Gee joins chat about new Springfield school

OSU is a partner in Global Impact bioscience academy opening in August.

Ohio State University President Dr. E. Gordon Gee called the Springfield-based Global Impact STEM Academy one of the “more innovative” programs it’s involved in that will help provide job opportunities for students.

Gee answered questions about the academy Tuesday in an online chat along with Bruce McPheron, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State, and Global Impact’s founding director, Josh Jennings. They covered many topics, including the bioscience job market, post-secondary classes at OSU and the academy’s mission.

McPheron said the United States Department of Agriculture routinely surveys the needs of graduates in related fields — everything from genetics for seeds and livestock, to climate change and advanced materials — a demand which universities aren’t meeting.

“You’ve got to have cows and plows to eat,” McPheron said, “but it’s so much more than that. The opportunities are boundless.”

McPheron said exit surveys from the college of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences show 92 percent of graduates will have either a job or enter graduate school within six months.

“It’s almost unheard of, even at a great university like our own,” Gee said.

McPheron said preparing students at a school like the Global Impact will put them in an even better position when they enter the job market.

The curriculum is still being ironed out, but post-secondary classes at Ohio State or other universities may be available.

“It’s our intention to have that kind of connection,” McPheron said.

Gee said the academy will be a way to mold the education provided by both 4-H groups and Ohio State’s agriculture department.

“It’s about rethinking the nature of how we deliver information and education to the people of the state and globally,” Gee said.

The academy, which will initially be at Clark State Community College, is set to open Aug. 21. The academy is enrolling eighth graders for next school year.

Jennings said the school won’t have traditional home rooms, and classrooms will be “fluid.” They will also work with students who would like to participate in extracurricular activities at their home schools.

Jennings said the school will have no tuition and will be a public school “just like any other school.”

Online applications are available at GlobalImpactAcademy.org. Applications are due by May 24.

The school will host another information session at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Young’s Jersey Dairy.

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