In A Nutshell: March 5, 2021

March 5, 2021

Dear Partners in Student Success:

I hope you are enjoying the longer hours of sunshine and that you were able to spend some portion of last week’s Instructional Days re-charging and setting your sights on the second half of the semester. The following are a few updates and bits of information that I hope you find helpful; and feel free to refer students to the programs and services below. 

COVID-19 Updates 

Autumn 2021 Reactivation: The Iconic Ohio State Experience
I am sure you saw President Johnson’s message about the planning process for a significantly reactivated campus in autumn. I am proud to join my colleagues, Provost Bruce McPheron, and Interim Senior Vice President for Talent, Culture and Human Resources, Paul Patton, as co-chairs of the Reactivation Task Force. I also had the chance to talk with the Board of Trustees last week about planning for a future post-COVID. A main point I shared was about the importance of the in-person student experience to our institution’s past, present and future.

Students are certainly engaging with us virtually, and some prefer being a Buckeye from afar, but in-person engagement and residential experiences are at the core of what many of our students want. While technology and innovation will always be critical to extending our reach, serving students’ needs and advancing our educational mission, we should always remember that Ohio State’s rich legacy?was born?in a single building that?served multiple purposes: classroom, laboratory and living space.  Over the years, these complementary uses have emerged as hallmarks of the iconic Ohio State experience, and I look forward to partnering with you as we are able to more robustly reactivate campus in the fall.

Testing Requirements Increase for Residential Students 
Starting next week (Monday, March 8), students who live in university housing or university-managed properties will be required to test twice weekly until further notice. This step is made possible by the increase in testing capacity provided by the Applied Microbiology Services Laboratory and is being taken in response to an increase in infection rates among students living on-campus.

Administrative Updates

Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement Named to Honor Willie J. Young, Sr. 
The university’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the naming of the Willie J. Young, Sr. Off-Campus and Commuter Student Engagement department in Student Life. Willie, who passed away in November, came to Ohio State in 1990 and was the senior director of the department that now bears his name beginning in 1998. He left a larger-than-life legacy at this university, and it is good to know that his memory is now a permanent fixture in the name of the department he served so well.


Leadership Updates 
Student Life’s executive leadership team continues to be developed, and I am thrilled to share that we have completed all of our searches. Below are the final two leadership announcements: 

  • Dr. Anne McDaniel has accepted the role of Associate Vice President for Academic Partnership and Career Success. She will transition into the new role on March 29. Dr. McDaniel is a current member of the Student Life team and serves as the Executive Director for the Center for the Study of Student Life, where she leads the research, assessment and evaluation efforts for our division. Dr. McDaniel is an accomplished student affairs practitioner, scholar and researcher who also has background as an educator and faculty member. Read more on the Student Life website

  • Dr. TJ Logan will join the Office of Student Life team as our Associate Vice President for the Residential Experience. He will join us on April 12. Dr. Logan, currently an Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Temple University, has a depth of experience leading comprehensive and complex housing, dining and other auxiliary operations at large, public research institutions, including the University of Florida. His background features a strong track record in managing revenue-generating services, discovering and implementing process improvements and a dedication to fostering a supportive and team-centered and student-focused working culture. Read more on the Student Life website

For a look at Student Life’s six strategic focus areas and our structure snapshot, visit the Student Life website

Student Engagement 

Women’s History Month
The Student Life Multicultural Center, along with offices, centers and student organizations across campus, is proud to present a calendar of events for the annual university-wide celebration of Women's History Month. The month features a variety of panels, lectures, socials, women's sports and community activities and events. All are welcome to come and celebrate the achievements and progress of women. More information is available on the Multicultural Center’s website

Recreational Sports March Programming
Student Life Rec Sports has a full list of virtual programs and events planned for the month of March. No matter what way students like to live life in motion, Rec Sports has something available for them. Programs include: 

  • Slam Dunk Fitness Challenge: Students can create a team of 3-5 friends and for every virtual Group Fitness LIVE class they attend together, their team receives a point. Teams compete through the First Four, Elite Eight, Round of 16 and the National Championship of class participation with prizes available at the end of each round. 

  • Core Values: Principles of Core Engagement: Driven by the principles of Pilates, this workshop series will expand how you think about core engagement and movement. All levels are welcome to attend this free series. 

  • Dance Around the World: Dance is an immersive way to learn and gain insight on different cultures. Students can celebrate the movement shared around the world and join dance fitness instructors for this 1.5-hour event filled with energy and fun. 

  • Hip Hop Breakdown: Over the course of this three-week workshop, participants will learn how to dance a one-minute hip hop routine. Each week's choreography will lead to the next week and give the group a minute of fun and energetic moves. 

Student Engagement and Experience Delegates Applications
As a reminder, the application for the 2021-22 cohort of the Student Engagement and Experience Delegates (SEEDs) program is now open. I started this program last semester as a way to gather feedback and ideas from as many students as possible. SEEDs are students from any program, level and leadership experience who are interested in contributing their ideas for the best Ohio State possible, and all undergraduate, graduate and professional students from any campus are invited to apply. The application will close on March 21 at 5 p.m. More information is available on the Student Life website.

Student Support 

Wellness Coaching 

Wellness Coaching is a free service that provides opportunities for students to gain awareness regarding their capacity to create the life they want to live, both now and in the future. Wellness coaches take a positive approach to personal development, focusing on strengths and using the nine dimensions of wellness model as a framework for generating goals that are meaningful. More information is available on the Student Wellness Center website.

Career Workshops
With summer just around the corner, we know many students are looking for internships and might be feeling some stress about not landing one yet. Student Life has workshops and online resources available to help students use tools like Handshake and LinkedIn and learn how to find the right internship for them. Information is available on the Buckeye Careers website and Career Counseling and Support Services website

Save the Date: Creating a Culture of Care Conference – May 14, 2021 

The Office of Student Life Counseling and Consultation Service, in collaboration with Wexner Medical Center’s Harding Hospital, will hold the Creating a Culture of Care conference on May 14, 2021. This event is an opportunity to expand awareness of treatment options available to Ohio State students.?Panel sessions and presentations will also feature ways to best support students, how to access campus resources and assisting students in acquiring accommodations. For more information, visit the CCS website.

Throughout this week, many students and colleagues have shared their recollections from last March when COVID-19 altered our lives in so many significant and lasting ways. I am grateful that one thing that has not changed over the past year is my utmost respect and appreciation for this extraordinary Ohio State community and the many ways we have come ‘Together As Buckeyes’ to uplift and advance this institution and the student experience. Thank you for your partnership and your shared commitment to Ohio State students.

Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Senior Vice President for Student Life