Wednesday, February 17, 2016

OU-C faculty member Donna Burgraff publishes article in educational journal

By public relations student writer Madison Corbin

Higher Education for the Future, a multi-disciplinary journal dedicated to reviewing and rejuvenating higher education based on educators’ experiences, recently published the work of associate professor of Education and Technical and Applied Studies at OU-C, Donna L. Burgraff, Ed.D.

In the article, Burgraff discusses the opportunities for creativity and critical thinking that a classroom setting without a textbook invites. Her personal pedagogy forsakes the use of textbooks and, instead, implements best-selling books, technology-based presentations and student writings into the course of curriculum. These unconventional means of education, she claims, propel enhanced participation and higher levels of success in her students’ work.

“Students indicate that they feel more intellectually challenged,” said Burgraff. “The ideal outcome is more significant learning that will stay with them throughout their careers.”

Burgraff has given presentations pertaining to her innovative, student-focused classroom methods in recent years at the West Virginia Department of Education Institutional Education Conference in Morgantown and the Scholastic Inquiry’s International Academic Research Conference in San Francisco.  The latter, entitled “No More Textbooks: Changing How We Structure Classes,” won the Best Conference Presentation award.

“Making the learning that goes on in my classroom more relevant is what inspired me,” said Burgraff.  “I want the work students do in my classes to be as closely related to what they will encounter in the workplace as much as possible.”

Although standard classroom structure revolves around the narrative of a textbook, Burgraff employs innovation to give the individuals present more power over the material, and how they approach it. Her concerns for a learner’s experience are primarily practical.

“The benefits are immediate. First, they save money on the cost. Second, they read the books, which does not always happen in a traditional setting,” said Burgraff. “Finally, they are more prepared for the tasks they must complete in the workplace.”

Business leader shares words of wisdom with OU-C students

Tom Johnson, owner and chief executive of Two Roasting Joes coffee company, recently shared his insights with students in a business management technology class taught by OU-C faculty member Greg-Victor Obi.

Johnson talked about his experiences as a business professional and the challenges of running a small business. He also demonstrated how coffee is roasted and the sealing process of “Joe Cups,” the single-serving version of his blend.

These types of experiences, in which students have the opportunity to interact with individuals in their future professions, are invaluable in preparing Chillicothe Campus students for their careers.

“It has been part of my teaching practice in my previous employments to bring actual world practice into the classroom hence I often invite practitioners from the industry to my classes as guest speakers,” Obi said. “This practice I have found helps bridge the gap between the theory and concepts we teach in the classroom and learning from practical experience of practitioners. It also, in my experience, helps foster a stronger bond between the campus and the community as these speakers are often local small business owners.”

Chillicothe Campus members again have opportunity to become involved in local March of Dimes event

In continuing an ongoing campus tradition, Ohio University-Chillicothe faculty, students and staff will again have the opportunity to form teams in support of the annual Scioto Valley March for Babies event on April 24 in Chillicothe’s Yoctangee Park.

OU-C is currently in the process of organizing teams who will fundraise and participate in the march in April. Faculty member Dywayne Nicely ( is captain of the faculty and staff team, and student services staff member Ashlee Digges ( is serving as captain of the campus’ student team. Both are currently recruiting participants to serve as team members/walkers, and interested campus members should contact them directly.

The march allows participants to join together for a cause that mirrors the campus’ mission of improving the quality of life for area residents, get some exercise and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow campus and community members. Participants can raise money through the support of sponsors and other fund-raising activities. The hope is that there will be enough interest from the campus community to field several walking teams.

The March for Babies event is the major fundraiser for the March of Dimes organization and provides funds to support research and education to expectant moms and health care professionals.

The focus of the March of Dimes is to prevent premature births by providing expectant mothers with proper pre-natal care and nutrition. Ross County lags behind the statewide and national averages in these areas. Since the cause affects Ross County and the area that the Chillicothe Campus serves, it seems appropriate for OU-C to take an active role as a local sponsor of the event.

A community kick-off event for March for Babies is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 25 in the Stevenson Center on campus. Interested participants are invited to attend to learn more about the upcoming march and are asked to RSVP for the event by contacting Katie Christian at or online at

Co-chairs of the local 2016 March for Babies are OU-C Dean Martin Tuck and Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce President Randy Davies.

OU-C students offer insights on their ideal campus

We regularly talk with OU-C students to gain their perspective on the college experience. This week, we asked our students what features they would include if they were building their own campus. Not surprisingly, the answers were far more than just academic.

 “I would have a big parking lot and a nice common area with an adjacent library, similar to the
Learning Commons,” said Grayson Pittock, a geology major from Unioto High School. “I would also build on to the nature trails. They can be a good place to get away and blow off steam. Overall, I think this campus is pretty nice.”

 Pam Daniels, a nursing student from Piketon High School, is a content student campus-builder. “This campus is fine with me, and I would like to have a campus similar to it. It is small, friendly, not intimidating and has everything you need. Also, it is close to home and has low tuition, which are things I would include.”

 “I would include more premium parking,” said Dylan Wheaton, a psychology major from Greenfield McClain High. “I would not modernize the campus but have a library area with computers similar to the Learning Commons. I would include more private study rooms and keep the café separate from the study area. Having food that close is too tempting when you are trying to study.”

“It would be nice to have athletic fields so sports such as the baseball team can practice when the weather is nice,” said nursing student Shane Boyer of Zane Trace High. “I like having a café, but would have a bigger area and possibly include brand restaurants in an area such as a food court. I would also have another building so it is easier to schedule classes.”