by its focused, quality educational experience, and that emphasis is paying dividends. Two recent classes of academy graduates attained a 100 percent pass rate on the test for certification as Ohio Peace Officers.

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

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

The program lasts six months and includes 600 hours of instruction.

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

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

Several graduates have advanced to administrative positions with law enforcement agencies.

Reminder about upcoming campus-wide fall semester opening meeting on Sept. 11

The planning meeting sets the tone for most effectively providing a quality educational experience for OU-C students.

The campus’ strategic priorities, initiatives and other information relevant to the 2015-16 academic year will be discussed during the campus’ annual fall term opening session from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 11 in Bennett Hall room 110. The theme is “Efficiency and Affordability,” which reflects the emphasis the university is placing on making the most effective use of resources while maintaining focus on the campus’ mission and strategic priorities.

This event will offer an opportunity to become engaged in the campus’ planning efforts by helping to identify ways to deliver a more affordable education to its students. Also, new OU-C employees will be introduced. Members of the campus community are invited to attend. Lunch will be provided.

Campus members, alumni can submit nominations for university-wide teaching awards

Nominations are being accepted through Sept. 14 for awards to recognize outstanding Ohio University faculty members. University faculty members, students and alumni can submit nominations. Those awards include:

Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Recipient selection is based on excellence in teaching and meritorious academic pursuits both inside and outside the classroom, as acknowledged by peers and students, including: teaching practices and innovations, influences on curriculum, student mentoring, colleague mentoring, and scholarship with respect to teaching. Each award recipient will hold the title of Provost Teacher for three years and will receive $1,000 annually ($3,000 total) during that time.

Full-time Group Two faculty members from any of the university’s campuses are eligible. Group Two faculty are identified by the titles of lecturer, associate lecturer or senior lecturer.

More information is available at

The online nomination form is available at

Presidential Teacher Award

Presidential Teacher Award recipient selection is based on excellence in teaching and meritorious academic pursuits both inside and outside the classroom, as acknowledged by peers and students, including: teaching practices and innovations, influences on curriculum, student mentoring, colleague mentoring, and scholarship with respect to teaching. Each award recipient will hold the title of Presidential Teacher for three years and will receive $1,000 annually ($3,000 total) during that time.

Full-time Group One faculty members from all of the university’s campuses are eligible. They are identified by the titles of assistant professor, associate professor or professor.

More information is available at

The online nomination form is available at

Nominations sought for global engagement awards

The International Education Week Committee at Ohio University is soliciting nominations for three Awards for Excellence in Global Engagement. The awards recognize faculty, staff and alumni for their outstanding contributions to international education, global competency, cultural understanding and/or international programs at Ohio University or in their fields or disciplines. The award is sponsored by Senior International Management Team and administered by International Education Week Committee and the Center for International Studies.

One faculty, one staff and one alumnus award will be given each year. An annual award ceremony will take place during International Education Week in mid-November. The faculty and staff recipients will receive a plaque and $1,000 to support their professional development endeavors. The alumni recipient will receive a plaque and a travel allowance to fully or partially cover the cost of travel to Athens to attend the award ceremony.

Nominations due by Sept. 14. Go to for application guidelines.

Campus has designated smoking area

With the start of a new semester, 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. It is requested that smokers limit their smoking exclusively to the designated smoking area.