Education and experiences: a new way to measure?

In the world of academic innovation, grades are not all that matter. A new importance is being place on the life lessons students learn at college through an experiences transcript.

Elon University in North Carolina first implemented their version, the Elon experiences Transcript, in 1994. It measures participation in five program areas, including leadership, community service, study abroad, internships and undergraduate research. Now, the idea that schools should be putting more than classes on the official record is gaining momentum.

In an online Q&A presentation on Elon’s distributor’s (Parchment Exchange) website, Elon registrar Rodney Parks said this version of the transcript “paints students in a different light.”

“Registrars have been pressured for years to try to add more details to the academic transcript,” Parks said.

The Elon experiences transcript is optional, and separate from the academic transcript, though requests for both go through the registrar’s office. Parks said, in response to surveys he sent out to recipients of the experiences transcripts, most employers viewed the experiences transcript favorably.

Parks acknowledged, “…if students don’t build robust co-curricular transcripts, [the transcripts] could be seen unfavorably by [recipients].”

The increased focus on experiential diversity, Parks said, is taking “advising to a whole new level,” with advisers giving life advice as well as academic advice. What goes onto an experiences transcript, Parks said, is determined individually by universities and their campus culture and values.

Ohio Wesleyan Registrar Shelly McMahon said the office listened to the presentation and discussed potential merits, but has no plans to implement the transcript at this time. McMahon said in an email that an OWU experiences transcript might include internships and volunteer work, but, ultimately, validation for content would be up to other departments.

McMahon also said she wouldn’t see an experiences transcript as adding pressure on OWU students to take on more; an experiences transcript might be a way “to document what is already happening.”

“Our students are already involved in multiple activities and many want things on their transcript that are non-academic,” McMahon said. “We don’t have a way to do that now.”

Junior Elizabeth Raphael said the idea of an experience-based transcript seems unnecessary.

“If one of the organizations that I am a part of did something so incredible that it made the actual transcript (and I played some part in it), maybe I would send it to grad schools,” Raphael said. “But even then it’s kind of questionable. All clubs and organizations are doing things on campus, but they don’t need to be acknowledged constantly – that’s just not how the world works.”

Junior Joe Wagner said he also believes an additional transcript is unnecessary.

“Transcripts are just supposed to focus on school,” Wagner said. “If something is that important, why not just put it in your resume?”

Only a few other schools currently offer co-curricular transcripts, including Georgia College and State University and University of North Florida. Parks said co-curricular transcripts make up about 22 percent of Elon’s transcript orders.

Whether the co-curricular transcript catches on remains to be seen, as it remains a fairly new concept.

Beginnings, evolvements and connecting threads: Ohio artist to be featured at the Ross

Edmund Kuehn's "The Village." Photo courtesy of
Edmund Kuehn’s “The Village.” Photo courtesy of

Ohio Wesleyan students, Delaware residents and anyone else interested in Ohio artists may consider stopping by the Ross Art Museum Feb. 24 to April 5.

During this time, 75 pieces by the late central Ohio-based artist Edmund Kuehn will be on display. Announced on the Connect2 OWU blog, the exhibition will be called “Edmund Kuehn: A Retrospective (1937-2011).”

James Keny, co-director of the Keny Art Gallery in Columbus and who represented Kuehn since the 1980s, said the show will have three distinct components, each showing a different phase of Kuehn’s art.

“What we’ve done with the show itself is show the many modes of Keuhn,” Keny said. “He liked that expression. He didn’t like to be confined.”

This includes the two figure paintings that won Kuehn a rare scholarship to the Art Students League of New York in 1937; figure scenes from the 1950s that blend classic elements with modern styles; and small-scale abstractions Kuehn worked on in the later part of his life.

Most are works on paper, painted with acrylics and casein, though a few pieces are oil on canvas. A few works will also be for sale.

Keny said he hopes Kuehn’s displayed works will be inspiring to students and other patrons of the museum.

“He was a very young guy who came from industrial Columbus, scrapped his way through art school…he made a career for himself,” Keny said.

Keny also said he thought Kuehn was a good complement to the liberal arts component at OWU.

“He continued learning, reading, going to galleries,” Keny said.

Edmund Kuehn's "Quiet Cove." Photo courtesy of
Edmund Kuehn’s “Quiet Cove.” Photo courtesy of

Kuehn was also a teacher of the arts. He taught at the Columbus College of Art and Design (then the Columbus Art School) and curated at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts (now the Columbus Museum of Art).

“He was respected for his ability to teach and inform people about modern art,” Keny said. “Which was kind of intimidating in this Midwestern town.”

Keny said he hopes the Kuehn paintings will bring more than just OWU students to the Ross Art Museum.

“Keuhn is a widely collected artist in Ohio,” Keny said. “We’re hoping patrons of his work will be introduced to the Ross. It’s a real treasure not many of them know about.”

Rugby gains popularity across OWU

Rugby balls. Photo courtesy of Cecilia Smith.
Rugby balls. Photo courtesy of Cecilia Smith.

Rugby, an imported sport with a growing following on Ohio Wesleyan campus, is on its way to being an institution.

With the spring season poised to start, both the men’s and women’s club rugby teams report an established coaching staff, growing rosters, and the potential to qualify for national tournaments.

“We’re more competitive,” director of OWU rugby John English said. “Just from last spring to this spring, the biggest change is more students are getting involved.”

Josh Longenbaker, head coach of the women’s team, said there are more than 20 women signed up to play and around 30 for the men’s team. Along with increased players comes increased play, with both teams signed up to play other schools and in tournaments. English said OWU will also host a sevens tournament for both teams.

In rugby, there are two formats of play. The traditional format pits two teams of 15 against each other for two, 40-minute halves while the sevens format narrows the players to seven a side, and the halves to seven minutes. Both teams will play both formats, though Longenbaker said the women’s team will be playing in a sevens league.

Longenbaker said atmosphere is important to getting, and keeping, players new to the sport. Some techniques include running the men’s and women’s practices together and making the drills run like fun games.

“We know everything we do works at a high level so we ask a lot,” Longenbaker said, “but we also try to make it fun.”

English and Longenbaker came to OWU from running a competitive high school program. Also on staff are Cody Albright, coach of the men’s team, and Pat Bowling.

Sophomore Liam McNulty, who formed the men’s club last year, said the coaches’ experience helps create a welcoming atmosphere, essential to helping people “understand the true beauty” of an aggressive sport.

“Other than myself and a handful of others, most members have not played rugby before their college careers,” McNulty said. “Since I started the program, the development of this atmosphere has been crucial.”

McNulty said efforts to recruit are always ongoing – he said players constantly talk about the club, wear the gear to gain visibility and try to get as many students as possible “hooked” by going to the games. Students might have also noticed posters for the women’s club taped around OWU, stating the empowering aspects of playing rugby.

Junior Lauren Kiebler, public relations chair for the women’s club, said it’s well known that the club is inclusive, but it is important to note it is open to non-binary players; the team plays in a trans-inclusive league.

Freshman Bree Riggle said the rugby club was a big reason she chose to come to OWU, though health reasons have prevented her from attending many practices.

“Everyone helps everyone,” Riggle said. “It’s a family. I love it. It’s a great sport.”

Solar panels not in the stars for Ohio Wesleyan

Solar panels. Photo courtesy of  "The Denisonian."
Solar panels. Photo courtesy of “The Denisonian.”

While Denison’s The Denisonian announced the university’s plans to begin building 6,000 solar panels this spring, sustainability efforts at Ohio Wesleyan will not include such a plan.

According to Peter Schantz, director of the physical plant for Buildings and Grounds, it takes two acres of land to generate two megawatts of electricity – land OWU doesn’t have.

“We’ve had several solar power providers approach us, tour our facilities and say we’re not viable,” Schantz said.

Schantz said an alternative way for OWU to save energy is to retrofit the buildings, which includes adding more energy-efficient lighting and energy-saving heating ventilation and air-conditioning. Though Schantz said finding money for such an endeavor is difficult, many of the recent building renovations help.

“Every time our donors give money to renovate, we improve the energy profile of those buildings,” he said.

Elliott Hall counts among one of the recently renovated buildings, while Merrick Hall is in the process of renovation. Schantz said the Small Living Units as well will be updated through the Student Housing Master Plan.

President Rock Jones said in an email that the university makes efforts to support sustainability in other ways as well, such as by working with Chartwells to provide more locally-sourced food, installing “Hydration Stations” to decrease bottled-water usage on campus and using partially-recycled paper for a “print green” program.

Additionally, Jones and Schantz said the campus and the City of Delaware have investigated the possibility of sharing land for solar panels, although finding a workable model has not yet happened.

Both Jones and Schantz said it’s important to see what other schools do to improve their environmental impacts, though the solutions won’t necessarily translate at OWU.

“Each campus is unique,” Jones said. “The size of the campus, the age of its buildings, its geographic location, and many other issues impact its sustainability. Denison, for example, was burning coal until very recently. Ohio Wesleyan converted its power plant in 1989.”

Schantz, who is involved in many of the sustainability initiatives on campus, said the focus should be on OWU’s opportunities.

“Keeping up with anyone else is a bad idea in any regard,” Schantz said. “This is an important pursuit and we need to be focusing on what we can do…how do we use our resources to reach our goals?”

Admissions files accessible to all

Stanford's student newspaper's "Nice" option form for accessing permanent files.
Stanford’s student newspaper’s “Nice” option form for accessing permanent files. Photo courtesy of


Students at Stanford University opened the floodgates when they cited the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to open access to college admission files. But at Ohio Wesleyan, interest has seen barely a trickle.

Director of Admissions Alisha Couch said only two students requested to see their admissions files, requests via emails directly copy and pasted from the original Stanford request forms.

“I think they just wanted to test us to see if they could get [the files],” Couch said. “We had to tell them to send the requests to the registrar’s office.”

Though Couch said students should be able to look at their files – without being able to take them from the office or photocopy them – she said the admissions process at OWU is straightforward and relatively transparent.

“Mainly we’re using a highlighter, like highlighting comments from letters of recommendation,” Couch said. “For our admissions files we just write general notes on the students…we use our notes to kind of connect them to the university, such as if a student is involved in LGBQTA issues, we can connect them to someone on campus who is in that community.”

Couch also said admissions counselors are willing to sit down with denied students and discuss why their applications were refused. In addition, Couch said the admissions office usually only keeps files up to two years; permanent files such as high school transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and personal essays get sent to the Registrar.

Among OWU students, there isn’t a consensus on the appeal of looking at the files. Senior Abby Bennett said she would “definitely be interested” in seeing her admissions files while junior Max Hara said he wouldn’t because he has already been accepted into OWU.

“Why look at something that doesn’t matter anymore?” Hara said.

Though sources have been inconsistent on whether FERPA covers schools students were denied admission to, both Hara and Bennett said they wouldn’t be interested in seeing those files.

Couch said, at a bigger or more selective school, she could see why students might want access to their files.

“A lot of people want the magic formula,” Couch said, adding she could see the system potentially changing at bigger schools if more students requested admissions files. Both Bennett and Couch said there was value to having transparency in the admissions process.

“I definitely think that we [should] have a right to see the information that the school keeps on us, but I don’t think that the information has much value in general,” Bennett said.

FERPA may not cover some files, such as letters of recommendation. Students interested in accessing permanent files should send their requests to the Registrar.

Senior goes the distance for change

Senior Caitlen Sellers. Photo courtesy of Facebook.
Senior Caitlen Sellers. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

In May 2015, senior Caitlen Sellers will join a team of runners on a 300 kilometer journey across the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The seven-day trek is meant to raise support for gender equality and coffee-farming communities.

Run Across Congo, organized by the nonprofit On the Ground, will take the team through unpaved trails in the Congo and bring them into contact with communities destabilized by unfair labor practices. Sellers said the goal for each runner is to raise $15,000. This money will go to programs empowering women, including self-esteem workshops, business initiatives and efforts toward increasing the visibility of women in agriculture.

“It’s investing to create these programs to really educate the people and empower the women,” Sellers said of the project. “We want to help them stay together by talking about fair trade.”

Sellers said she was interested in participating because she sees a separation between coffee-farming communities and the people who consume the product of their labor. According to the CIA World Factbook, 71 percent of the population of the Congo was below the poverty line in 2006, while agriculture made up almost half of the gross domestic product composition (by 2013 estimate).

“I see myself as more of an advocate than a runner just because it’s so important to me that people see how their purchases affect the lives of people halfway around the world,” Sellers said. “Responsible consumerism helps to de-fetishize commodities, humanize the farmers who live and work in harsh, unfair conditions  and create positive impacts.”

Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo courtesy of
Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo courtesy of

The total distance covered divides roughly to one marathon a day, and Sellers said the team can’t be sure of accommodations at their destinations.

“We might be camping out a few nights,” she said, though she added vans will ensure the team doesn’t go without food or supplies.

“Running inspires people because it’s a really difficult thing to do,” Sellers said. “I think people will get excited because they see what we’re willing to do to get on the ground and really see what’s going on.”

Sellers said because the team was only established a week ago, she hasn’t had the chance to research the culture of the Congo, meet many of her teammates or begin fundraising efforts. However, Sellers said each member of the team has a Razoo account, and Sellers has a PayPal for larger donations. Sellers also said she will be going to local businesses to request sponsorship, passing out flyers and potentially putting on interactive educational events.

On the Ground funds runs in other depleted regions, such as Ethiopia and Palestine. More information on On the Ground and Run Across Congo can be found at

Caitlen Seller’s Razoo can be accessed at

Local politicians work the band

Dave Yost demonstrates his rock capabilities in his 2014 re-election video, "Music to My Ears."
Dave Yost demonstrates his rock capabilities in his 2014 re-election video, “Music to My Ears.”

Rock gods and politicians seem worlds apart, but for Delaware County Treasurer Jon Peterson and State Auditor Dave Yost, music permeates all – the two have been in a band together for about 10 years.

They call themselves The Geezers, according to Peterson, who said, “We have an abundance of grey hair and a few years between us.”

The band includes other workers for the state and county, and while Peterson says The Geezers play mostly house shows and backyard barbecues, he and Yost were a part of another group who performed at the state treasurer’s conference.

For the show, they called themselves the T-Notes, a term referencing a government debt security.

Peterson says both groups cover classic rock from the 1960s and 1970s, including songs by the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty. Peterson said his instrument of choice is the guitar, while Yost plays the keyboard and bass guitar.

In addition to playing for his peers, Peterson says Yost uses his music to show who he is as a politician. Their video for “Music to my Ears,” released during Yost’s re-election campaign, features Yost, Peterson and others playing in Yost’s living room.

“[Yost] used his music to convey what he is,” Peterson said, adding, “[Music and politics] are concurrent…even during that time as an officer, that doesn’t disclude the love for music.”

Peterson pointed out connections between other politicians and music, including President George H.W. Bush’s former campaign manager, Lee Atwater, who surprised the public with his skill at the blues.

Yost has played in other bands as well. He played for The Pink Flamingos while he worked as a journalist at the now defunct Citizen-Journal in Columbus.

Ohio Wesleyan journalism instructor TC Brown, who also played with The Pink Flamingos, said the band had quite a following of other political journalists and even played at the governor’s mansion.

Peterson, who worked in the Franklin County administrative offices at the time, agreed, adding he was a part of a fan base that “followed them around.”

Brown says he, Yost and Peterson jammed together once or twice, having fun by playing covers.

According to Peterson, he likes playing guitar for the therapeutic value. Quoting the Rolling Stones, Peterson said, “It’s only rock and roll. But I like it.”

Movie series begins with “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Movie poster for "Guardians of the Galaxy."
Movie poster for “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Photo courtesy of

Chris Pratt battled to save the human race alongside Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, a sarcastic raccoon and a slightly anthropomorphic tree on Thursday, Jan. 29 in the Milligan Hub.

Not that the human race was particularly at risk, but the 30-some students who attended the Campus Programming Board’s screening of The Guardians of the Galaxy felt the excitement as it played out. Students snacked on popcorn and soda while the movie was projected on a screen onstage and the classic song “Hooked on a Feeling” looped in the minutes leading up to the showing.

Guardians of the Galaxy was the first of three movies to be screened for the CPB’s Popcorn and Pix series. Maleficent and The Lego Movie will follow, on the 13th and 17th of Feb. respectively.

Students watch the start of the movie while having free popcorn and soda.
Students watch the start of the movie while having free popcorn and soda.
The event's audience shortly before the move began. Photo courtesy of Alex Gross.
The event’s audience before the move began. Photo courtesy of Alex Gross.








Levi Harrel, co-advisor to the CPB, said the movies were chosen by a CPB internal vote, and the goal was to pick movies that are “current and fun.”

“This is a unique event at OWU because every time a movie shows on campus, it’s related to a class or a cause,” Harrel said. “This is just fun.”

Sophomore Maddie Oslejsek, the director of entertainment for CPB, said the idea of Popcorn and Pix was to create a night everyone could enjoy.

“We’re running around 24/7 (at OWU), so it’s nice to have a night to relax,” Oslejsek said.

While Harrel said he hoped more students would have turned up for the first movie, he said he thinks the series will pick up speed as more students hear about the event.

In addition to giving students free access to some of last year’s hits, CPB will be handing out two tickets to Bishop Bash, a concert to be held March 28. The first tickets were awarded after the Guardians of the Galaxy showing, during which students were encouraged to tweet space puns.

Harrel said this would be the first concert at OWU since 2011.

The next CPB event will be held Thursday, Feb.5, in Milligan Hub. Students will be able to enjoy coffee, tea and pastries while watching performances by musical duos Adelee, Gentry and Two Worlds.