Notes from a Fellow Buckeye

Dear Buckeyes,

Of the many traditions Buckeyes have been excited to return to this fall, athletic competition holds special significance for many. Veronica and I have been thrilled to attend the first games of the season and experience game day traditions like the Skull Session. If you see us, give us an “O-H!”

Last weekend, our women’s volleyball team swept Michigan. And at the 2021 ITA All-American Championship, both men’s tennis doubles teams in the finals were from Ohio State – just the second time in the tournament’s history, that the two teams in the doubles final were from the same school. Congratulations to title winners Matej Vocel and Robert Cash, who had a perfect 8-0 week.

As Coach Ryan Day and the football team prepare for the big game against That Team Up North, there is a role for us spectators, too. We all can contribute to an Ohio State win by lending an arm for those in need. The annual Blood Battle against the Wolverines begins on October 27 with a blood drive in the Schottenstein Center. You can schedule a time to donate blood at this event or at other drives through November 24.

Aside from giving Ohio State an edge over our rivals, donating blood is a fast, easy way to take care of members of our community. In fact, it’s similar to getting your COVID vaccine.

If you have not done so already, please get vaccinated as soon as you are able. As a reminder, all students, faculty and staff must receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or submit and receive approval for an exemption request by October 15. Even if you received the vaccine from the Wexner Medical Center or have reported your information to the university through a different system, students must use the Student Health Services My BuckMD system and employees must use the Employee Health Record system to complete the requirement. I am grateful that more than 90,800 of you already have taken this important step, but our goal is 100% compliance.

Thank you, Buckeyes, for supporting and caring for one another.

Have a healthy, relaxing fall break

Autumn break is October 14 and 15. I hope all of our students use this time away from the rigors of academic life to rest and recharge!

As a reminder, in Columbus we are requiring COVID-19 testing before and after break, regardless of vaccination status. Testing appointments must be scheduled via MyChart. Walk-ups will not be permitted.

If you are on campus during the break, please also remember to stay safe and take advantage of our safety resources. Watch my latest safety update including how we are expanding the hours of our Lyft Ride Smart program. The university has added mobile lights, cameras and security in the off-campus neighborhoods where many students live. We continue to monitor where crimes occur and deploy resources to enhance safety while strengthening partnerships, using new technology and exploring data analytics.

The record-breaking Class of 2025

The university reported record enrollment numbers on the Columbus campus and record minority student enrollment at all campuses as part of our enrollment analysis. Total minority student enrollment at all campuses and all levels increased nearly 5% to a record high of 17,019. New first-year students on the Columbus campus are also among the brightest: 64% were in the top 10% of their high school class and 94% were in the top 25% of their high school class. I am so proud to be part of this outstanding community of students, scholars, educators and support staff. Thank you all for bringing your best each day to all of our campuses

Calling all student entrepreneurs

Applications are now open for the President’s Buckeye Accelerator, a program to support Ohio State student business founders preparing to launch startups. The accelerator combines entrepreneurship skill building, mentorship, community building and funding with a structured process. Accelerator applicants will first complete a six-week “Boost Camp” from January to March 2022. Six student founders from the Boost Camp will be selected for the year-long accelerator and awarded $50,000 to advance their startup concepts. The accelerator program is open to all Ohio State students enrolled in a degree-seeking program with a graduation date of May 2023 or later. Applications are open through November 29.

Apply today!

Big data, bigger impact

Buckeyes continue to impress me with their passion for research – both by what they do, and by how they use their work to create more vibrant futures for themselves, their colleagues and their communities. Three recent examples show the power of using data and information in new ways:

  • Students are advancing artificial intelligence (AI) research while improving lives in the communities we serve. Student Craig Fouts, for example, is working with faculty at Ohio State’s Translational Data Analytics Institute on a national study that uses a 30-foot tower at the Ohio State University Airport for environmental research using AI methodology. Read more about this great work!
  • Ohio State has been awarded a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to lead the creation of a new, interdisciplinary institute and establish a ground-breaking field of study that has the potential to transform biomedical, agricultural and basic biological sciences. The exciting new entity, which will be called the Imageomics Institute, is an inaugural institute for data-intensive discovery in science and engineering created by the NSF as part of its Harnessing the Data Revolution initiative. The institute will be part of forming a national collaborative research network dedicated to computation-enabled discovery.
  • QuSTEAM, a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional program led by Ohio State, was awarded a $5 million cooperative agreement over a two-year period from the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator. QuSTEAM is committed to building transformative, modular quantum-science degree and certification programs.

Getting the word out

I was recently invited to participate in Inside Higher Ed’s Weekly Wisdom podcast.

For the September 27 podcast, I spoke with Dr. Bridget Burns from the University Innovation Alliance and Inside Higher Ed editor Doug Lederman about the excitement of fall on campus, my family’s Buckeye roots, and the challenges of leading during a pandemic.

I was also delighted to participate in a Q&A discussion with our Alumni Magazine. I have learned so much about the strength, heart and compassion of Buckeyes here on our campuses and around the world.

I love hearing and talking about all of your exceptional work so please continue to send me your good news!

Sincerely yours,

Kristina M. Johnson, PhD