Prepared by Morag Boyd, Barbara Dunham, Dracine Hodges, Beth Kattelman, and Rocki Strader

 

Introduction

The Roads Scholar Tour is an annual program of the Office of Outreach and Engagement that takes groups of faculty members on a trip to explore the impact of Ohio State beyond the main campus. On July 22-23, 2014, a total of 40 faculty members from all areas of the university shared a bus journey around northeast Ohio to explore the many ways that Ohio State has an impact on the research, communities, and cultural life of our state, but most importantly we met individuals who had a passion for their work, and for the University. The Libraries were well represented with our five representatives; only the College of Medicine had more participants. Traveling from OSUL were Morag Boyd, Barbara Dunham, Dracine Hodges, Beth Kattelman, and Rocki Strader. The staff accompanying us from the Office of Outreach and Engagement, including Valerie Lee, VP for Outreach and Engagement, provided us with a well-planned and diverse experience, along with snacks, of course. Along the way, we met up with brand-new president, Michael Drake, and Brutus Buckeye.

You can travel along with us in this great slide show from the Office of Outreach and Engagement http://outreach.osu.edu/newslist-items/roads2014.html

Stop 1: Ohio Stadium: Connection Academics, Athletics and Engagement

To kick off the tour, participants met for breakfast at the Ohio Stadium. During this time, the group heard from the VP/Director of Athletics, Gene Smith. He used his time with the group to highlight the many initiatives Athletics supports at the University and points of engagement in Columbus and other Ohio communities. We were delighted when he specifically mentioned the momentous support the Libraries have received for the renovation of Thompson Library. In addition, he named the Libraries and several other campus units who receive annual funding from Trademark & Licensing revenues. Many in the library know we have used this funding to acquire excellent resources like the Elsevier backfile, JSTOR modules as well as the record books and ledger of internationally renowned local artist George Bellows.

Another highpoint was the presentation on Zero Waste at Ohio Stadium. Anyone who has been to The Shoe on football Saturday understands the awesome sight and energy of 105,000 cheering Buckeyes. However, it is also overwhelming to learn how much trash is generated by that many people by the end of every season. Estimates put it roughly at over 111 tons or 223,000 pounds. The Zero Waste initiative has diverted over 90% of this material away from landfills to recycling and composting programs. It was pretty remarkable to learn that such a feat is accomplished through subtle changes like wrapping hot dogs in wax paper instead of aluminum foil. The Zero Waste Program also partners with the Southeastern Correctional Institute which manages the sorting process offsite. I recommend taking a look at the website for more interesting tidbits about the program. http://footprint.osu.edu/zero-waste-ohio-stadium/

  • Dracine Hodges

Stop 2: Ohio State Mansfield

Our first destination after leaving main campus was the beautiful OSU branch in Mansfield. The folks there gave us a very warm welcome. We were treated to a wonderful presentation about the campus’ strong contribution to the study of environmental science, and learned about the wide variety of ecosystems that are situated on, or are in close proximity to the campus— including woods and wetlands! This environmental diversity not only makes the campus very scenic, but also makes it an ideal place for the ecological efforts that are taking place there. During lunch we were treated to additional presentations about the Mansfield fields of study and programs. During our visit we also had an opportunity to take an all-too-brief stroll through part of the beautiful woods that border the campus. This stop offered a great opportunity to learn about the work being undertaken by some Buckeyes who are just “up the road” from Columbus and served as a reminder that Ohio State does not just encompass the people and activities located in Columbus. I must admit to being a bit jealous of the serenity provided by Mansfield’s small, wooded campus, and I am proud that these students and scholars are part of our Ohio State family. Thanks for the hospitality, Mansfield!

  • Beth Kattelman

Stop 3: Cleveland Museum of Art

What a fantastic place to be!  We were only there for a short time but learned so much about the Museum’s history and the many changes that occurred over the years. It consists of several buildings with the enclosed atrium pulling them together. Shortly after we arrived we were divided into two groups to see either art by American and British collections or Asian art collections.  I particularly enjoyed the landscapes of John Constable.

The tours ended with a visit to Gallery One.  Here the Museum put art and technology together as a way to explore art.  A major attraction in Gallery One is the wall made of touch screens that allow for pulling images together to see and discover the collections in the Museum’s galleries.  It’s fascinating!  My words cannot describe it well but this link may help (http://www.clevelandart.org/gallery-one/collection-wall ).

The Museum is very involved in the community providing support for all levels of education through workshops, distance learning, and a library supporting research. How about this! There isn’t an admission charge to see all the great collections!  When the Museum was founded in 1913, its mission was “for the benefit of all the people forever.”   If you are looking for something to do, the Cleveland Museum of Art (http://www.clevelandart.org/ ) is worth a day trip, many day trips! Oh, the Museum has online collections as well.

  • Barbara Dunham

 

Stop 4: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stop introduced us to two different aspects of life on the shores of Lake Erie. First we gathered with a view of Lake Erie. Jeff Reutter, director of the Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Laboratory, shared with us the long history of Ohio State and the lake. I was fascinated to learn that Ohio State has the longest operating freshwater research facility, as well as the importance of the lake in the economy and environment of the state. Dr. Reutter spoke passionately about the urgent need for environmental clean-up that emerged in the late 1960s, and how that led to legislative directives for Ohio State to engage in research to solve the problems of algae blooms, fish kills, fires, and other environmental problems. Dr. Reutter described the great success at that time, but that the lake is facing similar problems again, but with different causes. These comments certainly came back to me a few weeks later when Toledo issued a water ban due to harmful algae in the drinking water, supplied by the lake.

Turning to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we walked the red carpet and were enthusiastically greeted by Brutus, cheerleaders, and a group of students on the Buckeye Bus service learning program. We had an action packed evening in the Rock Hall, joined by President Michael Drake and Cleveland-area alumni. The program featured remarks from Dr. Drake, and an inspiring presentation by twin brothers crediting the college preparation OSU Young Scholars Program with their success (http://odi.osu.edu/centers/ysp/ysp-home/) . Fittingly, the highlight of the evening was musical. Tim Gerber from the School of Music gave us an interactive lesson on the 12-bar blues. With our new musical knowledge, we were well prepared to enjoy the music of the Dan White Sextet. This group includes several 2010 OSU grads making their mark in the industry.

  • Morag Boyd

Stop 5: Goodyear Headquarters

On the second day of the tour, we left Cleveland and headed for Goodyear’s headquarters in Akron. The headquarters building is a state of the art facility designed to draw out maximum productivity by a variety of means. Conference rooms are fully digital for videoconferencing and real-time document sharing. The cafeteria is large and offers a variety of healthful meals; when we were there, a small farmers’ market was in place selling some local produce. Other health-oriented offerings include a small urgent-care-like medical clinic, a large workout space with a variety of exercise equipment, a classroom for group activities, and a walking trail outside the building.

We were briefly introduced to the president of the North American Tire division, Steve McClellan, and then heard a variety of presentations from the head of human resources, the onsite doctor who spearheads the site’s health initiatives, a senior engineer, and several OSU alumni who work at the headquarters. The most interesting parts for me were hearing how Goodyear’s HR is promoting a systems-thinking approach in an effort to further boost health and productivity, and how the research arm of the company is aggressively pursuing research, using an Open Innovation model (“want-find-get-manage”), on rubber and rubber-alternative products by partnering with institutions like OSU, as well as other companies that have specific expertise, such as the chemical and physical properties of the latex-like substance in dandelions. The Q & A session that we had with the alumni was also interesting, especially learning the variety of majors that they had pursued here at OSU. We expected finance and other business-related majors, and English and communications were not surprising; however, we did not expect landscape architecture! They spoke very positively about how their OSU experience prepared them for corporate work, even if the major itself was not directly related to what they do at Goodyear.

  • Rocki Strader

Stop 6: Ohio State Wooster

The highlight of OSU Wooster was a farmers’ market, and a lunch of wonderful fresh and flavorful foods prepared with local ingredients. The ice cream was especially delicious. The market provided an excellent backdrop to hearing about the programs at OSU Wooster such as the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) to advance agriculture. We took our full baskets of produce (mine included cilantro and raspberries) back onto the bus to get a driving tour of the large campus. The arboretum was especially beautiful, but seeing the wide diversity in agricultural research was fascinating. For example, can you imagine spending 10 years removing nutrients from a field to test the ability of a crop to withstand stress? In addition to the OSU facilities, there are industry partnerships to move research into the marketplace, including Quasar Energy’s Biomass Converter, a renewable bio-foam with many industrial applications (http://www.quasarenergygroup.com/pages/process.html), and a rubber-substitute from dandelions.

  • Morag Boyd

Conclusions

The diversity of university activities and the passion of our fellow travelers and the people we met made this journey inspirational. It was amazing to hear, and participate in, conversations where we found connections in sometimes surprising ways. As much as we enjoyed the individual stops on the tour, the most valuable time spent was amongst each other as we traveled to and from each destination. There were illuminating conversations on a broad range of topics including everything from open access publishing to the best food trucks in town. It was such a great opportunity for outreach and engagement with one of our primary constituent groups, OSU faculty; with faculty members invited to attend each summer, do consider taking the time if you are invited next year. (Invitations are usually extended to newly promoted and tenured individuals.) It was also a moment of connection seeing how all of our contributions make the University a success.