Spring on the Oval
While our current change of pace due to COVID-19 may be daunting, this is a time for our community to come together and a time when our community members can showcase what it means to be a Buckeye.

Are you a staff member who sees a student going above and beyond to help others? Are you a student whose instructor is making extraordinary efforts to keep your education on track? Are you a faculty member who sees a staff member devising creative solutions to aid or motivate others? We want to hear about it.

See below for the stories of your fellow Arts and Sciences Buckeyes rising above these challenging times. And, share your own stories with us here.


I'd like to thank my advisees in the Department of Comparative Studies as well as the Film Studies Program. So many of the students I'm advising via phone, Zoom and email are taking a moment to check in on me and my family, and I'm always so touched when they do. My work as an advisor has always been in service to them — helping them is my top priority, so whether they know much about my children or my health and well-being has never been a great concern to me. But, I'm just so impressed by how they are quick to think of others when the whole purpose of our conversation is to make sure they are doing okay with their classes and ready to plan for their academic futures. I'm sure my advisees are not unlike other students across the college. Their kindness is so appreciated!"
- Emily Carpenter, Manager, Arts and Sciences Academic Advising 


Our staff: Sonya Afanasyeva, Nicole Allender, Adam Keller, Christiana Whitesel. These four amazing people are so committed to the department and the college, and have been so kind, flexible and available in helping our undergraduate students with advising and course adjustments, graduate students with pressing visa, funding and travel issues, and instructors with just about everything."
- Dana Renga, Chair, Department of French and Italian


Earth Sciences Professor Doug Alsdorf has constantly been keeping students up-to-date and has been working hard to find a solution that works for everyone since the announcement of online classes was first made. He has worked very hard to ensure that students had an online plan that works for them by getting student feedback."
- Juliana Discher, Student, Department of Political Science


Our art education and licensure-only students have shown exactly why they'll be wonderful teachers. They've handled these massive changes calmly and the disappointment of not being in their K-12 schools with grace. Throughout it all, they've been thoughtful about their peers and saying thank you to their instructors. I'm so proud!”
- Kristen Breitfeller, Lecturer, Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy


All of ASC Tech was able to help staff transition to working remotely, all the while also helping faculty with their virtual teaching needs for the remainder of the semester. They provided one of my employees with a laptop and hotspot. They spent a lot of time helping her out while being busy with many other people that day. Very grateful for such help!”
- Bernadette Vankeerbergen, Program Director, ASC Administration — Curriculum and Assessment Services


ASC Tech, especially Mike Bierschenk, Robin Bruce and Felicity Murphy. They have helped me and other colleagues in the Department of English address and solve a myriad of technical issues, from getting a microphone working on a laptop in order to record lectures to file management to enabling the department to vote at faculty meetings via the Zoom polling function. In their one-on-one trouble shooting as well as their group communication, they have expertly taught the teachers with patience, calm and good will."
- Susan Williams, Professor, Department of English


To Janice Aski, Kirby Childress, Lauren De Camilla, Carla Onorato, Julie Parson, April Weintritt, and Wynne Wong: We are so thankful to our World Language directors, assistant directors, and lead GTAs who worked so hard and thoughtfully to ensure that the transition to online instruction was smooth and fun, and that our students are supported."
- Dana Renga, Chair, Department of French and Italian


Rachel Barnes is the amazing department manager for theatre. On top of this, she has taken on the management piece of the Film Studies Program, and has been so calm, forward thinking and collaborative in helping with all sorts of transitions."
- Dana Renga, Chair, Department of French and Italian


I have been honored to work with Senior Lecturer Bethany Barker and Jay Smith of ASC Tech to prepare our school for the transition to virtual learning, anticipating needs before they even arose, and helping to guide our efforts into and through this experience. They are so easy to work with and accessible at all hours. We have truly rallied as a school and as colleagues to learn from each other and make each other better. I am grateful to be on a team with them."
- Nicole Kraft, Associate Professor-Clinical, School of Communication


The chair of the Department of Design, Mary Anne Beecher, gave full attention to the visiting scholars, helping us adapt to this challenging time while we are far away from our mother country. We're very grateful to her. She's an awesome leader!”
- Wenjia Li, Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Design


Terry Bradley, Bryan Dunlap and Andrew Canale have worked tirelessly to prepare everyone to work from home in the Department of Physics. They know their stuff and got everyone going, and they were courteous and always asked, ‘Is there anything else I can help you with?’ They are the best!"
- Melanie Holbert, Office Administration Associate, Department of Physics


We can't be thankful enough to our Physics IT, notably Andrew Canale. Andrew went into our offices and obtained the info needed for us to VPN and helped us get set up at home in the fastest, simplest way. He responded so fast, too. He's the best!”
- Rachel Page, CEM Business Administrator, Department of Physics


Hollie Nyseth Brehm, Kara Young, Alex Fraga and Jacob Caponi, all members of the Department of Sociology, created a task force to assist students.

They applied for and received a $5,000 grant to establish a Fast Fund for student aid, and they created a survey sent to all undergraduate majors assessing food, housing and other unmet financial needs. They are working on a second round of aid with the grant.

They created an Airtable where faculty, staff and graduate students signed up to help with storing students' belongings, giving rides and short-term housing. Thirty-two faculty, graduate students and staff signed up to help. 

They also engaged the Sociology Alumni Advisory Board in a fundraising campaign, which they are launching in coordination with the college.”
- Ryan King, Chair, Department of Sociology


Lisa Cravens-Brown, associate vice chair for instruction in the Department of Psychology, has been incredible. We are the third largest major on campus, thus lots of courses to transition to online status. Lisa has led the way, supported by a team of four lecturers in our department, all of whom have experience with online teaching. She is incredibly enthusiastic and energetic about teaching, and never says no to any request that I make of her. She also sends out a daily newsletter to faculty, staff and students with tips on transitioning to online status. We absolutely could not have made the transition without her."
- Charles Emery, Chair, Department of Psychology


I would specifically like to thank the College of Arts and Sciences. The college has really been working behind the scenes to help us transition better. Also, I would like to thank university staff, which has never failed me in pursuing a better form of education. They have been there since the start of the semester, making sure that I never give up my dream."
- Ruddin Jacobs, Student, International Studies


Hope Dawson, senior lecturer and TA coordinator in the Department of Linguistics, has gone above and beyond over the last two weeks to ensure the continuity of the department’s teaching mission. She has compiled recommendations for best-practice online teaching, instructions for using Zoom, resource articles from the Chronicle of Higher Education and recorded Zoom class meetings from an existing online course in the department. She has been the primary resource in the department for everything instruction-related. She has helped faculty publish their courses on Carmen, met individually with every GTA in the department to review their revised syllabus and continuity of teaching plan, and made herself available for individual meetings with all linguistics instructors as they navigate online teaching for the first time.

Beyond serving as a critical resource in the domain of online instruction, Dawson has taken the lead in figuring out the logistics for maintaining our Linguistics Outside the Classroom experiment pool so students can engage in educational research-related experiences to earn necessary credit for their classes. She has also been responsible for advertising The Ohio State University Press’ decision to make our introductory linguistics textbook, Language Files, freely available online for the duration of the public health crisis. As one faculty member said, Dawson “has been the epitome of just gritting her teeth and getting things done on behalf of the department.”
- Cynthia Clopper, Chair, Department of Linguistics

When our French education abroad was canceled while we were in the U.K., the instructors for Scientific Roots in Europe, John Cogan, Caroline Breitenberger and Birgit Alber, came up with ways to make up for the content we would have learned in France. They made sure we all enjoyed the rest of the trip under the circumstances and helped us make it home safely. They continue to check up on us as we have to remain in quarantine for 14 days. This wasn’t the trip we signed up for, but they helped us make the most of it."
- Emma Ives, Student, Biology


Kristin Dell'Armo and Prutha Deshpande, two graduate coordinators in Psychology 1100, have had to deal with a leave of absence from their program director, as well as the coronavirus situation. They have helped manage these transitions for nearly 20 graduate teaching associates. They have demonstrated excellent leadership and decision making skills even though they are only graduate students themselves."
- Kristin Supe, Lecturer, Department of Psychology


The Department of Statistics has handled the coronavirus changes very well. I believe the statistics department at Ohio State has been communicative, efficient, realistic and supportive across the board.”
- Thomas Metzger, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Statistics


I have been struck from the beginning by how early and how well Ohio State has responded to the COVID-19 crisis. The communications have been clear and informative, even in a situation that changes every six hours. More importantly, the policies and communications have consistently put priority on the wellbeing of students and employees, valuing what the university most needs to value. This crisis is one in which President Michael Drake’s greatest strengths have come to the fore, and we are fortunate to have him leading us through it.”
- David Weinberg, Chair, Department of Astronomy


Beth Frick has gone above and beyond making sure her students succeed during this time. She’s always so happy, with a smile on her face, ready to teach. Beth did not sign up to teach online classes, but she’s doing a great job. Thank you, Beth."
- Anonymous, Student, Speech and Hearing Science 


All economics lecturers, who have done incredible work in preparing for the transition to online teaching: Darcy Hartman, William White, Jeffrey Buser, Ida Mirzaie, Molly Cooper, Ethan Doetsch, Ryan Ruddy, Hankyoung Sung, Jafar Olimov and Senad Sinanovic

Our economics lecturers teach hundreds of undergrads every semester, which is challenging enough in itself. Having to make the change to online teaching on short notice is hugely difficult, but they have all put in a huge effort to prepare themselves and their students, from working over spring break to modifying teaching plans. They are willing to work during the now-extended semester period, spending extra hours learning the new Zoom tools or helping students to do the same. 

Extra special thanks go to Darcy Hartman, who has gone above and beyond in helping everyone in our department with Zoom. She is our resident Zoom expert and has been critical to helping us prepare.”
- Rick Tobin, Program Coordinator, Department of Economics


Thank you, Bill Husen and Elizabeth Miller, for helping our department on all aspects of distant teaching in the past two weeks.”
- Chuan Xue, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics


Scott Jones organized and led a test session of Zoom for School of Music faculty on March 15. He demonstrated key features and helped us all to experiment, discuss best practices and ask questions. We all learned together, and it was lovely to see familiar faces after an extended absence. 

I'm grateful that he took the initiative to lead this session. Furthermore, Scott and I have continued to discuss ideas and share know-how in our approach to this transition to remote learning in our individual classes. His calm demeanor and positive attitude is always appreciated, and I'm proud to teach alongside him — global pandemic or not.”
- Rick Palese, Lecturer, School of Music


I’m grateful for Dawn Kitchen and David Au for keeping us informed of new directives as well as providing resources to help us adapt and respond to new work conditions.”
- Ozeas Costa, Associate Professor, School of Earth Sciences


The last two weeks have seen a dizzying number of radical changes in the way we do everything at the university and in our department. With their characteristic competence and calm, even in a situation unlike anything we have ever faced, Kristy Krehnovi and Susan Hyrne saw us through all of these changes and the rapid fire of phone calls, emails and forms that accompanied them. We could not have accomplished this transition without such an excellent office staff.”
- David Weinberg, Chair, Department of Astronomy


Thanks to Steven Lower for sharing his expertise with online teaching with all faculty.”
- Ozeas Costa, Associate Professor, School of Earth Sciences


With the rapid move to online classes, the CLLC and the language departments have been faced with unprecedented challenges. Sujan Manandhar has worked tirelessly with many of our instructors to help them through every phase of this transition, from Carmen resources and quizzes to Zoom meetings. He has helped ease the anxiety that many of us were feeling in a very calm, and efficient manner."
- Rebecca Bias, Assistant Director, CLLC


Mary McKay, you are an amazing professor and have made this transition super easy! I feel super lucky to have you and your pictures of Pancho!"
- Alexa Waldron, Student, Criminology and Criminal Justice


Elizabeth Miller and David Kish held Zoom meetings to explain to people in the Department of Mathematics good ways and practices to move our courses to online mode.”
- Maritza L Sirvent Leon, Lecturer, Department of Mathematics


With the move to online courses for the foreseeable future, the CLLC has faced additional challenges with language placement testing for incoming freshman and current students wishing to continue their language studies. Language placement testing is usually done in a proctored situation on campus. Estephanie Ortiz has been working long hours to quickly move these placement tests online for the thousands of student who will access them beginning next week. This process involves many different facets from test security to access to the audio components. Kudos to her for conquering this monumental task."
- Rebecca Bias, Assistant Director, Center for Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Janet Parrott has risen to the occasion for both the Department of Theatre and the ACCAD research center.

I am grateful that she has been communicating clearly with us. I’m grateful that her communications have been timely and human.

I am grateful for her incredible humanity, kindness and patience. She has talked great care in making sure that she’s had the right information communicated as quickly and as responsibly as possible! Her dedication to our students, staff and faculty has been amazing to me. It has helped calm me. It has calmed my colleagues at work with her. 

I am more than grateful; I am proud to have Janet Parrott as my director and my chair.”
- Alex Oliszewski, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and ACCAD


In these unprecedented times, Brittany Poast, our department manager, has remained her usual self: calm, optimistic, knowledgeable, with a great sense of humor, always ready to help. She is now juggling tons of extra administrative work for the department and is doing incredible job!”
- Anna Dobritsa, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics


Rick Pogge stepped up in a huge way to help the entire astronomy faculty prepare for the switch to online class delivery. Rick has always been our most technology-savvy faculty member and an outstanding teacher in his own right. Over "spring break," he put all of that savvy to work to get us ready for the new world that will be the end of this semester, and I know he is going to be a crucial resource for us going forward.”
- David Weinberg, Chair, Department of Astronomy


Jennifer Prak and Peggy Link have worked tirelessly over the last three weeks to support students, faculty and staff in response to the public health crisis COVID-19. They have adjusted to the daily changing situation and associated human resources work in light of university communications. From helping to guide and implement telework arrangements for hundreds of employees to compiling and answering all of the associated questions, Jen and Peggy have put forth extraordinary effort!”
- Nicole Cochran, Director of Finance, College of Arts and Sciences Administration


Deep thanks to our dauntless chair Dana Renga, a lighthouse of a woman who keeps our eyes trained upward from the surrounding waves. Grateful to be buoyed by your extraordinary ability to see positive possibilities."
- Sarah-Grace Heller, Associate Professor, Department of French and Italian

Tony Sanfilippo, director of The Ohio State University Press, was ahead of the curve in recognizing what this pandemic would mean for students and instructors. In line with our mission to disseminate scholarship across the humanities and social sciences, he moved quickly (working with Maureen Walsh of The Ohio State University Libraries) to make all of our monographs and our widely used linguistics textbook, Language Files, available open access through Knowledge Bank.

This way faculty and students can seamlessly access necessary textbooks and research and continue instruction and research with as little disruption as possible. The move comes at a financial cost to the press, but Tony saw that it was the right thing to do, and in recent days many other presses have followed suit.”
- Samara Rafert, Marketing Representative, The Ohio State University Press


Laura Seeger has provided an astonishing quantity of excellent advice and assistance at (it seems) all hours of the day and night, including weekends, on getting our courses online ready for March 23.”
- Geoffrey Parker, Distinguished University Professor, Department of History


Laura Seeger has been an invaluable resource for faculty as they prepare, some for the first time, to teach online. She held Zoom training sessions, provided help with Carmen, assisted faculty with video production and offered a shoulder to cry on! Laura Seeger went above and beyond. She deserves a big, ‘THANK YOU!’”
- Rhonda Maynard, Administrative Associate, Department of History


Laura Seeger, the department’s web and eLearning manager, has been a leader and a bedrock support of the Department of History as we transition to remote/virtual teaching. With her characteristic calm, good humor and eloquence, she embraced the task of shepherding our faculty to online teaching.

She organized a Carmen page to act as a one-stop-shopping location for important information from across the university and a place for faculty discussion of the questions, successes and resources they have found for virtual teaching. She made available an online training program that we developed in the Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching. She organized, led and recorded a virtual training session for faculty who have never used Zoom or Canvas to any meaningful degree. She organized, posted and distributed a video from the chair to spread calm and help students feel more comfortable with the process. She redesigned our website to ensure it is easy to find the latest updates from around the campus.

She has answered question after question, fielded concern after concern, solved problem after problem — all efficiently, professionally and with remarkable grace and kindness. In meeting after meeting, she spoke with a wise and experienced voice. If there is a personification to the old British adage of 'keep calm and carry on,' it is Laura. Thanks to her, faculty in the Department of History are as ready as we can be to bring our traditional high-quality education to our students. It’s not too much an exaggeration that without her, we would have been lost. Laura Seeger is a true testament to the talent, commitment and teamwork of the Arts and Sciences."
- Scott Levi, Chair, Department of History


I am grateful to Mike Slater, director of the School of Communication, for his leadership, his anticipation of needs to come and support of our school as a whole as we made this transition. His ability to see what challenges were ahead and encourage action allowed us to be prepared well ahead of the curve. His was a steady hand that provided support and encouragement, and led to creativity and collaboration. I am grateful to him and all of the School of Communication staff and faculty for helping us to keep moving forward to serve our students without missing a beat."
- Nicole Kraft, Associate Professor-Clinical, School of Communication


Tony Valle of Arts and Sciences Academic Advising has gone above and beyond in helping our students returning from disrupted education abroad programs. He has been compassionate, resourceful, professional and patient."
- Garett Heysel, Assistant Dean, Arts and Humanities


In recent weeks, the CLLC has taken on a huge initiative called "The Friendship Project." When asked if he might help with the digital rendition of print ready documents in over 150 languages, Abhijit Varde of ASC Tech did not hesitate to add his expertise and worked many, many evening and weekend hours to help us meet our deadline. Without his efforts we would not have accomplished this goal."
- Rebecca Bias, Assistant Director, CLLC


Margaret Young, assistant dean at Ohio State - Lima, immediately responds to all the questions and concerns about the academic and nonacademic issues related to the difficult transition to the online teaching. Bravo, Meggie!”
- Maria Ignatieva, Professor, Department of Theatre

 
 
 
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