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College

News
compiled by Raven DeVoll ’09

What’s in a Name? Are We Going...

Should We Remain Otterbein College or return to Otterbein University?

F


or about two years now, the Strategic Planning
Council has tackled a wide variety of needs and
concerns regarding the future growth of Otterbein. Based on
feedback from a variety of sub-committees some initiatives
Otterbein University is what we call our school. But have
we a university? To this question there can be but one answer.
Then why not call things by their right names? Otterbein
College would not sound quite so dignified as our present
went into research and implementation such as the semester name, but it would cover all we have without giving a false
conversion while others are still on the side burner for impression. Call a university a university, and a college a
further review and discussion. One such proposal is a name college, and do not cover with a name what we do not possess
alignment for Otterbein. Should we consider returning in fact. True the old name has become dear to many of us, but
to our roots as Otterbein University or should we remain who would not give it up for the sake of calling our school by
Otterbein College? its right name? (Otterbein Aegis, v. 5, no. 5, Jan. 1895, p. 1)
What do you think? To many of us, our roots are It seems the reverse argument now applies to our
Otterbein College. To others, it’s dear old Otterbein. Why current status. Otterbein has grown into a university (or
would we ever want to consider exploring our name from back to a university) over time. But how, you ask?
1917? Those days are long gone. Well they are – but they We now have the varied and complex academic
aren’t. Perhaps our founders were visioning where it should programs that define a university—undergraduate, liberal
be in the future. Otterbein University of Ohio was founded arts, professional studies, and graduate programs, including
in 1847 by the United Brethren Church. However, it was a pending doctoral program. The The American Heritage
soon felt by many that in reality Otterbein did not fit the Dictionary, 4th edition, 2000 defines an university as “An
definition of university. In 1917, the Board of Trustees institution for higher learning with teaching and research
changed the institution’s name to Otterbein College. facilities comprising a graduate school, professional schools,
Below is an excerpt from the editorial in the January 1895 and an undergraduate division.” So in reality, we are
edition of Otterbein Aegis: technically a university based on the programs we offer.

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University does reflect our new classification as a Maintains viability of critical programs and facilitates
“regional Masters Medium University” according to the the introduction and accreditation of new programs:
Carnegie Foundation’s classification of universities: • Doctor of Nurse Practice already approved by the
Like the national universities, these institutions provide Ohio Board of Regents (with an anticipated 2010
a full range of undergraduate and master’s programs. start date)
But they offer few, if any, doctoral programs. The 574 • At least 5 new master’s programs planned for
universities in this category are ranked within four introduction by 2011
geographic areas—North, South, Midwest, and West— • Meets institutional reorganization and accreditation
because, in general, they tend to draw students heavily challenges
from surrounding states. Like all U.S. News & World
Report categories, the groupings are derived from the So that sounds supportive but who wants to be another
basic classification framework established by the Carnegie OU especially in Ohio? While our official name might
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006. Did be Otterbein University, we would be branding the name
you know that 16 of the 19 schools in our self-selected “Otterbein.” For instance, most people in response to the
peer and aspirant group are universities? There are many question, “Where did you go to school?” would say, “Otterbein”
institutions that maintain a small feel even though they or “Capital” or “Harvard.” Rarely does one refer to the more
are Universities. One-on-one student-faculty interactions formal name of a school.
would remain a priority. Here in Ohio some that come to What does the campus think about this proposal? So far,
mind are Ohio Wesleyan University, Denison University based on the Sub-Committee’s campus-wide survey to solicit
and Capital University. the input of students, faculty, staff and administrators into the
proposed change, the results are favorable. Of the 419 students
Supports major goals of Otterbein’s Strategic Plan who responded 57% were favorable and of the 187 faculty/staff/
Some examples include: administrators who replied, 67% were favorable.
• Increase graduate and continuing studies So now it’s your turn.What do you think? Please weigh in
enrollment, with a target 73% of our planned on this important issue by visiting www.otterbein.edu/surveys/
enrollment growth from new graduate and part- alignment and let us know your thoughts. Should you wish to
time students (rather than full-time undergrads) participate in a phone survey, please call the Office of Marketing
• Increase the number of out-of-state students and Communications at (614) 823-1600 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Increase international students and exchange EST. Deadline for the survey is May 29, 2009. We’re confident
agreements with the input of all members of the Otterbein community, we
• Improve national profile as an institution can make a sound, informed decision as we continue to grow
and strengthen Otterbein for the 21st century. l

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Otterbein Restructures Academic Departments


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Environmental Scientist
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What particular topic do you most enjoy


teaching?
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R ecent named a Silver Medalist newspaper
by the Columbia Scholastic Press
Association, as well as winning All-
USITT has been giving awards to
young designers and technicians in
the performing arts for approximately

Awards
Columbian Honors for its general a decade. They are given for technical
operations. production, sound design, scene
design, makeup design, and lighting
Theatre Lighting Design Student design. Only one award is given in each
Andy Baker category. Only two of the awards are
Office of Marketing and Senior Andy Baker was selected for undergraduate students: scenic and
Communications as the 2008 United States Institute lighting design.
Otterbein College was recognized for Theatre Technology (USITT)
with a silver award in the 24th Annual Undergraduate Lighting Design Award, Otterbein College Theatre and Dance
Admissions Advertising Awards, sponsored by Stage Technology, for Otterbein College was honored
sponsored by Admissions Marketing his great design potential in the area with a Roundtable Production Award for
Report, for its video viewbook, Be of lighting in the performing arts. the fall 2008 production of Smokey Joe’s
Yourself at Otterbein, an online video USITT offers only one of these awards Café. The Roundtable category is the top
about how easy it is for students to to a college student each year. Baker award given by the Theatre Roundtable,
showcase their individuality and to be received his award at the USITT a consortium of about two dozen theater
themselves at Otterbein. national conference in Cincinnati, companies in Central Ohio.
The production of the video was Ohio, in March. Otterbein theatre faculty and
a team effort among the Office of Baker’s portfolio was also selected students were also recognized,
Admission, Office of Marketing and as part of the Young Designers Forum, including:
Communications, and a freelance where it was reviewed by several • Award of Excellence in
videographer. WOCC TV-3 students directors and designers. Directing: Ed Vaughan, Julius
were also involved with the project, “This is an incredible honor I could Caesar
contributing some of their footage not have obtained without the education • Award of Excellence in Acting:
and selecting the music. The video can I have earned at Otterbein. Not only am David Baghat, Peter Pan
be viewed online at www.otterbein. I excited for this opportunity, but an • Design Award: Dan Gray, Julius
edu/beyourself. Otterbein student will have a chance to Caesar
show what this school can do with other • 2009 Roy Bowan Citation by the
Tan and Cardinal programs, such as CalArts, NC School Central Ohio Theatre Critics
Otterbein’s student-run of Design, and several other nationally- Circle for Lifetime Achievement:
newspaper, the Tan and Cardinal, was recognized programs,” said Baker. Randy Skinner

A scene from Julius Caesar A scene from Smokey Joe’s Cafe

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WHETHERTHEECONOMYISUPORDOWN COLLEGEANDTHEIRCOMMUNITIESASTHESECONDCLASSOFINDUCTEESINTOITS
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ANDGROUPCOUNSELING7ILSONISCURRENTLYTHEDRUGANDALCOHOLEDUCATION
FACILITATORAT/TTERBEIN#OLLEGE FACILITATINGDRUGANDALCOHOLCLASSESFOR
COLLEGESTUDENTS7ILSONALSOSERVESASTHELEADCONSULTANTFOR0ROJECT3/!2
FORTHE#ITYOF#OLUMBUS(EMANAGESINDIVIDUALANDGROUPCRIMINAL
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OFYOUTHORVOLUNTEERORlNANCIALSUPPORT O

11
CCE Continues to Receive Accolades for Community Service
The Center for Community The Carnegie Foundation for acknowledgment of the fine work
Engagement (CCE) continued the Advancement of Teaching named that our staff and all the individuals
its dedication to service this year Otterbein a “community-engaged involved with engagement on campus
and recently was recognized for its university” in recognition of its have done,” said Bob Gatti, vice
tremendous efforts by three separate “curricular engagement and outreach president for Student Affairs.
organizations. and partnerships.” Otterbein also was named in the
The College was listed on “The new Carnegie classification 2008-2009 Guide to Service-Learning
the President’s Higher Education recognizes Otterbein’s connectedness Colleges & Universities. The guide is a
Community Service Honor Roll with to our local community,” said Melissa resource for college-bound students
Distinction by The Corporation for Gilbert, Director for the CCE. “We wanting to make a difference in their
National and Community Service for its share this national recognition with communities through service while
service initiatives. This is the third year the community partners who work earning college credit. The guide offers
in a row Otterbein has been recognized with us everyday to strengthen our insight to students on what service-
by the Honor Roll and it is one of the local neighborhoods and provide deep learning is, how they can get involved and
highest awards a school can achieve for learning experiences for our students.” which colleges excel at service-learning.
its commitment to service-learning and “As a 2008 recipient of the The guide will help attract students
civic engagement. In 2008, the College President’s Award for General interested in going to a college dedicated
earned the President’s Award for General Community Service, we knew we to service learning and social change,
Community Service. were deserving of this honor from said Gilbert. “We are very fortunate to
Otterbein currently has 83 service- the Carnegie Foundation, but as be listed in the guide. Our real hope is
learning courses enrolling more than a first time applicant, this is quite that it will recruit students committed to
1,100 students serving the community an accomplishment. It is also an service,” she said.   l
with approximately 22,320 service
hours. In addition to the 11 weekly
extracurricular service programs offered
at Otterbein, the CCE also coordinates
Sustainability Policy for the College Established
three community plunges annually for The Otterbein Board of Trustees recently voted to adopt a Policy of
students, faculty and alumni and it hosts Sustainability for the College.
several projects benefiting Otterbein’s “Institutions of higher education increasingly realize the vital role they
campus and the Westerville community. play in preparing future leaders to effectively confront the environmental,
economic and social challenges that lie ahead,” said Heidi Ballard, associate
professor and chairperson of sociology. “The commitment to sustainability
in facilities, curriculum and community outreach signifies Otterbein’s
commitment to position our institution, and students, to effectively meet the
challenges of the 21st century.”
The policy states, “Otterbein College is committed to environmental
stewardship and the concept of Sustainability throughout every aspect of
campus life. Otterbein recognizes the need to respond to the challenges
of climate change and to develop integrated goals and objectives which
will reduce the impact on the environment and eventually lead to climate
neutrality.”
Some areas through which the College will promote and encourage
sustainable practices include: educational programming and research;
facilities planning, operations, purchasing, and maintenance; residential life
and dining services; and outreach and partnership with the community.
The College’s Standing Committee on Sustainability will be charged
with making recommendations to the College to further sustainable
practices in the areas of curriculum, facilities, campus life and community
outreach; establishing partnerships with other institutions in the
The CCE CardinalCorps Leaders coordinate community; serving in an advisory capacity to departments and offices on
13 weekly service organizations that campus; and promoting an institutional culture that supports sustainability.
help meet the health, education and More information about Otterbein’s commitment to sustainability can
environmental needs of our community. be found online at www.otterbein.edu/sustainability.   l

12
Otterbein students instruct students from Oakstone Academy of Westerville in the microbiology lab.

Science Outreach Helps Elementary


and Otterbein Students Alike
The Life and Earth Sciences areas, bringing hands-on learning This year, the program has
Department hosted 36 high school for both the elementary children expanded to include middle and high
students from Oakstone Academy in and for the Otterbein students school students. Johnston said they are
Westerville at its microbiology lab to taking the course,” Johnston said. “In piloting a peer mentoring program
conduct experiments using bacteria designing science demonstrations where they train middle school students
and viruses in February. Oakstone and experimental activities, Otterbein to assist with elementary outreach days.
Academy is just one of many schools in students are challenged to bring their “I feel strongly that this program
the Westerville, Columbus and central expertise in their major to a broader has great benefit to both Otterbein
Ohio communities to engage in science audience. This process engages science majors and to the children we
through the expanding Science Outreach students in a critical assessment reach, fostering a valuable relationship
Program at Otterbein. of the most effective means of with our community,” Johnston said.
For the past seven years, Wendy communicating difficult concepts to a “It would be fantastic to offer our
Johnston, part-time faculty in the diverse group.” outreach events to more schools.”   l
Department of Life and Earth Sciences,
has traveled to local elementary schools
to conduct Science Outreach programs,
including demonstrations and hands-on Expand. Explore. Excel.
activities.
“At first, we would recruit We’re looking for your support
volunteers from the Life Science and
Chemistry departments to go with
of the sciences at Otterbein!
us on outreach days,” Johnston said. The Otterbein Board of Trustee
“I then started building outreach members challenge all of us to affirm our
events into any class that I taught commitment to provide a better educational
which included a lab period, including opportunity for our students by supporting
general chemistry, genetics, and the Science Campaign. Their initial, collective
immunology.” support for the project totaled $1M.
In 2008, Johnston began offering Recently, these Trustees and other current and former Board members
a Science Outreach Practicum course stepped up their support and added $400,000 to the effort. Now, they
for Otterbein students, designed to would like the Otterbein Community and friends to match their $400,000
give life science majors, as well as commitment.
other service learning and education Thank you for considering how you will help complete this ambitious
majors, a way to apply the material project; affirming commitment not just for today’s students but for future
they have learned by bringing the field generations. Please watch for materials in the mail, or support the campaign
of science to K-5 elementary students. online at www.otterbein.edu/makeagift.
“This course reaches out to
elementary schools in the surrounding C a m pa i g n f o r t h e S c i e n c e C e n t e r

13
A Parting Conversation with

President DeVore
English Professor Jim Gorman interviewed President Brent DeVore
about his 25 years at Otterbein’s helm, his early years, the many
changes Otterbein is undergoing and his impending retirement.

R ecently, President DeVore sat


down with English Professor Jim
Gorman to talk about “that next
phase” of his life and to reflect on his
through this assignment. For example,
one student, Karen Castro, discovered
that her great grandfather was the
president of Ecuador. What about
Southeast Ohio and worked in the
coal mines. Elizabeth grew up there,
met her husband, raised a family. The
men worked the coal mines, died and
time at Otterbein. Brent will be leaving your roots, Brent? Are there any such were buried on the hill above it. My
Otterbein after a distinguished career dramatic stories in the DeVore family? father’s family came from England
of 25 years. He and his wife, Nancy and France. My grandparents settled
Nikiforow, the former director of grants Brent: I don’t know how dramatic. in the Cambridge, Ohio area. Neither
and special projects at Otterbein, will My mother’s mother emigrated from my mother’s parents nor my father’s
also be leaving their residence, the Scotland when she was three years parents had high school educations.
Clements Foundation-owned house at old. I learned the exact age from Ellis They lived the hard life. Both my
111 North West Street. Island.com. It was not easy, though. grandfathers died when I was one year
Her name was Elizabeth Ferguson, old, so I didn’t know them. I just knew
Jim: So, I want to ask you about your a very common name. There were my grandmothers and they were hard-
early life, growing up. I just taught a lit. about 65 Elizabeth Fergusons. Her working people. They ate all the wrong
course, Growing Up in America. At the family came in and headed to where food and still lived well into their 80s.
end of the course, students write a long the jobs were. Just like the Somalis are
essay about their families—the roots heading to Minneapolis and Columbus Jim: So, you were the first in your family
essay. Some exciting discoveries come these days, the Fergusons went to to be educated beyond high school?

14
Brent: The second. My father attended Jim: What about your early life in two weeks was promoted to running
Mount Union College where he played Zanesville? Can you tell about your the concession stand at 75 cents an
three sports. He graduated in the schooling, early interests, jobs. hour. That’s the biggest percentage
middle of The Depression, taught for salary increase I have ever received.
two years and, for whatever reason, he Brent: I attended the public schools. In my college years, I came back to
left teaching and went into business. We lived in a very modest house of Zanesville in the summer and worked
When he was 50 years old he was about 600 square feet. My bedroom factory jobs. One summer I worked in
working at a Sears store in Zanesville, was the hallway between the kitchen a camp program with volunteers and
Ohio, when the superintendent of a and the bathroom. My mother took helped young people understand the
local school district asked, “Carl, didn’t in laundry to help with expenses. She world beyond themselves. That’s what
you used to teach?” My father told him taught me to iron men’s shirts when I got me interested in the non-profit
that he had taught biology, chemistry was ten years old. Outside the home, sector and that’s where I headed after
and physics. “Well, we have an opening I got my first job when I fibbed about college.
next fall,” the man said. My father went my age, saying I was 16 when I was
off to teach and it revived his life. He 15. I worked in a movie theatre as an Jim: And that was at Ohio University?
taught until he was 72. usher for 50 cents an hour and after

15
“ Outside the home, I got my first job when I fibbed about my age, saying I was 16.
when I was 15. I worked in a movie theatre as an usher at 50 cents an hour and
after two weeks was promoted to running the concession stand at 75 cents an
hour. That’s the biggest percentage salary increase I have ever received.

Brent:9ES )THOUGHT)WASGOINGTOGO
TOCOLLEGEANDPLAYFOOTBALL BUT)TORE
THECARTILAGEINMYLEFTLEGMYSENIOR
~ Brent DeVore

ONLYCHILDAND)WASIN7EST6IRGINIA
ANDHADACHANCETOCOMEBACKAND
BECLOSERTOHIM%VENTHOUGHWE

INNERCITY)FYOUREFROMTHEINNERCITY
COMEOUTANDDOSOMETHINGELSE4HE
STUDENTSHAVEGRABBEDHOLDOFITAND
YEAR3OWHEN)GRADUATEDFROMHIGH HADVERYLITTLEINMATERIALTHINGS MY THEFACULTYTOO7EHAVEMANYSERVICE
SCHOOL )TOOKAJOBINAFACTORY7HEN PARENTSBELIEVEDTHATYOUSHOULDGIVE LEARNINGCOURSESANDAVERYDEDICATED
3EPTEMBERCAMEAROUND )THOUGHT) BACKTOOTHERPEOPLE!LLOFUSGOTTO #ENTERFOR#OMMUNITY%NGAGEMENT
SHOULDATLEASTTAKEACOUPLEOFCOURSES WHEREWEARETODAYBYSYMBOLICALLY 7HENWElRSTSTARTEDHAVINGDINNERSTO
ATTHEBRANCHCAMPUS!TTHEENDOFTHAT STANDINGONTHESHOULDERSOFOTHERS HONORSTUDENTSFORCOMMUNITYSERVICE
TERM)QUITTHEFACTORYJOBANDSTARTEDAS 7HENMYFATHERPASSEDAWAY ) WECOULDHARDLYlLLATABLE.OWITS
AMID YEARSTUDENTAT/HIO5NIVERSITY ESTABLISHEDTHE#ARLAND(ELEN$E6ORE THEWHOLEDININGHALLORTHE#HAPEL
IN!THENS INBUSINESS!SANELECTIVE ) -EMORIAL(UMANITARIAN!WARD)T 4OTOPITOFF LASTYEARWERECEIVED
TOOKAJOURNALISMCOURSEANDENJOYED ISANAWARDGIVENEACHYEARATTHE THEAWARDFROMTHE7HITE(OUSEFOR
ITSOMUCHTHAT)DECIDEDTOMAJORIN (ONORS#ONVOCATIONFORTHESTUDENT COMMUNITYSERVICEALONGWITHTHE
JOURNALISM)VEUSEDTHETHINGSYOU ORSTUDENTSWHODIDSOMETHINGOUTOF 5NIVERSITYOF0ENNSYLVANIAANDTHE
LEARNEDINAJOURNALISMCLASS THE THEORDINARYINCOMMUNITYSERVICE 5NIVERSITYOF#OLORADO
INVERTEDPYRAMIDANDTHEWHO WHAT )VEBEENTELLINGSTUDENTSATFRESHMAN
WHEN WHERE WHYQUESTIONSEVERYDAYOF ORIENTATIONSFORTHELASTORSOYEARS Jim: 7HYDOYOUTHINKTHAT/TTERBEIN
MYLIFE ESPECIALLYINACOLLEGESETTING THATWHENYOUCOMETO/TTERBEINYOU STUDENTSHAVETAKENTOSERVICESOWELL
WILLHAVETHREEIMMERSIONEXPERIENCES
Jim:(OWDOYOURFATHERSAND TWOOFTHEMAREREQUIREDIMMERSION Brent: .OMATTERWHERE)HAVEGONE
MOTHERSLIVESANDVALUESSHOWUPIN INTHELIBERALARTSGIVESYOUBREADTH INYEARSOFMEETINGALUMNIˆ
THEMANWEKNOWAT/TTERBEIN IMMERSIONINYOURMAJORGIVESYOU REGARDLESSOFTHEIRGENERATIONˆTHERE
DEPTH4HETHIRDONEISCOMPLETELY ISAGROUNDEDNESSABOUTTHEM)THINK
Brent: -YMOTHERDIEDAT MYDAD VOLUNTARY)CALLITIMMERSIONIN ALOTOFTHATHASTODOWITHOURLACKOF
LIVEDTOBE4HATWASONEOFTHE ANOTHERCULTUREEXPERIENCE4HAT PRETENSIONANDHOWWELLITMATCHESTHE
THINGSTHATBROUGHTMEHERE(EWAS MEANSIFYOUGREWUPINASMALLTOWN STUDENTSWHOCOMEHERE/URALUMNI
AWIDOWERLIVINGIN:ANESVILLE)MAN WEWANTYOUTODOSOMEWORKINTHE ANDOURSTUDENTSHAVEAGROUNDEDNESS
THATSAYSWEHAVEARESPONSIBILITYTO
GIVEBACK

Jim: $OYOUTHINKTHATLACKOF
PRETENSIONBEGINSATTHETOP BEGINS
WITHYOU9OURENOTSHY )KNOWTHAT
BUT)THINKYOUAREHUMBLE "RENT
9OUREQUICKTOCREDITOTHERSFOR
SUCCESSES LIKETHEBUILDINGOF2OUSH
(ALL FOREXAMPLE)NADDITIONTO
HUMILITY THOUGH WHATDOYOUSEEAS
THEIMPORTANTVALUESANDPERSONALITY
TRAITSTHATHAVEHELPEDYOUSUCCEED NOT
JUSTAT/TTERBEINBUTOTHERPLACES

Brent: 9OUHAVETOVALUETHEWORTHOF
ALLPERSONS3EVERALYEARSAGO)FOUND
THROUGHTHE3CARBOROUGH-ISSION A
CHARTTHATLISTEDTHE'OLDEN2ULEIN

16
13 different religions. In Christianity, what would you like to do?” I said,
of course, it is “Do unto others as you “Mr. Roush, I think I would like to
would have them do unto you.” But the be a college president, but I haven’t
same idea exists in other traditions. In had a long career in the classroom.”
Buddhism: “Treat not others in ways He paused and said, “I never learned
that you yourself would find hurtful.” In how to drive a truck.” His point was
Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not you can lead a group even if you don’t
do to your neighbor.” In Hinduism: “Do have their specific skills. But if limited
not do to others what would cause pain teaching experience would not be a
if done to you.” In Islam: “Not one of barrier, not having a doctorate would.
you truly believes until what you wish on So I went back to Kent State and in two
others you wish on yourself.” I have them years and ten months, working fulltime
printed on a chart that hangs above my with two small children at home, I
desk at home. It’s there to remind me earned a doctorate. I knew that was the
each day of the value of each person. The entry card I needed to be considered
value of Otterbein goes back to every for a presidency.
person here. There is no hierarchy here,
as far as I’m concerned. Several weeks Jim: Let’s go back to the liberal arts for
ago when we had all the snow, who were a second. That is one of the immersion
the most valuable people on campus? experiences you talked about earlier,
The service department, who took care and it’s the one that students resist
of the ice and snow. Or the cleaning most, I think. Why do you think
staffs. And, all the time, especially, the colleges like ours think the liberal
faculty in teaching. arts are so important to students’
maturation?
Jim: You’ve been in academia all
your life, but you’re not an academic, Brent: I remember some years ago
you’re not a professor. You don’t come talking to a manager of a CPA firm. As
from the classroom into educational he was coming up through the ranks, he
leadership, you come from the financial said, the farther up he went the more he From a 1994 T&C
side. Yet, you have convinced the was dealing with people from different
faculty, I think, that you are serving backgrounds. He said he literally had to Why? Because you’re only as good as
in their best interests. How have you go back and immerse himself in courses the people around you. What questions
done that? that gave him breadth. The liberal arts do I ask? Very seldom do I drill down
prepare you for life. When I talk with into the candidate’s area. Quite frankly,
Brent: I feel I’m an academic in alumni, they often say that the best there are some disciplines I wouldn’t be
my own way. I put value on what courses they took were the Integrative able to drill very deeply. I’m looking for
happens in the classroom and in the Studies. They aroused their curiosity, the person who cares about teaching
institution’s mission to change lives, they gave them the breadth to talk with and learning, who cares about students
guide lives. I am a strong believer in people from a variety of backgrounds. and who wants to be involved on
the approach that you wake up every Again, they don’t use that in choosing a campus. If I hear them say, “All I want
day expecting the unexpected and be college. It usually comes down to their to do is research and teach my classes,”
open to opportunities. I expected to major, the fit, or somebody they know. I say thank you very much, but it’s
work in a newspaper, that didn’t work But the liberal arts is often what they not the right fit. A few times a year I
out. I moved into volunteer health mention most after graduation. go over to the Academic V.P. and say
work, at the lung association, then the that this is a wonderful candidate for
heart association. I received a call one Jim: Let me ask you about another someplace else, but not for Otterbein.
day that Kent State was looking for Otterbein tradition, the fact that the And, frankly, you meet some wonderful
someone to work with their annual president interviews every faculty people. I like to ask, “When you are not
giving. I saw a chance to do that and candidate. Why do you do that, why is doing this, what do you like to do?” It is
also earn a master’s degree. That led that so important? And what questions amazing what you hear from candidates.
me to Hiram College and when I do you ask? Everything from skydiving to scuba
was there—true story—one of the diving. The message I’m getting from
board members by the name of Galen Brent: I’m retiring in less than them is what you and I know, that
Roush, the chairman and founder of 12 weeks, but at 2:30 today I’m you need balance in your life. You’re a
Roadway Express, asked, “Young man, interviewing a candidate for next year. runner, Jim, it balances you when you

17
teach. I like to hike, because then I’m With a committee, he began a year’s of Otterbein. You’re a professor at
not going to meetings. As I look back exploration. And the new program Otterbein. Again we have been evolving
over the years, I’m amazed at what we passed the college Senate without to this over time. The change has
have accomplished in bringing talented a dissenting vote. That was a huge been given credibility from the outside
people to this campus. change for us. We began to evolve. because of the Carnegie Commission’s
Next was the MSN, then the MBA reclassification from a regional
Jim: Silver lining question. A lot has program, and more Continuing comprehensive college to a master’s level
happened at Otterbein over the last five Studies offerings, both on campus institution. The schools with which we
years. Yet, out of change comes new and in outreach situations. As to our are now being compared include Butler,
leadership and rather bold academic new division into schools, we’ve been Drake, Valparaiso, Xavier—all of these
initiatives. We’re converting to a semester talking about that for a few years. are universities, institutions that are
calendar and more importantly we’re comprehensive in nature in what they
dividing the college into schools, arts Jim: Then, let me ask about another offer. Their average enrollment is 4,800
and sciences, professional studies and possible change. What’s in a name? students, and we’re 3,200. I’ve been
graduate studies, each with its own dean. saying that we ought to take that as a
Do these changes merely recognize the Brent: I said at a Board meeting goal over the next decade, to get to that
kind of school we’ve been for the last ten discussion earlier this year that it 4,800 to 5,000 number. People will say,
years or do they signal that Otterbein wouldn’t be a big change for us because will we be different? Yes, we will, we’ll
will be a vastly different institution in the we were founded as The Otterbein have more breadth and depth in our
next decade? University of Ohio. I say with tongue programs, we’ll have even more talented
in cheek that the name was changed in faculty.
Brent: I think those changes symbolize 1917 to Otterbein College because the
what we have been becoming over marketing people got involved and The Jim: Are the alumni on board?
the last several years. When I arrrived Otterbein University of Ohio wouldn’t
at Otterbein we were a traditional fit on a sweatshirt. Way too long. But Brent: The conversation is continuing.
undergraduate college. I said that also, timing is everything. Such a change When I hear from alumni who were here
I would like to start a conversation should be made when the public says when we were 800 to 1,000 students,
about graduate education. At that that it is obvious. It shouldn’t be done they say the College isn’t the same. I
point I had conversations with Dr. at a time when people would say, What say you’re right. When we had 800-
Chester Addington, who was chair are they doing? But whatever our name, 1,000 students only half of the faculty
of the Education Department. He we’ll still have the same values. My had terminal degrees, and now it’s 96
was a distinguished member of the branding is Otterbein. I hardly ever say percent. Change is good if you hold onto
faculty and had a lot of credibility. Otterbein College. I’m the president your values as an institution.

18
Opposite page: Upper far left: Brent serves
up a soft drink at a student social function.
Lower far left: Shaking hands with then
Chairman of the Board Edwin “Dubbs” Roush
’47. Upper left: At at unknown conference
early in his career. Lower left: Taking in lunch
with his wife, Nancy, and new students at an
Orientation lunch on the lawn. Right: Ever
present at the podium in Cowan Hall. This
page: Upper left: Working with Habitat for
Humanity. Lower left: The Clements Center
Dedication and Opening. Upper right: A light
moment with Petie Dodrill H’94 and Jane
Horn ’50. Lower right: Being honored by Anne
Gonzalez ’04, the mayor of Westerville, on C.
Brent DeVore Day. For more photos, go to
www.otterbein.edu/engaged.

Jim: What’s been your greatest doing what we do well. What is the When you get that, you begin to attract
challenge at Otterbein? difference with Otterbein? What is our more and that leads to more and more.
excellence?
Brent: It’s hard to name a particular Jim: Yes, it doesn’t do much to have ten
challenge. I could say building a Brent: We do best in dealing with the percent African-American students
building or raising money. But the whole person. We want to see that if they’re all football players and the
biggest challenge has always been complete development of a person theatre majors never talk to them.
personnel, the people. Every time in body, mind and spirit. I think we
there’s a failure with a person, the first practice that fairly well. We want Brent: Exactly. Let me tell you about
question I ask myself is what could I students to leave here with a sense of an up-and-coming group, the African-
or we have done differently to see this mindfulness, being knowledgeable, American Alumni Network. They
coming? What could we have done caring about others, with a commitment met recently at the Columbus Urban
differently to avoid a failure between to being involved with the world, a League, where one of our graduates,
people? The biggest challenge is commitment to accepting all persons Eddie Harrell, is president. They
always trying to draw the most from regardless of their backgrounds. I came weren’t just there to share jokes about
your colleagues. You want in any here from Davis and Elkins College in their Otterbein years. They were there
organization to hire the best and the rural West Virginia, but where seven or to talk substantively about what is
brightest with complementary skills. eight languages were being spoken by going on in their lives, and about
Your skills should complement the the men’s soccer team. Our diversity the responsibility of each person in
person next to you, so we become percentage was one and one-half percent that room to help recruit students
better when all our talents are put and I jokingly said that included those to Otterbein, to be available as a
together. We always enter a Board from Mansfield who were left-handed. support system to mentor them. It
meeting with the goal that a trustee I remember saying that this is not was wonderful. Nancy and I came
will leave the campus better informed representative of the world or the state out beaming. That group will help us
than when he or she arrived. You want or the city of Columbus. I said, let us greatly.
to draw on their particular wisdom on work on that and we have. Our minority
important issues so that we learn from population is up 13 percent. But there Jim: Let me ask you about an even
them. But each of them should leave are two levels of diversity. One level is a more challenging subject, money. It
better informed, to be advocates for the matter of numbers. The more in-depth may be a stereotype, but there are too
institution. sense of diversity is when you have many students here who are working
diversity within a minority group. You too much to get the value out of their
Jim: There are so many excellent have athletes, you have musicians, you education. They don’t have reading
colleges in Ohio and ones that are have theatre majors, English majors. time, they don’t have study time, etc.

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They see the value of a private college gives them discipline—to learn to do gives you choices as an individual. It
education and yet to make it happen so much in so little time. It some cases, doesn’t give you happiness, it gives
means two or three jobs. What do that’s true, but not in all. you choices. And it is the same with
you tell those students when you meet institutions. Money gives them choices.
them, or those parents, especially in Jim: So, is there a solution?
this recent economic downturn? Jim: And one of the institutions is the
Brent: Higher education is going to family. We’ve got to get the money
Brent: It is a hard message. I remember have to become more of a priority for message out to families, about the value
years ago when I was at Hiram College, institutions and for governments at of a college education. Some families
where I oversaw both admissions and all levels. We are only as good as the don’t have trouble with the high cost
development, the areas that brought education of our people. We need of new cars, but with education it is
revenue into the institution through to have options in this, too, because different.
tuition and gifts. One day we sat around private education is very important.
with wrinkled brows, saying that when Some students just aren’t going to Brent: That’s a very good point. What
tuition hits $5,000 a year we’ll be closing make it at public universities. Students are a family’s priorities? The priority of
the doors. Well, tuition is five times who graduate from Otterbein are a parent—your first goal is to help your
that now. I am concerned about that. contributing as much if not more than children be independent of you. Yes,
I exchanged emails today with the graduates of public institutions. But the you still want them to visit once they
father of a current student who is an future will be a tremendous challenge. move out, but you want to help them
educator himself. He was saying that, Obviously, fund raising and increasing develop the lifestyle, the confidence,
while his daughter has had a wonderful the endowment and scholarships will the skill sets to be successful and
experience here, he didn’t know whether be helpful going forward. We will be independent of you. You can’t do that
it was worth it. With the economy now, increasing financial aid in this difficult on the cheap. And you can’t expect
and with little chance of a job, and debt time. And we are saying to students, if others to pay for it, or all of it.
coming due for her, what would it be your family’s finances change contact
like? I didn’t have an easy answer for us immediately. This has been an issue Jim: In these times, Otterbein will have
him. It is going to be more challenging. going back 30 years and will continue to be careful with spending in all areas.
Institutions will be increasing their to be an issue. But you’re correct, it will What about co-curricular activities,
financial aid, but I share your concern, be a more prominent issue in the next especially athletics, over the next 10 or
Jim. I talk to students who have two decade. I heard a great line the other day: 15 years. What do you see, at private
or three jobs. Sometimes they say that “Money is power—to do good.” Money colleges in general, not just Otterbein?
How do we justify expenditures on
athletics when most students are here
just for the classes?

Brent: Well, actually, athletics is a


big recruiter. Athletics at Division
III provides opportunities for those
students with good athletic skills—but
not necessarily the best skills—to
continue to have balance in their lives.
They can participate in classes, in social
situations and in athletics. Over the
years I’ve watched our teams getting
ready for their seasons. You have some
highly skilled athletes on a team and
some who are not quite as skilled but
are playing because they love the game.
They’ve actually come to Otterbein
so they can continue to participate.
Not everybody is six feet eight and
weighs 320 pounds. But we still put
the classroom ahead of athletics. If a
student has an exam, the coach will put
that ahead of the athletics. Athletics is
always going to be there. As a division

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“ We do best in dealing with the whole person. We want to see that complete
development of a person in body, mind and spirit. We want students to leave here
with a sense of mindfulness, being knowledgeable, caring about others, with a
commitment to being involved with the world.

across the nation and certainly in our


conference, we’re going to look for
ways to operate less expensively.
~ Brent DeVore

Jim: That next phase, Brent?

Brent: Yes, that next phase. I’m still



Jim: Yes, you are losing both the home
office and the office office. Have you
located a home to move to?
investigating. I’m having conversations
Jim: As an English teacher, and as a with a lot of different organizations, Brent: Nancy and I have decided to
reader who never has enough time, I from consulting to mentoring rent for a year or so. And, as I said
have to ask you what books you have programs or perhaps an interim before, wake up every day expecting
in mind for the first idle hours of your position for a short period of time. I’m the unexpected and be open to
retirement? looking at a lot of options, whether opportunities. It will work out, as
they are compensated or volunteer. I know Otterbein’s future will too.
Brent: I have a stack of books that I There will be some place else to give There are exciting times ahead for
have been collecting for so long. It’s back to, some thing else to do. It’s very Otterbein. l
going to depend on the mood I’m in challenging, this transition.
each day. I have some writing projects I
hope to get to also. I have two drawers
in my desk at home that are filled with
every speech, talk, article that I’ve
written over my career. That will be
a project, to try to put it together in
some organized fashion. I think that is
what I would love to do next, this next
phase, is to have some time to spread
these writings across the table and
look back at things—essays, speeches,
articles—that I’ve written over 27 years
as a college president. To see if they
make any sense now and if I can do
something with them.

Left and upper left: President DeVore


enjoys a tailgate party for the class of 2009 at
his home on West street. Above: Brent and
Nancy at the Otterbein African American
Alumni Network get-together at the
Columbus Urban League.

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