About 100 regional campus faculty from across Southeastern Ohio converged in Chillicothe on Dec. 3 and 4 for Ohio University's annual regional campus faculty conference. In its tenth year, the event provides an opportunity for faculty from all five regional campuses to attend workshops, network, share ideas and dialogue. It is an in-person opportunity that is limited during the year because of the miles between campuses.
Matt Wanat, who just joined Ohio University at the Lancaster campus this academic year, attended for the first time.
"Sessions were very well geared toward faculty concerns," Wanat said, adding that wasn't always the case at other types of conferences he has attended in the past.
Pre-conference sessions on Thursday morning included a workshop on designing engaging, quality Blackboard assignments and another on communicating effectively with the media.
"As a new faculty member, it was especially helpful to attend the communication session," Wanat said. During the session, led by Renea Morris, executive director of University Communications and Marketing, attendees practiced answering interview questions effectively and learned about formulating clear messages.
Other sessions opened discussion about the quarters to semesters transition in regard to faculty workload, integrating technology into the classroom, and issues related to the evaluation of teaching. The Kanawha Project, which aims to develop the environmental literacy of undergraduate students, and a study of the needs of enrolled student mothers at Ohio University were subjects of sessions that provided an opportunity to share research.
Students in the Chillicothe associate degree nursing program presented a simulation featuring the program's newest simulation mannequin "Simon." Given a scenario, five soon-to-be nurses participated in a near-real situation involving an accident victim -- including the victim's physical responses, which are generated by computer. This strategy is being used by the program to apply classroom knowledge to a clinical setting while promoting the use of critical thinking skills and nursing judgment.
Started as a way to create a sense of community and foster the exchange of ideas among the regional campuses, the conference is held at a different campus each year. It will meet at Lancaster in 2010.
During a Friday session, each campus shared a list of the accomplishments and points of pride during the past year. The lists were long. Highlights covered the spectrum -- from a freshman mentoring program at the Eastern campus that pairs faculty and new students to a 97 percent pass rate on the nursing NCLEX exam, the exam for nursing licensure, at the Southern campus. Lancaster campus is working with eight high schools on dual enrollment programs and Zanesville campus established a majors fair this year. Chillicothe campus proudly featured recently completed upgrades to campus. Faculty accomplishments were prevalent at all campuses, including research, publications, presentations, creative work, and awards. Executive Dean for Regional Campuses Dan Evans noted that several faculty members' research activity had taken them abroad during the past year to places like Japan, Majorca, Sudan and China.
"I'm very proud of the work you do," Evans told the attendees. "We've literally got faculty working all over the world."
But many of the conversations were about the work regional campuses do closer to home. Despite the distance between campuses, the campuses' mission to provide access to higher education for Southeastern Ohio was a common topic of multiple conversations throughout the two-day conference.