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 Sept. 23 1999
  Vol. 29, No. 5

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State tobacco settlement would support research

Plan calls for Ohio State to share $1.8 billion

Ohio State officials and medical researchers are lauding a plan to spend a $1.8 billion share of Ohio's tobacco settlement on biomedical research. The money, they say, would help attract additional research dollars to the University and state, and would go a long way to fighting the heart and lung diseases caused by tobacco use.

"What better way to use the money than to make a financial assault on illnesses caused by tobacco," said President Kirwan. "The experts think that this is a wonderful moment, in terms of research potential into heart disease and cancer. So the timing of this is fortuitous."

Gov. Bob Taft proposed this month the $1.8 billion for research from Ohio's $10.1 billion share of the state's tobacco money. His plan also calls for more than half the money to be used for primary and secondary school buildings and computer technology upgrades. Another $1.5 billion would be used to fund anti-tobacco programs.

Ohio State would share the money, which would come over a 25-year period, with other members of the Consortium of Ohio Biomedical Research Institutions.

The consortium is composed of Ohio State, Case Western Reserve University, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Medical College of Ohio, Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Wright State University Medical School.

Institutions that do little or no medical research would not share in the settlement.

University officials are worried, though, that the lion's share of the money would come at the end of the 25 years, diminishing its impact and reducing opportunities to leverage the funds for other research awards. The consortium will ask lawmakers to provide the money earlier on.

"Now is the time to fund biomedical research if we want to see economic and health benefits for our citizens in the next five to 10 years," Kirwan said.

Ohio State's research into diseases of the heart and lung would benefit greatly from an infusion of cash. "This is an incredible opportunity," said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, director of Ohio State's new Heart and Lung Institute.

Goldschmidt highlighted molecular genetics as one area that would particularly benefit from the funding.

"It is a field today in its infancy," he said.

A share of $10 million to $20 million per year for Ohio State's Heart and Lung Institute and James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute "would provide an incredible advantage ... to the point that in three years we would probably double the talent that we have," Goldschmidt said.

Taft's proposal will be reviewed next by the Ohio Tobacco Task Force, and must be approved by the Ohio Legislature. But OSU officials and medical researchers are optimistic about the potential for new research and discovery.

"It's hard not to become emotional and excited about this possibility," said David E. Schuller, director of the James. "A day doesn't go by that I don't see patients and families ravaged by this product."

 

Direct enrollment for freshmen on the rise

By Bill Estep

The number of freshmen who are directly enrolled in Ohio State's degree-granting colleges has increased by 47 percent this fall as part of a Universitywide effort to add to the entering students who bypass University College and immediately enter a degree-granting curriculum.

Increasing direct enrollment at Ohio State was a major recommendation of the University's Roundtable on Advising and University Senate's Council on Enrollment and Student Progress last year as a way to improve academic standards, student retention and the overall undergraduate academic experience.

More than 2,100 freshmen are directly enrolled in degree-granting colleges this autum quarter, compared with 1,429 at the same time last year.

First-quarter freshman enrollment on the Columbus campus this fall is expected to be about 5,900.

Martha Garland, vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies, along with Mac Stewart, associate provost for academic affairs and dean of University College, led the effort in the past year to widen the direct enrollment effort.

University College was created 32 years ago and traditionally has been the academic home to the majority of Ohio State freshmen, whether they are undecided or

settled on a major. University College - or UVC as it is also known - is a nondegree-granting college that primarily serves as an advising unit. UVC offers one class, the University Survey Class, an introductory course to campus. UVC has a staff of 100 advisers who consult with students in all academic areas.

Garland estimates that 80 percent of Ohio State's freshman class was enrolled in UVC last fall, with only 20 percent directly enrolled in Ohio State's 18 degree-granting colleges. She hopes those numbers will steadily shift to the point where the majority of freshmen are directly enrolled.

"When we looked around at our peer institutions, many schools like us - large research universities with large enrollments - have a unit like University College, an intake unit," Garland said. "But it was much more common to have the balance be more like 20 percent in the intake college and 80 percent going to direct enrollment.

"We believe direct enrollment results in a better academic experience for the student, a better sense of identity with their program, greater affiliation with the University, and thus greater academic success, better retention rates and better graduation rates.

"It's all part of our general program of trying to improve the undergraduate experience."

According to Stewart, the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Engineering began directly enrolling freshmen in the early 1980s. This fall, Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has about 200 directly enrolled students, while Engineering has 850, according to Linda Katunich, coordinator of enrollment reporting and research in the Office of Enrollment Services.

The largest increase in direct enrollment this year is in the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences, which increased their number of directly enrolled freshmen from 380 to 755. The Colleges of the Arts and Sciences, a federation of five colleges, is OSU's largest unit, with 10,000 undergraduates.

Other colleges participating in direct enrollment at Ohio State this autumn include the College of the Arts, which did not directly enroll any freshmen last year but has nearly 200 this year; the College of Nursing, which also adopted the direct enrollment concept this autumn with six entering students; and the Fisher College of Business, which more than doubled its number of direct enrollees from 55 to 120.

Directly enrolled students include those who have met individual academic requirements of the colleges and others who qualify for automatic admission into the University Honors and Scholars Program. Those entering freshmen must have high school test scores of 29 out of 36 on their ACT test or 1,300 out of a possible 1,600 on the SAT.

In the past, the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences had enrolled only honor students, but this fall the colleges directly enrolled an additional 375 students with ACT scores ranging from 25 to 28, said Jack Cooley, assistant dean. He said the honors students who have been directly enrolled in the unit's five colleges in the past have expressed a high satisfaction level with their early contact with counselors and faculty members.

"We find it (direct enrollment in a major) gives students a greater sense of vision, a greater sense of involvement in their academics, and we hope they'll do better academically," Cooley said.

Jay Yutzey, admissions director of the undergraduate program in the Fisher College of Business, said his college is interested in "engaging more high-achieving students at the front end of their college careers and having them immediately get involved in an enriched program of study."

Normally, students are not considered for admittance into the Fisher College of Business until they've completed their freshman year with a 3.0 grade point average.

"We're trying to get more freshmen scheduled into an honors program of study so they can complete their freshman year with a stronger academic foundation that will enable more challenging academic opportunities later in their programs," Yutzey said.

 

 

Taymor exhibit brings theater experience alive at Wexner galleries

By Susan Wittstock

In a museum exhibit created to celebrate the work of a theatrical artist, there are certain challenges to overcome.

The lack of performers, for one.

Solved, through use of video monitors in the galleries which broadcast performances of the featured plays.

 

                            By Ken Van Sickle

Composer Elliot Goldenthal and Julie Taymor.

 

The lack of a theatrical setting, for two.

Solved, through life-size dioramas that place the costumed figures in sets that recreate the performance stages.

The lack of design studios and rehearsal spaces, for three.

Solved, through displays of sketches, line drawings and 3-D models that share the behind-the-scenes creative process that went into each onstage or film production.

Julie Taymor: Playing with Fire, on exhibit at all four Wexner Center galleries through Jan. 2, is an up close and personal view of the 25-year career of a prolific artist. Taymor, best known for her Tony Award-winning work as director and designer of Disney's The Lion King on Broadway, has been involved in theater, opera and film productions in venues throughout the world.

The exhibit seeks to capture some of the wonderment of attending live theater, where the magic of make believe often makes reality a little clearer.

Visitors may feel almost as if they've stepped onto the stage for The Lion King when they enter the first gallery. A massive orange sun composed of fabric strips large panoramic photographs of the performance are displayed.

That feeling of stepping into a production is carried on throughout the galleries. Taymor works frequently with masks and puppets, making it possible for life-like displays that show the casts of shows interacting with one another much as they would have on stage or on screen.

Fool's Fire, a film based on an Edgar Allan Poe short story which was written and directed by Taymor, and Oedipus Rex, an opera and film production directed by Taymor, both have almost full scale representations of the stage sets.

For Fool's Fire, visitors step through a doorway framed by two massive doors that provided the entrance to the king's court in the film. Inside the gallery, nearly a dozen figures are arranged around the king, in a layered set with a tiled floor and a backdrop which hints at other rooms in the palace. The figures are dressed in medieval garb and have faces alive with emotion, be it disgust, surprise or stupidity.

Oedipus Rex is represented by a similarly large-scale installation. A pool of water shimmers beneath bamboo strips that wave out to form a stage. The four main figures of the Greek tragedy float slightly above the stage, their faces depicted with totemic masks. A masked chorus with arms outstretched stands in formation upstage left and right, and large black birds suspended from the ceiling fly above. The sound of the opera's music, composed by Igor Stravinsky, heard from a nearby video monitor, adds to the eeriness of the tableaux.

The exhibit includes one production still in progress: the feature film Titus, directed by Taymor, which will not be released until this winter. A video preview provides a sneak peek of stars Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange and Alan Cumming performing in the adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus.

For all of the exhibits, visitors are given the rare opportunity to view close-up the costumes, masks and props used in the productions. Fine details, such as the intricate paintings of Eskimo huts and fishing boats integrated into the body of a shadow puppet, are evident in all pieces on display.

Playing with Fire, which examines 11 of Taymor's productions, is the first full-scale retrospective of her work. The exhibit kicks off the Wexner Center's 10th Anniversary Season and will be touring to MASS MOCA (May-October 2000); the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. (November 2000-February 2001); and Chicago's Field Museum (November 2001-January 2002), with more venues possible.

The Wexner is offering a full slate of related events. Mel Gussow, New York Times theater critic, will give a lecture at

7 p.m. Oct. 7; Roger Copeland, professor of theater and dance at Oberlin College, will lecture at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 27; and Diane Wondisford, managing director of Music-Theatre Inc. in New York and an Ohio State alumna, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 11.

Free screenings of Fool's Fire and Oedipus Rex will be showing most Saturdays and Sundays during the exhibition's run, and a three-part Art in Focus course on the exhibit will begin Oct. 7.

 

 

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