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.”

Amy A. McClure, Recipient of the Adam Poe Medal

Dr. Amy McClure, Rodefer Professor of Education, has served the Ohio Wesleyan faculty for 40 years. Books have been a constant in Dr. McClure’s life. As a child in Coral Gables, Florida, she was reprimanded for staying up too late reading under the covers with a flashlight, and she and her sister organized their books into a lending library for other neighborhood children.

She attended Ohio Wesleyan as an undergraduate, where she was a history major and honors student. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board (leadership honorary), Phi Alpha Theta (history honorary), and served as president of Panhellenic Council. At Ohio Wesleyan, she fell in love with economics major and future OWU part-time instructor Rusty McClure. They met when Amy’s pledge class visited the Delta Tau Delta house freshman year. A mosaic heart on Delt house floor commemorates the exact spot where Amy and Rusty met 50 years ago.

After earning her Master of Arts in Teaching at Emory University, Dr. McClure began her professional career teaching elementary students in all grades and serving as a reading specialist in Lynnfield, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and London, Ohio. During this time, she earned the Martha Holden Jennings Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching and the Outstanding Young Career Woman award from Business and Professional Women.

Dr. McClure went on to earn her Master of Arts in Reading and her Ph.D. in Children’s Literature from The Ohio State University, where her dissertation on children’s responses to poetry earned the National Dissertation of the Year award from both Kappa Delta Pi and the National Council of Teachers of English. As a graduate student, she studied school desegregation, children’s intellectual freedom, children’s theoretical understandings of poetry, and other topics related to children’s literature and reading development.

Dr. McClure joined Ohio Wesleyan in 1979 as a part-time faculty member and was made tenure-track in 1981. Her first term as department chair started just three years later, and she has served as chair for 15 of her 40 years, leading the department through its first national accreditation review.

She has served the University as co-director of the Honors Program for over 30 years, creating a Student Honors Board, initiating an Honors center, and facilitating an Honors Program redesign in 2018-2019. She has taught multiple honors courses and tutorials, including War and Peace in Children’s Literature and The Roots of Fantasy in Children’s Literature, and supervised multiple independent studies and Departmental Honors projects.

She has served on almost every faculty governance committee, and chaired the Faculty Personnel and Academic Status committees. Dr. McClure has been honored for her contributions to Ohio Wesleyan as a recipient of the Bishop Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award, Robert K. Marshall Award (outstanding campus service by faculty), Spirit of Arête Award (Panhellenic Council award), and Ohio Council of Teachers of English Language Arts College Professor of the Year. She received a Scholarly Leave grant and numerous other grants to support her research. However, her most cherished joy has been nurturing OWU students to become excellent literacy teachers and enthusiastic book lovers.

Dr. McClure’s contributions extend well beyond campus. She is the past-president of the Ohio Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Ohio Association of Private Colleges of Teacher Education, the National Children’s Literature Assembly, the Children’s Literature SIG of the International Reading Association, and the Ohio Council of the International Reading Association. She has chaired multiple committees for national literacy organizations, and was elected as a member of the 2013 Newbery Award Committee.

Over the course of her career, she has served as an editor or on the editorial board for seven publications, published seven books on children’s literature including Sunrises and Songs: Reading and Writing Poetry in an Elementary Classroom and Teaching Children’s Literature in an Era of Standards, and authored more than 40 articles and book chapters. She serves on the Board of Directors for KIPP Academy, and A Good Start School, a summer literacy partnership program for underserved children entering kindergarten.

Amy and Rusty are parents to Haileigh McClure Roby and Kaci McClure Roby, and doting grandparents to Nash and Knox, with another grandchild due in November.

Nine faculty retire from OWU

Ted Cohen, a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology (SOAN), retired at the May commencement ceremony.

Cohen, who was hired in 1984, estimated he had taught roughly 6,000 to 7,000 students during his time at OWU.

“I wish I had an accurate count,” Cohen said.

Senior Alyssa Acevedo described him as a passionate professor, which made is easy for her to learn from him.

“He also helped me with one of my internships and he was my apprentice teacher who also advised me throughout that time and really helped me find the career that I really want to go into,” Acevedo said.

Not only did Cohen teach at the institution, but his wife and two children are also familiar with the campus.

Cohen’s son, Dante Santino (’09) and daughter Allison Cohen (’10) both majored in sociology and anthropology at the university. Allison Cohen took three classes with him, Cohen said.

Cohen’s late wife, Susan, worked as an archivist and curator of the United Methodist
collection for roughly 20 years, he said.

Cohen described the SOAN department as a “very stable family,” because he had been working with people in the department ever since he started.

Cohen will miss his colleagues and his students after retirement.

Alper Yalçinkaya, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, worked with Cohen since his arrival to the institution in 2010. Cohen was the first person Yalçinkaya met at OWU.

“He made it extremely easy for me to feel happy at this institution,” Yalçinkaya said.

“It’s been a wonderfully fulfilling place to be,” Cohen said. “And very supportive place
to be.”

After retirement, Cohen plans to move to New Jersey. He will also teach part-time at The College of New Jersey and to teach online summer school course for OWU. He also plans on working on a new edition of his textbook, The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society.

Also, retiring at the 2019 commencement were: Mary T. Howard, a 35-year professor of Sociology-Anthropology; Gerald Goldstein, a 36-year professor of botany and microbiology; Alan Zaring, a 29-year professor of computer science; John Gatz, a 44-year professor of zoology; Lynette Carpenter, a 30-year professor of English and film studies: Amy McClure, a 40-year professor of education; Paul Kostyu, a 20-year associate professor of journalism; and instructor Tom Burns, a 21-year instructor of English.

Clinton hopes for future with debt-free college experience

By Cirrus Robinson, Transcript Correspondent

Tuition for Ohio’s four­-year universities rose by five percent, or by $523, since 2008.

Pressure from college-­age voters and paying parents rests on the major 2016 presidential candidates to make shifts in debt percentages and the quality of higher education for future generations.

The elimination of tuition and a utopian future with debt ­free college is the vision that democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has prided herself on since the beginning of her campaign trail.

Facing much criticism, her administration laid a concrete plan to restore and expand Pell Grants to cover low and middle-class families in their possible debts, set an income requirement for those who would be exempt from tuition costs and to create on­-campus work mandates to help relieve the cost of student attendance.

Clinton looks to galvanize millennial voters to get the majority on board with her efforts for college students.

“What we’ve been basically doing on this campus is trying to register voters on campus and make sure they are registered at the right address,” said freshman Evan Williams, a contributor to OWU’s student efforts to increase student participation in the upcoming election.

OWU students seem to favor Clinton or Gary Johnson, Williams said.

“But our real goal is to make sure people have the right address and access to information they need,” he said.”

Republican candidate Donald Trump, however, has made less explicit notions about plans for higher education in terms of finance.

His administration has given few specifics, but hint that his stance during the fall campaign will greatly contrast that of the Clinton campaign in terms of debt­ free tuition.

He criticizes logical backing for her motives, particularly regarding funding and legislation for loans.

“Many of the ideas on which the Trump campaign is working involve a complete overhaul of the federal student loan system,” wrote Sam Clovis, policy director of Trump’s campaign, for Inside Higher Ed.

“Moving the government out of lending and restoring that role to private banks, as was the case before President Clinton partially and President Obama fully shifted loan origination from private lenders to the government.”

This outline would theoretically allow local banks to lend to students within their geographical reach, and to wield more power in deciding which students are deserving of dollars based on not only their current status, but also what they can hypothetically achieve in the future.

This would likely make loans more exclusive based on degree of need and prospective majors, as it works toward spending less federal money on loans that will not result in economic product.

Gary Johnson, the prospective third­ party and libertarian candidate, has stressed the elimination of Common Core and a majority of policies that give the federal government access to all standards of education.

He proposes terminating the Board of Education to give both secondary and higher education students the opportunity to be directed and given opportunities locally, rather than under federal mandates.

The upcoming fall election leaves room for all candidates to provide their final thoughts and proposals in the college controversy.