CFAES Monthly : June 2020

  1. Dickerson joins CFAES as assistant dean and director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    Photo of Patrice Dickerson

    CFAES has announced the appointment of Patrice Dickerson as assistant dean and director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). She begins on July 1, 2020.

    In her new role, Dickerson will lead change as she oversees and manages DEI efforts that support CFAES’ strategic goals. She will be responsible for evaluating the college’s climate for faculty, staff, and students and for developing strategies to ensure that all CFAES faculty, staff, and students feel valued for their individual talents and unique cultural perspectives. She will also connect with CFAES faculty, staff, and students who do work in DEI to create synergies and garner guidance regarding CFAES’ DEI efforts and direction as a college.

    “Dr. Dickerson brings a rich background of work and accomplishments in DEI,” said Tracy Kitchel, CFAES associate dean for faculty and staff affairs and Dickerson’s supervisor. “More immediately, her leadership will be important in keeping in mind the needs of our faculty, staff, and students during the COVID-19 pandemic as such situations can exacerbate issues of inclusion and access.’’

    Following the tragic, unjust death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the expressions of sadness, confusion, pain, and rage—not only here in Ohio but across the nation—as well as the civic unrest that has sadly accompanied the protests, the college will turn to Dickerson to help our community move forward, together, to elevate current standards and practices to be more equitable and inclusive, college leadership has said.

    Dickerson joins CFAES from Virginia Tech University, where she is currently the inaugural director of faculty diversity in the Office for Inclusion and Diversity.

    She has worked at Ohio State previously, having served as the assistant executive dean for strategic recruitment and diversity initiatives and the administrative director for the Office of Recruitment and Diversity Service in the College of Arts and Sciences before leaving for Virginia Tech.

    Earlier in her career, Dickerson was an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan.

    Dickerson has been a member of the Association of Black Sociologists, the American Sociological Association, the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals, and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

  2. How CFAES is helping Ohio farmers weather COVID-19

    Someone holding a crate of fresh produce

    Two new CFAES groups are helping Ohio farmers handle coronavirus challenges.

    The COVID-19 Crisis Working Group for Specialty Crop Producers, working with The Ohio State University Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, is providing science-based recommendations on best operating practices for farms and farmers markets, details about online sales platforms, information on disaster assistance, and more.

    The CFAES Lean on Your Land Grant Food Supply Chain Task Force is working with livestock producers and meat processors on issues such as finding local processors, finding new markets, and starting or increasing direct selling to consumers.

    “While much has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, what hasn’t changed is that Ohio’s specialty crop farmers are still farming, and you’ll still be able to access safe, healthy, and locally produced foods,” Christie Welch, CFAES direct food and agriculture marketing specialist, said.

    “Ohio farmers and livestock producers," Welch said, “are still working to provide local foods in abundance.”

    Read more.

  3. It’s about learning new skills and how to persevere

    A girl types on a laptop at a wooden table.

    With summer camps and club meetings canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio 4-H, CFAES’ youth development program, has quickly responded with virtual alternatives—all of them continuing 4-H’s focus on learning by doing. Among them are the Stay connected! website, with links to virtual activities for 4-H youth and volunteers; Camp…ish, the first-ever Ohio statewide virtual camp set for June 9–11; 4-H Camp in a Box, a mailed 4-H “camp” experience offering 10 activities, including related to STEM; and, among the many options developed by OSU Extension’s county offices, the virtual Camp at Home and Not a Camp alternatives in Muskingum County.  

    “I’m as sad as anyone that we can’t physically go to camp,” said Jamie McConnell, 4-H educator in OSU Extension’s Muskingum County office. “But this is a learning experience. It’s about how to persevere and that life doesn’t always go the way we expect, so we’ll help our young people manage those feelings, learn something new, and use those skills later in life.”

    Read more.

  4. Staying at home? Let the virtual weddings begin

    Red flowers on a laptop keyboard on a white table

    Nine event venues at the CFAES Wooster campus—popular for weddings, meetings, training, and conferences—have added Zoom-based virtual options for getting together in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    “We are pleased to announce that, in addition to our offerings of in-person gatherings, we also have the technologies to provide virtual gatherings,” said Matthew Benko-Scruggs, general manager of the Wooster Campus Conference Center and event venues.

    “For example, we can offer two-way communication and interaction with up to 500 guests via Zoom. We can also provide on-set studio recording capability and webinar presentation capability to 3,000 guests.”

    Read more.

  5. Awards and recognitions

    Rows of awards on a dark table

    Ohio State’s highest staff honor

    Renee Johnston, school secretary, School of Environment and Natural Resources, has received one of Ohio State’s 13 Distinguished Staff Awards, the university’s highest staff recognition. Given annually, the awards honor individuals for their exceptional leadership, accomplishments, and service to Ohio State. 

    The awards website said Johnston, who has worked for Ohio State for 25 years, is “dedicated to creating positive student experiences and has been lauded as critical in student success. Through her commitment to using data to inform decisions and actions, Renee created express services for advising appointments which enabled students to have immediate advising needs met.”

    The website added that Johnston “uses her ability to generate trust with faculty and students to understand their challenges and make improvements, which has led to the creation of curriculum roadmaps that improved retention and 4-year graduation rates by helping students better plan and sequence their courses.”

    Read more.

    Research paper impact

    The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) board of directors has named Rattan Lal, professor and Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science, School of Environment and Natural Resources, as the 2020 recipient of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation Best Research Paper for Impact and Quality Honorable Mention Award. The award, which recognizes the impact and quality of a research paper published in the journal in the previous five years, is for “Soil carbon sequestration and aggregation by cover cropping,” which appeared in the journal in 2015. This year’s winners will be recognized virtually during the SWCS International Annual Conference set for July 27–29.

    Regional advisor of the year

    The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) has announced Chip Tuson, marketing and communications manager, Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, as the winner of its 2020 Regional Advisor of the Year Award for Region 4. In a press release, the society said its regional and national advisor of the year awards honor NSCS advisors who have “continuously displayed strong leadership and unwavering support and dedication to their NSCS chapter over the past year. These advisors have truly helped student officers and chapter members to embody the society's pillars of scholarship, leadership and service by coaching and mentoring students.”

    Extension professional awards

    Epsilon Sigma Phi, the national Extension professionals’ organization, recently recognized the following OSU Extension faculty and staff, along with some of their external partners, among its chapter and national award recipients: