News from Ohio Wesleyan

By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan junior Josh Martineau (left) used a university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support his work in Costa Rica with an organization that helps women refugees seeking to start businesses. (Photo courtesy of Josh Martineau)

Ohio Wesleyan junior Josh Martineau (left) used a university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support his work in Costa Rica with an organization that helps women refugees seeking to start businesses. (Photo courtesy of Josh Martineau)


Event to Feature OWU Basketball, Delaware Expo, Columbus Zoo Animals, YMCA Play Area

DELAWARE – You’re invited to join the Bishop Backers on Feb. 17 for Community Day 2018, a free Delaware celebration held in Ohio Wesleyan University’s Branch Rickey Arena and Gordon Field House, 105 S. Sandusky St., Delaware.

The family-friendly event will include free parking and free admission to an Ohio Wesleyan varsity men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader (with a canned food donation) and a Delaware Expo showcasing local nonprofit organizations and businesses.

Both the Battling Bishop men’s and women’s teams will take on the Gators of Allegheny College, with the women’s game tipping off at 1 p.m. and the men’s game following at 3 p.m.

The expo will be open from noon to 3:30 p.m. and will feature an indoor children’s play with Gaga pits (a gentler form of dodgeball) and a bounce house courtesy of the Delaware Community Center YMCA. The expo also will include a visit from Columbus Zoo animals at 2:15 p.m. and opportunities throughout the day to meet Ohio Wesleyan athletes, play OWU miniature golf, and sign up for free raffles with prizes including a big-screen TV.

Community Day is intended to bring people together for a free afternoon of entertainment and education, building on the strong sense of cooperation and collaboration that makes Delaware such a great community. The expo also will help businesses and community service organizations connect with potential customers and volunteers, including Ohio Wesleyan students and alumni.

All canned food donations collected at the event will benefit the Delaware County Hunger Alliance, which collaborates with organizations countywide to help address hunger and food insecurity issues. Learn more about the alliance, a United Way of Delaware County initiative, at

Those wishing to have a table at the expo are asked to register before Feb. 5. Registration is free for nonprofit organizations. For-profit businesses are asked to contribute a minimum $10 gift card to be used for event raffles. Registrants will be provided with a table and two chairs. Expo registration forms are available online at

The Bishop Backers is an organization of community advocates interested in sharing information about OWU athletics and other events at Ohio Wesleyan and in connecting potential student-volunteers, interns, and employees with local organizations.


Historian, University of Michigan Professor to Speak Feb. 12 at Ohio Wesleyan

DELAWARE, Ohio – Historian Ronald Grigor Suny, Ph.D., will discuss the World War I-era Armenian Genocide when he speaks next month at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Suny, the William H. Sewell Jr. Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Michigan, will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 in Room 312 of the R.W. Corns Building, 78 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. His presentation represents Ohio Wesleyan’s biennial Robert Kragalott Lecture on Genocide, Mass Atrocity, and Human Rights.

Suny’s books include “ ‘They Live in the Desert But Nowhere Else’: A History of the Armenian Genocide,” released in paperback in May.

Describing Suny’s book, reviewer Norman Naimark states: “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that there is no one else in the world who is better able than Ronald Suny to provide a one-volume history of the Armenian Genocide. This is the best book we have on the subject. The narrative is fluid, the writing is crystal clear and engaging, and the scholarship is impeccable. Scrupulously fair-minded, Suny deepens our understanding of the causes of the genocide without, however, rationalizing it.”

In the book, Suny draws on archival documents and eyewitness accounts, creating what his publishers deem “an unforgettable chronicle of a cataclysm that set a tragic pattern for a century of genocide and crimes against humanity.”

At the University of Michigan, Suny’s fields of study include Russian, Armenian, Caucasian history, nationalism, empire, ethnic conflict, and genocide. He also is the Emeritus Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Chicago and Senior Researcher at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He was the first holder of the Alex Manoogian Chair in Modern American History at the University of Michigan, where he founded and directed the Armenian Studies Program.

Suny currently is working on a co-authored history of Russia titled “Russia’s Empires,” a two-volume biography of Stalin, and a series of historiographical essays on Soviet history.

He has served as a chairman of the Society for Armenian Studies and on the editorial boards of Slavic Review, International Labor and Working-Class History, International Journal of Middle East Studies, and The Armenian Review among others. He has appeared on the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, CBS Evening News, CNN, Voice of America, and National Public Radio, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers and journals.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Kragalott Lecture honors the career, contributions, and memory of Robert Kragalott, Ph.D., a professor in the OWU Department of History from 1964 to 1991. In years when lectures are not held, the endowment supports a student research project supervised by a faculty member. Learn more at


Presidential Leadership Grant to Support Interdisciplinary Team Teaching

DELAWARE – How about a class that mashes up marine biology and mathematics? Or one that combines music composition and computer science?

Ohio Wesleyan University has received a $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support “enhancing interdisciplinarity” – an initiative by OWU professors to create classes that combine different academic areas with team teaching to deepen the educational experience for students.

“The grant has two major prongs,” said Ashley Biser, Ph.D., associate dean for faculty development. “The first is to support up to 15 team-taught courses over the next few years, and the second is to bring together the faculty to brainstorm about how to integrate more interdisciplinarity into our curriculum.”

Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said understanding topics and issues from multiple academic perspectives helps students think creatively as they search for innovative, well-reasoned solutions.

“The hallmark of a well-rounded liberal arts graduate is a holistic knowledge of many academic disciplines,” Jones said. “This foundation is even more important today as we prepare students to address the vexing, complex challenges of the 21st century. This initiative will focus on our general education curriculum and, we anticipate, ultimately expand to encompass our 90 majors.”

The 21-month Mellon Foundation grant, and the planning it supports, will continue to enhance The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan’s signature student experience. The OWU Connection is the university’s guided, personalized, four-year degree path that combines interdisciplinary learning with international, hands-on internship, research, and study-abroad opportunities. University funding is available to support many of these connection experiences through venues including competitive Theory-to-Practice Grants. Learn more at

Biser said faculty who already have created team-taught courses are excited about the educational innovation and eager to expand the initiative using the Presidential Leadership Grant.

These faculty include zoology professor Amy Downing, Ph.D., and mathematics professor Craig Jackson, Ph.D., who collaborated to create “Marine Biology and Mathematical Modeling in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Their OWU Connection course included a weeklong travel component, enabling students to study in class and on the island of St. John the properties of oceans, productivity and energy flow, plant and animal diversity, and human impacts on marine systems combined with a look at how mathematical models of biological phenomena can improve our understanding of marine ecosystems.

Of the team-taught, interdisciplinary course, Downing said: “Having undergraduates get that experience where both math and biology are taught in a very integrated fashion is a very different experience than a traditional undergraduate gets.”

Watch the professors and their students discuss the Travel-Learning Course at Learn more about enrolling at Ohio Wesleyan at

Ohio Wesleyan Awards Six Theory-to-Practice Grants

Newest University-Funded Grants to Support OWU Connection Experiences in Five Countries

DELAWARE – From megavirus research in Iceland to music composition in Italy, Ohio Wesleyan University’s latest round of competitive Theory-to-Practice Grants will support educational experiences in five countries.

The university today announced it is awarding six grants totaling $50,000 to enable 12 students and three faculty members to complete OWU Connection experiences. Since fall 2009, more than 800 Ohio Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff have earned the university-funded grants to conduct research or complete special projects in more than 60 countries.

Ohio Wesleyan junior Josh Martineau used a university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support his working in Costa Rica for a month with the non-governmental organization (NGO), Fundación Mujer. The organization helps women refugees seeking to start businesses.

“[T]his experience gave me a preview as to how a non-governmental organization runs and is structured in other countries,” said Martineau, who is pursuing majors in international business and Spanish and a minor in politics and government.

“After reflecting on my experience,” he said, “I am considering pursuing a career with a company that helps their community through microcredit and similar services.”

Ohio Wesleyan awards four rounds of Theory-to-Practice Grants funding each academic year. Here are the second round of fall 2017 grant recipients and their projects:

“Investigating the Prevalence of Megaviruses in Iceland,” submitted by junior Delanie Baker of Santa Paula, California. Baker will travel to Iceland for a month in June and July to work to fill in current gaps in knowledge about the Megavirales order of giant viruses. Following specialized training at the University of Akureyri, she will collect samples from volcanic soil, fresh water, salt water, and sand to isolate and identify as part of a botany-microbiology independent study course.

“Studying Spindly Leg Syndrome in Endangered Panamanian Frogs,” submitted by junior Eva Blockstein of Takoma Park, Maryland. Blockstein will volunteer for eight weeks in June, July, and August at the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center. She will collaborate with Brian Gratwicke, Ph.D., on his research into the musculoskeletal abnormality and conduct independent research into Panama’s biodiversity.

“A Summer of Both Theories & Practices of Performance,” submitted by junior Ares Harper of Columbus, Ohio. Harper will travel to New York City in June to spend a month studying with one of the pioneering American practitioners of avant-garde theater in the 21st century. The advanced workshop will focus on the depth and breadth of the power of theater as a process and product.

“From Notes to Sound: Contemporary Composition in Alba, Italy,” submitted by Jennifer Jolley, D.M.A., assistant professor of music, with music composition students Noah Green, a freshman from Granville, Ohio, and sophomores Jess Martich of Grafton, Ohio, and Mi So Yoo of Seoul, South Korea. The group will travel to Italy in May and June, attend the Alba Music Festival Composition Program, where they will participate in masterclasses and workshops on topics ranging from elements of compositional craft to career issues. They also will work with the SOLI Chamber Ensemble, the ensemble-in-residence at the program.

“A Collective Study of French Imperialism: The Cultural Tools and Consequences of Colonialism as Seen in Paris and Southern France,” submitted by Mary Anne Lewis Cusato, Ph.D., assistant professor of modern foreign languages, with David Counselman, Ph.D., associate professor of Spanish, and students Allie Eynon, a junior from Dublin, Ohio; Raissa Kanku, a sophomore from the Democratic Republic of Congo; Paris Norman, a sophomore from Cleveland, Ohio; Farida Rezk, a sophomore from Columbus, Ohio; and Caroline Shaffer, a junior from Murphysboro, Illinois. The group will travel to France for a week in May and June to explore the genesis, uses, and critiques of “francophonie” (the French-speaking world).

“A Voice for the Hispanic Community of Seattle,” submitted by junior Mikayla Robinson of Marengo, Ohio. Robinson will travel to Seattle for three months in the summer to volunteer with El Centro de la Raza, an organization that advocates for the Latinx community.

When the students return to campus after completing their OWU Connection experiences, they will prepare reports and presentations based on their objectives and experiences.

The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan’s unique approach to experiential student learning, links academic theory with real-world practice; crosses disciplinary boundaries to support deeper, interconnected learning; and prepares students for global citizenship and leadership. It includes Theory-to-Practice Grants, Travel-Learning Courses, internships, and more. Learn more about The OWU Connection at

About Ohio Wesleyan University

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at

Ohio Wesleyan junior Josh Martineau (left) used a university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support his work in Costa Rica with an organization that helps women refugees seeking to start businesses. (Photo courtesy of Josh Martineau) Wesleyan junior Josh Martineau (left) used a university-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support his work in Costa Rica with an organization that helps women refugees seeking to start businesses. (Photo courtesy of Josh Martineau)

By Cole Hatcher