December 2019 Newsletter

Dear fellow Miamians,

Renate and I wish you all a peaceful holiday season. We look forward to seeing you back on Miami’s campuses in 2020, and we are excited about the things we can accomplish together.

Gregory Crawford, President

Love and Honor,
Greg Crawford

Greg Crawford's signature


Executing our MiamiRISE strategic plan

Three months into our new MiamiRISE strategic plan, Academic Affairs is re-envisioning our programs, processes and goals to position Miami University as a leading public university for the future. We have engaged multiple shared governance groups to focus our curricular offerings on areas of student demand and employer need while maintaining our deep roots in the liberal arts traditions of Miami.

Curriculum review is a key strategy to ensure our resources are directed effectively. We have established a shared governance committee to ensure the broad university community is engaged in strategically reviewing what we do and how we do it. Dean Cathy Bishop-Clark and Dr. Susan Spellman recently shared with other deans how they have been using dashboards to more efficiently offer course sections within CLAAS, which allows them to support both valuable existing programs and growth areas. We think there is opportunity across the university to find more of these opportunities. Gray Associates visited campus in November and led us through a two-day workshop, attended by academic leaders throughout the university, to identify these opportunities for investment. We expect these data, which will be openly available to divisions, can stimulate important discussions about how to continue innovating in curricular offerings, allowing us to remain financially resilient in a challenging national climate.

Our searches for four key leaders (deans of FSB, CEC and the Graduate School and vice president for research and innovation) are progressing well. These leaders will help us move toward our MiamiRISE goals, so please engage when candidates come to campus next semester. We will continue to update the campus community as we move forward.  

We continue to reallocate and invest in strategic priorities. Early in 2019, we implemented a five-year plan to reduce administrative and operational spending. To allow for the future investments we need to make sooner, several units have accelerated these reallocations to complete many of the reductions this year. Our strategy has been to “stretch” our current resources so we can invest in new programs and curriculum in the future. In the competitive climate in higher education where we find ourselves today, reducing spending and repurposing resources to high priorities while concurrently investing in emerging opportunities will be the norm. Our budgeting and investing process will be more dynamic than ever before to keep pace with global change.

At the same time, we are working diligently to reduce our tuition discount rate and increase other revenue streams. Collectively, this will allow us to pivot and invest in our future and our core mission of producing exceptional graduates prepared to address the profound challenges we face as a society.

We have a committee tackling the MiamiRISE challenge of innovating in the Global Miami Plan, and the faculty on this committee have held multiple listening sessions around the university to hear ideas and concerns. The honors college planning committee will also do a good deal of talking and listening. Both groups are planning to have more discussion sessions throughout the spring semester, with the goal of articulating a creative and bold vision for these two signature priorities by May 2020. We are committed to broad input and discussion from the campus community and look forward to crafting a shared vision for these initiatives.

Within Academic Affairs, shared governance is our mantra. We are working to engage faculty, staff and student leaders throughout Miami on many fronts to be sure we are remaining true to the core values and mission of Miami while positioning the university for success. We know there is tremendous intellect within our university, and we hope each of you will engage constructively in understanding the issues we confront and the opportunities available. If we as One Miami thrive and support each other, all areas of the university will flourish.


Celebrating our special relationship and Myaamia Center partnership

Miami Athletics hosted the inaugural “Celebrating Miami: Tribe & University” week in mid-November, highlighting the unique and long-standing partnership between Miami Athletics and the Myaamia Center on Miami’s Oxford campus. This partnership stems directly from the relationship between Miami University and the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma that started in 1972 and was formalized in 2001.

At all home games for the week, Miami student-athletes paid tribute to the partnership with different uniform elements. For football and hockey, fans saw a brand-new helmet decal, while the volleyball and men’s basketball teams unveiled uniforms with the Myaamia heritage logo. Hockey is playing all season long at Steve “Coach” Cady arena with a specially designed puck with the heritage logo.

The logo features the traditional Myaamia Tribe ribbon-work pattern using two large geometric diamonds (the left represents the Miami Tribe and the right represents Miami University) extending on either side of a central diamond that represents the space where these two connect with a shared vision, a sense of cooperation and a deep respect for the reciprocal learning that results.

Miami University is fortunate to have 32 Myaamia students enrolled on campus this academic year. In preparation for the special week, the Myaamia students helped plan activities for each game throughout the fall semester. Fans also had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between the Miami Tribe, Miami University, Myaamia language and culture and Myaamia students on campus.

Chief Doug Lankford was also presented with a Miami University Athletics letter jacket!

Please also join me on congratulating Myaamia Center Director Daryl Baldwin on being honored as an exceptional alumni by his alma mater the University of Montana.


Touchdown! Special Cleveland alumni event at Browns’ stadium

Cleveland-area Miamians were treated Nov. 7 to a fun and insightful behind-the-scenes look at FirstEnergy Stadium, the home of the Cleveland Browns. Miamians toured the locker room and press box and got the chance to walk through the tunnel onto the field, a unique opportunity made possible through the generosity of the Haslam family. 

When Cynthia Haslam Arnholt ’93 joined the Miami family as a student in Oxford, her mother Dee jumped right in with her. Dee was active in the Parents’ Council and served as a member of the Miami University Foundation Board. Dee was able to join us in Cleveland and her reflections about what Miami means to her were a perfect addition to the evening and highlight how connected we are as the Miami family.

More than 160 Clevelanders attended the alumni event in Cleveland. It was a wonderful time to share Miami stories and to engage our large alumni base in the city.


Conference examines history and impact on the 55th anniversary of Freedom Summer training in Oxford

In partnership with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Miami kicked off a two day mini-conference Nov. 1-2 on “Freedom Summer: Then, Now and in the Future.” The conference celebrated the 55th anniversary of the training that sought to end the segregated voting registration practices throughout the South and increase the registration of African American voters. It was a time when hundreds of volunteers, educators and civil rights activists attended training at Western College for Women, now part of Miami University. This fall’s event, featuring actual Freedom Summer participants, historians, civil rights leaders, Miami alums and current students, reflected on how Freedom Summer became a catalyst for progress and change in the United States, contemplated its impact today and considered how to advance its spirit and legacy into the future. The conference, with over 300 attendees, was a tremendous success, and we are proud of those who made it possible.

The Office of the President and Office of Institutional Diversity co-sponsored the event, with internal partners including the Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Science, Humanities Center and Department of History, along with our external partners at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Macy’s, PNC Bank and The John A. Schroth Family Charitable Trust.


Miami’s internationalization efforts honored in Washington D.C.

Miami is a 2019 recipient of the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization, which recognizes outstanding global innovation and accomplishment. President Crawford accepted the award Nov. 21 on behalf of the university at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Miami University alumni, staff and supporters also attended to celebrate at the NAFSA International Education Week event and hear a panel discussion with presidents from Simon Award recipient institutions about the importance of leading internationalization efforts in higher education.

The award represents the deep-rooted commitment of our community of educators, students, staff and alumni at Miami, who collaborate to embed international and intercultural perspectives into our university mission and all of our curricular, co-curricular and service efforts.


Miami “takes over” Ohio Statehouse to tell the story of impact on Ohio

More than 100 Miamians participated Oct. 29 in the largest Statehouse Day in university history. The Miami delegation consisted of 70 undergraduate students, five graduate students, 26 faculty and staff and three alumni. Team Miami met with more than 120 Ohio General Assembly member offices, addressing how Miami strives to advance state priorities and sharing their Miami experiences in undergraduate research, experiential learning and community engagement.

Two days later, 35 undergraduate students traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Government Relations Immersion Program. During the conference, students advocated for Miami University and higher education by sharing their Miami experiences with members of the Ohio Congressional delegation. Students from the National Black Law Student Association, the Lex Latinx Society and the Amicus Curiae Pre-Law Society visited D.C.-area law schools including George Washington University, American University and Howard University. All of the students heard from alumni working in a wide range of fields inside the beltway.


Commerce Innovation Hub created at Voice of America Learning Center

Miami has located the regional campuses commerce department and launched the Miami University Commerce Innovation Hub in renovated space at the Voice of America Learning Center, which has served students and local businesses from the Interstate 75 location since January 2009.

Commerce is one of the fastest-growing bachelor’s degree programs at Miami Regionals with more than 700 students now in online, face-to-face and hybrid classes. In 2018, graduates from the department’s Small Business Management program had an average salary of more $56,000, and 97% of the graduates were employed or furthering their education.

The Innovation Hub will bring together the faculty expertise of the commerce department as new degree programs are developed to meet regional economic needs and to offer non-credit professional training and development opportunities.

Commerce joins Miami’s nationally ranked Professional MBA program that began at the VOA Learning Center 10 years ago. In addition, Miami offers a number of graduate certification, licensure and degree programs for area educators, combining the center’s convenient location with Miami’s TEAM scholarships for qualified teachers and administrators.


Student veteran at Miami preparing for teaching career

Tyler Judd pointing at a giant globe

Tyler Judd, Class of ’21, served in the U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines. Deploying twice overseas with the Marines, he received the Purple Heart when wounded in action in Afghanistan in 2013. Now he’s at Miami University, pursing a degree in geography and hoping to teach high school history or geology.

Following his active service in the Marine Corps, he chose to pursue his bachelor’s degree and selected Miami for its excellent undergraduate education. He’s familiar with Miami because he’s a native of Camden in southwest Ohio. 

Beyond spending time with his dog Remington, Tyler volunteers as a high school football coach (Go Preble Shawnee!) and enjoys nearly any form of outdoor pursuits.  Tyler is active in Miami’s extensive intramural sports program, participating in broomball, softball, basketball and the pistol club.  

“Growing up nearby I’ve always viewed Miami as one of the finest institutions of higher learning,” Judd said. “It has lived up to its reputation and has been a wonderful experience.” 


Miami librarian and archivist helps preserve Miami’s history and legacy

Jacqueline Johnson is a principal librarian who serves as Miami’s university archivist, overseeing collections including the Western College Memorial Archives. She earned her master’s degree in library science from the University of South Carolina and her bachelor’s degree in English from Limestone College. Her research focuses on civil rights, the Mississippi Freedom Summer training and history of Western College. She has been invaluable in promoting the role of Western College for Women during The Freedom Summer of 1964. In addition to supporting faculty and student projects on the subject, she has been integral in the development of the Mississippi Freedom Summer Digital Collection Metadata Project and website as well as in organizing the Freedom Summer oral history program. Recently, she helped secure a collection of items related to the late Jerry Williams ’39, one of Miami’s first African-American student-athletes.

She is the editor of “Finding Freedom: Memorializing the Voices of Freedom Summer,” the first book to provide detailed information about the Freedom Summer Memorial on the campus of Western College at Miami. 

Johnson is a member of the National Civil Rights Conference Planning Committee and has served on committees for the Society of Ohio Archivists. Her scholarly contributions include 19 successful grant applications and more than 40 presentations.


From dining services to professor, Parkinson helps Miamians live healthier lives

On any given day, you can find Nancy Parkinson somewhere in Oxford pursuing her passion – helping others lead healthier lives. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), president of the Ohio Nutrition Council and clinical faculty member is the ultimate networker and bridge builder. At the core of her work is connecting with others to create meaningful community partnerships and programs that broaden the learning experiences for her students.

Some of these projects include: collaborating with Oxford Kiwanis and the Talawanda elementary and middle schools for the K-Kids and Builders Club service leadership programs, including the introduction of a tower vegetable gardens project; creating a peak performance nutrition program with Miami football; hosting all-day STEAM nutrition camps for local youth; and working with the Talawanda Oxford Pantry and Social Services (TOPSS) to teach Oxford youth how to prepare quick, affordable and nutritious dishes. Together with her students, they develop, organize and implement hands-on nutrition education programs to coach the public on better ways to eat and stay healthy.

Doing this work is a dream come true for Parkinson. At 13 years old, she knew nutrition education was her passion and that her goal was to become a registered dietitian. She started her career as Miami’s assistant manager of dining services after graduating from Bluffton University in 1983, and by 1987 she was promoted to manager of dining services. After more than 10 years, she left to expand her work experiences and later returned to school to complete her master’s degree in dietetic internship at Ball State. She then headed back to Miami – this time to teach. Her vast experience in food systems management was just what Miami’s program was looking for and was the perfect fit for Nancy’s goal of becoming a nutrition educator.

“I can impact 120 people, who in turn impact thousands,” Nancy exclaims.

All of that networking and partnership building ties right into the future of nutrition education – inter-professional health care teams.

“The next level of health care is the prevention of chronic diseases, and we’re taking our students there,” she said. “Clinical Dietetics and nutrition education are the foundations of the undergraduate and graduate dietetic internship programs at Miami, which will be key in developing these inter-professional health care teams. They will be prepared to bring their expertise to the table for patient-centered care and equipped to collaborate with all the other disciplines.”

As she reflected on her career, she mentioned a saying she lives by: “Respect the past, do your best with the present and look to the future.” Where does Nancy see her future?

“In thinking about where to put my energies,” she said, “these days I’m interested in addressing issues of food insecurity and hydroponic gardening. That’s what I’d like to continue to explore.”

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