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OHIO celebrates inaugural Faculty Newsmakers Gala

122 faculty members honored for their media placements


Members of the Ohio University community gathered in the Baker University Center Ballroom the evening of Sept. 29 to celebrate the inaugural OHIO Faculty Newsmakers Gala, shining a spotlight on faculty who go above and beyond in promoting the University through the media.

Hosted by University Communications and Marketing (UCM) in partnership with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, the Faculty Newsmakers Gala was designed to honor Ohio University faculty who elevate the University and raise its national and global profile through media coverage of their work and expertise and, in some cases, participation in OHIO’s Expert Directory.

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Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit visits with faculty newsmakers and their guests during the reception held before OHIO’s inaugural Faculty Newsmakers Gala Sept. 29 in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

This year’s event recognized the 122 faculty members from throughout OHIO’s campuses who were featured in 2,929 media reports during the 2014 calendar year.

“Your work has a direct impact on enhancing the reputation of the University,” Bethany Venable, senior director of communication services at UCM, told this year’s faculty newsmakers and distinguished guests in welcoming them to the first-time event. “Our celebration this evening is a way to say thank you to you and to everyone who plays a role in promoting our University and the great work that takes place here at OHIO.”

The evening kicked off with a reception that included hors d’oeuvres provided by Ohio University Catering as well as a performance by the Ohio University jazz ensemble. Highlighting the reception area were centerpieces created by UCM that spotlighted a number of communication and marketing milestones achieved in 2014 through the work that UCM, OHIO’s network of campus communicators and their faculty partners do every day (see sidebar).

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Bethany Venable, senior director of communication services at UCM, welcomes faculty newsmakers and distinguished guests to the Faculty Newsmakers Gala.

The program portion of the evening began with the premiere of the third installation of UCM’s “Profiles in Faculty Achievement” video series, which showcases one of the five OHIO professors featured in Ohio Magazine’s annual “Excellence in Education” edition. Launched in October 2014, the video series is designed to recognized OHIO’s outstanding educators and researchers while promoting the University’s commitment to academic excellence. 

The latest “Profiles in Faculty Achievement Video” features Shelley Delaney, an associate professor of theater in OHIO’s College of Fine Arts who was showcased by Ohio Magazine for the enthusiasm and great expectations she brings to the work she does with Ohio University students. 

Delaney joined the College of Fine Arts staff in 2002 after years of working as a professional actor and director featured in dozens of national productions. She continues to engage in acting opportunities both on and off the Athens Campus – endeavors that she said are encouraged by the University and that have a positive effect inside the classroom.

In the “Profiles in Faculty Achievement” video, Delaney reflects on her roles as educator and actor and how she has built upon what she learned from her teachers and the time she spent as a professional actor to develop a passion for teaching grounded in a commitment to the live expression of ideas.

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Centerpieces at the Faculty Newsmakers Gala highlighted OHIO communication and marketing milestones achieved in 2014. This particular centerpiece notes the number of OHIO faculty featured in the media in 2014.

In kicking off the evening’s presentation of awards, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis noted the role that faculty and, in particular, OHIO’s faculty newsmakers play in the success of the University and its students.

“We have come together tonight to celebrate excellence,” Dr. McDavis said. “You have lifted us to a higher level of excellence.”

President McDavis reflected on the “Make it Known” branding campaign launched earlier this year by OHIO’s Scripps College of Communication and how OHIO’s faculty newsmakers have embraced the spirit of that campaign.

“We are making it known it. … We are a transformational campus. We are changing lives for the better,” he said before thanking the faculty members being honored for the work they have done, are doing and will continue to do on behalf of the entire University.

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Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis pays tribute to OHIO’s faculty newsmakers before the awards presentation.

Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit echoed Dr. McDavis’ sentiments, saying, “The selfless efforts you put forth outside of the classroom have undoubtedly paved new roads for Ohio University, drawing attention to the expertise of our faculty, to our stellar research efforts, to our innovative ways of educating and engaging our students.

“At Ohio University, we have many opportunities and awards that recognize the academic achievements of our faculty,” she said. “The Faculty Newsmakers Gala, however, marks the first time that we as a community are coming together to celebrate faculty who are committed to promoting the University’s excellence by engaging with media throughout our country and around the world.”

Benoit had the honor of presenting special recognition awards to 18 OHIO faculty newsmakers – those who earned the most media placements in 2014 as well as those who were quoted in media reports related to the Associated Press’ “Top 10 Stories of 2014.”

“You serve our community as distinguished educators, scholars, mentors and researchers, but today, we honor you as ambassadors of this University,” she said.

While all of the more than 100 faculty newsmakers received a certificate of recognition for their efforts to raise the national and global profile of Ohio University, the 18 special recognition honorees were presented one-of-a-kind, custom-made awards designed by UCM. 

In keeping with the “news” theme of the evening, the awards came in the form of personalized news articles announcing each faculty newsmaker’s achievements. The awards were etched on a press plate at the printing facility owned by the Adams Publishing Group in The Plains, Ohio – the same type of aluminum press plates used to print the pages of Athens’ three local newspapers, The Athens Messenger, The Athens News and The Post.

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Pictured are the tokens of appreciation presented to the 18 OHIO faculty newsmakers who received special recognition at the gala.

The following OHIO faculty newsmakers were recognized for being quoted in media reports related to the Associated Press’ “Top 10 Stories of 2014”:

  • Steven Miner, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on the territorial dispute between Russia and Ukraine
  • Caitlin Ryan, College of Arts and Sciences, who was featured in news reports on ISIS and the conflict in Syria
  • Hans Kruse, Scripps College of Communication, who was featured in news reports on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
  • Wouter Pelgrum, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, who was featured in news reports on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
  • Robert Thomas, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, who was featured in news reports on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
  • Maarten Uijt de Haag, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, who was featured in news reports on missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
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President Roderick J. McDavis is pictured with Steven Miner, a professor of history and director of OHIO’s Contemporary History Institute, who received special recognition for being quoted in media reports about a territorial dispute between Russia and Ukraine – one of the Associated Press’ “Top 10 Stories of 2014.”

The following OHIO faculty newsmakers were recognized for having the highest number of media placements in 2014:

  • Jim Kahler, College of Business, 364 media placements
  • Yusuf Kalyango, Scripps College of Communication, 337 media placements
  • Katherine Jellison, College of Arts and Sciences, 313 media placements
  • B. David Ridpath, College of Business, 292 media placements
  • Geoff Dabelko, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, 243 media placements
  • Benjamin Bates, Scripps College of Communication, 209 media placements
  • Gerardine Botte, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and Lawrence Witmer, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, 124 media placements each
  • Patrick O’Connor and Eric Gorscak, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, 112 media placements
  • Alan Silver, Patton College of Education, 111 media placements
  • Robert Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in the Scripps College of Communication, 76 media placements
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Dr. McDavis poses for a photo with Jim Kahler who earned 364 media placements in 2014 – the most of any OHIO faculty member.

Kahler, an OHIO graduate who serves as executive director of the Center for Sports Administration in the College of Business, was shocked to find out that he was the top newsmaker of the year. 

“When they seated me in the front row, I really didn’t know what to expect,” Kahler said after the event. 

Kahler has participated in OHIO’s Expert Directory for the past couple of years, serving as an expert for media interested in interviews on sponsorships, digital media, marketing, media relations, social media, sports administration and more. He’s been featured in media outlets throughout the United States, including USA Today and Sports Illustrated.

“If I have an opportunity to be quoted by the media and it will mention the Ohio University Center for Sports Administration, I jump at those opportunities,” Kahler said. 

“I’m just stunned and surprised and very honored,” Jellison said when asked her reaction to being named the No. 3 newsmaker of the year. “I had no idea that I had 313 media placements!”

A professor of history and chair of OHIO’s Department of History, Jellison also participates in OHIO’s Expert Directory, sharing her knowledge on women’s studies and, specifically, first lady studies. Nearly all of her media placements in 2014 were related to First Lady Michelle Obama and were featured in media outlets that included The Washington Post, NBC News and BBC World News.

Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth was all smiles during the Faculty Newsmakers Gala as he watched four of his colleagues walk away with top honors.

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The Scripps College of Communication had four individuals receive special recognition at the Faculty Newsmakers Gala, including (from left) Director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Robert Stewart, Benjamin Bates, Hans Kruse and Yusuf Kalyango.

“I think this is a wonderful way to recognize our faculty members who have their work featured in the media,” Titsworth said. “Not only does it recognize their expertise, but it also shines a light on what these individuals bring to our classrooms and the ways in which they’re speaking to world issues.”

An event designed to raise a toast to OHIO’s faculty newsmakers, the Faculty Newsmakers Gala ended its first year by doing just that. The event concluded with a champagne toast to celebrate the newsmakers’ past achievements and to look ahead to next year’s festivities.

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OHIO’s faculty newsmakers and distinguished guests raise a toast to the 122 faculty members who earned media placements for Ohio University in 2014.

UCM has launched a website dedicated to the Faculty Newsmakers Gala. The website, available here, includes video coverage of the inaugural gala as well as a link to a photo gallery from the event.

A look back at 2014’s key communication, marketing milestones

Centerpieces at the inaugural OHIO Faculty Newsmakers Gala called attention to several communication and marketing milestones achieved for Ohio University in 2014, including:

9: Number of OHIO academic units represented in 2014 headlines

12: Number of newsmakers from OHIO’s regional campuses in 2014

21: Number of countries where OHIO newsmakers made headlines

39: Percentage of faculty placements in comparison to overall OHIO news coverage in 2014

122: Number of faculty newsmakers in 2014

1,191: Number of news outlets featuring OHIO faculty members in 2014

2,929: Number of faculty placements in 2014

211,328,983: Total number of impressions for all of OHIO’s 2014 news coverage