AI won’t erase need for human talent

Meg Edwards

Transcript Correspondent

Machines will only control the future if we let them.

That was the core message delivered by David J Staley, associate professor of history and director of the Humanities Institute at The Ohio State University, at the latest Great Decisions lecture Friday titled “Artificial Intelligence and Data: Augment or Automate?”

The 1982 Buckeye Valley graduate returned to Delaware to address a room of fifty to sixty community members, many retirees, at the William Street United Methodist Church.

Staley said the challenges which graduating students will face in the job market cannot purely be attributed to artificial intelligence.

AI “doesn’t have the consciousness to say, hmm, whose job should I take today,” he said, earning laughterfrom the audience. It will be humans, he said, who will make the decision to replace workers with artificial intelligence.

“If technology can do a job better and cheaper, technology replaces human beings every time,” he said.

AI is quickly replacing many jobs once thought to be safe from mechanization, such as skilled labor or desk jobs like accounting and editing, Staley said.

He also recommended the audience watch videos from the robotics company Boston Dynamics, which has developed robots capable of lifelike movement, which Staley imagines could be used to replace human troops in battle zones. Robots could remove the human cost from warfare.

Combining artificial intelligence with human intelligence is one way forward. For instance, Staley said cyborg chess, in which a human and a computer play together on the same team, allows mediocre chess players to defeat both master chessmen and the most advanced AI technology.

Some things AI can’t do include tasting wine, creating original works of art, adapting quickly to a new situation and imagining something that does not yet exist, he said.

Modern education must adjust to this new world and develop not only knowledge and skills for students, but also key human attributes such as flexibility, teamwork, communication, and creativity. Such skills will be necessary for determining ethics in a world in which robots have legal responsibility and AI can increasingly make decisions too complex for humans to understand, Staley said.

“Politicians should be engaged in regulation,” Staley said, adding that in few other fields are researchers allowed to run experiments without considering the long-term costs of their findings.

In biology, for instance, researchers are asked to consider the potential impact of their experiments, while technologists are permitted to explore anything in the name of progress.

Staley cited deep fake technology, which allows for realistic manipulation of video, as an example of a technology which was created without any prior consideration of its consequences.

Staley also said those interested in foreign or domestic policy become informed about artificial intelligence and its outsized implications for society.

Becky Cornett, an OSU Wexner Medical Center employee for 30 years, introduced Staley, highlighting his work and recommending his book, “Alternative Universities: Speculative Design for Innovation in Higher Education.”

Delaware resident Donna Jean Savely, a former secretary at Ohio Wesleyan, said this is the third year she and her husband have attended a Great Decisions lecture.

“Sometimes they’re too long and too detailed,” she said of the talks, but she said she is looking forward to this year’s series.

Elizabeth Warren makes history at OWU’s Mock Convention

Connor Severino and Hailey de la Vara

Transcript correspondents

Ohio Wesleyan students elected the first-ever woman president Saturday at their Democratic Mock Convention.

Voters elected Elizabeth Warren as president and Stacey Abrams as vice president. Warren secured the election after a run-off vote with Bernie Sanders and was the first woman president elected since the beginning of the convention in 1884.

Abrams secured the vice presidency following a passionate endorsement from Sally Leber, OWU’s director of Service Learning, who highlighted her record defending voter’s rights and racial equality.

OWU alumna Valorie Schwarzmann, permanent chair of the convention’s committee, said, “Hoping as a country we have a sense of whom to be and who we want to lead us, I hope we can figure it out.”

The convention, begun Friday, always focuses on a political party and this year’s event simulated a Democratic Party nominating convention, with the theme “The Future is Ours.”

William Louthan, a politics and government professor, led the invocation for the event, animating the crowd with his introduction of “Welcome to the party of the people.”

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, presented the opening message, encouraging students to get involved in the upcoming presidential election and to register to vote.

Alaina Shearer, a candidate from Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, rallied the crowd by stressing the importance of this year’s election. Proceeding her speech was a performance by the acapella group OWtsiders, who set the mood for the remainder of the convention.

Also speaking was Alex Moscou, a senior and survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida in 2018, addressed the crowd about gun violence, earning enthusiastic recognition for his courageousness and leadership.

The convention’s atmosphere was filled with energy and optimism throughout both days and seemed to unify students.

“There was a higher level of energy and a deeper engagement of issues, compared to the last Mock Convention,” OWU President Rock Jones said.

Drama was on hand, too, when security escorted out sophomore Hamzah Malik, the state chair for Ohio, after he refused to leave the microphone in defense of Vermin Supreme for vice president. Supreme is a performance artist and perennial Democratic candidate.

Malik had collected enough signatures to nominate Supreme, but the executive committee ruled the move invalid on the grounds Supreme is actually an Independent candidate.

Throughout, students delivered addresses about issues such as climate change, student loan debt, equality and healthcare. A vision for an equal and ecological friendly economy coincides with the interests of Warren and runner up Sanders.

Students represented their home states and with their votes, Warren surpassed runner up Sanders 111-to-52. The remaining candidates came in a close third place, with each having around 30 votes.

“It was so exciting because not only is this OWU history but country history being the first time we’ve had all women,” junior Alexis Greene said.

The convention concluded with scores of balloons and cheers.

Transcript correspondent Meg Edwards contributed to this report.

Forget the myth, English majors can do well with their degree

Alex Emerson

Transcript Correspondent

Turns out majoring in English has earned a bad rap.

That generally accepted impression is a myth, according to a couple of Ohio Wesleyan English professors who pinched hit for a missing speaker scheduled to lead a Thursday discussion titled “What Did I Do with My English Major?”

The event’s focus aimed to help students understand what they can do with an English major after graduation, as well as pointing to the resources OWU has available for them.

Nancy Comorau, an associate English professor and Patricia Demarco, an English professor, led the conversation after OWU alumna Kristina Wheeler (’16), who was going to preside, was unable to attend for personal reasons, according to Comorau. Wheeler, who has an English degree, is an editorial and production assistant at The Ohio State University Press.

The discussion was informative despite not going as planned. Comorau and Demarco talked about paths for English majors, including graduate school, professional school and career paths.

There’s a myth that majoring in English is a bad idea, which isn’t really true.

“There’s this idea that when you say you’re majoring in English, people say ‘OK, well are you going to teach?’” Comorau said.

English majors have an advantage with careers in communications because they know how to write and many internships are available in any field that involves writing, Demarco and Comorau said. Demarco talked specifically about the writing and editing experience involved in a political internship.

“Working in politics is great editorial work. Even in local politics, nothing gets released without going through lots of revisions and edits,” Demarco said.

For the English major interested in creative writing, or in graduate school, a Master of Fine Arts degree is an option, which involves rigorous coursework. A master’s is typically necessary in order to teach a subject like creative writing at a university, Comorau said.

OWU offers English majors resources that give students real-world experience. An example is the Sagan Academic Resource Center where students help other students edit writing assignments.

Not only that, the Sagan Center also improves the people skills of students working there because they interact with people all day, said senior Brandon Stevens, a member of Sagan.

Other helpful organizations include the Sturges Script, a student-run blog made by associate English professor Zackariah Long, The OWL, OWU’s literary magazine and The Transcript.

If you’re an English major worried about how much money you’ll make, you could have the wrong idea about that as well.

“English majors tend to outpace other majors in terms of money … English majors make less at first and more money later on,” Demarco said.

U.S. immigration policy was open hand, now closed fist

Hailey de la Vera

Transcript Correspondent

One of President Donald Trump’s major campaign promises turned into policy has been to limit undocumented immigrants from coming into the U.S. from Mexico and Central America.

And while the number of Mexican immigrants has slowed, since 2013 the number of people coming from the Northern Triangle of Central America – El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – has increased dramatically.

Erinn Nicley, a political science professor at Western Governors University, who has studied in the Northern Triangle, kicked off the Great Decisions 2020 weekly lecture series Friday at the William Street United Methodist Church.  He focused on the history of U.S. intervention in these countries, along with major challenges for our foreignrelations and the current migration situation.

Nicley started with a question to the audience: “Who do we want to be as people in our relationship with our central American neighbors? Do we address this in Central America, here at home, or do we simply look the other way?”

Nicley said Trump revoked President Obama’s immigration policy, moving from an open hand to a closed fist. But U.S. relations must find the balance between development, immigration and security programs for change to occur, he said.

Since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 laid the groundwork for expansion, the U.S. has intervened in Central American by actively helping overthrow governments, defending authoritarian rulers and abusive military operations, funding right-wing paramilitary groups and turning a blind eye to the commission of human-rights atrocities, Nicley explained.

The modern-day experience of the Northern Triangle relies on three conditions: political, economic and social life. Often these countries are enveloped in weak political institutions and driven by corrupt political leaders.  Furthermore, the countries gross domestic product rates are the lowest in the Western Hemisphere and they lack a middle class, he said.

Due to these factors, the countries “become a breeding ground for crime,” Nicely said. He also suggested “we take partnership to improve the quality of life for the Northern Triangle countries.”

During Obama’s administration, the U.S. allowed immigrants into America who came from broken homes or who sought escape in the wake of natural disasters. Ever since the Great Recession in 2008, the number of Mexican immigrants has decreased, but there has been a drastic increase in Northern Triangle immigration. However, Trump instituted a zero tolerance policy, which has changed the immigration flow.

In the past, immigration from the Northern Triangle was made up of single males emigrating for better opportunities. Presently, entire families and unaccompanied minors search for a better life in the U.S. due to the global belief in the “American Dream,” but many are stopped at the border, Nicley said.

Last week’s presentation marked the 40th anniversary of the Great Decision series and the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters, said Corinne Lyman, a retired politics and government professor at OWU,who organized the lecture series.

The topic for the Friday, Feb. 21, discussion is “Artificial Intelligence and Data” featuring David Staley, associate history professor and director of The Humanities Institute, The Ohio State University.

Police asked to step up patrols after more campus racial incidents

Katie Cantrell

Connor Severino

Transcript correspondents

The Delaware Police Department has been asked to increase its patrols of Ohio Wesleyan’s campus in the wake of two racially-charged incidents this week.

The request comes after local police and OWU Public Safety responded to two, separate race-related episodes. Last year, racially-tainted incidents occurred on campus in both the spring and fall semesters.

The most recent episodes occurred in Bashford Hall over the weekend where someone wrote a racially offensive word on a community bulletin board and tore a poster in half, which showed an African American student.

And just before midnight Tuesday, an older man in an olive-green coat and jeans near South Liberty Street and Rowland Avenue yelled a racial epithet and pointed at three students, one white, one black and one Asian. The man ran off behind nearby houses when a PS officer responded.

OWU President Rock Jones and Dwayne Todd, vice president for Student Engagement and Success, were unavailable for comment, but Cole Hatcher, OWU’s director of Media and Community Relations, said the university has zero tolerance for these sorts of episodes.

Meanwhile, Delaware police have been asked to boost their nightly patrols, he said.

“There is no evidence to prove these issues are tied together, but there is some pattern forming here,” Hatcher said. “When an incident like this occurs, it’s important to make sure the students feel comfortable enough to be able to address these types of issues, along with addressing these concerns right away.”

Residential Life office has been meeting with students living at Bashford Hall to discuss any concerns, he said.

Both PS and Delaware police said the two recent incidents are likely unrelated.

“We have no reason to believe either of these two incidents are related to each other and would encourage anyone that might have additional information to give us a call on our tip line,” said Delaware police Capt. Adam Moore.

Sean Bolender, OWU’s PS director, said no additional information has been obtained.

“Students should never hesitate to contact us when they experience any situation where they don’t feel safe and need assistance,” Bolender said. “Our primary objective is to collaborate with Delaware PD to identify individuals engaged in this behavior.”

Should a suspect be identified as a person not associated with OWU, the administration can generate a no-trespass order barring them from campus, Bolender said.

The most recent incidents follow the vandalism of a diversity bulletin board in Hayes Hall last spring and the posting of 25 stickers with pro-white messages linked to the white supremacist group Patriot Front in November.

Patriot Front has been described as an organization that embraces racism and intolerance. Similar incidents occurred around the same time in November at The Ohio State University and reportedly at other college campuses.

After the stickers were removed, OWU created nine unique diversity posters and placed them around campus. A campus gathering was also held to create community and send a strong message that division and white supremacism is unwelcome. A new series of posters under the ONE OWU Campaign are being created now, said Juan Armando Rojas Joo, campus’ chief diversity officer.

Anyone possessing information related to these incidents can contact PS at 740-368-2222 or the Delaware police tip line at 740-203-1112.

OWU Radio boosts programs, seeks listeners and hosts

Azmeh Talha

Transcript Editor

It’s been a big year for OWU Radio.

The student-run broadcast station, found online here, grew from eight shows to over 20 within a year.

Sophomore Henry Tikkanen, OWU Radio’s general manager, has led the way in boosting the number of shows and generating creativity at the station. He also schedules the programs.

“The shows that incorporate music play a wide variety of music and usually answer questions from listeners,” he said. “Some also prepare a topic and invite guests on to discuss it or discuss it with a co-host for an hour.”

OWU Radio has a plethora of diverse radio shows that can be found online.

“We have some that just play music,” said sophomore Max Peckinpaugh, the marketing manager. “We have a couple podcasts where they just talk about a topic for the whole hour; we have some that play music and talk, so just a wide variety of everything, really.”

Tikkanen co-hosts an alternative music show with Peckinpaugh at 6 p.m. Thursdays, that includes taking listener questions.

“My show is called “Silky Smooth Radio” even though most of our music isn’t smooth,” Tikkanen said.

OWU Radio broadcast its first Student Involvement Fair Jan. 29, Peckinpaugh said. It recruited 10 people who signed up to host their own radio shows.

The average number of listeners varies depending on the week and showtime. A rough estimate is between 15-20 listeners, Peckinpaugh said. The station’s aim is to draw more listeners.

“We’ve noticed that it’s a lot of just like personal, like family members or friends they know,” Peckinpaugh said.

The radio’s focus this semester is to get more women involved. Currently, only two women host a show.

Junior Anna McReynolds co-hosts “And That’s The Tea,” with freshman Sophia Gabriel at 8 p.m. Thursdays. They pick a theme and play music accordingly.

“In between songs we talk or read quotes,” McReynolds said.

McReynolds said she often encourages more young women to host shows.

“They are super fun and a great way to relax and take a break during the week,” McReynolds said.

David Soliday, an instructional technologist for OWU’s Information Services, also co-hosts a show called “Dancing for Change” with his son, Todd, a former OWU student.

Their show, which airs at 9 p.m. on Mondays, is upbeat and promotes positive messages, such as sustainability, peace and justice. Along with playing music, the Solidays discuss why they choose the songs and the messages behind them. For instance, with Valentine’s Day on Friday, Monday’s broadcast focused on love.

“We played ‘Cupid’s Shuffle’ just for fun,” David Soliday said. “That’s kind of typical Valentine’s Day stuff.”

The Solidays also played religious music about love such as “Give Love” by MC Yogi.

“It’s more of an Eastern, religious message, God is love, love is the force between us all,” the elder Soliday said.

He has worked with the radio since 2010. When he started, the station was an FM broadcast. Currently, radio shows are online and there’s also a Spotify account.

“Hopefully, we’ll get the DJs to be putting their playlists on Spotify and people can find them that way,” Soliday said.

OWU service tradition continues in new Small Living Unit

Meg Edwards

Transcript correspondent

Service to others will once again be the central theme for a Small Living Unit (SLU) on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan.

The former home of the House of Peace and Justice, 94 B Rowland Ave. will be occupied in the fall by the House of Service, Education, and Learning (SEAL). Freshmen Grace Ison and Carissa Silet proposed the house to the office of Residential Life in January and were approved to start looking for new members that same month.

It’s a significant development. OWU has been without a community service-based SLU, but it was one of three universities awarded the President’s Honor Roll’s Excellence Award for General Community Service in 2009 under the direction of Sue Pasters, the former director of Community Service Learning.

Last week, an open house event drew about 20 prospective house members, according to Silet. She said living with other people dedicated to service would be exciting and motivating.

“We want everyone to be involved,” she said. “You don’t have to live in the house to be involved with everything that we want to do.”

Ison, who will be the moderator of SEAL, said service is important to her because she enjoys being able to do something for others and it gives her  “ … new perspectives in the world and makes me rethink my priorities and my goals.”

SEAL is only the latest development in a longer history of service at Ohio Wesleyan.

Sally Leber, director of Service Learning, remembers when the House of H.O.P.E. was still on campus. H.O.P.E. was an acronym for Helping Others Pursue Education. While SEAL provides broad opportunities for students to pursue different kinds of service, H.O.P.E. provided regular tutoring in various academic areas.

Since she inherited the program in 2011, Leber said the number of students coming into her office has continued to grow. Over 1,000 Ohio Wesleyan students participated in service last semester.

Leber said she is excited to see a service-oriented SLU again.

“I believe in the collective power of the SLUs to do service. I have seen it happen,” she said.

Club Circle K is one existing service group at Ohio Wesleyan, meeting biweekly to create craft-like service projects, in addition to volunteering in the Delaware community.

Circle K has organized blood drives and canned food collections on campus, but its co-president, junior Emma Neeper said service doesn’t have to be a big event.

“[Service] is doing things that are within your power to make someone else’s life a little bit less gloomy,” she said. “Imagine how much of a better place the world would be if, for every bad thing that happens to someone, they did two good things for someone else.”

On campus health program delivers physical and social benefit

Hailey De La Vara

Arts and Entertainment Editor

For one nationally recognized health program at Ohio Wesleyan the social rewards can be on par with the physical benefits.

FitOWU, aka “Noon Fit,” is a wellness and training program taught by OWU students that is available to current and retired OWU faculty, staff and others on campus.

And the American College of Sports Medicine recently recognized the program, qualifying it for the Exercise is Medicine designation, a global health initiative to make physical activity assessment a standard in clinical care.

Nancy Knop, a former professor of health and human kinetics, started the program in 2004. Andrew Busch, an assistant professor in health and human kinetics, took the reins of the program in 2016.

The goal of FitOWU is to provide many types of fitness programs throughout the academic year at a minimum $30 semester fee, regardless of the participants’ fitness level. About 45-50 people are taking advantage of the program this semester.

Busch said the program is more than just a fitness resource, it also has a big social aspect.

“We have an intermediate group that is made up of all women and some of them have been coming since the start,” he said. “They enjoy it so much because they get to see each other an extra three times per week.

Classes include resistance training, which meet at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  FitOWU also offers yoga, swimming and cycling classes.

For student trainers, the program is an upper-level health and human kinetics course and usually two trainers manage each fitness group level.

Junior trainer Xavier Sarver thinks the program is just as beneficial to students as it is to faculty.

“Being a trainer of FitOWU gives us a chance to interact with the faculty and the locals and they are helping us just as much as we are helping them,” Sarver said.

Students have some leniency in creating workouts for the participants, so they can get a feel for being accountable to their clientele, and they are assessed as the training takes place, Busch said.

”During the first half of the semester I give the students the training recipe and by the second half of the semester they get more leniency with adapting their own workout movements into their teachings,” he said.

Senior trainer Emily VanDermark said the program gives students the chance to put themselves in a real work environment.

“It’s a nice way to put yourself in a professional environment without having to go out and apply for an internship or job,” VanDermark said.

A winning culture lands Coach Martin into Hall of Fame

Peter Lujan

Transcript Sports Editor

He reached the pinnacle of success with a simple formula – just do the job. Of course, having great players didn’t hurt, either.

Jay Martin, Ohio Wesleyan’s men’s soccer coach for the last 43 years, has 708 wins, the most in NCAA men’s soccer history, two NCAA Division III championships, and countless other achievements under his belt.

On Jan. 18, he was inducted into the United Soccer Coaches Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors coaches on all levels of the sport – professional, college and high school, has been around since 1941 and includes just 66 people, Martin said.

“All I’ve tried to do in 43 years is my job and I’ve tried to do my job the best I possibly can, and to be respected by your peers enough to go into the hall of fame is really, to me, big time. It’s the biggest achievement I think a coach can have,” Martin said.

Martin credited the players who contributed to his success.

“You don’t get inducted into a Hall of Fame with lousy players,” Martin said.

The feeling is mutual for many players, like midfielder Hector Gomez.

“He not only is a coach but he is like a second father. The way he cares about his players is like no other,” Gomez said.“You know you can always count on him for anything and that’s because that’s the culture he has built around our soccer program.”

Players often decide to come to Ohio Wesleyan and play for Martin because they recognize his caring and style, which is to focus on the player and help the team form bonds.

“We have a culture up here that emphasizes intrinsic motivation,” he said. “We’re about relationships, we’re about empowerment, it’s their program. The best thing about Ohio Wesleyan is the students, without question.”

With such success, and so many accomplishments, Martin has seen his fair share of offers from other programs, yet his loyalty to Ohio Wesleyan has never wavered.

“I’ve had opportunities to leave here over the last 43 years, but every time I’ve gone to look at another place, it reinforces in my mind what a great place Ohio Wesleyan is,” Martin said. “I enjoy coaching. To me, coaching is an extension of teaching. As long as I am healthy and feel that I am doing the job, then I will continue to coach.”

Senior forward Ryan Roberts said Martin helps players set standards and goals that help them stay focused.

“It’s been a pleasure being coached by Jay Martin. I’ve not only become a better player, but a better individual as well,”Roberts said. “Within this program is a culture of brotherhood and family which can never be taken away.”

The team made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament last season and Martin said he has high hope for next season too, starting with the opening match.

“Goals for next year? Winning the first game of the season,” he said.

Students inspired by trips abroad

Caitlin Jefferson

Transcript correspondent

Ohio Wesleyan students pack their bags every semester for adventures in countries all over the world and fall 2019 was no exception, with 35 students leaving Delaware to study in exotic regions.

Three of them, each with unique experiences, said the experience helped ground them, expanded their vision of the world along with international relations and politics and taught them independence.

Junior Kacie Howell, from Columbus, studied at Richmond International American University in London through the American Institute for Foreign Study program.

Howell studied psychology in her cognitive and personality classes. She also took sociology and examined London’s culture and subculture.

“Studying abroad in London gave me the opportunity to grow as a person, travel the world and gain a bigger perspective of psychology in other countries,” Howell said.

On weekends and mid-semester break, Howell also traveled to Paris, Milan, Venice, Rome, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

“Most of the students I met were from the East Coast and we would travel together,” Howell said. “I had a big friend group abroad.”

Howell is a first generation college student and being in London was the first time she was far from home, which she said was difficult at times.

“One of my favorite parts of being abroad was going to Italy, as I studied Italian in high school,” Howell said.

She could not go to Italy while she was in high school and she was shocked to get there.

“I started crying happy tears when I landed in Italy because I was very humbled and excited,” Howell said. “Everything seemed unreal, especially being in the Vatican.”

Howell said she was not in the best place mentally before she left and being abroad helped her discover new perspectives.

“I really found myself on this trip and I feel more mature; I learned how to better treat myself and others,” Howell said.

Junior Billy Lewis from Madison, New Jersey traveled to Ireland at Arcadia University – University of College Cork to study international political science.

“Studying in Cork was a neat experience that let me get a better feel of a world view of politics and international relations, as well as new perspectives,” Lewis said.

Similar to Howell, Lewis traveled during the weekends to many places such as Paris, London and Rome.

“I took a class called political ideologies, which was very interesting because my teacher was an anarchist, which meant that he did not believe in social hierarchy or forms of government,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ school had mostly commuter students, so the weekdays in the city of Cork were crowded.

“The other students I met were from all over the United States and I also became close with Irish kids since I played for the university’s club tennis team,” Lewis said.

Lewis was sometimes teased by the Irish kids for his American accent and use of American terms.

“I would use American terms in tennis such as ‘FBI,’ meaning first ball in, which they did not understand,” Lewis said “However, they were very welcoming and asked me to teach them some American terms.”

Junior Paige Hunter from Westerville attended the University of Salamanca through the OWU Spanish Program. She studied basic general education courses taught in Spanish.

“My favorite part of being abroad was getting to speak Spanish all the time, as well as travel a lot, which was exciting,” Hunter said.

Hunter said she learned to be more independent, which inspired new travel aspirations. Hunter said her classes were interesting, but not too demanding, which allowed her to focus on cultural experiences around Salamanca.

“I was in the international studies department for my classes, so I was surrounded by American, Canadian, Japanese, and Chinese students, as well as someone from the Netherlands,” Hunter said.