University Community | Research and Impact

OHIO faculty honored for continuing to share expertise and research through their work with media

Every year Ohio University faculty members contribute their extensive knowledge and research to members of the media, acting as sources for stories, sharing their discoveries, and being featured for the work they do both within the University and community.

In the calendar year 2021, 221 faculty members from every college and regional campus were featured in 2,300 media reports from all over the world. Some faculty members were mentioned in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian Online, the BBC, and many more. They talked on subjects ranging from the discovery of fossil footprints believed to be a bear actually being human, to the challenges of middle school, especially amid the pandemic. In addition to being featured in media outlets across the world, they also created robust relationships with local and regional media, being go-to sources on topics impacting the area.

“Being named a faculty newsmaker is an incredible recognition because it not only acknowledges the work and accomplishments being done by our faculty but helps build the reputation of Ohio University as an education institution with world-class educators and researchers,” Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said. “Ohio University’s faculty prove daily in the classroom, in their communities, and in the media how their expertise, hard work and dedication can make an impact from right here in Athens, Ohio, and our regional area to all over the world. It is an honor to work with these extremely knowledgeable and generous educators and I’m grateful that these are the leaders we have teaching our students.”

University Communications and Marketing (UCM) partners with faculty members and researchers across the University who are committed to sharing OHIO’s stories through engagement with media around the country and all over the world.

At UCM, these individuals are known as OHIO faculty newsmakers and are defined as employees who, regardless of their 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 the University’s media placements. Faculty newsmakers may include tenured and non-tenured faculty, as well as administrators who serve as educators in OHIO’s classrooms.

Many of OHIO’s faculty newsmakers take part in the 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 broad range of subjects.

As the world and media platforms continue to change, UCM has also adapted the newsmakers honors. This year and going forward, instead of naming the top 10 newsmakers for the calendar year, we are highlighting our top five newsmakers through interviews with each of them for the OHIO community and media to learn more about their work and research, as well as to learn more about how they became interested in their field of study and their plans going forward.

The following OHIO faculty newsmakers were named OHIO’s Top Five Newsmakers for the most media placements in the calendar year 2021:

  1. Ellison McNutt, assistant professor of instruction in biomedical sciences in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, was mentioned 396 times in the media in 2021. The 2021 year was her first year at Ohio University and her first time recognized as a faculty newsmaker. Her expertise is in human evolution, biological anthropology, paleoanthropology, hominins, and biomechanics. Most of her media mentions came from a study she had published in “Nature” on the fossil footprints that were found in Tanzania in 1978 and were originally dismissed as a bear. However, she recently re-excavated that site and determined through a detailed analysis that the footprints were made by an early human. Her research focuses on understanding the origin and evolution of the human lineage, utilizing multiple research approaches including comparative anatomical dissection, functional morphology, biomechanics, bone biology, and fossils to understand and reconstruct locomotor behavior in extinct ape and human ancestors. Her fieldwork primarily takes place in Southern and Eastern Africa. Some of her media mentions include: Smithsonian Online, CBS News, The New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, and Science Magazine.

  2. David Ridpath, associate professor of sports management in the College of Business, 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 staffer strayed outside the NCAA rule book, and how race and politics can divide Americans on sports issues. He has been a top 10 newsmaker every year since its inception, being named the top newsmaker of 2019 and 2016. Ridpath is an expert in intercollegiate athletics, intercollegiate athletic governance, sports law, sports administration, and governance reform, among others. He has also appeared before Congressional committees and served as an expert witness in numerous cases involving intercollegiate athletics and college athlete rights. Ridpath has published several articles in publications like the Journal of Law and Sports, The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, and the Journal of Intercollegiate Athletics. Some of his media mentions included: ABC News, ESPN Online, U.S. News and World Report, and Sports Illustrated.

  3. Katherine Jellison, history professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was mentioned 270 times in the media in 2021. She has been a newsmaker every year since its inception, making the top 10 list six times and being named 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 U.S. She is an expert in gender in politics, women’s history, contemporary U.S. politics, marriage and wedding customs, and first ladies. She has authored 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 media mentions include: The HillBusiness InsiderThe Washington PostThe New York TimesNPR, and The Vancouver Sun.

  4. Robert Föehl, executive-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 newsmaker for five years, making the top 10 the last three years in a row. The majority of his media mentions came from being quoted talking about the National Association of Realtors banning hate speech. Föehl’s expertise is in business ethics, business law, ethical leadership, and corporate social responsibility, among others. 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: Forbes, World Magazine Online, and USSA News.

  5. Lisa Harrison, professor of teacher education and associate dean in the Patton College of Education, was mentioned 74 times in the media in 2021. This is the first year she has been named a top newsmaker and has been a faculty newsmaker three years before. The majority of her mentions were from being featured for receiving the National Award for Middle Level Education, as well as for talking on why middle school is as hard as it is and how the pandemic made it worse. Her expertise and research interests include black young adolescent identity construction, teacher education preparation, and teaching for social justice. Harrison holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Spelman College and the M.S.T in Secondary Teaching from Pace University. She also holds a Ph.D. in Middle School Education from The University of Georgia. She teaches courses in middle childhood education and teacher action research. Additionally, she serves as the Middle Childhood Education program coordinator. Some of her media mentions include: The Washington Post, The Hechinger Report, Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, and the Associated Press.

November 18, 2022
Staff reports