Bowling Green State University

BGSU looks to hook prospective students at presidents Day Open House

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Monday was the day that Bowling Green State University hoped to seal the deal with high school seniors shopping for a college education. The university’s Presidents Day Open House Monday attracted about 4,000 guests to campus. Shortly before noon, Cecilia Castellano, vice provost for strategic enrollment planning, reported that 1,400 prospective students had registered. Including family members and others accompanying the students, that’s about 3,500 visitors. The event was scheduled to continue until midafternoon and people were still registering. Castellano said about 70 percent of students who attend end up attending BGSU. It’s the biggest day for visits at BGSU. Castellano said the goal is to give visiting high school sense “a sense of community, to feel that they can belong here.” A campus fair with table for academic departments, support services, and activities filled the ballroom in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. BGSU is showing off all the opportunities students have to stand out, Castellano said. They were also offered chances to connect with current BGSU students and faculty “so they can find their niche.” They were given a list of dozens of classes they and their parents can attend. She was part of that effort stationed in the ballroom helping visitors find what they needed. The Open House allows them to visit every residence hall where freshmen live “so they can picture themselves here,” she said. While many students were here already planning to commit, some were still on the fence. John Spragg, from Strongsville, is interested in the criminal justice program especially as it relates to forensic science. He was heading off to a reception hoping to meet faculty and learn more…


City at work repairing water main break on campus

The City of Bowling Green is currently repairing a water main break along Park Avenue near Lot W. It is not known when repairs will be completed. Affected buildings include the College Park Office Building, the Greenhouse, Central Services and the Park Avenue Building. These buildings do not have restroom or drinking fountain service at this time. The closest available restrooms are in the Technology Building. Please see signage in the affected areas for more information.


Faculty told student evaluations don’t play into tenure, promotion decisions

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Acting Provost John Fischer sought to reassure faculty about a new approach to student evaluations of courses at Bowling Green State University. Starting next fall, students will answer the same six questions regardless of the course they are taking, and these questions can be answered online, not just in class. These will be in addition to specific questions posed by particular academic departments. A presentation on the Teaching and Learning Evaluations drew fire from faculty when a report was presented at last month’s Faculty Senate meeting. The criticism included a charge that colleges and universities were using such quantitative data to justify employing more part-time faculty, even though the methods of gathering those evaluations is flawed. The faculty online discussion group has been active with back and forth about the issue since that meeting. Fischer told Faculty Senate that the new evaluations would not be used for any promotion, tenure, or re-appointment decisions. Those are covered by the contract with the BGSU-Faculty Association. The evaluations serve more institutional purposes. “We need a university measure that will give us some sense and data of how students think we’re doing on teaching and learning,” he said. While written comments are more helpful, Fischer said, there’s no way to gather and summarize that data. Each of the six questions will have a space for written comments. He noted that when the College of Education and Human Development put its evaluations online the number and length of the written comments increased dramatically. Asked by senate member Craig Zirbel if these are the six questions he would have chosen, Fischer equivocated. He said he was reluctant to say anything…


Interim President Rodney Rogers is on a mission to maintain the positive momentum of BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The night before Interim President Rodney Rogers sat down with BG Independent News for an interview, he had given an introduction to a Beyond the Dream performance honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Preparing his remarks gave Rogers the chance to reacquaint himself with the words of Dr. King. He was struck that at the end of his life Dr. King said he wanted to be remembered as someone who “lived a committed life.” That’s what Rogers, who assumed the presidency of Bowling Green State University on Jan. 1, hopes for those who come to study at the university. “We want to help students think about what is a committed life,” he said. A career is part of that. “But there are other parts to one’s life. In a democratic society, it’s important we have committed citizens.” Helping to shape “an educated and knowledgeable citizenry that can sustain a democratic society” is part of the mission of a public university. It is why education remains important, Rogers said. In some circles, it’s become fashionable to question the value of higher education. Higher education is about more than the student landing that first job after earning a degree, though that’s important. “We’re not serving their needs if we’re not thinking about all those future careers,” he said. “I think we’ve been a little lax in higher education in not reminding the public that they have placed their trust in us as public institution to educate the citizenry of tomorrow.” Those citizens will be faced with dealing with an enormous amount of data and technology both on the job and off, Rogers said. Rogers, who was…


BGSU spring enrollment numbers on track

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Enrollment numbers for spring semester show Bowling Green State University on track to achieve its retention goal next fall. The university’s 15-day enrollment figures show 91 percent of the freshmen who came to campus last August are still BGSU students, said Cecilia Castellano, vice provost for strategic enrollment planning, at a press briefing Monday. At that pace the university should attain its goal to have 80 percent retention of those students. “We are right on target to have 80, hopefully a little more,” she said. “As we continue to enroll strong academic freshman class they continue to persist and retain at a stronger rate.” Retention is important because that and number of graduates are the key factors in determining how much state money the university receives. Overall BGSU enrollment is flat with a decline on the Firelands campus offsetting a slight increase on the Bowling Green campus. Total enrollment on the BG campus is 16,554, up 0.3 percent from last spring. Castellano said few first year students enroll in January. Only 62 enrolled this year. However the university did attract about 250 transfer students. About half are from community colleges while the rest are from other for-year institutions, she said. The university saw a decrease in graduate students. That reflects the nationwide trend of fewer international students coming to the United States to study. “The national political rhetoric may be part of that,” Castellano said. But it also is the result of students, particularly in India, having difficulty getting visas from their governments. She said that the university is working with a large group of international graduate students to resolve the problem so they…


Scholar reflects on the role food played in the fight for racial justice

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Like any army, those who struggled for freedom during the Civil Rights movement marched on their stomachs. Food became an early symbol of the movement when five black college students took seats at a Woolworth lunch counter and waited in vain to be served while white onlookers pelted them with invective. Food scholar Jessica Harris has looked at the menus of the lunch counters where the protests spread and noted that the bill of fare was hot dogs, hamburgers, grill cheese – typical “American” food. Harris was the keynote speaker for the Beyond the Dream presentation Wednesday evening at Kobacker Hall in the Bowling Green State University campus. Her talk “Feeding the Resistance: Deacon’s Chicken and Free Breakfasts” culminated an evening in which the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated in music, words, and art. The program opened with Joseph Schwantner’s “New Morning for a New World: Daybreak of Freedom” performed by the Bowling Green Philharmonia conducted by Emily Freeman Brown. The programmatic piece offered orchestral swells and whispers to accompany a text read by Uzee Brown, a BGSU gradate and now chair of the music department at Dr. King’s alma mater, Morehouse College. The text was drawn from various speeches and essays by Dr. King. The music was anxious and on edge as Brown recounted the oppression of African Americans. “There comes a time when people get tired,” he intoned, “… tired of being kicked about by the brutal feet of oppression.” There were brilliant brass calls to action as the text described the struggle for freedom. “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial…


Scholar Jessica Harris to discuss role of food in Civil Rights movement

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Jessica B. Harris, a preeminent scholar of the food of the African Diaspora, will serve as keynote speaker for Bowling Green State University’s “Beyond ‘The Dream’” 2018 series of events. Harris’ presentation, “Deacon’s Chicken and Free Breakfasts: Food and the Civil Rights Movement,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 in Kobacker Hall in the Moore Musical Arts Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. for this free event, which is open to the public. A book signing will immediately follow the program, which will include an orchestra performance and a School of Art visual presentation. Harris is one of a handful of African Americans who have achieved prominence in the culinary world. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University, teaches English at Queens College and lectures internationally. Her articles have appeared in Vogue, Food & Wine, Essence and The New York Times. She has been inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America and recently helped the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize its cafeteria. Heejoo Kim, an assistant professor of digital arts whose projects focus on social issues, will give a presentation. The Bowling Green Philharmonia will perform Joseph Schwantner’s “New Morning for the World: ‘Daybreak of Freedom,’” written to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. BGSU alumnus Dr. Uzee Brown, chair of the Department of Music at Morehouse College, will narrate the piece. “Beyond ‘The Dream’” will feature a series of events through April, including the 29th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Jan. 12. The event will feature keynote speakers Dr. Harold Brown, who was a member of the…


Winter break doesn’t chill BGSU’s building plans

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A “whirlwind” doesn’t take a break. “If you like it where there’s a lot going on, a lot of action, it’s a great place to work,” said Bruce Meyer, the interim director of capital planning and campus operations. “It’s just a whirlwind.” Meyer stepped into his new role, after the death this fall of Steve Krakoff. Meyer had been assistant vice president for campus operations. That puts him at the center of implementing Bowling Green State University’s master plan. While most of campus may have been dormant and in a deep freeze over the holidays, work on the master plan continued apace. Crews tore up Lot A, just east of Hanna and University halls. The work is the first step in transforming Hanna Hall into the new home for the College of Business. Meyer said that crews relocated water and gas lines as well as some fiber optics cables. By the first day of classes, though, the lot was open again, shy a few spaces. “I was a little concerned about the weather,” he said. The cold was more problematic than the snow. “Hats off for the team who worked on Lot A. They did a nice job in some difficult conditions to get that open.” While the lot will have a slight decrease in number of spaces, that’s been made up by re-opening Lot 11 on Thurstin, which had been closed during the demolition of West Hall and the Family and Consumer Science building. This is Hanna Hall’s last semester, Meyer noted. Come the end of the academic year, fences will go up as work starts in earnest on the expansion and renovation…


John Fischer named acting provost at BGSU

John Fischer has been named Bowling Green State University’s acting senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. The appointment was announced this afternoon by Interim President Rodney Rogers, who had served as provost previous to his appointment as interim president. The move comes as the university sets up its administrative team in the wake of former President Mary Ellen Mazey’s retirement on Dec. 31. Fischer had been serving as vice provost for academic affairs since August 2014. According to Rogers’ announcement to the university, Fischer “led the finalization and implementation of the revised General Education Program – BG Perspective.” Also, “he was vital to centralizing the BG Experience programs in the newly renovated University Hall, and has been instrumental in the Early Alert System and other programs aimed at increasing retention and student engagement. He helped to develop and implement BGSU’s successful eCampus and assisted in the development and implementation of BGSU’s College Credit Plus program as well as our new winter session, which begins in 2019.” Fischer taught for 14 years in the School of Teaching and Learning and served for three years as associate dean for administration. He received his degree in elementary education from BGSU and earned a master’s degree in social studies and global education and a doctorate in social studies teacher education from The Ohio State University. Stepping into the role of acting vice provost for academic affairs will be Dr. Sheila Roberts, associate professor of geology and currently associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. In welcoming students, faculty and staff back to campus, Rogers expressed confidence in “an outstanding team of faculty, staff and administrators” that can continue to build…


BGSU, BCI researchers team up to analyze sex assault evidence

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A paper published in a leading journal offers way to make the assessment of sexual assault kits more efficient. That could lead to more perpetrators bein identified and held accountable. The scholarly paper published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences late last year was the combined effort of the Ohio Attorney General’s Center for the Future of Forensic Science at Bowling Green State University and the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The work was funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Jon Sprague, director of the BGSU Center, said the foundation has a long standing interest in applying statistical methods to criminal justice and forensics science issues. The study, conducted at the BCI lab on campus, looked at the 14,000 sexual assault kits collected through the Attorney General Mike DeWine’s initiative that was launched in 2011. That initiative aimed to process sexual assault kits, known as SAKs, which had been collected in evidence rooms around the state. The BGSU project brought together a team from across the state to look at those 14,000 kits in the BCI database. Jaime Kerka, from the BCI lab in Ridgefield, was tasked with data mining, digging down into the numbers. She ended up compiling a spreadsheet with 3 million cells, Sprague said. That enabled the team to analyze what was in the kits. “What was significant was the application of statistics to the evidence,” Sprague said. That looked at a multitude of characteristics recorded by the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) during the initial examination of the victim. That would include evidence collected from swabs from various parts of the body, vagina, anal, ear, neck, as well…


BGSU center has spent decade tracking changes in family life

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The last few decades have not been easy on the Norman Rockwell portrait of the American family’s holiday dinner. Those neatly delineated generations and family relationships are a thing of the past. The grandchildren may be the products of parents who live together without marriage. Or they may be the children of a same-sex couple. The grown son or daughter still lives at home with mom and dad, who may be contemplating divorce. Grandma has brought along her special friend. They are a committed couple, but live apart from each other, and have no intention of altering that arrangement. All this change, say Wendy Manning and Susan Brown, co-directors of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, may cause some observers to despair. Some take a dim view of the decreasing marriage rate and see it as a sign of the decline of the American family, said Brown. But “if you’re open to a diverse range of shapes a family can take, it has never been better because people can form the types of families they want to form. We’re more accepting of a wide range of family relationships, and people have the opportunity to build the kind of families they want to be part of.” “There’s a lot of trends that are ongoing that make this an especially exciting time to be studying the American family,” Manning, a distinguished research professor, said. The two researchers and their faculty colleagues and graduate students have had a front row seat, and even a role, in these changes through their research. Manning did research for the American Psychological Association’s amicus…


Mazey brought a life’s worth of experience to BGSU presidency

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Outgoing Bowling Green State University President Mary Ellen Mazey admits that when she arrived on campus six years ago, she ruffled some feathers. “In the first few years a lot of people criticized me,” Mazey said in a recent interview. She looked at the campus and where it was and where she felt it needed to go, and took action. That meant a reduction of some 150 positions, three quarters of which were vacant. It meant tearing down the Popular Culture house, a move that still rankles some on campus. That became the site of the new Falcon Health Center, built, owned and operated by the Wood County Hospital. It meant injecting the school colors, orange and brown, into all the buildings as a way of addressing what she was told was BGSU’s lack of school spirit. Mazey, who came to BGSU in July, 2011, is retiring Dec. 31. This was her first presidency, and she says, her last. She’d spent three and a half years as provost of Auburn University. She had served as dean of the college of arts and sciences at her alma mater West Virginia University and before that at Wright State University. She also took leave to work for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during President Bill Clinton’s first term. She started her academic career teaching at the University of Cincinnati, where she received her doctorate in geography. That previous experience, especially at Auburn, shaped her approach to her work at BGSU. She wasn’t a stranger to controversy. At Auburn she had to return a large donation to the Koch Brothers at the faculty’s insistence. And…


BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey owes her life to education

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As she departs as president of Bowling Green State University, Mary Ellen Mazey is worried about a sentiment gaining currency. “There’s a lot of questions out there about the value of a college degree,” Mazey said during an interview earlier this month. “I just deplore that. We should be providing everybody in this country with the ability to be educated through at least a four-year degree.” Mazey knows the value of education not just because that’s been her life’s work as a professor and administrator; she knows it because “I’ve lived the American Dream because of education.” Mazey is retiring on Dec. 31 after six years as BGSU president. Provost Rodney Rogers has been named interim president. In the past semester, campus audiences have heard the life stories of JD Vance, author of BGSU’s Community Read “Hillbilly Elegy,” Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Clarence Page, and former ESPN personality Jay Crawford about how they rose from modest upbringings to success. Mazey’s story is just as compelling. Mazey, 68, was born, the third of three children, and the first born in a hospital in Ronceverte in southeastern West Virginia. Her two brothers were nine and 10 years older than she was. They lived in a house without indoor plumbing. When she was still a baby, her father died. The family subsisted on Social Security benefits. Her mother went to work at The Greenbrier resort when Mazey was 3. She did chef’s work. Her job title was “pantry girl.” The Greenbrier was popular, Mazey said, with the East Coast elite. Mazey was cared for by family members. “I grew up with my cousins and my aunts,” she said….


BGSU grads urged to tap into the power of imagination

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Imagination shapes the world, Vandana Pednekar-Magal told those at Bowling Green State University graduation ceremonies Friday night. Pednekar-Magal, who received her masters and doctoral degrees from BGSU before going on to a career as a filmmaker and educator, was addressing the commencement for the Graduate College, and Colleges of Business, Health and Human Service, Musical Arts, and Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering. Students from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education and Human Development graduated on Saturday. Pednekar-Magal, who teaches journalism and communication studies at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, preceded them on this journey. The native of Bombay, India, she recalled trudging from West Hall to her apartment on Sixth Street through freezing rain and blowing snow, eating Wonder bread and canned beans. She’d left behind in India a career in journalism, “giving up a real job, a real income” to subsist on a meager graduate assistantship In Bowling Green. Also she left behind the comfort of family. This is an immigrant’s transition, she said. All the students, though, were now making their own transitions. Yes, graduation was a cause for celebration. It is also initiation into new responsibilities to colleagues, a profession, and family. In entering this new stage, she told them they should reflect on their experiences. “Reflection will let you identify your capabilities so you can capitalize on them.” There were times when they did not live up to the expectations of others or even themselves, Pednekar-Magal. Then they “discovered the seeds of their capabilities,” their ability to work harder and better. Other times, they may have been thwarted by “not being in the right place in the…


Harshman Quad’s days are numbered

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University trustees Friday (Dec. 8) approved the demolition of Harshman. The dorm has long been on the list of buildings to raze, and the trustees’ action Friday gave final approval. However, Sheri Stoll, vice president for finance, said that the project is proving to be more expensive than originally thought. Her initial estimate to trustees was about $1.5 million. The resolution approved Friday pegs the cost of the project at $2.3 million. Stoll held out the possibility that the project may be even more expensive. “It’s not a simple building to take down,” she said. Harshman has four distinct wings around a central, circular structure. “We may be pretty far off from what this estimate is,” Stoll said. If the bid comes in at 10 percent more than the projected cost, a Plan B will have to be developed, she said. What that plan may look like she wasn’t sure. Harshman still houses call centers for fundraising campaigns. Those are expected to be moved to 400 East Poe Road in February. Once those are relocated, bids will go out and the university will proceed with the demolition. The goal is to have work done in spring, so any landscaping can be completed in summer. The site will be graded and seeded. The work will be minimal since the future use of the site is still being considered. “The idea is to buy ourselves some time as we move into next phase of planning,” Stoll said. “We’d like to have that site as clear as possible and available.” The site is “a very desirable corner,” she said. The university is working on…