President Kristina M. Johnson sent the following email to The Ohio State University community on October 27, 2020.
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:
My college visits are a highlight of my first-year Buckeye experience. Learning from you where you study, teach, perform and practice is enlightening. I am particularly interested to see our university’s founding land-grant mission in action — whether through teaching and learning, convergent research and scholarship, or outreach and engagement efforts.
I recently visited Moritz College of Law, where students, faculty and staff talked passionately about their commitment to building bridges that connect Ohio State’s expertise and experience with initiatives and programs that positively impact our communities. It was inspiring learning from students and faculty about their passion for public interest law. The college recently adopted a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice strategic plan.
Additionally, Moritz has partnered with Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and others on an expedited pardon project.
University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being
Our new standing University Task Force on Community Safety and Well- Being held its first meetings last week with a charge to deliver an initial report by mid-November. A full list of task force members is now available on the just-launched task force webpage. The webpage provides a form for sharing ideas and suggestions to improve the safety and well-being of our community. I encourage you to participate.
As we are focused on safety, here are some updates on resources offered through the university:
Return to fall sports
It was so great to see our football team in the ’Shoe on Saturday in their big win against Nebraska, 52-14. I was honored to accept the Game Ball from our outstanding student-athletes and coaches after the game!
We look forward to the day soon when all of our student-athletes will return safely to competition. Thank you to all of our students, faculty, staff and fans who wore masks, practiced physical distancing and celebrated from home.
While this Saturday’s football game is at Penn State, we all need to remember that “Every Game is a Home Game.”
This weekend, we will be hosting a range of Buckeye Bash opportunities for students to watch the Ohio State vs. Penn State game (masked and physically distanced) at spaces on campus. Living in a residence hall means the entire campus is your home, and we want you to continue to “homegate” safely and responsibly.
The Ohio Union, for example, will show the game on all screens in the building. Food, special giveaways and can’t-miss prizes (including passes for Ohio Stadium tours, football jerseys and more) will be highlights of the day. Details on these and additional programs will be shared throughout the week. Additionally, all members of Buckeye Nation will be able to play along virtually, wherever they are in the world.
Stay safe. Have fun. Go Buckeyes!
The seven-day average positivity rate for all students is at .88%. On campus, the seven-day average rate is .64% while the off-campus rate is 1.25%. We have expanded our testing efforts to approximately 18,000 each week, and have conducted more than 165,000 tests overall.
Last week, Ohio State’s Comprehensive Monitoring Team issued its initial report on ongoing data analysis designed to stem the spread of infection. The report observed that the reproduction number (Rt) has remained stable, primarily below 1, which is an indicator that the epidemic may be slowing.
Also, two key measures declined and then remained stable since mid- September:
1) Trends in infection rates among asymptomatic students, and 2) Positive rates among students who get tested because they are experiencing symptoms or have come into close contact with someone who is infected.
The team, led by Dr. Amy Fairchild, dean of our College of Public Health, has urged caution as the weather turns colder and stressed the importance of remaining vigilant by wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart and following all of our Safe and Healthy Buckeyes requirements.
Racial justice, diversity and inclusion
As the work of our Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequities progresses, I joined co-chairs Dr. James L. Moore III and Dr. Tom Gregoire, as well as Alumni Association President and CEO Molly Ranz Calhoun, for the first in the four-part webinar series “Ripe for Change: Conversations on Race in America.” You can watch the full discussion here. Over 700 people registered for the virtual event, and I continue to be impressed by the depth of commitment in our community to addressing this critical challenge. One of the topics we discussed is how to leverage and scale up high-impact mentorship programs such as Young Scholars, LASER and others. To register for future webinars, visit the Office of Diversity and Inclusion webpage.
The task force continues to collect data from members of the university community for its report, and I look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks.
The November 3 general election is next week, and we encourage all Buckeyes to exercise their right to vote. Early voting in Ohio continues through November 2. You can find your county’s early voting center location and hours at voteohio.gov. For more voting resources, visit OSU Votes.
Discovery, learning and impact
Each week brings incredible examples of your impact on our campuses and in our communities.
The Master of Sport Management Degree in the College of Education and Human Ecology is one of only two such academic programs in the nation that has closed the gender gap, with 50% or more of its enrolled students and faculty being female.
Dr. Rattan Lal, on the same day he received the 50th annual World Food Prize, was honored by the university and our College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences with the naming of the CFAES Rattan Lal Center for Carbon Management and Sequestration.
Leaders from our College of Optometry have been named American Academy of Optometry 2020 Award recipients.
Dean Karla Zadnik is the winner of the Charles F. Prentice Medal Award, among the highest research honors an optometrist can receive.
Dr. Roanne Flom is the winner of the William Feinbloom Award.
Dr. Jeffrey Walline received the Max Schapero Memorial Lecture Award from the Section on Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies.
Dr. Gregory Good received the Henry B. Peters Award from the Public Health and Environmental Vision Section.
Dr. Melissa Shivers, vice president for student life, has been elected to a two- year term on the national board of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors, beginning in 2021.
Ohio State’s University Hospital, Ross Heart Hospital, Brain and Spine Hospital and Dodd Rehabilitation Hospital each earned a fourth consecutive Magnet designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute also has Magnet status, which is the highest recognition a hospital can receive for outstanding nursing performance.
Graduate student stipends
We were pleased to share last week that the university will increase the minimum stipend for teaching, research and other graduate associates by $4,000 over the next two years. With these increases, Ohio State’s minimum stipend is projected to rise from the bottom half of the Big Ten to among the top third.
Based on current figures, the university’s 2021-22 ranking would be fourth in the Big Ten. This represents an investment both in our graduate students and in Ohio State’s academic mission. As many of you know, graduate associates teach classes, pursue important research and scholarship, and support the university while working to earn advanced degrees. Their contributions to and roles in our university community are vital.
Thank you for all that you do, Buckeyes. Sincerely yours,
Kristina M. Johnson, PhD