Nov. 23, 2011
Dr. Brenda Haas, dean of the University College, and Chris Shaffer, director of Institutional Effectiveness, at Shawnee State University have been designated as Appalachian Regional Commission Appalachian Teaching Fellows for the 2011-12 academic year.
Haas and Shaffer are jointly responsible for teaching and administering the 2011 ARC Appalachian Teaching Project initiative.
The Appalachian Teaching Project engages students and regional citizens in posing answers to the question, "How can we build a sustainable future for Appalachian communities?"
The project teaches students and communities about the work of the ARC, its state and local partners, and the goals of the commission's strategic plan.
Using community and professional speakers, the students will be engaged in discussions of resource assets and the use of mapping to reveal networking possibilities in order to create and/or expand on the various skill and resource services available within Scioto County.
The project will build the necessary network connections through student research to promote continued dialogue and action to make a difference in the region.
"I was contacted early in the fall and asked if Shawnee wanted to participate in the project," Haas said. "Basically, we are to help support the ARC on the project with a student-led research group involving the local community."
The group is funded with an ATP grant of $4,000 to provide an opportunity for the students to present their findings at a conference in Washington, D.C., in early December.
"We have also agreed to present to others with the local government and educators after the Washington, D.C. presentation," Haas said. "The students have been outstanding."
The original intent was to define the sectors, such as, human demographics, organizational capacity, infrastructure and natural vs. manmade resources.
Six students are working on the project. One student is looking at an investment strategy, and another student is writing case studies, among other projects students are working on in the class.
Adam Phillips, a history and international relations major at SSU, is working on the infrastructure part of the presentation. His research has concentrated on the Scioto County and Portsmouth infrastructure, assessing the conditions of the highway, waterways, wastewater, airports, maritime water ports and railroad infrastructures.
"The goal is to compare it with other regional infrastructures to assess it for outsiders looking to invest in the region," Phillips said.
He is also looking at real estate commercial building availability, among other things relating to the infrastructure.
"It really worked out well," Shaffer said. "We have collected most of the data and now students are putting it together. They all want to make a difference."