Rebuilding connections

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

Interim OUS Dean Marinski looks to the future of the campus

Ohio University Southern’s interim dean Deborah Marinski has a goal of reconnection.

“I hope to really re-establish a relationship with the community,” she said. “That is my biggest focus. And when I say community, I mean businesses, community organizations, potential students and schools. COVID-19 left us all so isolated and it feels like a lot of people forgot we are here.

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After a couple of years of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant an emptying of the campus and students learning online, this year has seen a return of on campus classes and a return of activities.

“The Southern campus is a beautiful and this probably the nicest of the regional campuses that OU has,” Marinski said. “And this space is here, we are in the center of Ironton and we have a lot to offer. Not just academically, so we are having a lot of events to serve as a cultural center, an entertainment center. Not just for our students, but also for our community. We really want to bring life back to the Southern campus.”

She said one of the focuses of her time as dean is letting the students and the community know that OUS has a lot of services and events available to them.

“We are trying to do it in the most beneficial way for everyone,” Marinski said. “We are trying to find things that will appeal to people.”

Some of the events are more serious events like the upcoming annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration to more lighthearted events like celebrating National Popcorn Day on Monday.

The campus also brings art to the community with its Ohio University Southern Art Gallery, which is currently showing the works of Cedric Michael Cox, who is known for his paintings and drawings that merge surrealism and representational abstraction.

“We want to bring cultural liveliness to the area,” Marinski said. “

She said they are also trying to do that will make the students happy, like the popcorn day or the recent Donuts with a Dean, when students could stop by the Resource Center to have a donut and talk with Marinski.

“We don’t want students to think we are unavailable, that we are off some glass ivory tower,” she said “We want to make them feel welcome with some less formal events.”

Marinski is also look forward to new two new academic programs that start next year.

“We are going to offer a bachelor’s degree in psychology and bachelor’s degree in sociology/criminology,” she said.

They are also trying to create schedules that are more student friendly that will offer some degree of flexibility and bring them back to campus.

“During the COVID-19 period, we were fully online and now we are trying to find a balance between face-to-face and online in programs and classes for our students,” she said.

Marinski has a Ph.D. in American history and has been an associate professor at OUS for 15 years and loves the campus and community.

She was named as the interim OUS dean for a year last June after Nicole Pennington stepped down as the dean of executive dean for regional higher education in June to return to the nursing faculty.

Marinski said she was asked to take the position as she has held several leadership positions at OUS, including scheduling coordinator, faculty senator, chair of the Ohio University Southern Faculty Council and speaker for the Ohio University Southern Campus Graduate Recognition Ceremony.

Marinski has received numerous awards for her work, including the 2019-2020 Outstanding Faulty Member in Teaching award for OUS, the 2013-2014 Outstanding Faculty Member in Service award for the school and the 2011-2012 Outstanding Faculty Member in Research award for OUS.