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OHIO faculty recognized for being newsmakers, sharing expertise and research with media

Published: January 26, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Every year since 2015, Ohio University has recognized hundreds of faculty members who elevate the University and raise its national and global profile through media coverage of their work and expertise.

In addition to honoring all faculty members who have been mentioned in the media, OHIO also recognizes the “Top 10” faculty with the most media mentions. Throughout the week, the Top 10 newsmakers were featured on OHIO’s social media, counting down to the sole faculty member with the most media mentions in the calendar year 2020.

“Our faculty demonstrate daily what it means to be a Bobcat – amplifying Ohio University as an institution of research and innovation through providing their expertise to the media and by teaching students how to make a difference in the world,” Ohio University President Hugh Sherman said. “I am incredibly grateful to work with these brilliant minds who have dedicated themselves to serving our students and community.”

Calendar year 2020 saw some of the biggest news stories in recent history, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the 2020 election and murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Many of Ohio University’s faculty experts were quoted in the media about these stories and many others. Aside from commenting on these major headlines, 270 faculty newsmakers were featured in 4,080 media reports and more than 1,000 news outlets from all over the world, providing their expertise and thoughts on a variety of topics.

The newsmakers honors were created by University Communications and Marketing (UCM) to recognize all the faculty who go above and beyond to share their knowledge and expertise, as well as showcase OHIO on a global level through working with the media.

At UCM, these 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 also take part in the Ohio University’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.

For a complete list of faculty newsmakers for the calendar year 2020, visit OHIO's faculty newsmakers website

The following OHIO faculty newsmakers were named OHIO’s Top 10 Newsmakers for the most media placements in 2020:

  1. Katherine Jellison, history professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was mentioned 1,209 times in the media in 2020. She has been a newsmaker every year since its inception, making the top 10 list five times and being named top newsmaker twice before. She is an expert in gender in politics, women’s history, contemporary U.S. politics, marriage and wedding customs, and first ladies. Most of her media mentions came from comments on Dr. Jill Biden’s transformational role as First Lady, as well as Melania Trump’s role as her predecessor. She has authored numerous journal articles, book chapters, and books, and is currently working on a book about Old Order Amish women in the 1930s and 1940s. She was also featured in OHIO’s Ask the Experts series in 2020 talking on women in politics.
  2. David Ridpath, associate professor of sports management in the College of Business, was mentioned 879 times in the media in 2020. Many of his mentions include theories on how the pandemic may change sports, as well as the NCAA’s Election Day Off message. He has been in the top 10 newsmakers every year since its inception, being named the top newsmaker last year, as well as top newsmaker of 2016. Ridpath is an expert in intercollegiate athletics, intercollegiate athletic governance, sports law, sports administration, and governance reform, among others. He has also appeared before Congressional committees and served as an expert witness in numerous cases involving intercollegiate athletics and college athlete rights. Ridpath has published several articles in publications like the Journal of Law and Sports, The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, and the Journal of Intercollegiate Athletics.
  3. Daniel Skinner, associate professor of health policy in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, was mentioned 266 times in the media in 2020. This is Skinner’s first time ranking in the top 10. He was often quoted talking about public health in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering information about policies, as well Ohio’s response to the pandemic. Skinner is an expert in health policy, Medicare, Ohio’s opioid crisis, social medicine, and politics. He is editor-in-chief of World Medical & Health Policy, co-director of the Osteopathic Health Policy Fellowship, and director of OHIO’s Comparative Health Systems-Cuba program. Skinner also hosts “Prognosis Ohio,” a weekly podcast about health and healthcare in Ohio on WCBE.
  4. Patrick O’Connor, professor of anatomical sciences in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, was mentioned 171 times in the media in 2020. He is an expert in paleontology, addressing how organisms are matched to their environments and how changing environments influence biotic diversity on the planet. Many of O’Connor’s mentions come from stories about his new discovery, the Falcatakely, a bird that lived around 68 million years ago in the Mesozoic era. He has been a faculty newsmaker every year, ranking in the top 10 for now the fourth time. O’Connor has been involved with the discovery and description of several animals new to science, including the titanosaurian sauropod Rukwatitan bisepultus and the crocodyliforms Pakasuchus kapilimai and Rukwasuchus yajabalijekundu from the Cretaceous era in what is now Tanzania, among many others.
  5. Elizabeth Beverly, associate professor and Heritage Faculty Endowed Fellowship in Behavioral Diabetes in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, was mentioned 92 times in the media in 2020. This is Beverly’s fourth year as a newsmaker and second year making the top 10. She was quoted by many media outlets about a study she led that found 80% of medical students feel low sense of personal achievement. Beverly is an expert on behavioral diabetes, psychosocial factors, diabetes self-care and qualitative methods. She has also collaborated with OHIO’s GRID Lab and OhioHealth to help train health care providers through virtual reality simulations. 
  6. Robert Föehl, executive-in-residence for business law and ethics in the College of Business, was mentioned 79 times in the media in 2020. He has been a newsmaker for four years, making the top 10 the last two years in a row. Föehl’s expertise is in business ethics, business law, ethical leadership, and corporate social responsibility, among others. Many of his mentions included commentary on companies speaking out against racial injustice after the killing of George Floyd, and how they should back their words with action. He also was quoted on whether it’s ethical to recommend travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to his work at OHIO, Föehl was Target’s first director of corporate compliance and ethics, practiced law in-house for multinational corporations, was a compliance professional for one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, and served as a federal regulator.
  7. Lawrence Witmer, Chang Ying-Chien professor of paleontology and professor of anatomy in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, was mentioned 76 times in the media in 2020. Witmer has been a newsmaker since the beginning of the Faculty Newsmakers honors in 2015, being named a top newsmaker four times. His expertise is in paleontology, fossils, vertebrate morphology, and evolution, among others. Witmer graced the October 2020 cover of National Geographic, highlighting his latest cutting-edge achievements in paleontology. Many of his mentions also came from a story about using CT scans to determine if dinosaurs released heat from their bodies, finding that T-rex used its large nose sinuses to let out excess heat.
  8. Jim Kahler, executive in residence with the College of Business and Department of Sports Administration, was mentioned 68 times in the media in 2020. Many of his mentions were about a new partnership at OHIO that aims to prevent sports betting fraud, as well as ideas on how sports teams can get fans back in the seats amid COVID. Kahler has previously been awarded the Charles Higgins Distinguished Alumni Award by the Ohio University Sports Administration Program. His expertise includes sports sponsorship, sports fan consumer behavior, ticket sales, and sports marketing, among others. Kahler has been a newsmaker every year, being named in the top 10 twice. He has previously developed successful collegiate and corporate programs at Arizona State University, Riverfront Coliseum, St. Louis Arena, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, serving as chief marketing officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Cavaliers and Gund Arena.
  9. Edna Wangui, associate professor of geography in the College of Arts and Sciences, was mentioned 50 times in the media in 2020. Most of her mentions were from being quoted on how several African World Heritage Sites are under threat of deteriorating from climate change. Wangui’s research examines the gendered dimensions of rural development and rural livelihood change, environmental conservation, and climate change adaptation. She is currently examining the gendered dynamics of sustainable land management practices in the Upper Tana watershed in Central Kenya. Her research has been funded by organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Canadian International Development and Research Council, and the International Fund for Agriculture and Development.
  10. Thomas Suddes, assistant professor of journalism in the Scripps College of Communication, was mentioned 41 times in the media in 2020. Suddes writes a weekly column for the Columbus Dispatch that ranges from talking about state legislative issues to current events in the state and country. He is a recipient of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism’s L.J. Hortin Distinguished Alumnus Award and is a member of the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame. He has been a newsmaker every year, claiming a top 10 spot four of those years. Suddes has previously been a writer/editor at media outlets including the Ohio State Lantern, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Des Moines Register and Tribune, the Foster’s Daily Democrat, the Jackson Daily News, the Plain Dealer, and more.