Colleges and universities in the Greater Dayton area continue to invest in programs for the benefit of their students
Keely Brown and Noah Tong
Air Force Institute of Technology
The Air Force Institute of Technology, a graduate school and continuing education provider for the United States Armed Forces, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
This past year Air Force Institute of Technology held an event, STEM 3.14 Fest, at the Youth Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The event celebrated Pi Day and Albert Einstein’s birthday by teaching students from the Prairies School Age Program and Prairies Youth Center about science, technology, engineering and math.
“Kids go through their school years and may not think about their futures,” says Esther Jones, a Youth Program assistant at the Prairies Youth Center, in a recent news release. “Whether they go into a STEM career or not we want them to be exposed to a variety of STEM possibilities.
Students participated in a multitude of events, including launching go-karts and catapults, discovering visible DNA, building structures, 3D printing, manipulating drones and working with coding programs.
Bennie Luck, Youth Programs coordinator, says an important part of the event is creating opportunities for children to see people in STEM careers who look like them. Air Force Institute of Technology will continue to celebrate its centennial through community outreach programs such as STEM 3.14 Fest.
Antioch College, a private liberal arts institution, continues to renovate its campus after receiving a $500,000 grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation. The college plans to restore heat and air circulation in Antioch Hall, more commonly known as Main Building, to ensure the structure is stable and functional.
“We really see Main Building as being a place that we can use not only for the college, but also as a hub for the community,” says James Lippincott, university spokesman. “We’re doing quite a bit of work in there at the moment to get that building back into full year-round use.”
Antioch College, a staunch advocate for environmental stability, has four LEED certified buildings on its campus, as well as a central geothermal plant and solar farm. Although Main Building is not LEED certified, the college demonstrates its dedication to sustainability through the renovation.
Renovation is a sustainable practice, says Lippincott. Rather than tear down and rebuild existing structures, Antioch College focuses on reusing and upgrading its buildings instead.
Antioch College was recognized as a top performer in 2018 by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, achieving a second-place rating in grounds management as well as achieving a seventh-place rating as a top performing institution for food and dining.
“Sustainability is one of the core commitments of the college and one of the things that we really feel strongly about as an institution,” says Lippincott. “We’ve wanted to try and demonstrate how can we, as a college and as a community, exemplify ways of living and learning that are sustainable and that are looking to the future.”
Antioch University Midwest
Antioch University Midwest’s McGregor Library was awarded a Celebrating Ohio Book Awards & Authors grant by the State Library of Ohio, financed with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The university, which requested $750 in funds, bought 45 books for student use. Titles purchased include those nominated or awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Ohioana Book Awards and the Anisfield-Wolf Award.
Antioch University Midwest’s mission relates to social and environmental justice and the purchased books support these values, says Dana Knott, director of Library Services. The university hopes to empower students to make the world a better place through literature.
“One thing that I love about these grants as a librarian, and as a big reader and instructor, is that when you read these different titles and you experience different cultures, voices and perspectives, literature has this kind of great power to create empathy and understanding,” says Knott. “When [students] leave Antioch, we hope that they can take this knowledge and help others.”
Cedarville University, a private Baptist academic institution, recently announced the development of a new Master of Science program in physician assistant studies set to begin in May of 2022. The university, which also has one of the leading nursing schools and pharmacy schools in Ohio, hopes the new program will complement the school’s strong presence in health care.
Jason Grahame, a Cedarville alumnus and experienced physician assistant professional, will return to the school to serve as the founding program director. Grahame says he is looking forward to training and mentoring Cedarville’s physician assistant students to ensure they will meet the physical and spiritual needs of their patients.
Cedarville University’s program will become the 13th in Ohio and third in the Miami Valley. The new 24- or 27-month graduate program will be cohort-based, with the last 12 months spent in clinical rotations.
Janice Supplee, dean of Cedarville’s graduate school and vice president of marketing and communications, is helping to develop the innovative program that will address today’s health-care needs. She hopes the graduates of the program will be outstanding medical professionals who are also able to minister to their patients.
“Cedarville isn’t just trying to equip excellent professionals, we’re also trying to develop professionals who are serious about their faith and are going to integrate it into the work that they do,” says Supplee.
Clark State Community College
Clark State Community College has partnered with Mercy Health to build a new health clinic, dubbed Mercy Primary Care, on Clark State’s Springfield campus. The 1,750-square-foot facility opened in late May and serves both the college and its surrounding community.
Mercy Health owns and operates the clinic and is staffed by Leatha Ross, the on-site nurse practitioner and a medical assistant. The practice provides free nursing care, basic health and wellness screenings and also coordinates free health services throughout the academic year.
“The clinic helps build and strengthen the workforce for the surrounding community,” says Ross. “I see it as a wonderful opportunity—not only for our students, but for the community as a whole.”
Mercy Primary Care and Clark State partnered with the hope of providing students with easy access to reliable health care, as well as supporting them in their academic endeavors. The health clinic offers internships for Clark State students enrolled in academic health care programs.
Nichole Clark, the director of Primary Care Services at Mercy Health, says the clinic hopes to encourage Clark State students as they further their careers in health, health care administration or health care services. She is confident the Mercy Primary Care will be a positive addition to Clark State’s campus.
“We’re excited to be part of a collaboration with Clark State and we’re hopeful that the students and the surrounding community are excited about us being here as well,” says Clark. “We look forward to being able to serve them with the highest quality healthcare.”
Indiana Wesleyan University
Indiana Wesleyan University, a private evangelical Christian liberal arts university, offers more than 123 different degree programs. This year the university added a new theater education major to its available academic programs, making the degree one of only eight available in the state.
“We discovered as we applied for state certification that the state of Indiana recently lost two university theater education programs at other universities in the state,” says Greg Fiebig, professor of communication and theater chairman at IWU. “We found out serendipitously we filled a void.”
The program is designed to prepare students to teach theater in the public schools in Indiana and other articulating states, Fiebig explains. Students will double major in secondary education and theater to teach elementary, middle school and high school theater and dramatic arts programs.
Katie Wampler, the artistic director and associate professor of the theater program at IWU, says she’s excited to teach students who share her passion for theater and education.
“We bring what we’re learning in the classroom into our performances and our rehearsal space, and what we’re learning in our rehearsal space back into the classroom,” says Wampler. “That’s something that we offer in terms of our overall program, and I’m excited to continue to do this in terms of theater education.”
Fiebig hopes the theater education major will create interest in the program and inspire prospective students to attend IWU.
“We believe it will bring new students to the university,” says Fiebig. “In the past, students looking for a theater education major would have to request special consideration, but now they will be able to major from the beginning.”
Kettering College, a private Adventist college founded in 1967, makes the health of its students, faculty and staff a top priority. The school hosted its 11th annual Spring into Health 5K to promote healthy habits and raise money for Dayton’s Good Neighbor House and the college’s Physician Assistant Student Professional Development Fund.
Members of the community also attend the event and enjoy different activities to learn about the importance of an active lifestyle before settling down to watch the marathon. The race, which had over 300 attendees this year, is organized by students of the college and has raised almost $60,000 in donations since it began.
“The physician assistant students work very hard—they are the ones who plan and coordinate [the event],” said Lona Blake, clinical coordinator of the physician assistant program. “This is their main fundraiser for the entire year.”
75% of proceeds from the event benefit Dayton’s Good Neighbor House, a nonprofit organization that provides food pantry services, clothing and household items to under-served individuals and families in the Greater Dayton Region. The remaining 25% of proceeds goes to the Physician Assistant Student Professional Development Fund, which finances educational opportunities for students in the program.
Kettering College’s 12th annual Spring into Health 5K will take place on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
With an eye towards the future, Miami University invested in new academic programs designed to better prepare its students for the workplace after graduation.
Underclassmen now have two new options when choosing a major: Data analytics and organizational leadership. These Bachelor of Arts degrees will be implemented following approval from the Ohio Department of Education.
“The new degrees in organizational leadership and data analytics are designed to leverage core liberal arts knowledge and skills to prepare students for successful careers and fulfilling lives,” says Carolyn Haynes, associate provost of undergraduate education. “The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reports that the most job openings in Ohio require strong analytical and leadership skills.”
Interactive Media Studies—no longer considered an academic program—is now recognized as an academic department in the College of Creative Arts. This department accounts for over 900 students.
In the past year, Miami students and faculty may have noticed changes across Oxford as well.
Pearson Hall, Miami’s biological science building, was renovated to create more classrooms and labs. Two residence halls, Scott and Minnich, were upgraded, while Miami also unveiled Withrow and Presidents hall for the first time.
Sinclair Community College
Sinclair, a premier destination for community college students in the region, launched its Registered Apprenticeship Program in spring 2018. The program’s goal is to provide training areas such as electrical maintenance and mechanical maintenance, while Sinclair is one of 10 colleges in the nation to be awarded this apprenticeship grant.
“It is critical that we prepare our students for the workforce,” says Chad Bridgman, internship coordinator at Sinclair College. “Sinclair works towards this by not only providing workforce aligned academic programs but also creating opportunities for students to get hands-on training.”
Among other grants, Sinclair received money to participate in the Community College Accelerated CyberCorp Pilot Program. This should increase the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals that graduate from Sinclair College.
Although primarily a school comprised of local students, Sinclair joined the U.S. Japan Collaborative Online International Learning Initiative. This provides an opportunity for students to learn about other cultures through online teaching and collaboration.
The Modern College of Design
The Modern College of Design, formerly the School of Advertising Art, is a baccalaureate institution for the first time. Starting in fall 2019, students have the option of enrolling in the Design Leadership Bachelor’s Program or opting for the associate degree. The curriculum directly suits individuals interested in graphic design and web design.
This intensive program will add faculty and staff jobs to the local community, and the Modern intends on constructing additional on-campus housing. A new Student Success Center provides a workspace for various clubs and programs.
President Jessica Barry says, “After three years of development we are thrilled to release a program that not only strengthens students’ design skills but also increases their knowledge of entrepreneurship, leadership and strategy. Graduates from this program will strengthen the Dayton creative community and the national design industry for generations to come.”
Students who choose the bachelor’s degree route must complete one year of the associate degree.
University of Dayton
Founded in 1850, The University of Dayton has offered multidisciplined undergraduate and graduate programs for generations. This past year is no different as Dayton launched numerous academic degrees for all types of students.
Beginning operation in August 2019, UD introduced Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in sustainability. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Bachelor of Science degree focuses on energy and sustainable watersheds, while the Bachelor of Arts degree centers around food studies and urban sustainability.
“We are placing vocation and community-based, hands-on learning at the center of the curriculum,” said Rebecca Potter, director of the sustainability program. “These programs will provide students a foundation for using sustainability to serve others regardless of their career paths.” Earning a sustainability degree will require students to take courses in many different disciplines that may include biology, economics, statistics and ecology to name a few.
Dayton is also offering a nursing degree in partnership with Sinclair Community College. Students are required to take courses and complete clinical rotations at both institutions over a four-year period.
Graduate students can now earn a master’s degree in dietetics and nutrition after concluding an internship with Premier Health. This program qualifies students to work in places such as hospitals, schools and sports medicine, says Jennifer Dalton, director of the didactic program in dietetics.
Finally, the UD School of Law started an online Master of Laws program, including an optional U.S. legal practice certificate, in January 2019.
Originally established by Quakers in 1870, Wilmington College is a private, liberal arts school known for its strong agriculture and athletic training majors. Starting in 2022, however, undergraduate athletic training programs will no longer exist at accredited schools. Therefore, the athletic training program is transitioning from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree.
“These are exciting times and we’re at the forefront,” says Dr. J. Brett Massie, program director and associate professor of athletic training. “I like where we’re sitting right now. We’re well ahead of the mandate.”
Wilmington College’s partnership with Cincinnati State Technical and Community College is continuing to thrive. Students receiving associate degrees from Cincinnati State can apply credits towards a bachelor’s degree from Wilmington College. These students may work toward a Wilmington College diploma at Cincinnati State’s campus, an idea designed to benefit the working adult populations on both campuses.
Adults, beginning in fall 2019, may enroll in Wilmington Institute for Lifelong Learning courses. Topics such as gardening, history, art, literature and many more are offered for six-week periods.
Wright State University
Wright State University is a public research university that sits on a 557-acre campus in Fairborn, Ohio. Its mission to, “build a strong foundation for student success at all levels through high-quality, innovative programs,” was strengthened this past year when it announced a new Division of Student Success.
Four separate divisions—Enrollment Management, the University Center for International Education, the University Registrar and the University College—will function and work together. This administrative shift is designed to provide more opportunities and improve the student experience.
Wright State also revamped its career services in preparation for life after graduation. Early intervention services will offer pre-professional development guidance for both first-year students and upperclassmen alike in the Wright State Career Center. These career services will be a new addition to the Division of Student Success.
“For students who are exploring and not firmly set in their career plans we want to have the services they need to help them achieve their career decisions,” says Cheryl Stuart, director of the Career Center.
To provide additional guidance to the student body student tutors in the Academic Success Centers will now adhere to national training standards when assisting their peers. Tutors earned the International Tutor Training Program Certification from the College Reading and Learning Association.
Established in 1845, Wittenberg University is a Lutheran-affiliated liberal arts college that enrolls over 1,700 undergraduate students. Wittenberg students have the advantage of using the recently overhauled School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Formerly the School of Community Education, Graduate and Professional Studies benefits sectors such as graduate programs, the Center for Musical Development and the College Credit Plus Program.
Graduate and Professional Studies also offers master’s degrees in analytics, coaching, and education, as well as an undergraduate degree in organizational leadership.
“My goal is to bring us together as a team to grow our current three fantastic programs to their fullest potential, and work has already begun along these lines,” says Barbara Randazzo, executive director of Graduate and Professional Studies. “I would also like to see new programs developed.”
“I want ( Graduate and Professional Studies) to be a place within the university where innovative programs are launched and effectively administered for the overall benefit of students and the institution,” says Randazzo.
Sociology majors, as of fall 2019, also have the option of selecting a cultural anthropology concentration. Students must create a senior thesis to earn this designation.