Tuesday, May 10, 2016

OU-C adjunct faculty member and student lead award-winning science writing project for Unioto Elementary classroom

By student public relations writer Leah Sternberger
A class of second grade students at Unioto Elementary School led by Jennifer Domo, adjunct faculty member in education at Ohio University-Chillicothe, and Jaimee Jenkins, an early childhood education major, recently won the DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition.

The national competition encourages students to get to the edge of scientific discovery by writing about a technological or scientific development on the topics of food, energy, protection or innovation. The SCOPES (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) class’ book was chosen first in the nation out of 9,000 entries.

The second graders’ winning book was about health and nutrition. With guidance from Domo and Jenkins, the students extensively researched and worked together to illustrate and explain their findings in writing. The finished book was made up of work entirely done by the students.

As winners of the national competition, Unioto Elementary will receive a trophy in addition to a collection of Britannica eBooks and encyclopedias for scientific research. Each child in the second grade SCOPES class will receive a free bag of scientific materials, and the whole school will receive a "Science is Fun" day hosted by DuPont and NASA.

Additionally, Domo and Jenkins will attend the 2017 National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Conference for free in Los Angeles next March.

“We’re really going to benefit from attending the conference,” said Domo.  “We will have the opportunity to network with teachers from across the country and meet vendors who can supply us with tech materials for our children to use in the classroom.”

For Jenkins, the conference offers an opportunity to jumpstart her career in education, and to learn how to bring science and exploration into the classroom.

“The NSTA Conference is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” Jenkins said.  “Personally, I love science and I love the curiosity it instills in young children so being able to attend this conference and learn new ways to incorporate science into my future classroom is going to be an amazing experience. I have already assured all of my Early Childhood peers that when I return I will share all of my knowledge and resources with them to jump start more science education in our area.”

The experience has been extremely valuable for Jenkins and speaks to the career training she has received during her field work in Domo's SCOPES classroom at Unioto Elementary.

“This opportunity has made me even more excited to start my career in early childhood education and to bring new and exciting science experiences to the children in my classroom. With this experience and with the knowledge I have gained, I hope to be an asset to whatever school district I end up teaching in.”

Domo believes the second grade class’ success is evidence of the successful partnership between OU-C and Unioto Elementary.

“Our students’ success in the competition and growth in the classroom is a result of the wonderful partnership Unioto has with Ohio University. It’s a win-win for the elementary school, the college and the students. This is proof of the caliber of the program and the power of collaborating to create a learning environment where everyone thrives,” Domo said.

Chillicothe Campus graduates are encouraged to follow new paths during Recognition of Graduation event

Chillicothe Campus graduates were encouraged to use the critical thinking skills they develop during their college careers and allow themselves to follow new paths during the recent Recognition of Graduation event in the Shoemaker Center. The annual event recognizes students who earned associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio University while pursuing their college goals on the Chillicothe Campus.

Keynote speaker Mike Smith urged the graduates to “think outside of the box” and “be willing to learn from unlikely sources.”

“Life has a strange way of taking unexpected twists and turns, taking us in directions we never thought probable or may be even possible,” he said. “Some of these twists can even be painful or discouraging at times, but if we learn from those circumstances, it could turn into the most illuminating experience of our lives.”

Smith is both news and sports director as well as operations manager of the local radio stations.

Approximately 170 students participated in the graduation ceremony. In all, nearly 440 students entered the ranks of OU-C and Ohio University alumni during the 2015-16 academic year.

Sherry Nelson, a Navy veteran, delivered the Pledge of Allegiance. Local business professional and public servant Jim Caldwell received the Rich Bebee Alumni Leadership Award.

Student reflection speaker Elizabeth Gumm talked about how the OU-C experience has prepared her and her fellow graduates for success in their upcoming pursuits.

“Attending a non-traditional campus has allowed us to not only live out our educational dreams but also stay connected to our friends, family and daily life commitments,” she said. “ … this dedication has allowed each of us to stay diligent throughout these years, and that is an attribute that will serve us well in our future endeavors.”

Recent Hilltopper graduate continues a family legacy

One of the participants in the campus’ recent graduation ceremony continued a family legacy in earning his Ohio University degree while taking courses on the Chillicothe Campus. William Mahaffey, who earned a Master in Education in Counselor Education degree, is the son of two other OU-C alumni.

His father, Jack Mahaffey, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1984 and was Student Senate president and a computer lab assistant during his student career. He is now a systems administrator at Glatfelter, a local industry.

His mother is OU-C faculty member Barbara Mahaffey, Ph.D., who earned a bachelor’s degree in communication in 1980 as well as a master of education in counseling degree in 1997. She is an Associate Professor of Human Services Technology and joined the Chillicothe Campus faculty in 2005. Additionally, she is employed in the private practice as a licensed professional clinical counselor.

William Mahaffey has had a distinguished academic career. He achieved honor status in Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society for professional counselors and students in the counselor education program. Further, he was first author of an article published on the American Counseling Association’s VISTAS site entitled, “Ethical Decision-Making: Supervision Suggestions Utilizing a Review of the Ewing Versus Goldstein Court Case.”

He looks to eventually pursue a Ph.D. in counselor education and complete his licensure examination.

“I am proud to see our son succeed,” Jack Mahaffey said. “My OU-C degree has prepared me well for my career, and I am glad to see him follow the same path in continuing the family legacy. It is nice to see him succeed, and we have high hopes for William.”

Barbara Mahaffey said, “Ohio University has been a great educational experience for our family. Our other child, Nikki will start back to college this summer. We expect to have an entire household of alumni soon.”

Campus members meet to review, refine strategic plans to best meet current challenges and opportunities

The campus' strategic plans focus on ensuring students have a meaningful educational experience.

Members of the Chillicothe Campus community recently met to update and revise the campus’ strategic plan. The current plan was developed in 2013 and includes campus-wide input through a series of staff meetings and similar campus planning sessions.

The approximately 45 individuals who attended the recent meeting, including faculty, staff and a Regional Coordinating Council member, reviewed the current planning document, including the status of initiatives that were outlined in 2013.

The strategic plan is intended to align with OU-C’s mission while also reflecting marketplace conditions as well as current opportunities and challenges. More than just a document, the plan provides a roadmap for decision-making in a logical, practical manner.

For example, in light of new circumstances such as budgetary restrictions, an emphasis in the recent planning session was placed on initiatives that are practical, enhance enrollment efforts and are cost-efficient. Participants assessed the current plan and examined initiatives in the 2013 blueprint that are ongoing to decide if the projects should proceed to completion or if it were wiser to take another direction that better fits current circumstances.

Faculty and staff members led breakout sessions in four areas:
•    Academic priorities
•    Facilities and information technology
•    Communications and marketing/enrollment
•    Academic support strategic initiatives

In keeping with the spirit of the meeting, the focus was on a cross-section of faculty and staff members in each breakout session to provide a cross-section of perspectives as well as crafting two to five initiatives that are “doable” in the near future.

Among suggested areas of strategic emphasis were:
•    Partnerships and articulation agreements
•    Degree-completion options
•    Academic support and success initiatives
•    Further alignment of facilities and information technology advances to align with academic objectives to enhance students’ learning experiences
•    Increased marketing to non-traditional students as well as peer-focused communication efforts