4-10-20 Message to Community


Many groups continue to reach out to current and incoming students. We have called thousands of students and have heard many tales of resilience and gratitude. Our students understand how challenging this situation has been, and how diligently we worked to do what we could given the circumstances. Most are eager to return to our beautiful campus and miss being able to interact personally with friends, classmates, staff, and faculty.  Likewise, I know we all miss seeing our students, colleagues, and friends. Stay strong- what we are doing to keep everyone safe is making a difference.

Topics for today:

  1. Credit/No Credit for honors courses
  2. IUC provosts
  3. Promising trends from EMSS
  4. Boldly Creative #2
  5. Grant awards up about 10%

Credit/No Credit 
Honor students now have the option to take Honors courses with the Credit/No Credit option during the current Spring Semester. The message has been shared with students and all details can be found here. Many thanks to all our great staff who made this happen!

IUC Provost discussion: 
The IUC (Ohio public) provosts have been in frequent contact discussing our situations and approaches to all the COVID-19 challenges. Some highlights from these conversations:

  • We are discussing how to begin opening campuses when Governor rescinds the "Stay at Home" executive order;
  • Most schools around the country are announcing online classes for at least part of the summer; Miami has announced we will deliver online courses through the summer to serve our students needs even if we are able to open campus after June;
  • Most are scrutinizing hiring; many, like us, continue to hire or offer contracts as needs become evident;
  • There are indications that international students want to attend Ohio schools but are concerned about obtaining a visa for the start of the semester;
  • We are talking about working collectively with accreditation bodies to ensure we can appropriately respond to COVID-19 while supporting our students who are adjusting to requirements that reflect our current reality
  • HLC, our regional accreditation body,has indicated it will continue to work with institutions to support reasonable needs as COVID-19 continues.

Promising News from EMSS:
We remain optimistic about our Class of 2024. Confirmations are above our three-year moving average even though students now have an extra month until the deadline. Our team continues working with families experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19. We have received over 150 donations to our student emergency fund, and many other donors are providing more support for scholarships. We cannot allow the mis-representations in the media to become the narrative for Miami. We will thrive because of our very strong reputation, our dedicated staff and visionary faculty, our corporate partners, and our passionate and committed supporters around the globe.

Boldly Creative Round #2:
Our deans met this week to review the final BC#2 proposals and each team will receive feedback soon. We thank each team for their excellent work on these visionary ideas. Those approved have the potential to create robust revenue streams or materially enhance our reputation and recruiting. Boldly Creative round #3 is still being evaluated and we expect by the end of the month to have invitations for full proposals. These investments will ensure we remain a destination for future students.

Sponsored programs awards up 10%:
Over last year as we head toward one of our best years for external funds in a while. It is also likely that the coming year will have enhanced grant opportunities as part of a stimulus package. Join me in congratulating some of our recent awardees:

  • Carole Dabney Smith, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was awarded $433,500 by NIH. Her three-year project will examine a protein transport system that bacteria, such as the ones that cause tuberculosis and ulcers, rely on to infect humans.
  • Hailiang Dong, professor in the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science, was awarded nearly $312,000 by NSF. His three-year project, seeks to resolve a longstanding paradox between what is understood about how the nitrogen gas that is necessary for life on earth becomes bioavailable and contradictory evidence in the geologic record.
  • Sarah Woodruff, director of the Discovery Center for Evaluation, Research, and Professional Learning, and Cricket Meehan, director of the Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs, were awarded more than $313,500 by the Ohio Department of Education. They will examine efforts by Ohio school districts to implement student wellness and success initiatives and recommend best practices for future implementation of such programs.
  • Katie Johnson, professor in the Department of English, and Scott Kenworthy, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Religion, were awarded prestigious and highly competitive Summer Stipends by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both faculty members will use their stipends to research and write books. Johnson's book is about interracial collaboration in theater in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, while Kenworthy's is a biography of Patriarch Tikhon Bellavin, head of the Orthodox Church during the Russian Revolution. 

Toward a brighter future:  March was a tough month. As we count down toward finals, we know everyone is exhausted, not only from the stress of what we are dealing with at work, but because of worry over the health and safety of our loved ones and those who are suffering. Please continue to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

While we are often surrounded by negativity, fear, and anxiety, we are also surrounded by uncountable acts of kindness, generosity, and goodness. It is easy to succumb to negativity, but I urge you to consider how fortunate we are, even during these dark times. Whatever job you hold at Miami, your job is to help change the world, one student at a time. We create positive change and all work to leave the world better than we found it.   

Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth, beauty, and growth. I hope each of you can focus on all the positive things in our lives during this time. 

Love and Honor,
Jason Osborne

Don't forget that all resources related to COVID-19 are available at our one-stop web page: coronavirus/index.html.