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Third annual Faculty Newsmakers Gala celebrates 381 newsmakers (PHOTOS)


Members of the Ohio University community gathered Oct. 12 to celebrate OHIO’s faculty – not for what they do inside their classrooms or research facilities, but rather for the above-and-beyond work they do to promote the University and its excellence.

University Communications and Marketing (UCM), in partnership with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, hosted the third annual Faculty Newsmakers Gala in the Baker University Center Ballroom. Created as a means of honoring faculty who elevate the University and raise its national and global profile through media coverage of their work and expertise, this year’s gala was the biggest yet – celebrating 381 OHIO faculty newsmakers who made headlines in 2016.

“Every mention of an Ohio University expert has a direct impact on enhancing the reputation of the University,” Renea Morris, OHIO’s chief marketing officer, said in welcoming the faculty newsmakers and distinguished guests to this year’s event. “Our celebration this evening is our way of expressing our gratitude to you and to every person who plays a role in promoting the great work that happens here.”

Faculty newsmakers and distinguished guests enjoy a reception prior to the awards program at the third annual Faculty Newsmakers Gala.

Faculty newsmakers and distinguished guests enjoy a reception prior to the awards program at the third annual Faculty Newsmakers Gala. The reception featured hors d’oeuvres provided by Ohio University Catering and a performance by the Ohio University Jazz Ensemble.

UCM and marketing and communications offices throughout the University partner with faculty members and researchers throughout the University who are committed to sharing OHIO’s stories by engaging with media throughout the country and around the world. At UCM, those individuals are known as “OHIO faculty newsmakers” and are defined as employees who, regardless of their title or classification, teach at Ohio University and have been included in media placements provided by Cision, a monitoring service used by UCM to track the University’s media placements. Faculty newsmakers may include tenured and non-tenured faculty, as well as administrators who serve as educators in OHIO’s classrooms. Many of OHIO’s faculty newsmakers take part in UCM’s Experts Directory, a searchable database that makes it easy for members of the media to find and connect with Ohio University’s expert sources on a broad range of subjects.  

Representing 10 academic units on the Athens Campus and all five of the University’s regional campuses, this year’s 381 faculty newsmakers were featured in 4,065 media reports and more than 1,800 news outlets during the 2016 calendar year.

Chief Marketing Office Renea Morris welcomes everyone to this year’s Faculty Newsmakers Gala.

Chief Marketing Office Renea Morris welcomes everyone to this year’s Faculty Newsmakers Gala, calling special attention to Dr. Pamela Kaylor, an associate lecturer at Ohio University Lancaster whose recent “Profiles in Faculty Achievement” video kicked off this year’s gala.

This year’s event marked a first, not only for the large number of faculty who were being honored as newsmakers for the first time, but also for Ohio University’s 21st President, M. Duane Nellis, and First Lady Ruthie Nellis who were both experiencing their first Faculty Newsmakers Gala.

“Within my first few months here, it didn’t take long to realize the caliber of faculty that Ohio University attracts,” President Nellis said in addressing the crowd. “And being recognized in the media for your contributions to our community, our nation and our world is further proof that you are change-makers. ... You continue to inspire others to achieve greatness, to dream bigger. And with each interview or article that gets published, with each story that bears your name, we can proudly say, ‘We are Ohio University.’”

President M. Duane Nellis and First Lady Ruthie Nellis were among the distinguished guests at this year’s Faculty Newsmakers Gala.

President M. Duane Nellis and First Lady Ruthie Nellis were among the distinguished guests at this year’s Faculty Newsmakers Gala. In his remarks, President Nellis commented on the far-reaching impact of the faculty newsmakers’ efforts, noting that news outlets featuring OHIO faculty spanned the globe, covering six of the seven continents.

Joining President Nellis in his first Faculty Newsmakers Gala was Interim Executive Vice President and Provost David Descutner who had the honor of presenting special recognition awards to 28 OHIO faculty newsmakers – the 10 newsmakers who earned the most media placements in 2016 as well as those who were quoted in media reports related to the Associated Press’ “Top 10 Stories of 2016.”  

“The selfless efforts you put forth outside of the classroom have undoubtedly paved new roads for Ohio University, drawing attention to the expertise of our faculty, to our stellar research efforts, to our innovative ways of educating and engaging our students,” Dr. Descutner said to this year’s newsmakers. “You serve our community as distinguished educators, scholars, mentors and researchers, but today, we honor you as ambassadors of this University and thank you for your efforts to raise the national and global profile of Ohio University.”

Interim Executive Vice President and Provost David Descutner prepares to present Keystroke Catalyst Awards, also known as KCAs, to 28 of this year’s faculty newsmakers.

Interim Executive Vice President and Provost David Descutner prepares to present Keystroke Catalyst Awards, also known as KCAs, to 28 of this year’s faculty newsmakers. 

The 28 faculty newsmakers who received special recognition were presented Keystroke Catalyst Awards. Designed by UCM, the awards are fashioned as a typewriter.

“Though they have given way to today’s smaller, lighter and quieter devices, typewriters remind us of how the wisdom and insight of a single person can be dispersed to enrich lives and expand the horizons of others across the region or even around the world,” Morris said in describing the awards. “The Keystroke Catalyst Awards are given to thank our newsmakers for making a difference at OHIO – through research, through teaching and through stories that motivate a million keystrokes to demonstrate why OHIO deserves a place among the best universities in the nation.”

Pictured are the custom-made Keystroke Catalyst Awards presented to the 28 faculty newsmakers who received special recognition at the gala.

Pictured are the custom-made Keystroke Catalyst Awards presented to the 28 faculty newsmakers who received special recognition at the gala.

The following OHIO faculty newsmakers were presented Keystroke Catalyst Awards for having the highest number of media placements in 2016:

  • Katherine Jellison, College of Arts and Sciences, 1,031 media placements
  • R. Damian Nance, College of Arts and Sciences, 408 media placements
  • Nicholas Kiersey, Ohio University Chillicothe, 275 media placements
  • David Ridpath, College of Business, 230 media placements
  • Kevin Mattson, College of Arts and Sciences, 192 media placements
  • Ian Klein, College of Arts and Sciences, 164 media placements
  • Thomas Suddes, Scripps College of Communication, 101 media placements
  • Charee Thompson, Scripps College of Communication, 86 media placements
  • Michelle Ferrier, Scripps College of Communication, 85 media placements
  • Benjamin Bates, Scripps College of Communication, 72 media placements
President M. Duane Nellis and Chief Marketing Officer Renea Morris pose for a photo with this year’s top OHIO faculty newsmakers, Dr. Katherine Jellison, who was featured in 1,031 media reports in calendar year 2016.

President M. Duane Nellis and Chief Marketing Officer Renea Morris pose for a photo with this year’s top OHIO faculty newsmakers, Dr. Katherine Jellison, who was featured in 1,031 media reports in calendar year 2016.

A professor of history, chair of the Department of History and a three-time Keystroke Catalyst Award winner, Dr. Jellison is a scholar of women’s studies who specializes in contemporary U.S. politics, elections and first ladies of the United States. Her expertise is increasingly sought out by journalists in the local community and states as well as throughout the United States and around the world. The vast majority of Dr. Jellison’s 2016 media placements were related to the women who played key roles in the presidential election. In addition to being featured in the United States’ largest and most influential publications and news outlets, Dr. Jellison made headlines in countries around the globe, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Japan, China and Qatar.

“This is very exciting,” Dr. Jellison said in an interview after the gala. “I really had no idea that there had been so many placements and in so many places around world.”

Dr. Jellison described 2016 as “a perfect storm,” pairing her expertise and field of study with an election that included both a female candidate and an unconventional first lady and first daughter. 

“I was fielding a lot of questions,” Dr. Jellison said, noting that she continues to receive inquiries from the media. “A couple of days ago, I was asked to be on MSNBC on the 9 o’clock hour, but then some other news story came up and they went in another direction.”

Dr. Jellison said she believes her participation in UCM’s Experts Directory dates back to 2008 when she published a book about weddings and began working with UCM to promote the book and Ohio University.

“It was then that I started getting a few questions about first families,” she said. “The rest is history.”

“Participating in the Experts Directory sounded like a good way to help publicize our University and also to make some connections with my own research. If I am quoted in the media, then maybe scholars and students in other places will know about the work I am doing, get in touch with me, and maybe collaborate,” Dr. Jellison said, adding, “We are a wonderful institution, and it’s good to be a part of publicizing it.”

The following OHIO faculty newsmakers were presented Keystroke Catalyst Awards for being quoted in media reports related to the Associated Press’ “Top 10 Stories of 2016”:

  • Ziad Abu-Rish, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on Syria
  • Andy Alexander, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • delfin bautista*, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on the Pulse nightclub massacre
  • Susan Burgess, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • DeLysa Burnier, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Michael Burton, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Maria Fanis, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Jennifer Fredette, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on worldwide terror attacks
  • Thomas Hodson, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. election
  • Brandon Kendhammer, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on worldwide terror attacks
  • Laeeq Khan, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Michael McTeague, Ohio University Eastern, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Jerry Miller, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Sarah Poggione, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • William Rawlins, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Karen Riggs, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
  • Kimberly Rios, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on black men killed by police
  • Robert Stewart, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on the U.S. election
President M. Duane Nellis presents a Keystroke Catalyst Award to Dr. Laeeq Khan, an assistant professor in the Scripps College of Communication’s School of Media Arts and Studies and director of the Social Media Analytics Research Team (SMART) Lab.

President M. Duane Nellis presents a Keystroke Catalyst Award to Dr. Laeeq Khan, an assistant professor in the Scripps College of Communication’s School of Media Arts and Studies and director of the Social Media Analytics Research Team (SMART) Lab. 

“It feels great to be recognized. I am very humbled,” Dr. Khan, an assistant professor and director of OHIO’s Social Media Analytics Research Team (SMART) Lab, said about receiving his first Keystroke Catalyst Award. “Of course, this would not have been possible without my colleagues and students in the Scripps College of Communication and the School of Media Arts and Studies.”

Dr. Khan is also a member of UCM’s Experts Directory and said, “I choose to engage with the media because it’s a way for me to make a positive difference – it could be big or small, but having the motivation to make a positive contribution.” 

This year’s Faculty Newsmakers Gala ended with a champagne toast honoring all of OHIO’s faculty newsmakers.

The 2017 Keystroke Catalyst Award winners join President M. Duane Nellis and Chief Marketing Officer Renea Morris in toasting all of OHIO’s faculty newsmakers as well as the deans, campus communicators, staff and family who support them and their efforts.

The 2017 Keystroke Catalyst Award winners join President M. Duane Nellis and Chief Marketing Officer Renea Morris in toasting all of OHIO’s faculty newsmakers as well as the deans, campus communicators, staff and family who support them and their efforts.

“Thank you for your dedication and hard work,” Morris said in leading the toast. “Your efforts have helped to underscore to the media here and abroad what we already know – that Ohio University is the place where academic excellence and innovation are happening every day to the benefit of our faculty, our students, our region and our nation.”

Many of this year’s faculty newsmakers gather after the awards ceremony for a group photo.

Many of this year’s faculty newsmakers gather after the awards ceremony for a group photo.

Bill Willan, executive dean for Regional Higher Education, and Martin Tuck, dean of Ohio University Chillicothe, join some of the 59 faculty newsmakers from OHIO’s five regional campuses for a group photo.

Bill Willan, executive dean for Regional Higher Education, and Martin Tuck, dean of Ohio University Chillicothe, join some of the 59 faculty newsmakers from OHIO’s five regional campuses for a group photo.


Editor’s Note: delfin prefers the lowercase form of their name and gender neutral pronouns.

OHIO’s faculty newsmakers by the numbers

The following statistics, measured through reports available through the media monitoring software company Cision, illustrate the far-reaching impact Ohio University’s faculty newsmakers are making on the University’s national and global profile:

5: Number of OHIO regional campuses that have faculty newsmakers this year

6: Number of continents where news reports including OHIO faculty were featured

10: Number of OHIO academic units represented in 2016 headlines

36: Number of countries and U.S. territories where news reports including OHIO faculty were featured

50: Number of U.S. states where news reports including OHIO faculty were featured

59: Number of newsmakers from OHIO’s regional campuses in 2016

65: Percentage of individuals in OHIO’s Experts Directory who are faculty newsmakers this year

381: Total number of OHIO faculty newsmakers in 2016

1,806: Number of news outlets featuring OHIO faculty in 2016

4,065: Number of OHIO faculty media placements in 2016

Video, photos from gala available on Faculty Newsmakers website

Take in the sights and sounds from this year’s gala on the Faculty Newsmakers website.

The website features the live stream from the Oct. 12 event, a link to a photo gallery of the event with photos available for download and purchase, a full list of this year’s OHIO newsmakers, and links to previous Faculty Newsmakers Galas.