Ohio University gets its name dragged through the mud a lot. But we've got some good profs here, and some good learning opportunities.
You know that professor who goes above and beyond for you? Who not only wants you to succeed, but makes it a priority in his or her own life to see students do well instead of merely wishing it to be true?
There’s plenty of professors in my school, the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, who come to mind when thinking of that description. One of them, Thomas Suddes, comes to the forefront, as he was inducted into The Press Club of Cleveland’s Hall of Fame last week.
That’s because of a long legislative reporting career in Ohio and his current prestigious duties as a syndicated columnist and editorial board member of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland.
Suddes, an assistant professor in the journalism school and a dear friend and mentor to many of The Post staffers, deserves this honor, as The Post editorialized, not only because of his long career in journalism but also, I’d argue, because of his dedication to the future of journalism through education.
He teaches opinion writing and public affairs reporting at the journalism school and also stops by The Post newsroom once a week to give us feedback on what we did right, what we did wrong and how we can do better in the future. It’s a unique and monumental out-of-classroom contribution to Ohio University students — not all of them in journalism — who choose to work here.
Suddes’ own personal success got me thinking about how lucky the j-school is to have him on campus interacting with students. And, more importantly, how lucky students — including myself — are to get the chance to learn from him.
That got me thinking: What accomplishments, accolades, experience and expertise are other OU professors bringing into the classrooms here on the bricks?
I was pleased with what I found. Here’s a sampling of some professors who have experiences students in aligning fields are lucky to work with:
Thomas Carpenter, who joined OU’s Department of Classics and World Religions in 1997, specializes in ancient Greek religion and iconography. He has written numerous books on Greek mythology and religion, including at least one which has been translated into six languages.
David Drabold, a physicist who joined the faculty at OU in 1993 after holding postdoctoral positions at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois, has maintained what OU calls “substantial and continuous research support” from the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office. He has been a panelist and site reviewer for the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy, has co-organized several international conferences and edited conference proceedings and one book, Theory of Defects in Semiconductors.
Observant readers of The Post may notice the name Drabold to be familiar. In the interest of full disclosure, David Drabold’s son, Will Drabold, is campus editor of this publication.
Christopher France, the 2014 Distinguished Professor (a high-ranking honor bestowed upon professors of note at OU) in the Department of Psychology, is recognized internationally for his contribution in the fields of health psychology and behavioral medicine. His most noteworthy contributions to date, according to the university, include pioneering research on the relationship between risk for hypertension and decreased pain perception and the subsequent development of a novel model of blood pressure and pain regulation. Professor France’s research has garnered nearly $7 million in grants during the 23 years that he has served on OU’s faculty.
Richard Vedder, distinguished professor of economics at OU, is a nationally recognized economist. He served as an economist with the Joint Economic Committee of Congress. He writes frequently for newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today and The Washington Post and is consulted by political leaders throughout the world.
Andy Alexander is the former Washington bureau chief of Cox Newspapers and former ombudsman of The Washington Post. A visiting professor who was editor of this century-old college newspaper, he teaches ethics in the journalism school. Naturally, as a journalism professor, he is also a close friend and mentor to many Posties.
Pete Souza is the former photographer for the Reagan White House and current White House photographer for President Obama. A professor in the visual communications school on an extended leave from OU to do that job, he would be a huge resource for students after Obama leaves office.
Bobcats, you’ve got some good ones. Those of you who have had classes with these (this is a very, very short list of profs who have done/are doing cool things and bring that back to campus) and other professors already know that.
Still, OU gets its name beat up often. Our spring fests and our Halloween block party are rowdy. The sex act on Court Street last year dominated national headlines for about a week or so. Our former No. 1 party school ranking was something Cutler Hall cringed at, and administrators have since fought hard to separate OU from that reputation.
But you know what’s also going on down here in Athens: some pretty damn cool learning opportunities in and out of the classroom. So spread that message, too.
Then have a drink.