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OU-C to host education students at Rural Urban Collaborative event

Approximately 225 students from Ohio University’s campuses will attend the Rural Urban Collaborative (RUC) Symposium at Ohio University-Chillicothe on March 22 in Bennett Hall.

All Ohio University education students participate in the RUC during their sophomore year as part of their professional standing requirement for licensure. OU-C Dean Martin Tuck will offer welcome remarks and Richard Greenlee, dean of the university’s Zanesville and Eastern campuses, will deliver the keynote address.

The goal of the RUC, which began in 2007, is to provide both rural and urban field experience to education students, thereby offering future teachers a broad-based background that prepares them to teach in a diverse range of settings. Its mission statement notes that the RUC seeks to help teacher candidates develop a deeper awareness of cultural experiences and issues and to develop critical thinking skills based on a solid foundation of cultural knowledge.

Nine OU-C students are currently part of the sophomore block of classes. Two OU-C students are placed in schools in the Columbus City Schools system, and seven OU-C students are placed in Chillicothe City Schools.

"In increasingly diverse communities, it is important that future teachers develop a deeper awareness of cultural differences and develop cultural competence so they are prepared to interact with individuals of various backgrounds," said Barbara Trube, associate professor of education on the Chillicothe Campus, who is a member of the planning team for the upcoming symposium. "This conference is part of the university’s ongoing commitment to offering education students the type of educational experience that prepares them for success in their careers."

Among its objectives, the RUC partnership seeks to develop a better understanding of various cultures and the factors that define them, identify stereotypes and challenges associated with various cultures and offer strategies on how to best work within diverse cultures.

"This semester we are focusing on the diversity of language," Trube said. "Because there is a high percentage of students whose home language is something other than English in Ohio and in our nation, our pre-service teachers need to have preparation in working with English Language Learners (ELL)."

Trube and guest speaker Lara Wallace are coordinating sessions to introduce students to ELL strategies they can use in their future classrooms. Kaye Martin, faculty member on the Lancaster Campus, is coordinating a session about diversities in Ohio schools.

Approximately 16 professional interns on the Chillicothe Campus, who represent all three licensure areas, will act as OU-C campus ambassadors for the day, under the direction of Karen Corcoran, seminar instructor. The interns will have an opportunity to share diversities they have encountered during placements this semester and tell RUC participants about adaptations and accommodations they have implemented in lessons they have taught.

Additionally, there will be an educators' panel, which will allow current teachers and administrators to share practical insights they have gained with the future teachers attending the symposium.