Signature building meets Veterinary Medicine's needs for decades to comeBy Randy Gammage, onCAMPUS staff
While the College of Veterinary Medicine already enjoys national recognition, evidenced by U.S. News & World Report ranking it sixth among the country's veterinary colleges, a new signature facility also has elevated the college's local presence.
The new building -- situated at the south end of Coffey Road and visible from Woody Hayes Drive and Olentangy River Road -- will make it difficult for anyone traveling north on state Route 315 to miss. The four-story structure appears straight ahead to northbound travelers approaching campus before Route 315 veers west and loops toward Lane Avenue.
Dean Glen Hoffsis said the new building will meet the college's needs for decades to come; it also was designed as a landmark, both inside and out.
"With its location beside 315, everybody notices this building," Hoffsis said. "Like it or not, this is a gateway for the OSU campus. We saw this as an opportunity to showcase the college and the University."
With that in mind, the building was designed to offer a clean look from all sides with lots of windows, and is void of a visible backside with the usual utilities, such as cooling towers or loading docks. It also is a departure from the common "box with a flat roof" style of architecture.
"If you build something with great architectural design and inviting spaces, that will be reflected in the attitudes of the people who work and study there and the interactions that take place," Hoffsis said.
By design, the building creates a corridor through which faculty, staff, students and visitors will be passing on their way to classes, labs or administrative offices. Prominently placed along the way is a Grand Lounge, with a gas fireplace on one end and a huge open staircase on the other, with two-story windows and a two-story ceiling in between. The lounge offers a warm atmosphere to sip a cup of coffee and sit down by the fireplace to enjoy friendly conversation or an impromptu discussion.
Compare that with the old building, Hoffsis said, that was an uninviting 1950s boxy design that people rushed to get out of, instead of pausing to socialize inside.
During warmer months, a courtyard outside will offer a similar gathering place.
"To the north of the building will be a park analogous to the Oval, only smaller," Hoffsis said. "This will define the veterinary campus."
Once landscaped, it will be used as an extended classroom, or a place to study, conduct conferences or host special events.
John Hubbell, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of veterinary anesthesiology, served as the liaison with architects and construction crews during the design and construction phases of the new building. He said the park is one of the signature spaces of the new facility.
"It will create a campus atmosphere that we haven't had before in Veterinary Medicine," Hubbell said.
Other features include a modern library with a 50,000-volume capacity and computer work stations; 11 small group-learning spaces sprinkled throughout the building; two 140-seat lecture halls equipped with digital projection and Internet connectivity at each seat; and an 1,800-square-foot computer laboratory that can be used for epidemiology, cardiology, histology, fluid therapy and other courses that utilize self instruction, Hubbell said.
The greenspace will be framed by the new structure; Goss Laboratory, which houses the Department of Veterinary Biosciences; and a cap that will be constructed to finish the 1987 addition to the original Sisson Hall, which will house the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and departmental and faculty offices. The original portion of Sisson Hall will be torn down later this month to make room for the addition, expected to be completed by January 2003.
Completed in late winter and occupied since early April, the new $26 million facility was paid for with $18 million in state capital funds and $8 million in private funds. Hoffsis said a naming opportunity exists for the facility.
The design will keep pace with the future, with the top two floors devoted to 36 modern research laboratories.
"The future of veterinary medicine is very bright, and it's becoming more important every year as the link between animals and people becomes stronger," Hoffsis said.
Ohio State's College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1885, provides the largest veterinary referral hospital in a multistate area, and is the only vet school in Ohio. It is a leading researcher of animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans, and leads a statewide research effort into the West Nile virus. Researchers conduct studies on public health issues such as transmission of E. coli and other food safety issues, and are involved with livestock and dairy farming and the production of safe and efficient food.
"What this new building does is provide faculty with the proper tools to conduct research that helps solve these problems," Hoffsis said.
While the new building helps set the stage for the college's future, an entry arch from the Veterinary Laboratories formerly at Neil and 17th avenues -- erected in 1903 and torn down two years ago -- will serve as the gateway to its past. It will be incorporated into a garden on the north end of the building.
"We thought we would preserve these stones and recreate a nonfunctional monument to our proud past," Hoffsis said.
Ohio State launches athletics study for NCAA certification programBy Emily Caldwell, onCAMPUS staff
Ohio State's athletics program, whose seasonal activities are fodder for friend and foe alike, is about to undergo public analysis of a different kind: a detailed self-study of the operation's overall integrity and compliance as part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I certification program.
Almost 90 people across the University -- including administrators, faculty, staff, students, coaches and student athletes -- will conduct the self-study. Specific areas under review will be academic integrity, fiscal integrity, governance and rules compliance, and the program's commitment to equity, student-athlete welfare and sportsmanship.
According to the NCAA, the certification program's purpose is to help ensure the integrity of institutions' athletics operations by opening them to scrutiny by the rest of the University community and the public. Institutions are meant to benefit by increased awareness of their athletics programs and by development of plans to improve any areas of concern.
Ohio State completed its first self-study in 1996, and received certification at that time. Division I members of the NCAA voted in 1997 to require certification every 10 years, coupled with a five-year interim status report.
President Brit Kirwan, the current chair of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, has charged a 26-member steering committee and accompanying subcommittees with responsibility for completing the self-study.
"I urge you to give special attention to the engagement of the University community as a whole in the process," Kirwan said. "Further, I urge the steering committee and the subcommittees to look beyond the areas singled out by the NCAA for study to bring forth any additional matters that might require the University's attention and provide opportunities for institutional management. It is my intention that we all use this opportunity to continue our quest for excellence in this important area of University life."
The steering committee is chaired by Virginia M. Trethewey, executive assistant to the president and general counsel, and David O. Frantz, professor of English and academic liaison with athletics. Director of Athletics Andy Geiger serves on the steering committee; according to NCAA rules, the self-study must be conducted by the University rather than by the athletics operation leadership.
Subcommittee leadership includes the following:
Within each area, Ohio State's program will be measured against standards and operating principles adopted by the NCAA, Trethewey said.
"Another important component of this initiative is an examination of how athletics activities relate to the mission and purpose of the entire institution," she said. "Clearly, this is a great way for us to look at ourselves, see what we're doing well and what needs improvement, and inform the campus at the same time."
The yearlong self-study will be followed by a four-day evaluation by a visiting team of peer reviewers from other colleges, universities and conference offices. The options for certification status are certified; certified with conditions; and not certified. Universities that do not try to correct identified deficiencies may be ruled ineligible for NCAA championships.
Frantz said the first task of the new subcommittee will be to revisit the 1996 findings and assess the quality of follow-up to that report's identified areas for improvement.
"I would guess we're going to find we've improved a lot," Frantz said. "For example, in the area of academic performance, we've done many things we didn't anticipate doing at the time of the first self-study, and I know that we have made significant changes in the area of compliance."
Student athlete graduation rates at Ohio State have increased substantially since last year, and several new initiatives have been created to assist athletes in their academic pursuits and ensure that athletes enjoy the best experience possible while attending Ohio State.
The primary purpose of the NCAA, the membership organization of colleges and universities participating in intercollegiate athletics, is to maintain intercollegiate athletics as an integral part of the educational programs and to educate the student athlete as an integral part of the student body.
Program seeks to improve retention of African-American male studentsBy Shannon Wingard, Media Relations
A former All-Pro player in the National Football League and an administrator at Ohio State are teaming to address a national trend affecting African-American male students.
Todd Bell, a former Ohio State football player who played professionally for the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles, and Mac Stewart, vice provost for minority affairs, are developing a mentoring program to increase retention rates for African-American males.
According to the most recent national statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, about 37 percent of African-American students enrolled in universities are male and about 63 percent are female, compared with 44 percent and 56 percent for white male and female students, respectively. In addition, African-American female students graduate at a higher rate than males.
"After reviewing the rates for African-American males, the University decided to put in place an intervention program," Stewart said. "It is our hope to be able to identify areas that are causing students to leave the University without their degree."
Stewart asked Bell, now a program coordinator for the Office of Minority Affairs, to oversee the program. "Todd Bell is a caring individual and a person of integrity," Stewart said. "He will be effective in seeing what obstacles are in the students' ways. I really think he can reach them."
In the 1980s, the Chicago Bears drafted Bell, a two-time All-Big Ten Pick, before he completed his degree. Bell continued his studies while he was a professional football player, and returned to Ohio State in 1987 to graduate with a bachelor's degree in education. In the late 1980s, he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, where his career came to an abrupt end when he sustained a career-ending knee injury.
For Bell, the end of his career as a professional football player marked the beginning of his future in higher education. He believes fate played a hand when he returned to Ohio State and eventually met Stewart. Initially, he worked as a recruiter for the Office of Continuing Education, encouraging Columbus professionals to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, before being promoted by Stewart to be a coordinator for OMA.
Beginning last fall, Bell and Stewart met with African-American male students to discuss the many issues that hamper their education. Among the reasons students gave for leaving college are: the need for financial assistance, the lack of time-management skills and the difficulties of budgeting personal finances.
Through the new program, Bell said, students will be informed about opportunities available to them at Ohio State. He said the University currently offers tutoring and financial-assistance programs, and a retention services department that can help students develop time-management skills. Bell also wants faculty and staff members to get involved as mentors for students.
Calling this initiative a "grassroots effort," Bell said the importance of commitment is the greatest lesson he hopes to provide.
"We want to bring qualified individuals to the University to show them the importance of college degrees," Bell said. "Then we will offer workshops to show these students the services that are available to them and to show them how to manage their time."
A pastor's son from Middletown, Ohio, Bell learned some important lessons from his professional football experience that he hopes to pass down to male students.
"With the end of my professional career came some difficult realities," Bell said. "If you don't perform up to a certain level, then someone will take your place. That's when one's faith, beliefs and morals come into play. Those are the things that have sustained me through this journey."
Bell said he thinks the students will respond well to Stewart's leadership in the program. "If I am any indication of his effect on students, then they will have a positive experience because he truly cares," he said.
Bell thinks his background and his efforts to finish his degree can be inspirational for students. "Having my degree and athletic background gives me instant credibility with youth," he said. "I've lived my life according to the standard that was set before me. Now, I just want these students to be able to see someone in their mirror that makes them proud."
Smiley keynotes Big 10 conference
Tavis Smiley, host of Tavis Talks on National Public Radio and a correspondent/contributor for several other national broadcast news programs, will be the keynote speaker at the eighth annual Big 10, Statewide & Beyond Conference taking place at the Fawcett Center on May 7.
The event, sponsored by Ohio State's Office of Minority Affairs, centers around the theme "Racial Legacies & Learning IV: Moving the Nation's Diversity Agenda Forward."
The conference itinerary includes numerous breakout sessions on diversity and cultural inclusion issues that apply to higher education, corporate and public service settings; a tour of the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center; and Smiley's keynote address, scheduled for 1:45 p.m. Smiley, former host of BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, also is the author of five books and founder of the nonprofit Tavis Smiley Foundation, which seeks to encourage, empower and enlighten black youth.
For more information about the conference, including registration details, visit http://oma.ohio-state.edu/spprogs/BigTen/index.htm.