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.

EXTRAVAGANZA PUTS SERVICE INTO ACTION

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.

DECORATIVE DOOR DONATION DRIVE HELPS AREA FOOD 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.

MAKING A HIT WITH LOCAL STUDENTS

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.

HERITAGE DAY COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS

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:

STUDENT COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARDS

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.

RECENT ALUMNI SERVICE AWARDS

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. 

Recent reception celebrates the stirring success of Chillicothe Campus’ portion during capital campaign



Joanna Graham shared how scholarship support has impacted her college career.

Renaissance Singers Lite with Barbara Nowlin provided musical entertainment.

A celebratory reception was recently held to mark the success of the Chillicothe Campus’ portion of Ohio University’s “The Promise Lives” capital campaign.

SCHOLARSHIP SUPPORT FAR EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS

Through the generosity of friends and supporters, the campus raised more than $792,000 for scholarships, far exceeding the goal of $500,000. To date, approximately $937,000 has been raised in total, including initial gifts for the planned Academic Success Center.

The endeavor was a true team effort, with more than 2,100 individuals and organizations making contributions.

“On behalf of the campus, I want to thank those whose generosity made this occasion possible, and I also want to ensure you that your gifts are a worthwhile investment,” OU-C Dean Martin Tuck said at the reception.

Beyond the impressive numbers, the campaign is more about people making an impact on the lives of others. It was noted how the campaign contributors have taken lofty ideals such as quality and accessibility from concept to reality.

“As a regional campus, Ohio University-Chillicothe’s mission is focused on serving the residents of this area by offering access to a quality higher educational experience in our backyard,” the dean said. “Quality is defined largely by providing the opportunity to earn a nationally-recognized Ohio University degree while pursuing academic programs that are aligned with career paths in this region.”

“For many of our students, the scholarships and other financial support this campaign supports are crucial to unlocking that door of opportunity and allowing bright, ambitious students from the region to pursue their dreams and realize their potential on the Chillicothe Campus.”

Joanna Graham, a current OU-C student, spoke about the impact the donors have made through their gifts to campus.

“At one time, college seemed out of reach, but largely because of the scholarships I received, I was able to attend college and pursue my goals,” said Graham, a social work student. “Even more, the scholarships instilled a sense of pride in me. It means a lot to know people have invested in my future. Having the support of these donors, I am not afraid to pursue my dreams.”

LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT ENDEAVOR

As the dean pointed out, advancement efforts are an ongoing proposition in higher education, especially on a visionary campus such as OU-C. In building on the success and momentum of the scholarship effort, the focus now turns toward fund-raising for the Academic Success Center.

Once completed, the center will serve as a physical and functional link between the Stevenson Center Learning Commons, which serves as a hub of campus activity, and the academic resources of Bennett Hall. In this way, the Academic Success Center will become foundational to providing students with a well-rounded educational experience.

The Academic Success Center will expand and modernize the Learning Commons as well as provide students with resources for increased academic support and student services programming.

Features of the project include spacious, functional rooms that can be used for large classes and community events; additional group study spaces; expanded tutoring center space; relocation of the campus bookstore, and convenient access to student services resources.

In all, the center promises to further foster a sense of a learning community and give OU-C the look and feel of a traditional small-campus setting.

RECOGNIZING MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS

Additionally, some notable contributors were recognized during the event.

Gifts to the campaign have resulted in the creation of 14 new endowed scholarships, a commendable feat.

Also, Professor Emeritus of English Veena Kasbekar has made a gift to provide financial support for students interested in the study of language arts.

An endowment by Berger Health System of Circleville supports the associate degree of nursing cohort at the hospital by providing modern equipment to enhance the student learning experience as well as supporting faculty research projects conducted at the health system.

Additionally, Adena Health System and McDonalds Restaurants of Chillicothe have made generous gifts toward the future construction of the Academic Success Center.

OU-C duo wins state tennis doubles title


The Ohio University-Chillicothe women’s tennis team placed second and the men’s team finished third in the recent Ohio Regional Campus Conference tournament. OU-C players Dakoda Collins and Alley Newland won the women’s doubles state title. Miami Hamilton won the women’s title, and Miami Middletown captured the men’s crown.