Student-Centered Learning Initiative has a cooperative toneBy Tracy Turner
The Board of Trustees May 7 heard a report on the new Student-Centered Learning Initiative (SCLI), a method of teaching that creates a more cooperative relationship between the professor and student, taking the teacher from "sage on the stage" to "guide at the side."
Bobby Moser, vice president and dean, and L.H. Newcomb, executive associate dean for academic affairs, both from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, led the presentation.
Newcomb said the SCLI project is part of the college's Project Reinvent and is funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Office of Academic Affairs.
Some 50 faculty from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Technical Institute, and regional campuses at Lima, Mansfield and Marion are participating.
"It is a five-year project that helps professors help students become more responsible for their own learning, to have classes more student-centered instead of professor-dominated," Newcomb said. "Instead of lecturing, professors allow students more hands-on learning opportunities by participating in group projects with outside resources."
Jeff Fastinger, a graduating senior from Oak Harbor, took part in the SCLI project in his animal sciences class. He said the class allowed him to learn through real experience how to solve problems in the field.
"I learned the most out of the class that way. I was a better person after my quarter in that class," he said.
Amanda Stout, a graduating senior from Kirkersville, said her experiences with SCLI in her economics classes were beneficial.
"I learned to communicate better with other people and learned how to solve real problems in economics instead of simply listening to my professor tell me how," Stout said.
"Not only did I retain the information longer; I feel more free to communicate with my professor on issues from this class and on other topics."
SCLI efforts include the development and use of student portfolios; expanded use of the Internet; computer-based course assignments; and student involvement in course planning, development of assignments, negotiation of grading criteria and peer teaching and assessment.
Colley named chair for 1999-2000
Michael F. Colley of Hilliard, a Columbus trial lawyer, was named chair of the Ohio State Board of Trustees on May 7. He succeeds Ted Celeste, whose one-year term as chair and nine-year term as trustee ends on May 13.
Colley has been a trustee since 1991.
Gov. Bob Taft has appointed Cincinnati businesswoman Karen Lafferty Hendricks to replace Celeste on the board (see story on page 3). Taft also soon will name a new student trustee to replace Soraya Rofagha, who is completing her two-year term as an undergraduate student trustee.
As chair, Colley will lead the board of a University with an annual budget exceeding $1.7 billion. Ohio State has about 55,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students, including more than 48,000 in Columbus.
Colley is past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has served as a member of the ABOTA national board of directors since 1991 and was president of the Ohio Chapter from 1991-92.
He served as a member of the Ohio Board of Regents from 1982 to 1986 and has been chair of the Franklin County Republican Party since 1978. Colley graduated from Ohio State's College of Law in 1961.
George A. Skestos of Bexley, a trustee since 1992, was elected vice chair. He is the founder of the Homewood Corp., a building firm that has constructed more than 10,000 multifamily units and more than 12,000 single-family homes.
Skestos is on the board of directors for Huntington National Bank, Central Benefits Insurance Co. and Midland Financial Corp. He has degrees in law, business, and an arts and sciences degree from the University of Michigan, and also has taken courses at Ohio State.
Re-elected were William J. Napier as secretary and James L. Nichols as treasurer.
Research enhances academic experience
Being involved in research as an undergraduate, graduate or professional student can be an enriching educational experience for students at Ohio State and other research institutions, William A. Baeslack III, interim vice president for research, and Martha Garland, vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, told trustees.
"It's a way of thinking and learning that develops creativity and problem-solving skills," Baeslack said. "It allows students to play a more active role in their education, and they get to interact with leaders in the field."
"Some members of the public say research institutions neglect their students and only care about research," Garland added. "We contend that if you give undergraduate students contact with research, it's a wonderful environment for them. They are finding knowledge themselves. Some very good things happen to students intellectually at the Ohio State campus when they're in this kind of environment."
Trustees also heard from two undergraduate students, a Ph.D. candidate and a recent graduate on their research experiences at OSU.
Mary Paster, a senior linguistics major, is conducting research on a phonic feature in the Ga language, a native language of Ghana, and was guided in her research by David Odden, associate professor of linguistics.
"Research provides a way to focus on my work and to come to a deeper understanding of what I have been studying in the classroom," Paster said.
Greek Life Task Force activities updated
Greek life at Ohio State is undergoing a new phase in growth and development, Director of Student Activities Tracy Stuck told trustees May 7. A strategic plan, outlining where the Greek Life Task Force would like to see sororities and fraternities in the next three to five years, should be finalized by the end of spring quarter, Stuck said.
The initiative, put into motion at the beginning of the school year by David Williams II, vice president for student and urban/community affairs, is a proactive approach to strengthening the campus's ties with the greek houses and improving the greek experience, Stuck said.
"It's really a long-term plan," she said. "It's not a Band-Aid. We don't expect the current system to change overnight, but we expect it will be better when it does."
Over the past five months, the task force has formed focus groups consisting of greek and non-greek students, faculty, staff, alumni and representatives from the national organizations; researched recruitment numbers and grades over the last 10 to 15 years; and started drafting a plan that would put the proposed changes into place.
Some of the proposed goals include implementing a minimum 2.25 grade point average for chapter members, requiring two advisers for each house -- one of which must be an Ohio State faculty or staff member, and requiring students to have earned at least 12 credit hours before joining a sorority or fraternity.
Board approves student health plan
The board approved a one-year renewal of a contract with Central Benefits Insurance Co. to provide student health insurance, effective autumn 1999.
The contract reflects an increase in rates of roughly 5 percent. The insurance plan is funded by student premiums and offered on an optional basis to all registered students.
Under the new plan, the quarterly premium for student-only coverage will increase by 5.9 percent (to $198). Student-and-spouse coverage will increase 5 percent (to $503), student-with-children coverage rises 4.8 percent (to $507), and for students with a spouse and children, the rate increases by 4.8 percent (to $681).
Plan modifications this year include a reduction in the pre-existing condition period; removing the health risk appraisal benefit from the insurance plan and offering it as a standard service through the Student Wellness Program, netting some premium savings; and modest revisions to dental coverage.
Nichols presents endowment report
Trustees heard a report from James L. Nichols, University treasurer, who said the University's endowment stood at $1.04 billion as of April 30. Nichols also said the endowment has distributed close to $40 million to academic departments this fiscal year.
Affiliated entities annual report
Board Vice Chair Michael Colley presented the annual report of the board's Affiliated Entities Committee. Formed a year ago to oversee the creation and governance of University-affiliated groups, the committee reviewed all entities but focused its attention on several of the more visible affiliates, such as the Science and Technology Campus Corp., MedOhio Health Inc. and the Transportation Research Center.
Colley said trustees were favorably impressed with the variety of activities pursued and the quality of management. All of the affiliated entities are in sound financial condition and are having considerable success in meeting their goals, he said.
During the coming year, the committee will continue to receive status reports from key affiliates and to refine the monitoring process by senior administrators. The committee also will look at faculty entrepreneurship and its relationship to technology licensing.
Colley said he expects that increased commercial development of University research will involve the Science and Technology Campus and eventually will lead to formation of additional affiliated entities.