Ohio is joining a federal initiative set at increasing the number of students who graduate, according to an article in today’s Dispatch. About half of all college students don’t graduate.
Ohio ranks 35th in the country in the number of residents ages 25 to 64 who have bachelor’s degrees, according to the article.
From the article:
The 17 states taking part in the alliance had to pledge to make college completion a priority by:
• Setting state and campus-specific graduation goals.
• Creating plans to reach those goals.
• Collecting and publicly reporting the state’s and schools’ progress in closing the gaps.
Ohio’s strategic plan for higher education calls for schools to raise the graduation rate by 20 percentage points and enroll 230,000 more students by 2017. The state also wants to increase the number of degrees awarded to minority and first-generation students, who are the most likely to drop out after the first year, said Eric D. Fingerhut, Ohio’s higher-education chancellor.
As a carrot to encourage colleges to focus on student success, the state is moving away from funding schools based entirely on student enrollment, instead using measures such as how many students complete their courses and get degrees.
Ohio’s private, liberal-arts colleges, like Muskingum, have the best graduation rates; 66 percent complete a degree within 6 years. At Muskingum, 41.6 percent graduate within 4 years of enrollment, 58.6 percent within 5 years and 60.7 percent within 6 years, according to 2007 statistics from Scholarships.com.
In conversations with Vice President of Enrollment Jeff Zellers, and other area college officials, the Times Recorder found that each has been expanding its diversity among college students, and also how diversity is defined.
From the article in Sunday’s paper:
When people think about diversity, people tend to think only of race and ethnicity, Muskingum Vice President of Enrollment Jeff Zellers said.
“We do believe it’s important to have racial and ethnic diversity, but sometimes people get hung up on those and forget about others. We have socioeconomic diversity within the student body, geographical diversity and then we have our learning disability program, so we have students who have learning challenges and that’s a diversity as well,” Zellers said.
More than 40 percent of Muskingum’s students are from Appalachia, which makes them diverse, Zellers said.
About 9 percent of students are minorities at Muskingum — 7 percent are African American, and about 2 1/2 percent are Asian, Hispanic and/or Native American.
Muskingum’s 9 percent is considerably higher by comparison to 3 percent at Zane State, according to the article.
Sophomore Landel Shakespeare is quoted in the article, and said Muskingum might be able to attract more minority students by creating more minority-focused programs. Zellers said the college is actively recruiting minorities, and during visits, tries to pair minority prospects up with minority faculty members to make them feel more comfortable.
NEW CONCORD — Undergraduate classes scheduled to meet at 3:00 PM or later today are cancelled due to hazardous weather conditions, according to an email sent out to students and faculty.
Students should consult faculty for information about plans for coverage of assignments missed due to the cancellation, according to the message from Dr. Paul Reichardt, vice president for academic affairs.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through 6 p.m. Saturday for Coshocton, Guernsey and Muskingum counties, according to WBNS 10TV.
Snow is expected to continue falling Friday night, Live Doppler 10 chief meteorologist Chris Bradley said. Snow will be heavy at times with a low dropping to 27, and snow will continue into the morning with 5-8 inches of total accumulation expected.
Due to a “major power outage on several parts of campus,” evening classes at Muskingum University for tonight, Monday, Nov. 23, are canceled.
The cancellation was announced by Muskingum University President Anne C. Steele in an email to students. at around 6:15 p.m. today.
Students often joke that they never want to leave college. Construction of a columbarium, underway on campus might provide the opportunity for former students, faculty and staff to fulfill those wishes.
The columbarium, being built on the hillside below the Library, offers a memorial wall with niches in which to inter the ashes of those who have opted for cremation. Use of the columbarium will generally be reserved for alumni, full-time degree-seeking students, faculty and staff, trustees, and retirees.
“The Muskingum campus is a place that many alumni call ‘home,’” explained Carson Walburn, vice president for institutional advancement at Muskingum. “The Muskingum University Columbarium provides a final resting place for those alumni.”
The word “columbarium” comes from the Latin word, “columbary,” the dwelling place of a dove, which Christians believe is the symbol of the Holy Spirit.
The structure is being built of sandstone, granite, and brick and features a wall, about five feet high, composed of individual niches that can accommodate up to two urns. Each niche will be engraved with the individuals’ names. The area around the columbarium will offer space for reflection and meditation.
In addition to Muskingum, a handful of universities and colleges have followed the practice of churches in offering columbaria. The University of Richmond, University of Virginia, The Citadel, Notre Dame University, Hendrix College, Centre College, and Chapman University have built columbaria.
A niche at Muskingum can be purchased at any time. The current purchase price of a full niche is $4,000 and a partial niche is $2,000. Muskingum University owns the property and assumes the responsibility of perpetual care for the columbarium. For more information, contact Muskingum’s Office of Institutional Advancement at 740-826-8130.
A Muskingum sophomore and Geology professor have been invited to travel to Oregon over fall break to present their work at the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual meeting in Portland.
Elizabeth M. Bullard, a geology major from Chardon, Ohio, and Assistant Professor of Geology Dr. David Rodland will present “Shell Size and Sclerobiont Colonization: Area Effects on Encrustation and Boring Frequency, Abundance, Diversity and Recruitment in Hard-Substrate Communities.”
Schlerobionts are organisms that colonize the skeletl remains of other creatures, and the study focuses on what can be learned from this activity in various environments, according to a university press release.
A memorial service for Dr. Schlacks will be held at the New Concord United Methodist Church, 20 East High St., New Concord at 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to an obituary in Monday’s Times Recorder. The Reverend Steve Sullivan will officiate. Burial will be in New Concord Cemetery.
Muskingum commuters are being asked not to park in the church parking lot Wednesday.
Dr. William Schlacks, professor of music and chair of the music department, passed away this morning. Thoughts and condolences can be left in the comments section below. Look for more information on the life and legacy of Dr. Schlacks in the first, Fall 2009 edition of the B&M.
Muskingum President Dr. Anne C. Steele sent the following to students today:
To: Muskingum University students
Fm: Anne C. Steele
With profound sadness and deepest grief, I am writing to let you know that Dr. William Schlacks, The Ruth Dorsey Neptune Distinguished Professor of Music, passed away this morning. Dr. Schlacks inspired us all. He was a truly gifted educator and renowned musician. Please keep his wife Mary, daughters Erin and Samantha, and the entire Schlacks’ family in your prayers.
Our Chaplain, Rev. Will Mullins and our University Counselor, Ms. Tracy Bugglin, will be available in the Chapel and in the Top of the Center this afternoon. Please know that all of our faculty and staff are here to help you in any way they can.
Muskingum might be number one in our hearts, but it didn’t make the Center For College Affordability and Productivity’s top 600. Forbes.com’s coverage of the list and all the top colleges and categories can be found here.
If you hadn’t heard yet, “Muskingum College” is now “Muskingum University,” as the Times Recorder reported. If you haven’t already, you’ll be receiving correspondence from the college at some point with the new name. Muskingum President Anne Steele also has released a statement discussing the name change.
Changing a name, in that respect, is expensive. Think of all the different things that have the word “college.” How is all of that being paid for? We’ll try and find out after we all return.