Summer recap: Voinovich School busy continuing to make an impact

Daniel Kington
September 7, 2017

Although Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is much quieter with most students off the hill, faculty and professional staff continued their work during the summer months, with some students staying around to help. From aiding businesses in the search for government contracts to studying groundwater, here’s some of the news students away for the summer might have missed.

Project work

  • The Ohio University Procurement Technical Assistance Center (OU PTAC) excelled this year in its mission of connecting businesses looking to sell with governments looking to buy. Over the summer, PTAC released its annual report, revealing that the program helped businesses earn 6,298 awards for a total value of over $395 million in government contracts. This led to a $100 million increase in business contracts earned over 2015, and $80 million more than the program’s previously most successful year. Read more.
  • Since 2013, the Energy and Environment team has been developing a solar-powered technology allowing for simpler, longer-term water quality testing in the field. Now, that technology is seeing its first real-world application through its deployment in another Voinovich School project, which seeks to understand the effects of hydraulic fracturing on regional water quality. Read more.
  • The Voinovich School has partnered with Athens nonprofit ReUse Industries to establish the Athens MakerSpace (AMS), which will open this fall to provide work spaces, tools, classes, and events in order to support artisanal and entrepreneurial creativity.  Read more.
  • Voinovich School faculty members Ani Ruhil and Francesca Gordon worked with the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) to produce the organization’s fourth annual report on healthcare in Ohio. Their report revealed that while individual health metrics have improved, in terms of ‘health value,’ a composite measure that reveals the efficiency of the dollars the state spent on achieving a healthy population, Ohio ranks 46th in the nation. Ruhil and Gordon are hopeful that their report will help to improve state policy in the coming years. Read more.

Grants and awards

  • The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced in June that it will award Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs a $300,000 grant for the Social Enterprise Ecosystem (SEE Appalachia) project. The grant will allow the Voinovich School and its partners, the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio and the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, to work throughout a 10-county region in Ohio and West Virginia to support social enterprises in order to make positive changes to health and wellness, education and the environment. Read more.
  • The Center for Entrepreneurship at Ohio University, a partnership between the College of Business and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, was named the winner of the 2017 Deshpande Symposium Award for Excellence in Student Engagement in Entrepreneurship. The Center’s award recognizes an institution that encourages student leadership and engagement in developing innovative extra and co-curricular activities that support the development of entrepreneurial awareness, skills and practice. Read more.

Faculty and professional staff accomplishments

  • Dr. Jason Jolley, Associate Professor of Economic Development and director of the Master of Public Administration program, was elected President of the Mid-Continent Regional Science Association (MCRSA) at their 48th Annual Conference in Toledo, Ohio in June 2017. Read more.
  • Recent studies have found that the hefty price tag on textbooks negatively impacts students’ learning experiences. Anirudh Ruhil, associate professor of leadership and public affairs, is currently creating a textbook for an intro to statistics course for on-campus, blended, and online Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) students. He estimates using his own free textbook will save each of his students between $100–$300. Read more.
  • As a result of outstanding scholarship, teaching, leadership and public service, five Voinovich School faculty members, Judy Millesen, Ani Ruhil, Jason Jolley, Sarah Davis and Derek Kauneckis, have been approved for tenure and/or promotion effective the 2017–18 academic year. Read more.

Student and alumni stories

  • Two Ohio University research teams were selected for the third I-Corps@Ohio cohort. The two OHIO teams of faculty and students joined other university teams from across the state, receiving intense experiential learning in business modeling, commercial opportunities and product development, as well as $15,000 to aid in their startups.  Participants in the two teams included Voinovich School faculty, professional staff, undergraduate scholars and graduate students. Read more.
  • Voinovich School alum, Annalisa Weber, changed career paths this summer. While she previously worked at Zoo Atlanta, caring for gorillas, she’s now researching the causes of autism through her work at the nonprofit, Research Triangle Institute. This may seem like quite the jump – but Weber says her inter-disciplinary education at the Voinovich School prepared her well for both positions. Read more.
  • More than 150 Ohio University alumni and supporters in Ohio public service gathered at the Athletic Club of Columbus to honor Voinovich School alumni Ryan Miller and Jessica Cannon for their outstanding service to the state at the 34th Annual State Government Alumni Luncheon on May 9. The luncheon, hosted by Ohio University Interim President David Descutner on behalf of OHIO’s Voinovich School, recognizes acts of community and public service by alumni to the betterment of the state of Ohio. Read more.

Remembering Senator Voinovich

  • The public-private partnership (P3) model that the late Senator George V. Voinovich pioneered in the 1980s has since become the gold standard for cities seeking to maximize resources. Now, in association with the Voinovich School, Ohio University Press has published Voinovich’s Empowering the Public-Private Partnership: The Future of America’s Local Government, which provides actionable steps for local leaders while providing insight into the qualities that made Voinovich one of the great statesmen of the past half-century. Read more.

Although it may have been a busy summer for many at the Voinovich School, it’s bound to get even busier as students return this fall, helping faculty, staff and each other to make a difference in the region, state and nation.