OSU Institute of Technology is recognizing several faculty and staff as winners of the 2016 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Awards.
School of Visual Communications Dean James McCullough and instructor Mary Miller along with Glenn Zannotti, OSU Foundation director of development for OSUIT, were honored in the Collegiate Project category for the scholarship fundraiser ART Plus.
Miller was also recognized in the Service to OSUIT category for her work collaborating with Okmulgee Main Street on the development of the Okmulgee Rising brand identity by her design students.
Jennifer Tatum, reference and instruction librarian, was recognized in the Innovative Practices category for OSUIT Library’s Tech To-Go program.
Created in 1978, NISOD is a member organization that promotes and celebrates excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at two-year institutions and technical colleges.
NISOD winners will be honored at the Excellence Awards Dinner and Celebration held during the annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, May 29.
In April, the School of Visual Communications and the OSU Foundation will host the third annual ART Plus fundraiser in Tulsa.
The art show and auction, featuring work done by OSUIT alumni, benefits a student scholarship fund. In its first two years, the event had raised more than $20,000 and included works from more than 20 alumni and artists.
Being recognized with the NISOD award is great, said McCullough, but it’s only part of the reward.
“The first three students who were awarded scholarships from ART Plus graduated in December. That’s the real value because we’re actually seeing the results. That’s the best part,” he said.
Miller said so much work goes into the event— contacting alumni, collecting artwork, organizing and promoting the event— that it’s such a sweet moment when they get to tell students that they’re a scholarship recipient.
“We chose people who have demonstrated the talent and have a real future in the industry,” she said. “Sometimes what the students need is for the faculty and their school to believe in them.”
For Zannotti, being involved in ART Plus has been an opportunity to bring awareness of the School of Visual Communications as well a chance for him to learn more about the students as well.
“It’s one of my favorite events. I get to see the students; I get to meet a lot of alumni who come in for the event. That’s been the biggest surprise to me, the alumni coming out to the event and seeing how many are doing fine art. That’s been really neat,” he said. “I think it’s awesome this event is being recognized. If we can get that recognition nationally, get our name out there, people will see who we are and will hear about our School of Visual Communications. The biggest challenge is getting the word out.”
Service to OSUIT
Miller was also instrumental in a project that partnered the School of Visual Communications with Okmulgee Main Street.
Students in Miller’s branding class were tasked with creating a logo and branding materials for Okmulgee Rising, a downtown revitalization movement that includes buildings purchased by OSUIT for future student housing.
“I have been in Okmulgee in some capacity as a student or instructor since 1988. I remember thinking Okmulgee had beautiful downtown buildings that sadly were vacant,” Miller said, so when she was approached by Main Street about developing the brand, she jumped at the opportunity to do something positive for Okmulgee.
“My branding class typically takes on fictional companies with monopoly money and unlimited budgets. A real client without deep pockets provided a different kind of challenge. That’s why we did bumper stickers, wearable products and social media components,” she said. “It made the students attach themselves to the city of Okmulgee more than they had previously. All but one, who is a born and bred Okmulgee resident, viewed the city from an outsider’s perspective.”
Miller said she appreciates being recognized for her work and in bringing the community and school together.
“All the sweat equity that goes into managing a project like this. Seventeen students, each making 12 to 13 pieces, that’s a lot to art direct,” she said. “The fact that someone outside this corner of Oklahoma may read about it and learn about what’s happening between the university and the city is a great opportunity.”
The library’s Tech To-Go program launched at the beginning of the fall 2015 semester and has already gained a strong following as students are encouraged to check out the latest and greatest in technology like laptops, tablets, digital cameras, wearable tech, even a 3D printer.
Tatum said since the program launched, there have been 542 checkouts of Tech To-Go items with some of the most popular being Beats headphones, cameras and laptops.
“We had five laptops when we started and have ordered an additional 10. A second 3D printer is on its way,” she said. “Students who are in programs who don’t use this type of tech regularly come in and check out those items. Orthotics & Prosthetics students checkout DSL cameras, High Voltage Linemen students come in and use the 3D printer. It’s been going really, really well.”
Tatum said she wants the program to continue to grow.
“I watch tech blogs all the time to see what’s coming. As we see things we start adding them, when students come and ask for things, we get them,” she said.
Being recognized with a NISOD award is exciting for the library and the program, Tatum said.
“Our whole team worked hard on it. We all pitched in to make sure it launched in the fall. It’s nice to see it’s valued,” she said. “We knew students liked it, so it’s nice to know others see the value as well.”