Sunday, May 26, 2019

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OHIO expands ways to engage in the community through new Appalachian curriculum

Ohio University is implementing more ways to integrate Appalachian culture into the University by creating a curriculum that allows students to study and specialize in the region, encouraging community conversation, and preparing to host a national conference.

One new course offered in the College of Health Sciences and Professions (IHS 2230) is a cross-cultural perspectives general education class that introduces students to Appalachian culture. This course is offered every semester either online or face to face - this summer it is available online.

IHS 2230 is a foundational course for the Undergraduate Certificate in Appalachian Studies. This certificate works with a variety of majors, allowing students to focus their studies particularly on this region. By developing Appalachian courses and programs, Michele Morrone, a professor and director of the Appalachian Rural Health Institute, hopes to recruit more students from within the region who are looking for ways to study, stay in the area beyond graduation, and give back to their own community.

“As the flagship university in Appalachia, we have a duty to make this region more visible and offer more ways for our students to become knowledgeable members of the community they currently call home,” said Morrone. “By implementing and enhancing our Appalachian curriculum, we are increasing OHIO’s commitment to the region through service, communication and engagement.” 

Aside from offering courses, there are several other efforts to integrate OHIO and Appalachia, such as #WeAreAppalachia Day, an event organized by Tiffany Arnold, a lecturer and program director of Appalachia Rising. The event focused on diversity within the region, and included a lecture by a critically-acclaimed Appalachian writer, a writing workshop focused on Appalachia, student research highlights and an open mic at Athens Public Library.

Morrone, who is currently the president of the Appalachian Studies Association (ASA), and Arnold are also beginning preparations for the 2021 annual ASA conference, which will be held at OHIO for the first time ever.