Each year, Ohio University faculty members contribute their extensive knowledge and research to members of the media, serve as sources for stories, share their findings, and are featured for the work they do both within the university and the community.
During the 2021 calendar year, 221 faculty members from each college and regional campus were featured in 2,300 media reports from around the world. Some faculty members were mentioned in media such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Online, BBC and many more. They talked about topics from the discovery of fossil footprints believed to be a bear that is actually human, to the challenges of middle school, especially in the midst of the pandemic. In addition to being featured in media worldwide, they also created strong relationships with local and regional media, and were sources of topics affecting the area.
“Being named a Faculty Newsmaker is an incredible recognition because it not only recognizes the work and accomplishments of our faculty, but helps build Ohio University’s reputation as an educational institution with world-class educators and researchers,” Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said. “Ohio University faculty prove daily in the classroom, in their communities and in the media how their expertise, hard work and commitment can make an impact from right here in Athens, Ohio and our regional area to the entire world. It is an honor to work with these extremely knowledgeable and generous educators and I am grateful that they are the leaders we have teaching our students.”
University Communications and Marketing (UCM) collaborates with faculty members and researchers across the university who are committed to sharing OHIO’s stories through engagement with media around the country and around the world.
At UCM, these individuals are known as OHIO Faculty Newsmakers and are defined as employees who, regardless of title or classification, teach at Ohio University and have been included in media placements tracked by Cision, a monitoring service used by UCM to track University media placements. Faculty newsmakers may include tenured and non-tenured faculty, as well as administrators who serve as faculty in OHIO classrooms.
Many of OHIO’s faculty newsmakers participate in Ohio University’s Experts Directory, a searchable database that makes it easy for members of the media to find and connect with Ohio University’s expert sources on a wide range of topics.
As the world and media platforms continue to change, UCM has also adapted the newsmakers’ awards. This year and beyond, instead of naming the top 10 newsmakers for the calendar year, we’re highlighting our top five newsmakers by interviewing each of them for the OHIO community and media to learn more about their work and research, as well as to to learn more about how they became interested in their field of study and their future plans.
The following OHIO faculty newsmakers were named among OHIO’s top five newsmakers for the most media placements in the 2021 calendar year:
- Ellison McNuttassistant professor of teaching in biomedical sciences at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, was mentioned 396 times in the media in 2021. The year 2021 was her first year at Ohio University and her first time being recognized as a faculty newsmaker. Her expertise is in human evolution, biological anthropology, paleoanthropology, hominins and biomechanics. Most of her mentions in the media came from a study she had published in “Nature” about the fossil footprints found in Tanzania in 1978 that were initially dismissed as those of a bear. But she recently re-excavated that site and determined through detailed analysis that the footprints were made by an early human. Her Research focuses on understanding the origins and evolution of the human lineage, using multiple research methods including comparative anatomical dissection, functional morphology, biomechanics, bone biology and fossils to understand and reconstruct locomotor behavior in extinct apes and human ancestors. Her fieldwork mainly takes place in southern and eastern Africa. Some of her mentions in the media include: Smithsonian Online, CBS News, The New York Times, Associated Press, NPR and Science Magazine.
- David Ridpathdocent in sports management at the School of Economics, was mentioned 314 times in the media in 2021. Many of his mentions came from being quoted talking about coaching salaries, college athletes fighting for their rights, how a new Michigan hire deviated from the NCAA rulebook and how race and politics can divide Americans in sports matters. He has been a top 10 newscaster every year since its inception and was named the top newsmaker in 2019 and 2016. Ridpath is an expert on intercollegiate athletics, intercollegiate athletic governance, sports teams, sports administration and governance, among other topics. He has also appeared before congressional committees and served as an expert witness in numerous cases involving intercollegiate athletics and the rights of college athletes. Ridpath has published several articles in publications such as the Journal of Law and Sports, The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, and the Journal of Intercollegiate Athletics. Some of his mentions in the media include: ABC News, ESPN online, US News and World Reportand Sports Illustrated.
- Katherine Jellisonhistory professor in the College of Arts and Scienceswas mentioned 270 times in the media in 2021. She has been a news anchor every year since inception, made the top 10 list six times, and was named a top newsmaker in 2020, 2018 and 2017. Many of her media mentions came from being quoted talking about Doug Emhoff, America’s first Second Gentleman, as well as Jill Biden’s impact as First Lady on the United States She is an expert on gender in politics, women’s history, contemporary American politics, marriage and wedding customs, and first ladies. She has written numerous journal articles, book chapters, and books and is currently working on a book about Old Order Amish women in the 1930s and 1940s. Some of her mentions in the media include: The hill, Business Insider, Washington Post, The New York Times, NPRand Vancouver Sun.
- Robert Foehlexecutive-in-residence for business law and ethics in the College of Business, was mentioned 124 times in the media in 2021. He has been a news anchor for five years and has been in the top 10 for the past three years in a row. The majority of his mentions in the media came from him being quoted talking about the National Association of Realtors banning hate speech. Föehl’s expertise is, among other things, in business ethics, business law, ethical leadership and corporate social responsibility. Prior to his work at OHIO, Föehl was Target’s first director of corporate compliance and ethics, practiced law in-house for multinational corporations, was a compliance professional for one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, and served as a federal regulator. Some of his media mentions include: Broadly, World Magazine Onlineand USA News.
- Lisa Harrisonprofessor of teacher education and associate dean at the Patton College of Education, was mentioned 74 times in the media in 2021. It is the first year she has been named a top news writer and has been faculty news writer three years before. The majority of her mentions were from attending to receive the National Award for Middle Level Education, as well as speaking further why middle school is as hard as it is and how the pandemic made it worse. Her expertise and research interests include Black youth identity construction, teacher education preparation, and teaching for social justice. Harrison holds a BS in Mathematics from Spelman College and an MST in Secondary Teaching from Pace University. She also has a Ph.D. in Middle School Education from the University of Georgia. She teaches courses in middle childhood education and teacher action research. In addition, she serves as the coordinator for the Middle Childhood Education program. Some of her mentions in the media include: Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, Journal of Blacks in Higher Educationand that Unbiased Press.