I frequently am asked the question by those from outside the University what I do when most of the students are away from campus during the summer months. This has been a particularly busy summer for me in my role as Interim Director at Ohio State ATI.
The faculty hiring process has been a particularly important emphasis over the spring and summer months of 2015 as a result of the retirement of Bob McMahan and Dave Willoughby who had been the leaders for our Greenhouse and Nursery Management and Turfgrass Management programs for many years. In addition, due to vacancies in math and renewable energy faculty positions, there was approval by our College leadership to fill these two positions. The preferred candidates have been offered and accepted the greenhouse and nursery management and math faculty positions. As a result these searches are completed due to the efforts of many of our faculty and staff who contributed to these two successful searches. The interviews have been completed for the renewable energy position and we also have a candidate that has signed the letter of offer for this position. The announcement and backgrounds of these candidates will be shared with you in the next Ohio State Alumni News after all documentations are in place to finalize the hiring of these individuals. The interviews for the two candidates selected by the search committee for the Turfgrass Management faculty position have been completed, and we are in the process of finalizing the hiring decisions for this position.
I have been most pleased with the participatory efforts of our Ohio State ATI faculty, staff, and students as well as faculty and staff from other parts of our College and particularly our external stakeholders who were invited to participate in the interviews. I always emphasize that we are interviewing the candidates to determine their fit for our positions at Ohio State ATI; but the candidates are also carefully assessing us as a fit for a place for them to continue their career endeavors – thus it is important that we make a positive impression when these candidates come to our campus. Making the correct decisions on hiring faculty and staff to address our Ohio State ATI student service mission is a very high priority. I am most pleased with the investment of our faculty and staff along with others of our College and external stakeholders in helping us be successful in making these very important decisions.
Of course, the spring-summer months after the Spring Semester is completed serve as a time for us to host prospective students and families on our campus; and this summer has been particularly busy in these regards. The staff members in our Ohio State ATI Admissions group tell me this has been the busiest summer with regard to student visits that they can ever remember, and some of the folks in this group have been with Ohio State ATI for a long time. Student orientations are also a very important activity during the summer for those students who will be joining our Fall Semester 2015 class. A very large number of our faculty and staff are dedicated at each of these sessions to address all of the various components of the orientation endeavor.
Speaking of these prospective student activities, we have one of the largest classes for the Fall 2015 semester that we have had in many years. The class sizes have markedly increased the past 3 consecutive years and this year resulted in another 7% increase in Ohio State ATI students with 751 students having paid their fees on the 15th day of enrollment when enrollment data are compiled. Addressing student housing needs and Associated Faculty hires in teaching our General Education (e.g., math, English) for the increasing number of students has also been a very high priority of our Ohio State ATI Faculty Program Coordinators and Division Chair in the Arts & Sciences and Business Technologies Division over these past several months.
Another high priority aspect over these past several months has been addressing various aspects of unification (Ohio State ATI and OARDC) of the Ohio State Wooster campus as well as addressing the actions that are ongoing in the participation of Ohio State ATI in advancing our College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences goal of being more effective and efficient in functioning as “One College”. In his 5 June 2015 webinar, Dean McPheron provided some of the Action Step updates, information and decisions made related to the status of reviews and upcoming implementation plans in advancing our “One College” endeavor. The webinar focused on plans associated with college operations, Wooster campus integration, information technology services, communications, diversity and inclusion, facilities, and several other items. The webinar can be accessed here.
I had a major health event in early July that provided me reason to pause and reflect on my trek down life’s pathway. As I did so, my opportunity to serve as Interim Director at Ohio State ATI is an important aspect of this trek. The opportunity to work with our great Ohio State ATI faculty and staff in serving our students is a real highlight of my 40+ year career as an employee in our Land Grant University system. I look forward to continuing this trek and hopefully in doing so, have the opportunity to engage with more of our Ohio State Alumni; because as I learn from more of you, your accomplishments in your career endeavors are something that provides for a great appreciation of the importance of Ohio State ATI to our College, University and State.
The activities during those months when there are few students on our campus have come to an end and the campus has become reinvigorated with the new and returning students that have chosen our campus to serve their collegiate educational needs. As always occurs with the return of students, I get great stimulation when they arrive to our campus and this year has been a particularly invigorating period in this regard.