Tuesday, January 26, 2016

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. 14 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 fourth year 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 www.ohiocollegegoalsunday.org or by calling 1-800-233-6734. While walk-ins are welcome, registration is strongly encouraged. The OU-C contact is Coordinator of Student Activities Ashlee Digges, (740) 774-7229 or digges@ohio.edu. 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 2015 tax returns, if completed, and W-2 forms.

College Goal Sunday provides an opportunity for high school seniors, individuals returning to school, and other prospective students to receive assistance while completing the FAFSA.

“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,” Digges 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,” OU-C Director of Student Services John Fisher said. “It is held at OU-C which is convenient for most students in Ross County and accessible for students in Fayette, 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.

Faculty member Darren Baker has artwork selected for upcoming Ohio Arts Council exhibition

Darren Baker's work will be part of an upcoming exhibition in Columbus.

By student public relations writer Leah Sternberger

The artwork of OU-C art faculty member Darren Baker will be presented as part of an upcoming exhibition titled, “Earthy Delights” at the Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery in downtown Columbus. The Riffe Gallery showcases the work of Ohio’s premier artists and the collections of the state’s museums and galleries.

Baker’s work, titled Vestige, 2010, Giclee Print, will be on display from Aug. 4 to Oct. 8. The exhibition was curated by Marcella Hackbardt.

Baker, a visiting assistant professor, earned his bachelor’s degree in digital imaging and photography from Shawnee State University and his master’s degree in graphic design from Ohio University. He has served on the Ohio Museum Association Board of Directors and was also the director of visual arts at the Southern Museum and Culture Center.

His personal artwork has been exhibited throughout the region, and he uses his experiences as an artist in the classroom to teach his students. 

“The life of an artist is a life of making,” Baker said.  “Whether it is making a clay pot, working in the darkroom, designing a poster or baking bread, making becomes a meditation. As a professor at Ohio University Chillicothe, I hope to inspire my students to work and exhibit as much as possible. Ohio has so many opportunities for emerging and established artists.”

Baker and his fellow OU-C Arts faculty members strive to create courses to fit the artistic interests of both major and non-major students.

“The OU-C Art studios are a dynamic environment,” said Baker. “We offer the widest range of studio classes for art and non-art majors found on any regional campus.”

He believes the addition of new faculty members presents the opportunity for the program to grow even stronger in the future.

“We are very excited to introduce three new adjunct faculty with impressive academic and exhibition credentials: Fatima Azimova in art appreciation and drawing, Todd Reynolds in painting and Jennifer Hansen Gard in ceramics and sculpture,” Baker said.

Theater program continues to add to overall campus experience for many OU-C students

The campus' theater program provides a creative outlet for students.

By student public relations writer Madison Corbin

The campus’ theater program is far more than a one-act play. Beyond adding to the cultural life on campus, it also engages with community members and provides a creative outlet for OU-C students. Since joining the Chillicothe Campus this fall, theater director and faculty member Lance Mekeel has been striving to ensure the program reaches its star-power potential.

Beginning with the season-opening production of “Almost, Maine” in December, Mekeel has worked to foster an inviting atmosphere and a productive work ethic, from auditions to rehearsals to opening night. “The collegiality of theater means that you are working closely with others,” said Mekeel. “You can’t help but get to know people and make new friendships.”

Participating students affirmed his efforts. “It’s really helped me be social and outgoing,” said Haley Gray, a student actor at OU-C. “Being a part of something so much bigger . . . it’s really awesome.”

“I feel that it’s important for students to understand that theater is not just for getting onstage, memorizing lines and acting, but that theater serves us in so many ways as human beings” said Mekeel, whose interests in theater’s abundant benefits span personal, practical and professional applications. “I’m very interested in making sure that students know that there is a place for them in theater here.”

Also, Mekeel has overseen the establishment of the Student Theater Organization to further connect with students.

In a video found on the OU-C YouTube channel, Mekeel details his vision for the campus’ stage efforts while students offer insight on what being involved entails.

Whether it involves joining the student organization, working backstage, designing a set or auditioning for a performing role, Mekeel encourages interested students to explore their options.

“Take that step. Take the leap and get involved in whatever capacity you feel comfortable . . . to forge those new relationships with people, to create those new knowledges . . . that’s the way we become better humans.”

Campus members ponder challenges, opportunities during spring semester meeting

Chillicothe Campus faculty and staff members recently gathered for the regular spring semester opening session. Dean Martin Tuck mentioned some upcoming opportunities and challenges facing the campus as well as approaches being taken to address those situations.

Enrollment is down somewhat from last year for both fall and spring semesters. As the economy improves, more prospective non-traditional students are in the workforce and not looking to retrain for other careers. Also, there are fewer high school graduates statewide and more competition for these students. The campus is looking to take steps to mediate this, and a strategic enrollment plan is in place.

In moving forward, more of an emphasis will be placed on retention to bolster the overall enrollment numbers as well as innovative educational delivery methods that align with trends in higher education and students’ expectations.

In terms of retention, examples of current endeavors include initiatives such as the Student Success Center, supplemental instruction efforts and the development of learning communities in the fall.

As for innovative delivery methods, the program launched in the fall that allows Adena Health System caregivers to pursue a Bachelor’s of Technical and Applied Studies Degree by taking courses on-site. 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 and in a manner that fits their schedules.

This pilot program can possibly be tailored to other area businesses and situations. Details about the program can be found in the campus’ news blog: http://www.oucnewsblog.com/search?q=Adena.

The dean also mentioned other creative methods of delivery and curriculum development such as increased emphasis on online and blended programs that combine traditional classroom and distance learning elements.

Additionally, with the number of high schools students enrolled in College Credit Plus nearly doubling the post-secondary enrollment numbers, this could present opportunities to connect with future college students who already are familiar with the Chillicothe Campus.

The dean said the future looks bright and employment staffing levels are nearly complete. Additionally, the university continues to modify its responsibility based budget model in ways that may favor the Ohio University regional campuses.

Monday, January 25, 2016

OU-C to host Ohio Fire Academy fire instructor course

Ohio University-Chillicothe and the Ohio Fire Academy (OFA) are partnering to host a fire instructor I and II course at OU-C from March 21 to April 1. The course is designed for individuals seeking certification in Ohio as fire instructors.

The course will provide participants with the skills and knowledge to effectively deliver instruction from a lesson plan and maintain records. Participants will learn theories of modern adult education and their application. Students will practice teaching skills during in-class demonstrations. Students are required to attend all classes as well as pass written and practical examinations.

To register, contact the OFA registrar at (614) 752-7196.

Fire instructor candidates must hold a current firefighter certificate; have at least five years of experience as a certified firefighter in the past seven years; pass instructor examination at the firefighter II level; and comply with OAC rule 4765-21-03.

Assistant fire instructor candidates must hold a current firefighter certificate; have at least five years of experience as a certified firefighter in the past seven years; pass instructor knowledge exam at the firefighter II level; and comply with OAC rule 4765-21-03.