Writing and research resources for graduate students at Ohio University

If you have already decided to attend Ohio University for you graduate education, then you are probably already aware that O.U. is a top research institution. But for those who are unsure if they are going to continue their education, or who are still trying to decide where to go, they should know O.U. is nationally recognized for the research its students and faculty produce. Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the framework used to rank colleges and universities in the U.S., ranks O.U. as a “Research II University”: it is a university that consistently generates a high output of research. And because O.U. is so focused on leading the country in a wide range of fields, from avionics engineering and virtual reality to mass media and computational neuroscience, they place a premium on providing graduate students with all the tools they need to succeed in fulfilling their goal to become world class academics.

The following is a list of five things Ohio University does to help their graduate students become better communicators, researchers, and, most importantly, advanced-degree holders.


1) Librarians are probably the most easily accessible but underutilized resource. Here at O.U., every college has their own designated librarian. These people literally come to work each day for eight hours just to help you find stuff. Each one specializes in a particular subject, so no matter what you are studying, there is at least one librarian that is familiar with the type of questions you are investigating. Doing a literature review on the mating habits of pygmy marmoset monkeys? Ask the biological sciences librarian; he can help. Can’t find any research on the subharmonics of Tuvan throat singers? It’s out there; you just need an expert to help you look. All the librarians at O.U. have a master’s degree in library sciences, so they are highly trained professionals who have a passion for helping young academics succeed. Jessica Hagman, the subject librarian for the Scripps College of Communication, says “just ask.” If they don’t know the answer, then they will find someone who does.“It’s our ethos: if you ask me a question, I’m going to follow it until I get you an answer,” she said. The librarians at Alden also regularly make “how to” videos and posts them on their Youtube page. Here is a short tutorial about how to use Zotero, a dynamic research tool every grad student should know how to use.



2)  E.L.I.P., or the English Language Improvement Program, is a set of courses O.U. provides to prep grad students for academic success. If you are a native English speaker, don’t be fooled, these courses can help you with writing your thesis or dissertation. There is even a course to help you prep for the dreaded oral defense. These courses, however, are an excellent option for students who are speaking English as a second language. It is hard enough to move to a place where no one speaks your native tongue, but it is even harder to speak and write academese in a language you have not been speaking since birth. E.L.I.P. can help. They have two courses exclusively for international students that teach academic vocabulary, grammar, common idioms, strategies for public speaking, and the finer points of American culture. All of these courses can be counted towards earning your degree, and there are no extra fees or costs. Dawn Bikowski, the director of E.L.I.P., says, “No other university offers this kind of support that I have come across in the country.”

3)  The Graduate Writing and Research Center (G.W.R.C.) is another great resource available to grad students at O.U. Say the end of the semester is fast approaching and you have a major paper coming due that counts for almost your entire grade, well you can take your paper to the G.W.R.C. and have them proof it. They will help you with formatting your paper, as well as provide feedback on what corrections you need to make to have a solid paper. However, keep in mind that you have to schedule an appointment well ahead of time, so don’t expect to be able to walk in the day before your paper is due.

4)  The G.W.R.C. also holds regular workshops and events to get you in gear to sit down and write your daunting paper, thesis, or dissertation. One such workshop the G.W.R.C. regularly conducts is the “Writing the Literature Review Workshop.” This workshop will help you blast through any writer’s block you might have, and get the ball rolling on your papers. The G.W.R.C. will teach you about the structure of a literature review and how you should write one, and if you already have one written and you want them to look at it, then bring it with you. The G.W.R.C. also holds events such as “The Long Night Against Procrastination” and the “Dissertation Writing Retreat.” The Long Night Against Procrastination is a six-hour writing marathon held in Alden Library where you come in and plop yourself down and begin hacking away on whatever project is going to end your life if you do not get it finished on time. The G.W.R.C. tutors and the librarians are there to help you with whatever you need. The Dissertation Writing Retreat is exactly what it sounds like: it is a week where everything you do is about writing your dissertation. The G.W.R.C. only accepts 15 students for this event, and for five days you have to commit fully to putting in some serious work on your dissertation. If you choose to sign up for the retreat, you will be given some instruction on how to write a dissertation, tutors will be available, and they’ll even teach you some techniques for stress management.

5)  On top of providing specialized courses, E.L.I.P. also has a graduate writing and critical reading lab. These labs provide a designated place on a campus where you can come in and get feedback and tutoring on whatever project you are working on. There is always a team of experienced tutors there to help you with your research. They also have computers in the lab, so if you do not have your laptop with you, they got you covered.


There you have it folks, five incredible services O.U. goes out of their way to provide for their graduate students. If you are smart enough to get accepted as a graduate student at O.U., then you should be smart enough to take advantage of these great resources. And if you are still on the fence about coming to O.U., then shop around; I am sure you will not find a university that is more dedicated to the success of their graduate students as Ohio University is.

Successful black writer comes to Ohio University for Black History Month to talk about racial inequality and struggles facing black men in America.

In observance of Black History Month, Ohio University and several campus organizations, including Ohio University’s Student Senate and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, hosted a public discussion Thursday featuring black author, journalist, and social critic Darrell Dawsey.

Dawsey and the moderator, Mark Brown, a junior at OU studying mechanical engineering and who is an active member of the NAACP’s OU chapter, crowded the tiny stage erected for the event, which was held in the ballroom of the university’s student union.

The conversation took place in front of a diverse audience of students and faculty, and barring some lighting 20160211_202025miscues, the engagement, once underway, quickly hit upon pressing matters facing black men today.

When you start talking about adverse conditions facing black men today, Dawsey said, a lot of them are not predicated on education level, what neighborhood you live in, what organization you belong to, or what your political affiliation is.

“When black men are shot down in the street—when Walter Scott is shot by a police officer in South Carolina, when Samuel DuBose is killed by a police officer in Cincinnati, when Tamir Rice is shot by police officers in Cleveland—it affects all of us. They are shot down because they are black men,” Dawsey explained.

On the subject of white privilege, Dawsey said a lot the time it’s not about what you get for being white, but what you don’t get. “You don’t get treated the same way as black people; you don’t get looked at by employers the same way; you don’t get shut out of opportunities because of the way your name sounds.”

In trying to conceptualize for people what white privilege is, Dawsey suggests it’s useful to draw on gender politics because there exist certain parallels between race and gender. As he explains, “there are privileges by being a man that don’t accrue to women.” For example, as a man “I don’t have to think twice about walking down a dark alley; I don’t have to think twice about going in an elevator by myself; I don’t have to think twice about stepping into an elevator with two or three big men.” Similarly, Dawsey said, there are things that black people have to think about every day that never crosses the minds of white people.

Dawsey 4When the conversation came to the issue of institutionalized racism in America, Dawsey said there are certain goals and aims that larger white society wants but has to retroactively fashion excuses and logic to maintain. For instance, when particular universities want to limit the number of black people admitted to their institution and maintain a bias for white applicants, they retrofit an excuse, claiming whom they admit is solely based on merit, he said.

Contrived excuses are exposed, said Dawsey, when you look at California’s state university system, where at one point campuses became flush with Asian and Asian- American students. Asians “had the highest GPAs; they were coming in with all the credentials. And what happened,” Dawsey asked, “they put a cap on the number of Asian-American students that matriculated to the California state university system.”

This is where the claim that college admissions are strictly based on merit breaks down, according to Dawsey. White students were getting knocked out of position; they were not getting into some of these schools, Dawsey explained, and if admissions were strictly based off of merit, then California’s state university system would be “85 percent Asian.”

When speaking about how hard it is for black men to achieve the same level of success as white men, Dawsey mentioned Justice Hill, who is a professional sports writer and journalism professor at OU’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, and who is a close friend to Dawsey and was seated in the audience. Dawsey poked fun at his friend, saying he always looks angry. However, Dawsey said Justice has a right to be an angry black man, because if Justice were white “there would be no question about his place in the sports writing pantheon in this country.”

Dawsey himself has achieved a high level of success despite institutionalized racism and the adversities that still face black men in American society today. Dawsey has worked for several major newspapers around the country, including The Los Angeles Times, the Philidelphia Inquirer, and the Detroit News. Dawsey has authored three books, including one that is going to hit bookshelves soon called “Ten Reasons Why You Should Not Kill Yourself.”

West Side Wingery: Wings with a Side of Hip-Hop.

In Athens, Ohio, as far as the food and beverage game goes, Court Street rules everything around me (click here if you need help with the reference). But just around the way, on the west side of town, there is a little joint called the West Side Wingery that spins some of the dopest hot wings in the Midwest.

West Side Wingery's Entrance
This is the West Side Wingery’s entrance.

When challenged to pick a favorite spot in Athens, there are a lot of obvious candidates that come to mind. O’Betty’s is a likely choice, but let’s face it the place has developed a greasy film that seems to be covering everything and will only be removed if it is shut down for a month of steam cleaning. I love Donkey’s coffee but sometimes, when I wake up in the morning, I don’t want to be served my cup of Joe by a Celtic warrior calling me buddy. Jackie O’s is tough to choose over, but I cannot rightfully call it my favorite when I can only afford to drink six-packs to myself . . . alone . . . in my apartment.

West Side Wingery, on the other hand, is a place hard to find fault with. Yeah, there is a dearth of items on the menu, but this is because they play to their strengths and focus on what they are good at. Yeah, they don’t open up shop until four in the afternoon, but for a restaurant that has Wu-Tang symbols as its sign, it would be weird if they opened any earlier.

The décor pays homage to the golden age of hip-hop, with portraits of the likes of Biggie Smalls, The Beastie Boys, and the Wu posted up starboard. On the back wall sits an ill, giant canvass of a graffitied food truck. With the giant painting of the gangster food truck and the hip-hop ambiance, it makes me wonder if the character who masterminded this whole enterprise was inspired by Eddie Huang — entrepreneur and master chef par excellence, who made a killing in the food truck game and owns an acclaimed restaurant with a hip-hop theme in the N-Y-C.

As I mentioned above, the hot wings are on point, but they make other chronic food, too. They are one of the few places that make a fish taco that I don’t feel should invoke the wrath of Santa Muerte. They have different specials for each day of the week, and today (Monday) I indulged in a meatball sub that would have put my G-mal to shame – God bless her, lord knows she would try harder if she were here.

Meatball sub from the West Side Wingery.
Delicious meatball sub from the West Side Wingery.

But all jests aside, the West Side Wingery truly is one of the best little discoveries I have found during my short stay here in Athens. And if I like it more than the food merits, then I like it because for a short period of time I am taken back to the ‘90s when I was a kid and life was so much simpler: when wearing Nautica meant you were cool; when my only goal in life was to chain-smoke two cigarettes without puking; and when my biggest problem was my dad telling me to pull my pants up.