Training will help participants navigate IRB to conduct research

The Voinovich School will host a training for faculty, professional staff and students on Thursday, October 26 from 10 a.m. to noon, at The Ridges, building 22, room 21, to help participants understand and adhere to the current standards for research on human subjects.

All studies that involve humans – including interviews, surveys and observations – are potentially subject to federal government regulations, and any research that calls for participation by people must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) before the project can begin. The Voinovich School has invited the Office of Research Compliance to present about helping navigate the IRB’s regulations to add studies on human subjects to their research project toolboxes.

For more details and other training session options, see the Office of Research Compliance page.


Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholar selected for prestigious new presidential society

Haley Kennedy, a junior studying psychology at Ohio University and a Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholar at OHIO’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, was recently selected to serve in OHIO’s Presidential Leadership Society. The volunteer organization, founded this month by Ohio University’s new president, Duane Nellis, seeks to create lasting bonds between the University’s students and administrators. Along with 25 additional students in the society, Kennedy will give her time to advancing the priorities and initiatives of President Nellis and will host alumni and donors at presidential and University events.

“Each of these students represent the best of what Ohio University has to offer,” said President Nellis. “They have shown strong academic integrity and a passion for experiential learning, taking advantage of the many opportunities offered here.”

In her position as Undergraduate Research Scholar at the Voinovich School, Kennedy collaborates with a team of researchers on project evaluation, compiles and writes research reports, presents research findings, conducts interviews and helps organize conferences.

To learn more about the inaugural Presidential Leadership Society, click here.

Lunch and Learn Oct. 20: Alternative Energy and Rate Relief Initiatives in Southeast Ohio

The next Voinovich School Lunch and Learn at The Ridges on October 20, 2017 in Bldg. 21, Room 105 will focus on alternative energy in Southeast Ohio. Eddie Smith, Master of Public Administration candidate, and Sarah Conley-Ballew, Voinovich School MPA graduate, will present on current initiatives to develop renewable energy resources and bring rate relief to southeast Ohio through community choice aggregation

Community choice aggregations are local, nonprofit, public agencies that allow cities to combine the buying power of individual customers so that they can secure alternative energy supply contracts on a community-wide basis.  Community choice aggregations are used in six states, and have been praised by the Environmental Protection Agency for their ability to encourage widespread renewable energy use by offering price-competitive alternatives to conventional fossil fuel and nuclear power sources.

Smith serves as the Executive Director of the Southeast Ohio Public Energy Council (SOPEC), overseeing all operations of the SOPEC Council of Governments and advancing its mission and public value for Southeast Ohio.

Conley-Ballew is the founding Director of UpGrade Ohio, a nonprofit organization that drives demand for clean energy in southeast Ohio through community-based educational initiatives. She believes that her purpose is to serve as a catalyst for community development in Athens

Future installments in the lunch and learn presentation series will take place at The Ridges this fall, rotating between buildings 21 and 22 on Fridays from noon-1 p.m.

Please take note of the following upcoming Lunch and Learn dates:

  • October 27: Transboundary Conservation: Examples from Southeastern Europe
  • November 3: Getting Started with Using Social Media for Work/Career
  • November 17: The Voinovich Collections
  • December 1: Voinovich School Student Panel

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“Public-Public Partnership”: Leadership through Principled Decisions and Relationship Building

“Ideological differences aside, it is necessary for us to have good working relationships if we are going to get anything done for the people who elected us. And I know it is possible from my personal experience.” – Senator George Voinovich, Senate Farewell Speech, December 15, 2010

Senator George Voinovich was able to overcome massive challenges and push for incredible change during his time as a public servant, however, he did not accomplish these achievements on his own. Rather, Senator Voinovich’s focus on partnerships, both private and public, was what made his leadership style so strong. In his new book, Empowering the Public-Private Partnership: The Future of America’s Local Government, Senator Voinovich reiterates how he was able to utilize relationship building to complete initiatives and serve the public in the best way possible. While the book focuses on Public-Private Partnerships, it also discusses “Public-Public Partnerships” and their importance when addressing public needs. Senator Voinovich worked to develop his own relationships with those outside his administration and party, such as George Forbes, the former Democratic president of Cleveland City Council, and Vern Riffe, the former Democratic Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives. These two partnerships represent his drive to collaborate during his time as Mayor, Governor, and Senator, even when the relationship was strained or difficult to develop.

A prime example of Senator Voinovich’s desire to bring groups together to promote positive change was when he was first elected Mayor of Cleveland in 1980 and the city was on the verge of collapse. At this time, the entirety of Cleveland City Council were democrats and the president of city council was George Forbes, the most powerful democratic president in the city council’s history (Senator Voinovich’s Farewell Speech, 12.15.10). While Forbes originally opposed Senator Voinovich’s run, Senator Voinovich made it a priority to ensure Forbes was involved in the process of addressing Cleveland’s issues: “I immediately communicated to him my belief that the mayor’s office and the city council had a symbiotic relationship and that only by working together could we move the city ahead…The bottom line was that George and I were a team” (Empowering the Public-Private Partnership, 47). They worked together to pass the Cleveland Fair Housing and Police Review Commission, increase diversity in the police and fire departments, and later address racial profiling in the Senate (George Forbes 50th Annual Freedom Fund, 5.20.09; Letter to George Forbes, 3.31.04). By the end of their work together, Cleveland was beginning to turn around as a city and they were fondly referred to as Big George and Little George (Voinovich and Forbes: The Era of Good Feelings, 11.19.12).

This type of relationship building across ideological differences continued when Senator Voinovich was elected Governor in 1991 and began working with the democratic Speaker of the House, Vern Riffe who had been speaker for 22 years (Senator Voinovich’s Farewell Speech, 12.15.10). At this time, Ohio was in the midst of a budget crisis and the only way to appropriately address the issue was through bi-partisan cooperation (The Burden of a Budget Deficit, 6.27.17). While building this relationship was difficult, Senator Voinovich made as many compromises as possible, and the legislature did the same, including major spending cuts and tax increases (Vern Riffe Tribute, 4.4.95). Senator Voinovich and Speaker Riffe would continue to work together on their projects, like addressing the Lucasville Prison riots, and reforming Workers’ Compensation (Vern Riffe Tribute, 4.4.95; State Service for Vern Riffe, 8.4.97). The two built a strong working relationship and while they did not always agree, their drive to help the state of Ohio and their constituents continued to push them to work together.

Senator Voinovich continually reiterated the importance of cooperation and collaboration in order to have successful leadership. While in any office, Senator Voinovich worked to meet his opponents in the middle, to build those working relationships, and ensure that the needs of constituents were put before political fighting. Senator Voinovich’s slogan “Together We Can Do It” was truly his leadership model and he exemplified it throughout his career.

Register today for Oct. 18 webinar – Methane Reduction: Federal, State, and Local Trends

Interested in environmental policy and methane regulation? Register for an upcoming webinar hosted by Ohio University’s Voinovich School and the Shale Innovation Project to hear how methane regulation is impacting our region.

Methane is a powerful and prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the U.S. from human activities. Over a 100-year period it is 34 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and traps 86 times more heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

In May 2016, the EPA elected to regulate methane emissions from U.S. oil and gas sector activity under provisions set by the Clean Air Act. At 9.8 million metric tons, methane emissions from the oil and gas sectors in the past year are 34 percent higher than prior estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. Moreover, the Environmental Defense Fund reports a loss of $2 billion worth of natural gas leaked, vented, or flared in the U.S. each year. In 2016, the Bureau of Land Management finalized its own standards in an effort to prevent these continual wastes.

Despite a failed attempt by the U.S. Senate to repeal methane control rules, individual states, led by Colorado and California, are taking up the cause for methane regulation.

As emerging oil and gas states like Pennsylvania are showing an increase in methane emissions from compressor stations—facilities that aide in the transportation of gas through pipelines, we must analyze current activities to pinpoint and reduce the causes of methane emissions.

As we enter 2018, what is the direction of methane regulation in the Trump administration? Learn the answers to this question and others during the October 2017 webinar moderated by Michael J. Zimmer, Senior Fellow and Executive in Residence for both the Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Technology and the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs. Robert Hodanbosi, from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and Dr. Ben Schlesinger, Founding President of Schlesinger and Associates, will speak during the webinar.

The webinar will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Register for the webinar online or email Elissa Welch to find out more information on the project and its energy-related research.

Register now for Startup Weekend Athens, Oct. 13-15

Students, professionals and community members are invited to attend the 8th Startup Weekend Athens, October 13-15 at the Innovation Center, located at 340 W. State St, Athens. Anyone interested in learning new skills in fields including business, development or marketing is welcome.

Startup Weekend participants are introduced to and immersed in the world of entrepreneurship. Participants pool their skills and strengths in teams to build a startup around an innovative approach to market needs. Experienced coaches from around the region provide feedback and share insights. On the final day of the program, each team pitches its startup to the judges, who critique the presentations and award prizes to the top teams.

Facilitating the event is Geza Molnar, an entrepreneur and global Startup Weekend facilitator from Copenhagen, Denmark.

The required preregistration fee of $50 includes meals and all program activities. Ohio University students, staff and faculty from the sponsoring colleges are eligible for 50 percent discounts. For more details or to register, visit the Startup Weekend website:

Sponsors of the event are the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Root Deeper Marketing, Extra Nerds, WesBanco, Athens County Economic Development Council, Ohio Third Frontier, TechGROWTH Ohio, Ohio University Center for Entrepreneurship, Ohio University Innovation Center, and Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology, Scripps College of Communication, and the colleges of Health Sciences and Professions, Arts and Sciences, and Business.

Voinovich School alumni survey

As we reach our 10th anniversary, Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs has blossomed into one of the most highly regarded schools in the country that addresses rural and state issues of national importance. In order to more effectively communicate and partner with our alumni in the future, we are asking for all Voinovich School alums to enter their contact information in this quick survey.

Oct. 13 Lunch and Learn: MPA student discusses effort to make law school more accessible

CaptureMPA candidate Megan Conkle will discuss her evaluation work with Law and Leadership Institute at the next installment in the Voinovich School’s Lunch and Learn Series on Friday, October 13 from 12 – 1 p.m. in room 105 at The Ridges, Building 21.

Conkle, a graduate assistant working with the Program, Education, Evaluation and Research Team (PEER) at the Voinovich School, will review her work with Law and Leadership Institute, an Ohio 501(c)(3) nonprofit that aims to make academic curriculum, professional development and law school accessible to low income students across the state. The evaluation includes both qualitative and quantitative analysis from the program. Through this project, the analysis sought to answer various research questions about the 2016-2017 program year and help the organization determine best practices and potential areas of improvement for the future.

Free pizza will be provided.

Future installments in the Voinovich School Lunch and Learn series will take place each Friday at the same time, rotating between Bldgs. 21 and 22 at the Ridges. Future events include:

  • 20: Alternative Energy and Rate Relief Initiatives in Southeast Ohio
  • 27: Transboundary Conservation: Examples from Southeastern Europe
  • 3: Getting Started with Using Social Media for Work/Career
  • 10: TBD
  • 17: The Voinovich Collections
  • 1: Voinovich School Student Panel

Voinovich School faculty, staff and students share experiences from climate adaptation forum

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Voinovich School faculty and staff discussed their experiences at the 2017 National Adaptation Forum and presented their latest work on how communities can adapt to climate change during a Lunch and Learn held Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.

Environmental studies faculty Dr. Derek Kauneckis, research associate Jackie Kloepfer and students Jonathan Norris, Miles Gordon, and Alex Hurley were among the diverse group of climate change adaptation researchers and practitioners—ranging from farmers to government agency representatives—who met in St. Paul, MN, last May to share the latest ideas in practical solutions to climate change.

“It reminded me that regardless of what’s been happening, people really are doing adaptation in the field,” Kloepfer told the attendees.

Alex Hurley enjoyed the opportunity to meet representatives of agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA as well as professional climate change consultants.

“These consultants are focused on science-based knowledge but committed to working with stakeholders and partners where they’re at,” he said.

Elected leaders at the city or county level often lack the expertise to prepare for and adapt to climate change, Hurley said. They turn to organizations such as the USDA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the U.S. Geological Survey for knowledge and support. Hurley talked about his nationwide survey of officials to better understand how they can build networks with such organizations.

Norris presented his work on the transition of coal-dependent communities in rural Appalachia to natural gas and oil fuels and the economic impacts of the declining coal industry. Norris also discussed how the use of community-based solutions informed by the voices and opinions of local people could help facilitate smoother transitions.  His goal is to create solutions that are both environmentally sustainable and able to meet the needs of all community members equally. His work is part of the Shale Innovation Project, a collaboration among the Voinovich School, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, and the College of Arts and Sciences that studies the impacts of Ohio’s shale development on businesses and communities.

Miles Gordon explained his work on native tribal responses to climate change. Like other areas, native communities experience increasingly frequent natural hazards, such as flooding. They also face threats to traditional food crops, many of which are challenged by uneven weather patterns and shortened growing seasons.

“Native tribes are set to face the worst impacts of climate change, and yet in many ways are the least prepared for it,” he said.

Gordon’s research explores the effectiveness of adaptation programs, comparing community-led efforts with externally led ones based on key strategies such as use of traditional knowledge and community contributions. His next step is to interview selected community members about their experiences with different adaptation programs.

More Voinovich School lunch and learn events will be held throughout the year. The Friday forums include informal presentations related to significant environmental topics. The events are open to all Ohio University students, faculty and students.

Cleveland Networking Week offers Bobcats opportunity to explore life after graduation

clevelandnetworkingOhio University students of any class year can learn about career opportunities in northeastern Ohio during Cleveland Networking Week, November 2-4, 2017.

Hosted by the OHIO Alumni Association and the Greater Cleveland Alumni Chapter, the three-day program includes panels of alumni discussing working and living in Cleveland, tours of companies and agencies that employ OHIO alumni, and networking dinners with alumni and other current students.

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs will help to subsidize a substantial portion of the cost of the trip for all Voinovich School students who attend. For students not involved in the Voinovich School, registration costs begin at $180 and include transportation, hotel accommodations and all activities. Those who register before October 4 will be entered into a drawing for a registration fee waiver. The final deadline to register is October 24.

For more information, visit or contact Katrina Heilmeier, associate director of campus relations, at Interested Voinovich School students should contact Amista Lipot at to receive financial assistance.