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2011 News and Achievements

December 16, 2011

Westerville, OH—Otterbein University’s fall semester is coming to a close, and it has been full of achievements by faculty and students.

Research on road salt and Westerville’s drinking water

Kevin Svitana, assistant professor of biology and earth science, delivered a research presentation at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA), held in Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 9-12.

Co-authored with student Lauren Kopas, "Real Estate Development and the Effects of Deicing Compounds on the Water Quality of Alum Creek" looks at the effect of deicing compounds (road salt) on the water quality in Alum Creek. Alum Creek is the main supply of drinking water for the city of Westerville. The increase in salt is related to the extensive development that has occurred along Polaris Parkway in the last decade.

Svitana brings more than 20 years of experience to Otterbein and serves as chairperson for the environmental studies program. He teaches courses in geology, earth science, land use planning and environmental studies. His research focuses on hydrogeology, particularly on the assessment and remediation of groundwater and surface water resources.

MBA professor receives award for innovative teaching

Assistant professor Michael Levin of Otterbein’s Department of Business, Accounting and Economics, was awarded the 2011 Cengage Pride/Ferrell Innovative Teaching Award for his incorporation of the Pecha Kucka presentation format in his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) course at the 2011 Society for Marketing Advances Conference, Nov. 2-5 in Memphis, TN.

Pecha Kucka, a Japanese word for "chit-chat," is a presentation format featuring 20 slides with the presenter spending 20 seconds on each slide; hence, all presentations are six minutes and 40 seconds in length.

Levin said began using the Pecha Kucka format because class presentations were out of balance. "Students focused too much on one element of a presentation and not enough on other elements," he said.

Out of six assignments for the MBA course, Levin said students rated the Pecha Kucka assignment the highest.

Also at the conference, Levin was a finalist for his use of the toolbox metaphor in his Application to Marketing Research course; Levin and Associate Professor Bruce Bailey received Best Paper in a Track for their paper titled, "Emporium Luggage Case"; and Levin, Bailey and honors thesis recipient, Julia Rice ’11, presented a paper.

Communication professor recognized for contributions to student media

Associate Professor of Communication Hillary Warren was honored by the College Media Advisers for contributions made to student media across the nation for her work for the Student Press Law Center and her annual training in media law for new advisers. Warren is advisor of the Otterbein student newspaper, the Tan and Cardinal.

Assistant professor of physics weighs in on controversial findings in Science magazine

Assistant Professor of Physics Nathaniel Tagg was recently quoted in an article in Science magazine, Superluminal Neutrinos: Where does the time go? (Science, Vol. 334, Dec. 2, 2011).

The article looks at an experiment that found that that subatomic particles called neutrinos appear to travel faster than light, which is a clear violation of Einstein’s theory of relativity, leading many scientists to wonder if the results can be replicated. Read the article at http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6060/1200.full.pdf

Two Otterbein professors tapped to host field trips at EcoSummit 2012

Professor Michael Hoggarth and Assistant Professor Kevin Svitana, both of Otterbein’s Department of Biology and Earth Science, have been selected to lead field trips during EcoSummit 2012, to be held Sept. 3-Oct. 5 in Columbus, Ohio.

EcoSummit 2012 will bring together the world's most respected minds in ecological science to discuss restoring the planet's ecosystems. Come hear Nobel Prize laureate Elinor Ostrom, Pulitzer Prize winners E.O. Wilson and Jared Diamond, Kyoto Prize winner Simon Levin, Stockholm Water Prize laureates Sven Jørgensen and William Mitsch, and many others in the first conference ever linking the Ecological Society of America (ESA), The International Association for Ecology (INTECOL) and the Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER).

Hoggarth will lead a mid-conference field trip on Freshwater Mussels – Protection and Restoration. The trip will take participants to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; a section of Mill Creek where two concrete dams were removed and replaced with a state-of-the-art inflatable dam and water intake structure that supplies water to a growing suburban community; and Big Darby Creek, a federally-designated scenic river.

Svitana will lead a mid-conference field trip on Brownfields Redevelopment – Urban and Industrial Sites Transformed. Participants will visit the Whittier Peninsula Brownfield redevelopment, a joint effort of the City of Columbus, Columbus Metro Parks, Grange Insurance and the Audubon Society. Participants will also visit Otterbein University’s Equine Center, a redevelopment of a former munitions manufacturing facility active during the middle of the 20th century.

Professor to represent Otterbein as leading school at conference

Dean of University Programs Sarah Fatherly will co-present a session on global learning for the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Annual Meeting on Jan. 25-28, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The session, which will be presented on Jan. 26, will feature Otterbein and St. Edwards as leading schools in AAC&U’s Shared Futures initiative. Both schools have re-imagined their general education curricula using Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) practices to ensure global learning, diversity, and democratic engagement are central, well-integrated parts of every student’s experience.

The session will feature distinct examples of ways to integrate global preparedness and assessment throughout the curriculum as well as discussion of multiple rubrics developed to assess the level of global preparedness of students.

Service program earns funding from The Columbus Foundation

The Columbus Foundation Governing Board has awarded Otterbein University full funding of $32,000 for "Ubuntu Mentoring and Leadership for College at Otterbein University." Funding is from the Traditional Grants program, and will support Otterbein faculty member John Kengla’s work with the Ubuntu mentoring program in the Linden and Mifflin Columbus City Schools and the Academic Acceleration Academy, a dropout recovery high school with origins in the Columbus school district, during the spring and fall semesters in 2012.

Otterbein student saxophone quartet selected to perform at Navy Band symposium

Otterbein’s Intergalactic Saxophone Quartet, comprised of Greg Benson ’12, Abbie Emeigh ’13, Janelle Myers ’12, and Derek Shell ’13, has been selected to perform at the United States Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium on Jan. 20 at the George Mason University Center for the Arts in Fairfax, Va.

"This is a very prestigious honor for our students, and it brings more recognition to Otterbein and the music program here," said Margaret Underwood, assistant professor and director of band, wind, and percussion activities.

The symposium is the premier saxophone conference in North America and routinely draws the top performers and students from around the world.

Otterbein student teachers design and implement school service projects
(High resolution photos are available at http://faculty.otterbein.edu/ckilbane/sye/symposium/)

Throughout central Ohio, Otterbein student teachers are having an impact beyond the traditional academic classroom. They are engaging their students in projectsthat make their local and global communities better places to live.

As part of a senior capstone course, each of 47 senior education students was required to conduct a needs assessment in the school where they were student teaching, including 45 in central Ohio, one in Boston and one in New Mexico. Based on the assessment, they created service projects to fill a pressing need.

The projects included participation from classes at the schools. A group of Westerville kindergartners marched through the school hallway, promoting Autism awareness. Second graders from a Muslim Charter School made quilts to distribute to the homeless in their community. New Albany middle schoolers organized a shoe drive for the people of Uganda. A group of Otterbein professors taught their college-level classes to Columbus Public high school seniors so they can experience what college is like.

This is the first year for this service-learning model in Otterbein’s Department of Education. The students presented their projects in a celebration on Dec. 9, 2011.

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