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Jan 13
Reflections of a First-Year Buckeye: New semester, Education for Citizenship

President Kristina M. Johnson sent the following email to The Ohio State University community on January 12, 2021

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Last night, a remarkable football season came to an end in the national championship game. I couldn’t be more proud of our team. Their accomplishments and perseverance throughout this most-challenging season are inspiring. Buckeye Nation is nothing if not resilient. We thank our team – the players, coaches and staff – who lifted us up, brought us together and gave us a lot to cheer about these past four months.

Spring classes are now underway and will be conducted virtually through January 22. Best of luck to all for a successful semester of learning and discovery. If you are new to the university, welcome. If this is your last semester as a student before graduation, I know you will finish strong among this outstanding community of scholars and supporters. 

Let’s continue to move forward and stay safe Together As Buckeyes.

Below are several updates for the spring and beyond.

Education for Citizenship

This is a difficult time for our community and our country. As a university, we continue to be horrified by the violent mob that terrorized our elected officials and our Capitol, a global symbol of democracy that was desecrated.

While it will take time to process the events of January 6, we are not powerless in the face of such direct challenges to America’s “democratic experiment.” I encourage each one of us to reaffirm and further advance the motto of our land-grant university: Education for Citizenship. 

To that end, I am announcing today the “Education for Citizenship Discussion Series,” evening conversations on the state of our democracy that will utilize the scholarship and research of our outstanding faculty and staff. The first four events are listed below, and more will be announced soon. 

  • Thursday, January 14: Fostering Deliberative Democracy in Our Era of Political Polarization (moderated discussion with Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. James L. Moore III; Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Law Nancy Rogers; and Dr. Mike Neblo in the Department of Political Science and director of the Institute for Democratic Engagement and Accountability)

  • Thursday, January 28: Race and Democracy in America 

  • Thursday, February 4: Navigating the Post-Truth World 

Dr. Moore in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion partnered with the Office of Institutional Equity last year to establish the Education for Citizenship initiative to bring people together and give them the resources to have productive conversations on challenging issues. As an institution of higher learning, we know that education is a critical component to combating misinformation and intolerance. As details about the dialogue series are finalized, they will be available on the Education for Citizenship page, along with a toolkit with resources on how to have productive conversations on difficult topics.

COVID-19: return to campus

Student move-in on the Columbus campus is scheduled to begin January 18, with in-person classes currently slated to resume on January 25. Our COVID-19 Implementation Response Team (IRT) continues to monitor the pandemic and the latest guidance from health authorities with regard to testing, tracing and vaccination. We will make adjustments to our spring and summer academic plans as needed. To review our protocols:

  • All students are asked to self-sequester for 10 days before returning to their local residences and/or to in-person, on-campus engagements.

  • Prior to returning to campus, all students living in residence halls and involved in sorority and fraternity life are required to be tested. Testing and move-in details are available here. All students, including off-campus students, should receive two negative tests before in-person classes begin.

  • All students, including graduate and professional students, will be tested weekly throughout the semester.

  • Daily health checks reported through the Ohio State mobile app or compass.osu.edu continue to be required any time you are coming to campus. New this semester is a requirement for students to complete weekly testing in order to have a green health passport. Without a green health passport, students as well as faculty and staff will not be admitted to recreational centers. Read more on the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

  • For faculty and staff, we will continue to offer weekly testing for those whose job responsibilities require consistent and/or sustained in-person contact with other campus community members.

We will keep you informed of any changes or modifications to our plans. Our flexibility last semester was one of the keys to our success. Thank you for your cooperation as we all work together to fight the pandemic.

Our COVID-19 dashboard will also continue to be updated with the latest available data.

COVID-19: vaccination

Starting January 19, the Wexner Medical Center will utilize the Schottenstein Center as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site for select patients and, later, the general public. The medical center estimates that it can provide over 3,000 vaccines per day through this site. Appointments are required for all vaccinations.

Consistent with the state’s approach to Group 1B priority populations, the medical center will start vaccinating its patients over age 80 at the Schottenstein Center. Other 1B populations will be vaccinated in the future. Read more here.

Discovery, learning and impact

Ohio State’s Department of French and Italian has been named a Center of Excellence by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, joining just 22 universities nationally. The designation provides funding and project-based support for teaching programs, research partnerships and more.

Four students – engineering undergraduates Caleb Buaful, Jacob Buaful Jr. and Anita Nti, and doctoral student Danny Freudiger – have developed a battery pack, delivery system and mobile app to replace gas generators as a portable power source that is more sustainable. Their startup company, Electrion, was inspired by observing Buckeye tailgates during the 2019 season. It’s always exciting to see our students helping to connect research and entrepreneurship. I was also pleased to read about the Best of Student Startups (BOSS), a semester-long competition hosted by the Tim and Kathleen Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship. Alex Zorniger, a second-year MBA student at Fisher College of Business, took home first place for his idea, Transfer Base. The startup seeks to provide tools to help technology-based organizations discover and efficiently access university research.

Congratulations to five Ohio State scholars who have been named among the “1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America” by Cell Mentor, an online resource for researchers. Included on the list of honorees are Dr. Darryl B. Hood, associate professor, public health; Dr. Ray Bignall II, clinical assistant professor, pediatrics; Dr. Aeriel Leonard, assistant professor, materials science and engineering; Dr. Joshua Joseph, assistant professor, endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism; and Dr. Ranthony A.C. Edmonds, postdoctoral scholar, mathematics.

Dr. David Weinberg, Distinguished University Professor of the Department of Astronomy, has won the 2021 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics. He is the second Ohio State faculty member in two years to win the award. Dr. Christopher Kochanek, professor and Ohio Eminent Scholar in the Department of Astronomy, was awarded the Heineman Prize in 2020.

The Office of Research and The Women’s Place will hold a free virtual screening of and discussion about the film “Picture a Scientist.” The film chronicles several scholars who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. A discussion will feature a panel of five Ohio State faculty from a range of disciplines. Register by January 19. The film will be available for viewing beginning January 22 with the discussion taking place January 27 from noon to 1 p.m.

Finally, we will observe and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, January 18. No classes will be held that day in recognition of the iconic civil rights leader.

I invite you to join fellow Buckeyes in honoring Dr. King’s legacy by participating in events and activities during a week-long program that will celebrate his legacy while incorporating the importance of activism in our society today. A full list of events is available here. Dr. King’s example in contributing to the betterment of our democracy and our world is more important now than ever.

I look forward to sharing more soon.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
President

Jan 06
Reflections of a First-Year Buckeye: Vaccine Information, Return to Campus Reminders

President Kristina M. Johnson sent the following email to The Ohio State University community on Jan. 5, 2021.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I hope you and your families had a safe and joyous holiday break. As we look ahead to 2021, our gratitude goes to those who led and persevered in the past challenging year. Buckeyes everywhere came together to protect and care for each other and their communities while living our values. Here’s to doing great things and building a better world in the year to come.

What a fabulous Sugar Bowl game! Our outstanding, talented and resilient squad of Buckeyes crushed an excellent Clemson team. It is truly extraordinary what our student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff have accomplished this season in the face of so many unprecedented challenges. Only one more to go! I can’t wait to join all of the Buckeye supporters around the world in cheering on this very special team in the national championship on January 11.

Following are some updates as we head into the new year.

COVID-19: return to campus

We continue to plan for the start of spring semester, where the first two weeks of classes – January 11-22 – will be conducted virtually. Student move-in for university housing on the Columbus campus is scheduled to begin January 18. Students should self-sequester at home 10 days prior to returning to their campus residences and/or to in-person, on-campus engagements.

All students, whether living on or off campus, must follow spring testing protocols, which include two negative test results before resuming on-campus activities and weekly testing throughout the semester. Details are available here. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes or modifications to the plan of record.

For the latest Ohio State testing data, view the COVID-19 dashboard.

COVID-19: vaccination

Based on guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine administration continues to prioritize Wexner Medical Center front-line clinical staff as well as those most vulnerable to the virus. As of December 30, more than 7,200 medical center front-line health care workers have either been vaccinated or are scheduled to receive the vaccine. We hope to complete vaccinations for more than 16,000 of our health care workers by mid-January.

The university is actively planning for expanded vaccine distribution as allowed by the State of Ohio and will work in coordination with Governor Mike DeWine as well as state and local health experts. Details will be shared when they are available. Additional information about vaccine distribution is available on the Ohio Department of Health website

While this progress is promising, it remains critically important to keep following public health protocols – even if you receive the vaccine. That means continuing to wear masks, practicing physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings and consistently cleaning your hands until the majority of the U.S. population is vaccinated and herd immunity is achieved.

Discovery, learning and impact

A free mindfulness program created by researchers in the College of Medicine significantly reduced burnout and perceived stress for health care faculty and staff, while increasing resilience and work engagement at the Wexner Medical Center, according to a new study. The findings are published online in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine.

Dr. Thomas Wood, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, will investigate how fact-checking can effectively counteract misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The project will support the Google News Initiative’s creation of a COVID-19 Vaccine Media Hub.

Voting continues for the “Coolest Science Story of the Year,” a fun and interactive way to spread news of the university’s research and scholarship. Last year’s contest resulted in more than 12,000 votes. Our offices of Research and Corporate Engagement are also planning for the 2021 Research and Innovation Showcase. The annual recognition of Ohio State’s research and creative expression community, tentatively scheduled for mid-April, highlights and promotes the importance of connecting research and entrepreneurship.

Buckeye generosity

I am delighted that our annual Buckeyes for Charity campaign exceeded expectations with $1.35 million raised among Ohio State faculty, staff and retirees. The funds support Ohio nonprofit organizations, many of which have been affected by the pandemic. Even during challenging times, Buckeye generosity continues to help communities throughout the state.

Once again, happy New Year – and I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
President

Dec 30
New Ohio State Optometry Clinic Open for Patients

A new eye care clinic is open on the campus of The Ohio State University, and the opportunity it presents for students, faculty, and patients matches its state-of-the-art construction.

The College of Optometry’s clinic, at the corner of 11th and Neil avenues, replaces a more than 50-year-old facility. The new setting offers a modern learning experience for students to improve the lives of their patients, said Karla Zadnik, dean of the college.

“You can only do so much in the classroom, so much in simulations, and so much in the lab before, sooner or later, they need to start seeing real patients,” she said. “Our clinic uniquely exists only to educate students. If you wanted to see one of my faculty members, you would not be able to do that without first seeing a student. This is designed from the first moment to be that kind of educational clinic.”

The new clinic occupies the first three floors of the Neil Avenue building. Primary vision care, contact lens care, pediatrics and vision rehabilitation are some of the full spectrum of services offered at the clinic.

The new building includes 56 fully equipped exam rooms and a new retail eyewear gallery with more than 3,000 frames.

Audree Bass, a fourth-year optometry student, said the new clinic offers more space and more efficiency. Faculty, diagnostic equipment and labs are all centrally located, which benefits patient care.

“I’m able to grab all of my tools and put them out on the desk, and I’m able to help the patient efficiently. That really speeds up my exam efficiency,” she said. “Also, the computers are now set in a way where I can face the patient as I’m typing their history or information. So it’s a lot more fluid.”

Efficiency matters for most patients but is particularly important for children, Bass said.

“Getting through the exam quickly really makes it better for the patient, and we’re able to get more accurate data. A lot of disease onset in childhood, like an eye turn or some type of focusing problem, can really affect them later on,” she said. “You really want to have them attentive and engaged so you can evaluate those things early and they can go forward, go to school and be successful.”

For patients, the modern equipment, services and setting may be reason enough to encourage a visit. But Zadnik points out that patients tend to see their optometrists more often than they go in for a general physical. As a result, their eye doctor can catch health problems that extend beyond the eye.

“They say the eye is the window to the soul. I don’t know about that, but the eyes certainly can be the windows to your systemic health. It might be weird to think about an optometrist telling you, for the first time, that there’s an issue with your blood pressure – but that can happen,” she said.

Zadnik said the new clinic also helps Ohio State recruit and retain the best students and faculty.

“If you really are a place with the best students in the country and the best faculty in the country, they deserve a nice house,” she said. “I really think with the best and brightest optometry students in the country, the addition of this facility is going to make us unbeatable.”

By 

Chris Booker

Ohio State News

booker.9@osu.edu

614.292.7276

https://news.osu.edu/new-ohio-state-optometry-clinic-open-for-patients/

Dec 23
Reflections of a First-Year Buckeye: Return-to-campus COVID-19 testing updates

President Johnson sent the following email to The Ohio State University community on December 22, 2020.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Warmest holiday wishes, Buckeyes. This past year has brought historic challenges for our university. Through it all, you have demonstrated time and again the ingenuity and grace with which our Ohio State family faces moments of great adversity. I am proud to be part of a community that makes such a positive difference in the lives of so many.

As we look to the New Year and the start of the spring semester in a few weeks, I know we will continue to work Together As Buckeyes to make our university and our world a better place.

Discovery, learning and impact

Two faculty members in the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have been elected to the National Academy of Inventors 2020 class of Fellows. Dr. Monica Giusti, professor of food science and technology, and Dr. Judit Puskas, professor of food, agricultural and biological engineering, join a class of 175 academic innovators this year.

Intellectual assets for a COVID-19 vaccine technology developed by College of Veterinary Medicine faculty Dr. Jianrong Li and Dr. Stefan Niewiesk were recently licensed to Biological E. Limited. Dr. Grace Wang, executive vice president for Research, Innovation and Knowledge Enterprise, explained the importance of connecting the dots between research and entrepreneurship in an interview this week with Columbus Business First

A Digital Flagship initiative that teaches the basics of coding and app development is thriving. To date, more than 3,000 Ohio State students, faculty and staff have started Swift coding and app development courses. The free certificate program is part of our collaboration with Apple.

A record number of fall student-athletes received Academic All-Big Ten honors. This month, 120 Ohio State honorees were named from field hockey, football, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. You can read more at Ohio State News.

COVID-19: return to on-campus activities

COVID-19 vaccine administration at Ohio State will continue to focus on Wexner Medical Center front-line clinical staff and those most vulnerable to the virus as a national rollout continues. We will continue to protect ourselves and others in 2021 by following the same safe and healthy requirements that enabled us to complete the autumn semester on our campuses: wearing face masks, staying 6 feet apart, avoiding large gatherings, and practicing good hygiene. 

As a reminder, we are currently planning for the first two weeks of spring semester classes – January 11-22 – to be conducted virtually. The situation is very fluid, and we will continue to evaluate conditions in coordination with state and local officials, making any necessary changes as required. All students are requested to self-sequester for 10 days before returning to their on-campus residence and/or to in-person engagements on campus.

Testing remains a critical component of our plan to return and remain on campus together. Yesterday, students began receiving email messages about the following spring testing protocols.

Students living in residence halls and members of the sorority and fraternity community

  • All students returning to residence halls on all campuses in the spring and all members of the sorority and fraternity community will be required to take a university-provided COVID-19 test at home prior to their arrival.

  • These students will also need to schedule and take a second test when they arrive on campus and prior to moving into a residence hall or other facility.

Columbus campus students living off-campus (regardless of location)

  • All off-campus students will be required to test weekly at Jesse Owens North, starting when they return to Columbus to either live or visit campus for any reason. 

  • After the first test, off-campus students will begin testing weekly, with the goal of receiving two negative COVID-19 tests before resuming in-person classes and/or any on-campus activities or interaction with other students and campus community members. (Students are not permitted to test more than once a week.) 

For additional information, including required weekly student-testing protocols for on- and off-campus students, please visit the Safe and Healthy Buckeyes website.

For faculty and staff, we will continue to prioritize testing for those whose job responsibilities require them to have consistent and/or sustained in-person contact with other campus community members. All employees are also encouraged to take advantage of our voluntary testing program to help keep yourself and the members of your household safe.

Finally, our football Buckeyes will play January 1 in the Sugar Bowl after winning a fourth-straight Big Ten Championship this past weekend. This is an incredible achievement under normal circumstances. Of course, this year has been anything but normal, which elevates this milestone still further. We congratulate our student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff for all that they have accomplished. We are proud of you and recognize the hard work, discipline and dedication it took to get to this moment. We also thank members of our community for helping to slow the spread of the virus by “homegating” throughout this unusual year. Let’s continue to do so as our Buckeyes take the field in 2021. O-H!

Have a joyous week, and I will share more after the New Year.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
President

Dec 16
Reflections of a First-Year Buckeye: Gratitude, autumn commencement, Seed Fund for Racial Justice

President Kristina M. Johnson sent the following email to The Ohio State University community on (Dec. 15).

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

With the autumn semester concluded, I want to share my gratitude for your remarkable efforts to combat COVID-19 and ensure that our mission to educate, make new discoveries and provide excellence in outreach and patient care has flourished in the face of great challenges.

I hope all of you are able to take some time over the winter break to refresh and rejuvenate. For the faculty, staff and students working long, difficult hours in our health care system, it is hard to put into words the depth of our appreciation for what you do. Last week, Wexner Medical Center ICU nurse and alumna Kahlia Anderson was featured in the Washington Post, sharing her experiences treating COVID-19 patients. It crystalizes for me the selflessness, skill and perseverance that define Ohio State and our people.

Yesterday, the medical center began administering the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the highest priority front-line clinical workers. We are working hard in coordination with the state to assist in additional vaccine procurement and distribution.

While this is exciting and positive progress in our fight against the virus, COVID-19 remains a serious threat. We must continue to follow all safe and healthy requirements. Thank you for working Together As Buckeyes in everything you do.

COVID-19: return to on-campus activities

We are finalizing our post-break, return-to-campus protocols. Depending on how COVID-19 cases are trending this month and in early January, and with the guidance of Governor Mike DeWine as well as state and local health experts, the university will evaluate and make any necessary changes to our return plans. We will keep you updated. The current plan is for all classes to be held virtually for the first two weeks of spring semester: January 11-22.

Please continue to “homegate” when our football Buckeyes return to action against Northwestern on Saturday. I know we are all looking forward to seeing our team on the field soon, and cheering while keeping your friends and family safe and healthy

Autumn commencement

This past Sunday we awarded 3,938 degrees and certificates at autumn commencement. It was wonderful to celebrate virtually with so many new Ohio State graduates and their families on this exciting and special day. Our commencement speaker, ordained minister and longtime central Ohio television news anchor Jerry Revish, delivered a thoughtful and moving address about taking advantage of opportunities wherever they present themselves, even in challenging times. You can watch the full ceremony as well as the pre-event program here.

Racial justice, diversity and inclusion

As the Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequities continues its work, the university has selected 10 proposals to receive funding through the $1 million Seed Fund for Racial Justice. Principal investigators on the projects represent colleges and organizations across our campuses in disciplines ranging from anthropology and mathematics to public affairs, obstetrics and more. They were selected from 72 initial proposals for creative projects that address structural racism, implicit bias and privilege, and racial and cultural disparities. We will issue grants of up to $50,000 each in two phases over the next two years.

This year marks the 16th Annual Statewide Tribute to Rosa Parks. In place of an in-person event this year, a virtual celebration video features messages from people throughout our community. I was thrilled to share my thoughts, and you can watch the video here. While Rosa Parks is most often remembered for her defiance of injustice on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., she also taught us that progress is a lifelong pursuit. We continue her work today.

Discovery, learning and impact

We recognized two student recipients of the 2021 President’s Prize. Christina Allen of Fairfax, Va., and Dominique Hadad of Dublin, Ohio, will receive a $50,000 living stipend and up to $50,000 in startup funding for their post-graduation projects. Christina will focus on creating Food Leads, working closely with dietitians and doctors to make nutrition a central part of type 2 diabetes treatment for Black and low-income Columbus residents. Dominique will launch Green Scope Consulting, a program aimed at helping food-related local businesses reduce waste to cut costs and propel sustainability goals.

The Moritz College of Law posted a 92% overall bar exam passage rate for exam takers, which is 7% higher than the state average. The college was also the most represented Ohio law school at the October exam with 156 graduates sitting for the bar. We were thrilled to learn that 2020 Moritz graduate Jessica Van Ranken placed first out of 189 examinees in the Arizona bar.

We were pleased to recognize students on the summer 2020 dean’s list. Our congratulations go to the more than 1,000 Buckeyes who achieved top grades for their work.

College of Engineering Dean-designate Dr. Ayanna Howard and faculty members Dr. Ramteen Sioshansi, Dr. Jin Wang, Dr. Xiaorui Wang and Dr. Dong Xuan have been named Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellows. IEEE Fellow is a distinction within institute membership for extraordinary accomplishments in their fields. 

Finally, I was honored to be recognized as the inaugural recipient of the Mildred Dresselhaus Medal, awarded by the IEEE. I had the great fortune to know Dr. Dresselhaus, who is widely considered the founder of carbon science-nanotube technology and carbon electronics. She paved the way for so many women faculty in science and engineering, including me. At Ohio State, we focus on providing opportunities to scientists and scholars from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Be safe, and warmest holiday wishes, Buckeyes. I look forward to sharing more soon.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
President

Dec 09
Students turn to Digital Flagship to learn to code

A program offered to students, faculty and staff at The Ohio State University is teaching the basics of coding and app development.

Digital Flagship Swift coding and app development courses offer the knowledge needed to build practical apps and code effectively. So far more than 3,000 members of the university community have started the free certificate program. Each course covers a wide variety of skills, offering a well-rounded approach to code and design apps.

The self-paced, online curriculum is divided into four competency-based courses culminating in a non-credit, continuing education certificate from Ohio State in the basics of Swift coding and app development processes. Users can complete Apple’s Swift certification as a complement to the Ohio State credential.

For some Ohio State students, the courses help them ramp up as they prepare for classes in computer engineering. Alec Owen, a second-year industrial and systems engineering major, started the courses before diving into his degree program.

“I’d say the course was probably my first intro [to coding] and it did help me. It prepared me a little bit for my fundamentals of engineering classes where you do a lot of programming,” he said. “So that was helpful.”

The certificate is designed to make it easy for people from all backgrounds to get started coding and developing apps. No experience is required.

The courses allow users to move through lessons on their own schedule, speeding through what comes easily or spending more time in areas they want to develop. For Bobby Moosally, a second-year computer science and engineering major, the ease of programing in Swift was a major appeal.

“I guess the syntax of Swift … was really simple. It was very user-friendly and I was able to find the things I needed to find very quickly when I was doing assignments,” he said.

The courses build on each other, with the first course providing a strong foundation for the more advanced work to come. Small assignments and check-ins throughout the first course help ensure students master the foundational concepts before proceeding to the next level.

Kelsey Woods, a research assistant in the School of Communication, said she started taking the courses to prepare for her next step in the job market. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Woods made Swift coding into a hobby like some turned to gardening or cooking.

“I was trying to broaden my skill range to become a more attractive candidate. And then once the pandemic hit, I put that job search on hold for a little bit,” she said. “But it actually became kind of nice and something to do that felt like I was progressing. I was learning a new, useful skill and it was kind of like my quarantine hobby.

“I don’t necessarily see myself as an actual coder, but I think it’s really important to understand that code and have a really basic knowledge of it,” Woods said. “Especially if you’re interacting with coders to make sure you’re speaking the same language.”

Adding skills that will help students stand out in a competitive job market was a common goal for students taking the courses.

“I think a lot of the core skills will be valuable. Even if it’s something I don’t use in my career, it would be something fun to have if I ever want to do a little project on my own,” Owen said. “It would be fun to be able to make an app just for something that you want to do.”

By Chris Booker

news.osu.edu/students-turn-to-digital-flagship-to-learn-to-code/

Dec 02
Reflections of a First-Year Buckeye: Final week of autumn classes and leadership announcements

President Kristina M. Johnson sent the following email to The Ohio State University community  (Dec. 1).

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I hope you had a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday. This week is the last for regularly scheduled classes in an autumn semester like no other in our university’s history. 

My gratitude goes to you for your patience, flexibility and close adherence to our COVID-19 protocols. Wearing a mask, physically distancing, avoiding gatherings and practicing good hygiene are critically important even during periods of remote learning as we look to the spring and beyond. Please also continue to “homegate” when our football Buckeyes return to action this week against Michigan State. 

As a reminder, the first two weeks of spring semester classes -- January 11-22, 2021 -- will be virtual only. The university’s COVID-19 team continues to monitor conditions and collaborate closely with city, state and federal officials. We will be sharing updates on our spring return plans in the coming weeks. The decisions we make now will determine the extent to which we can learn, teach, pursue research and scholarship, and be Together As Buckeyes on our campuses in the coming months.

Leadership announcements

This week, we shared that Dr. Ayanna Howard will be joining our Buckeye family on March 1 as dean of the College of Engineering, subject to Board of Trustees approval. You can read more on Ohio State News. Dr. Howard is an accomplished roboticist, entrepreneur and educator. She comes to Ohio State from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is chair of the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing as well as founder and director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab. Dr. Howard will follow Dr. David Williams, who shared in May that he would be stepping down after a decade of outstanding service and accomplishment as dean. Please join me in expressing our gratitude to Dr. Williams for his leadership throughout the years -- and in welcoming Dr. Howard. She will be the first woman to lead our College of Engineering.

Today, Dr. Grace Wang began her role as our new executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise. Both of us will speak on Friday at the ninth annual Economic Development 411 event, sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange and One Columbus. You can register for the virtual event here

I am also pleased to share that Dr. Melissa Shivers is being promoted from vice president for student life to senior vice president for student life. Dr. Shivers has taken a strong leadership role in our COVID-19 response, facilitating unprecedented move-out and move-in processes as well as a comprehensive quarantine/isolation housing infrastructure. She is an incredible advocate for students and the university community, consistently taking a hands-on and inclusive approach. Dr. Shivers served as co-chair of our University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being and was recently named a 2021 Diamond Honoree by the American College Personnel Association for her career-long contributions to student development.

Finally, we shared earlier today that Dr. Bruce A. McPheron has decided to step down from his position as executive vice president and provost, effective at the end of June next year. He has provided exceptional service to his alma mater in a number of roles, including dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences prior to his tenure as provost. Dr. McPheron will continue to serve as a professor of entomology at Ohio State. We will have many opportunities to express our gratitude for his service as provost in the coming months. A national search for the executive vice president and provost will begin shortly, and we will provide updates on our progress.

Breaks expanded for spring semester

After discussion with student leaders about how best to promote wellness, the university will expand instructional breaks during the spring semester. The first of these two-day breaks from classes will take place Feb. 23-24. The second will be March 31-April 1. These will replace the previously announced single-day instructional breaks. While we hope students can use these days to relieve some stress, we want to re-emphasize the importance of following COVID-19 safeguards -- particularly limiting travel -- should current conditions continue.

Please note several other adjustments related to adding these instructional breaks for wellness:

  • On April 2, Wednesday classes will meet instead of Friday classes. This conversion day will ensure that classes that meet on Wednesdays have the same number of sessions (14) as every other class day over the course of the semester.

  • The addition of these days will change the end of the semester. April 23 will now be the final day of spring classes, and final exams will take place from April 26-30.

The full academic calendar is posted on the University Registrar website

Thank you to the leaders of the Undergraduate Student Government, the Council of Graduate Students and the Inter-Professional Council for their insights into these adjustments.

Discovery, learning and impact

Congratulations go to the Ohio State team behind IR Medtek, one of 22 startup companies selected to participate in the national University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase. The showcase is sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities. IR Medtek, founded last year, has licensed technology developed at Ohio State, including the James Cancer Hospital, for the early, non-invasive diagnosis of skin and other cancers.

We shared new research with the potential to rewrite biology textbooks. Ohio State’s Dr. Irina Artsimovitch, professor of microbiology, is the co-lead author of a study that shows, for the first time, how the process of copying genetic material in cells is properly turned off. The international research team identified an entirely new role for a specific protein that is responsible for the action known as transcription termination. The work answers a fundamental question about a cellular function that is essential to life.

We continue to work each day to advance Ohio State’s national research-and-scholarship profile. The work of university scholars passed a media-related milestone with more than 10 million reads on The Conversation, an independent, nonprofit publisher of commentary and analysis authored by members of the academic community. In honor of the 10 million reads, check out a list of Ohio State’s top 10 most-read articles.

Finally, today is #GivingTuesday. The university is directing its efforts toward helping students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more by visiting the COVID-19 Response: Help Ohio State students webpage.

In times of great challenges, the efforts of our students, faculty and staff continue to make our communities and our world a better place.

Thank you, Buckeyes. Be safe and well.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD

President

Nov 20
Student Spotlight: Julianna Bottomley

IMG_3520 - Julianna Bottomley.JPGJulianna Bottomley is an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Scholars (EI) student who decided to attend The Ohio State University because it offered the resources needed to pursue her passions. The skills that Bottomley gained through EI and the lessons learned in her classes have prepared her for any challenges that her career may present.

Why did you choose The Ohio State University?

I chose The Ohio State University because of its extensive alumni network, close proximity to my hometown, and limitless educational resources. I knew that Ohio State was equipped with the resources for me to learn more about technology and data. I wanted to absorb anything and everything that it had to offer. I believe that healthy personal growth begins with seeking out new opportunities and pushing yourself to go the extra mile, and I think that Ohio State has helped me pursue precisely that goal. I have grown in ways that are still hard to believe, both professionally and personally.

Why did you pick Honors and Scholars?
 
I picked Honors and Scholars because I wanted a fulfilling Ohio State experience with exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to network with other successful students, faculty and learn both in and outside the classroom. Although Ohio State is a large school, Honors and Scholars helps make the campus feel smaller. Because of this, I feel that I am able to be part of a more intimate community within the university. Honors and Scholars also gave me the freedom to explore other topics that might not pertain to my major, and I really appreciate that because it allows me to be well rounded in different subjects.

How has The Ohio State Scholars Program contributed to your college experience?

Honors and Scholars has opened so many doors for me that I don't think I would've found by myself. Whenever an Honors and Scholars Weekly email arrives, I always make sure to read it because it has so many opportunities to be involved in on campus. I am on the EI Leadership Council and helped initiate and organize our first trip to Chicago. Honors and Scholars has allowed me to be a part of something larger than myself while still making a difference for my community.

Why did you pick your major?

I was drawn to pursue management information systems because I always knew that I wanted to be involved in business administration and learn about what makes a business successful. Technology is shaping the future; I thought it'd be vital to learn more about how technology is impacting businesses.

IMG_9584 - Julianna Bottomley.JPG

What is your why for wearing a mask?

We have been so fortunate enough to return to campus this year, so I owe it to others for following the COVID-19 regulations by wearing a mask.

What does #TogetherAsBuckeyes mean to you?

To me, #TogtherAsBuckeyes means that no matter where each student lives or works, we unite to combat the spread of COVID-19 by following the proper CDC guidelines and putting others' interests before our own.

What student organizations are you involved with?

I'm currently a member of the Information Systems Association, and I'm looking to be more involved in one of their committees. I am also involved in Sigma Epsilon Phi, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Big Data and Analytics Association, and Buckeye Ventures.

Are there any professors or staff who have helped you?
 
Kaitlin Flintroy has helped me with job applications, improving the EI experience and she responds exceedingly fast to my many emails that I've sent her that were relevant and not relevant to the program. Kaitlin is understanding of my academic and extracurricular situations, and a constant support. She also facilitated a safe space for others in EI to share their thoughts and opinions. I feel like that's very important for creating a successful and inclusive environment.

I'd also like to acknowledge my Academic Advisor, Hannah Bushman. She's guided me through some of the toughest spots in my undergraduate career, and I owe her many thanks for all of her hard work and dedication to helping students like me succeed.

EAA31037-4607-4584-BCC6-65C0C8E065E2 copy - Julianna Bottomley.jpgWhat are your goals and plans for the future?

I have a passion for solving problems, building relationships with others and implementing innovation within various settings. From the skills that I've gained throughout EI and the lessons that I've learned from my classes, I'm prepared for any challenge that my future career puts my way. I plan to work for a technology-based consulting company, such as Accenture, and eventually get involved with venture capital or private equity firms. I love to travel and learn about new industries, and I believe that a job in consulting is a perfect fit.


Nov 18
Reflections of a First-Year Buckeye: Battling COVID-19, winter break, student achievements

President Kristina M. Johnson sent the following email to The Ohio State University community (Nov. 17).

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I want to express again my thanks and pride in our community as we collectively battle COVID-19. Your efforts to keep our campuses open this fall while learning, teaching, advancing research and scholarship, and caring for patients and their families have been extraordinary.

As students prepare to return home for the winter break, please remember the steps we are asking you to take. Get tested for COVID-19 early this week. If you obtain a negative result and are able to leave campus for the semester early, please do so and update your move-out time on the housing portal. If you need to stay on or off campus, plan to get tested again next week and self-quarantine until you get your results. For instructions on each, please refer to the message I sent on Sunday: https://go.osu.edu/campusdeparture.

We will continue our class-delivery approach as scheduled through November 25. We also will offer the first two weeks of spring semester classes (January 11-15 and 18-22) virtually. Our work is ongoing with state and local health officials to evaluate and adjust our plans as needed. We will keep the university community updated.

This Saturday, our football Buckeyes are scheduled to return to action against Indiana at noon. Once again, we strongly urge all students to “homegate.” If you live on campus, cheer from your residence halls. If you live off campus, avoid gatherings and follow all COVID-19 protocols.

Wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart and practice good hygiene. Most of all, it is critically important to avoid large gatherings. Again, we want to finish the semester strong and keep our loved ones and ourselves healthy.

Please see this important message from Dr. Amy Fairchild, dean of our College of Public Health and head of our Comprehensive Monitoring Team: https://go.osu.edu/protectingyourlovedones.

Be smart so we can all be safe, Together As Buckeyes.

Racial justice, diversity and inclusion

The university’s Task Force on Racism and Racial Inequities is continuing to collect data through focus groups with students, faculty and staff. These important discussions are also occurring across the university.

Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Jacquelyn C.A. Meshelemiah will moderate the final webinar in the four-part Ripe for Change: Conversations on Race in America series from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday. “An Anti-Racist Future: ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’” will feature Dr. Trevon Logan, Distinguished Professor of Economics; Ms. Nikki Baszynski, JD, adjunct professor in the Moritz College of Law and legal counsel at The Justice Collaborative; and Dr. Hasan Jeffries, associate professor in the Department of History. Register at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) website. Our thanks go to ODI and the university’s Alumni Association for presenting the series.

Discovery, learning and impact

We continue to work hard and advance our mission despite many challenges. Each day brings student success stories on our campuses. I’m pleased to share a few:

  • Ohio State’s Rafael Quijada Landaverde, graduate associate and doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership, was named one of seven recipients of the international Kirchner Food Fellowship. Nicole McMullen, an undergraduate in agriscience education, earned a top award at the Region V Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Cluster. She will represent Ohio State and Region V at the National MANRRS Conference this spring.

  • This is International Education Week, an annual celebration of the importance of global learning in higher education. Even with travel restrictions in place, Ohio State is helping students stay globally engaged. Doctoral students Harold Wright in the Department of Anthropology and Jenn Marie Nunes in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures have been awarded the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad grant. These are two of only 90 such fellowships awarded nationwide. 

  • And 64 Buckeyes have been awarded a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship to pursue foreign language fluency. Our East Asian Studies Center, Center for Latin American Studies and Center for Slavic and East European Studies awarded more than $1.5 million in FLAS fellowship grants this year to Ohio State students spanning 16 graduate programs and 13 undergraduate majors. This year’s FLAS fellowships support the development of area studies knowledge and language fluency in 12 languages.

  • Our student team of veteran community advocates was recently recognized for its work helping students transition from military life to higher education. Members of The Ohio State University ROTC also performed a jumping-jack and push-up challenge for students in quarantine or isolation due to their exposure to or positive test for COVID-19. 

Looking ahead, BuckeyeThon students are once again raising funds to support children being treated in the Hematology, Oncology, Blood & Marrow Transplant Unit at Nationwide Children’s Hospital -- with a Saturday, November 21, virtual dance marathon serving as the signature event. The goal this year is to raise $2 million to support children and families in our community. More information on how you can support the kids is available on the BuckeyeThon website.

University Task Force on Community Safety and Well-Being

Our safety and well-being task force engaged with representatives from the University District Organization (UDO), which was established in 1972 with the aim to improve off-campus life, support business efforts, and improve safety and security in the area. In 2015, UDO formed the University District Special Improvement District, which supports a range of services, including supplemental safety stewards to monitor the area. The task force is exploring ways to further partner and support these outreach efforts, recognizing that the safety and well-being of all community members depends on a multipronged approach.

The task force is in the process of finalizing a series of recommendations.

Campus visit

Finally, I was thrilled late last month to visit the Ohio State Lima campus. I spent a beautiful fall morning and early afternoon with Dean and Director Dr. Tim A. Rehner as well as faculty, staff and student leaders. The campus is a wonderful example of our land-grant mission in action. I was particularly excited to talk with students about the new Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology program, a student-led initiative to renovate Galvin Hall, and opportunities to enhance learning and career pathways through community partnerships.

Thank you, Buckeyes, for the outstanding contributions you continue to make throughout our state, nation and world. I look forward to sharing more soon.

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD
President

 

COVID-19 Resources

Wellness Resources

https://news.osu.edu/reflections-of-a-first-year-buckeye-battling-covid-19-winter-break-student-achievements/

Nov 13
Student Spotlight: Patrick Hall

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 5.52.16 PM - Patrick Hall.pngPatrick Hall picked the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars Program (DSWS) because of his passion for sports and wellness. Now, Hall's passions have led him to explore how he can apply the skills he is learning as a finance major to a career focused on health and wellness when he leaves The Ohio State University.

Why did you choose The Ohio State University?

I chose to attend Ohio State due to the tremendous academic programs, diverse opportunities and outstanding campus environment. Being from the Columbus area I always knew about Ohio State. When I really took a step back and looked at what Ohio State had to offer, I knew I had found the perfect place for me.
 
Why did you pick Dunn Sports and Wellness Scholars?
 
I specifically picked the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars Program because of my passion for sports and wellness. All of my life, I have been an athlete and also coming into college, I knew I wanted to major in business or a health-related field. DSWS provided me with a community that fed into my passions for sports, health and wellness while also giving me an amazing network of peers. DSWS, and the Scholars program as a whole, has allowed me to pursue my love for sport and wellness while also gaining an invaluable college community.

How has The Ohio State Scholars Program contributed to your college experience?

Honors and Scholars has had such an enormous impact on my college experience. Through scholars, I have met some of my best friends, made countless memories, developed leadership skills, networked professionally and really developed a base for my time here at OSU. The opportunities that H&S has given me and the people I have met as a Scholar has been at the core of my college experience. I have been able to grow into a strong and outgoing leader. DSWS has impacted so much in my college years and I truly can't imagine my Ohio State experience without it.
 
Why did you pick your major?

I decided on finance as my major because of my overall interest and passion for the business field. I took multiple finance courses in high school which I really enjoyed. I really enjoyed how applicable a finance degree would be in whatever industry I move into post-college. 
 
IMG_8517 - Patrick Hall.jpgWhat is your why for wearing a mask?

My why for wearing a mask is to keep myself and others safe and healthy as we deal with these uncertain times. COVID's impact on my college experience is profound. Wearing a mask and taking the proper precautions allows all students at Ohio State to stay safe and have the ability to do the things that we love.

What does #TogetherAsBuckeyes mean to you?

Together As Buckeyes stands for the unity of the Ohio State community. With all of the uncertainty and changes due to COVID, it can be tough to stay present, live in the moment and look forward. However, as an Ohio State community, we are strong and can still make the best of a situation which is undoubtedly tough. Together As Buckeyes, we can overcome any obstacle and be there to support our fellow Buckeyes along the way.

IMG_8520 - Patrick Hall.jpgWhat student organizations are you involved with?

I am a part of the business fraternity Phi Gamma Nu (PGN) and BuckeyeThon. PGN has been a huge source of involvement and my main involvement in the Fisher College of Business. PGN has given me an amazing community of people who have helped make my OSU experience unbelievably special. In addition, I have participated in BuckeyeThon with our DSWS team and last year, I served as the DSWS Team Captain. This was an awesome experience to help raise money and awareness for the kids at Nationwide Children's Hospital and help make an impact in the Columbus community.

Are there any professors or staff who have helped you?
 

Abigail Ormsby and Jenny Kuzmic have been amazing mentors for me and have really helped me to find my place here at Ohio State. Abigail was my DSWS Program Coordinator during my first year and really helped me to grow to love Ohio State and love DSWS. Jenny Kuzmic, who was the DSWS Program Coordinator during my second year, and who I now work with within my leadership role as one of the DSWS Student Coordinators, has also been amazing. Jenny helped me grow so much both professionally and personally and helped push me to get to where I am today. Without Jenny's guidance and care, I wouldn't have had the tremendous scholars experience that I did and I wouldn't be the person that I am today. My experiences with these people and this program have helped me become a strong and confident leader and have given me a home here at Ohio State!

What are your goals and plans for the future?

After graduating, I hope to work in the financial sector in either athletics, healthcare or banking. I would love to settle into a career that highlights my passion for business as well as health and wellness!

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