Alumni College

A reunion weekend wouldn’t be complete without some time in the classroom, right? Don’t worry—this time around, you won’t be quizzed at the end! Alumni College offers a variety of “Classes Without Quizzes” that explore subjects so current you could find them in today’s headlines. And with members of Miami’s distinguished faculty leading these lectures, it’s guaranteed you’ll learn something new!

Alumni College sessions are free and open to all Alumni Weekend attendees, with no advance registration required.

Session I: Saturday, June 13, 8–9:50 a.m.


Cooking Up an Estate Plan: Ingredients for Success

Benton 100
Cooking up a successful estate plan is not unlike planning a great dinner party. Whom should you invite, what should be on the menu and which recipes will nourish the soul while also using manageable ingredients? Whether you already have a plan, or you're just beginning to think about your estate planning goals, this course will guide you in answering key questions about who to involve in the process, how to get started on a path, and how careful planning can help you achieve current financial goals, plan for your heirs and plan for the charities you support.

Jayne Whitehead HA ’06 received her A.B. from Washington University and her doctorate of jurisprudence from the Washburn University School of Law. She began her tenure at Miami in July 2000. After successfully serving as vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Miami University Foundation, Whitehead returned to her passion for helping alumni and friends use charitable tax strategies to enhance their financial plans and their giving to Miami by serving as senior director of development for gift planning.

RedTalks: the MUAA Annual Meeting

Benton 102
In this revived “Annual Meeting” of the Miami University Alumni Association, Executive Director Ray Mock ’82 and MUAA President Ted Downing ’68 discuss the MUAA’s current alumni priorities as well as the Board’s vision for the future of the Alumni Association. Following this joint presentation, talk with Board members via a Q&A session, where you are invited to share your ideas about how the Alumni Association might better connect with Miami’s 200,000-plus living alumni.

Ray Mock graduated from Miami with a degree in political science in 1982 and completed a master’s of education in 1983. Mock returned to Miami in 1986 as a member of the alumni relations staff and eventually was promoted to executive director in 2000.

A former two-time All-American high jumper on Miami's track team, Ted Downing ’68 was inducted into the Miami Athletics Hall of Fame in 1982. Downing has served Miami in a variety of leadership roles since graduating with a B.S. in communications and education, previously serving as an alumni chapter leader in Chicago and participating in Miami's student recruitment efforts. He currently is president of the MUAA Board of Directors.



Session II: 9–9:50 a.m.


Pack Bags, Board Plane: An Inside Look at Miami’s Alumni Travel Program

Benton 204
Each year, a diverse selection of trips is handpicked for Miami Explorers, the University’s official alumni travel program. Every excursion is focused on alumni education and offers the chance to experience new cultures, discover new destinations and connect with other Miamians. In this session, get an overview of how the travel program works as well as a first look at the Explorers’ trips for 2016, which include land tours, cruises and a much-anticipated trip to culturally rich Cuba.
Kathryn Myles ’89, M.G.S. ’91 joined the Division of University Advancement as its associate director of alumni travel and campus engagement in 2012. She previously served as coordinator of academic programs for Miami’s nationally renowned Scripps Gerontology Center. Myles earned a B.A. in sociology and completed her master’s in gerontological studies at Miami.

Welcome to the Art Side: MAKETANK Inc.’s STEM to STEAM Programming

Benton 213
MAKETANK Inc. is an Oxford-based nonprofit organization that helps people of all ages find confidence in their own creativity while cultivating community ties through innovative programming. Co-founders Kate Currie and Rod Northcutt will discuss how educational programming in art and design can increase diversity and further innovation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math—the STEM subjects. Currie and Northcutt will survey their formal and informal STEAM education programs and uncover how creative teaching methodologies and project-based learning can increase access to STEM learning and engagement in middle and early high school students.
Kate Carlier Currie ’93 is the co-founder and co-director of MAKETANK Inc. and the annual Oxford Kinetics Festival. She holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and is an alumna of Miami’s Western Program.
Rod Northcutt is an associate professor of sculpture at Miami, and is a co-founder/co-director of MAKETANK Inc. and the Oxford Kinetics Festival. He holds a B.F.A. from the University of North Texas as well as an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Infobesity: Conquering Information Overload in Today’s Digital Environment

Benton 207
Libraries today are just a bit different than they used to be—for instance, where are all the books? The materials you see (and don’t see) in libraries are just the tip of the iceberg, too. With so much to consume in a digital world, companies have coined the phrase “infobesity” as a way to characterize the negative effects of information overload. Come and learn about some techniques to find, access and evaluate all the digital material out there. You’ll walk away with tips and tools to help you tackle information overload, too!
Jennifer Natale holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Rutgers University. In November 2013, she joined Miami University Libraries as a librarian providing outreach of library services and instruction to various student populations such as first-year Miamians and student-athletes.



Session III: 10–10:50 a.m.


Mental Health Matters

Benton 114
This session will examine the critical issues and practices the general public need to follow in establishing and maintaining effective mental health. We also will center on the development of an individual mental health plan (IMHP) and evidence-based research in effective mental health practices. The mental health foundation troika of sleep, nutrition and exercise will be examined along with daily skills such as relaxation techniques, social support and general problem-solving.
Raymond Witte serves as chair of the department of educational psychology at Miami and has provided instruction on educational/psychological assessment and intervention as well as with practicum and internship supervision. He is a licensed school psychologist in the state of Ohio and is a former mental health disaster team leader for the American Red Cross. Witte earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky.

Dynamics of Fireflies, Love Affairs and Human Falls

Benton 100
What do fireflies, love affairs and human postural balance have in common? Answer: All can be understood using principles and concepts of nonlinear dynamics. This course will explore the role simple rules play in creating a complex behavior in natural and engineered systems. Using the same principles of why fireflies glow in symphony, we will discuss why love affairs can result in certain behaviors among the couples. Lastly, and most importantly, we will examine how Miami's work on nonlinear dynamics is enabling us to predict the risk of falls in older adults.

Amit Shukla is professor of mechanical and manufacturing engineering in Miami’s College of Engineering and Computing. Shukla joined Miami’s faculty in 2002 after receiving his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati. He also holds a B.E. in mechanical engineering from Motilal Nehru Regional Engineering College as well as an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

The Collaborative Economy: How Uber, AirBnB & Others Are Changing the Business Landscape

Benton 115
The “collaboration economy” is the most disruptive economic model in today’s business world. Whether it is renting someone’s residence for a vacation, catching a ride instead of calling a taxi or buying products on Etsy, consumers are connecting directly with each other—and they’re doing so without businesses as intermediaries. The rise of “two-sided marketplaces” is nothing dramatically new, but technological advances, mobile computing and general consumer acceptance have tipped the financial scales. This class explores what makes the collaborative economy unique, the companies using this model and what the future holds for the business landscape.

Glenn Platt received his B.A. from the University of Florida and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. He is currently the C. Michael Armstrong Chair and professor of marketing at Miami. Platt also has been director of Miami’s Interactive Media Studies Program (and AIMS) since 2000. Outside the classroom, he is a consultant in areas of social media, Internet marketing and eCommerce.


Session IV: 11–11:50 a.m.


Live Long and Prosper: Combating Aging with Biomedical Engineering

Benton 207
For decades (and even several millennia in some cases!), we have been using external materials to treat many medical conditions, such as polymers in contact lenses and metals in heart valve replacements. In this course, we’ll explore the use of “tissue engineering” strategies to treat two important age-related medical conditions: bone fracture healing and reduced endocrine hormone production. We’ll also use 3-D printing technology to consider the “next generation” of materials fabrication techniques, and we’ll close the session by discussing how these technologies can be applied more immediately.

Jessica Sparks received her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Ohio State University. Sparks earned a B.S. in pre-medical studies and philosophy from the University of Notre Dame as well as a master’s in anatomy from Ohio State University. She previously served as a faculty member in the Virginia Tech - Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering before joining Miami as an associate professor in 2012.

Currently an associate professor in the department of chemical and paper engineering at Miami, Justin Saul earned a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and also served as a co-op engineer at SC Johnson Polymer as an undergraduate. He then earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and worked as a “visiting scientist” at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Adding Creativity to Your Everyday Life for Fun and Profit

Benton 213
Here are the answers to the final exam… Yes, You are creative. Yes, creativity can be taught. Yes, you are more creative because of this Alumni College course. Yes, you had fun and loved the interactive format. And yes, you have new tools to give you more options and opportunities. Will you use what you learn from this course to make more money, improve your relationships and change the world? We sure hope so but that one is up to you.

Jim Friedman is a Cincinnati native and resident Wordsmith/Dreambuilder who may be best known for developing and creating original television shows and movies. Friedman holds a B.S. in industrial design as well as a Ph.D. in communication from Union Institute & University. As a clinical faculty member at Miami, he teaches courses on creativity for the Farmer School of Business’s Institute of Entrepreneurship.

Data Visualization: Excel Tip, Infographic design and Transforming a Virtual City

Benton 204
Have you ever wondered what tools today’s data visualizers are using? In this session, you will see several examples of modern visualization. Learn some tips for crafting unique charts and graphs in Excel; create a detailed data-driven map in minutes with “Simply Map”; explore online tools for making eye-catching infographics; and see examples of visualization software that can build complete cities just a few clicks.

Eric Johnson is Miami’s numeric and spatial data services librarian at King Library's Center for Digital Scholarship. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science, a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a B.S. in agricultural industries all from the University of Illinois.



Session V: 2–2:50 p.m.


Weighing In on the Changing Face of the Obesity Debate

Benton 100
Why would a prominent investigator of health and fitness begin a national presentation with this admonition that we need to stop telling people to lose weight? Has our focus on the popular mantra of “exercise more and eat less” led us down the wrong path? Are the animals in our environment also getting fatter? We will explore these questions and more as we learn what is happening on the front lines of our “War on Obesity.”

Ron Cox is an associate professor in the department of kinesiology and health at Miami, where his primary teaching responsibilities are in the exercise physiology curriculum. He holds a bachelor’s from Frostburg State University, a master’s from Appalachian State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee.

From Eve to Evolution: 10 Things You Should Know about Women & Science in the 19th Century

Benton 114
In the book “From Eve to Evolution,” Kimberly Hamlin contends that science played a key, yet often misunderstood, role in 19th-century debates about women and women's rights. In recent years, we often hear about the lack of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), and we may falsely assume that this is a historical inevitability. In this course, Hamlin will discuss her research, which reveals the enthusiasm with which women greeted science in the 19th century. This course also will explore the many ways women engaged with science and the vital ways in which women shaped what we know today as “science” and the “scientific method.”

Kimberly Hamlin, author of “From Eve to Evolution,” is a cultural historian who focuses on the intersections of gender and science in the United States. Hamlin co-chairs the History of Science Society’s Women’s Caucus and is past chair of the American Studies Association’s Science and Technology Caucus, which she founded in 2006. At Miami, Hamlin is a professor of American studies and history, and she also directs Miami’s American studies program.

All Roads Don’t Lead to Oxford: An Admission Case Study

Are you curious as to how Miami is adapting and evolving itself to attract the best and brightest students from Ohio, the U.S., and around the globe? Join this informative and interactive session to learn more about Miami’s recent enrollment successes, including an overview of the incoming Class of 2019 – the most academically accomplished and diverse class in University history. Engage in a lively discuss as you and fellow alumni take part in an admission case study and learn firsthand the challenges and tough decisions surrounding the admission-review process.

In 2006, Susan Welch Schaurer ’98 joined Miami’s Office of Admission, where she has had oversight of the University’s domestic recruitment efforts, including the implementation of its regional recruitment model; campus visits and events, (which now hosts more than 40,000 visitors annually); and the University’s strategic communication and marketing outreach to prospective students and parents. Schaurer holds a bachelor’s in secondary English education from Miami as well as a master’s in educational leadership from the University of Dayton.



Session VI: 3–3:50 p.m.


Cradle of Coaches: a Legacy of Excellence

Benton 213
The term Cradle of Coaches, coined by Bob Kurz in 1959, has come to represent Miami’s significant impact on competitive coaching. This rich and storied legacy in coaching spans the decades from 1918 and Earl Blaik’s legendary career at West Point to John Harbaugh’s 2013 Super Bowl win as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. This session will give participants a glimpse into the Cradle’s more notable coaches through a rare collection of items that were featured in a recent gallery exhibit.
Johnathan Cooper is a visiting librarian with the Walter Havighurst Special Collections. Cooper’s interest in sports history is a personal one that began in high school, when was a cornerback and wide receiver on his football team. He continued to play football in college, and after graduating, he coached high school football for several seasons. Today, he is helping to catalog Miami’s Cradle of Coaches collection.

Cuba, Then and Now: Reflections on Two Decades of Changes

Benton 204
Professors Melanie Ziegler and Walt Vanderbush draw on personal experiences from their combined 11 trips to Cuba since 1995 to discuss changes on the island and in U.S. policy toward Cuba across those two decades. In addition to providing an update on current American-Cuban relations, professors Ziegler and Vanderbush will offer some speculation about the promise and peril they see in Cuba's future.

Melanie Ziegler ’73 is chief program adviser for and teaches in the international studies program at Miami. She is author of “U.S.-Cuban Cooperation Past, Present and Future,” and during the last two winter terms, she has led workshops of Miami students to Cuba. Ziegler holds a B.S. in education as well as a master’s and Ph.D. in political science from Miami.

Walt Vanderbush currently serves as interim director of Latin American, Latino/a and Caribbean Studies, and also is an associate professor of political science at Miami. He co-authored “The Cuban Embargo: Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy,” and is working with Ziegler on a manuscript tentatively titled “Penetration and Resistance in the Caribbean.”

Anatomy of Anxiety: Looking at the Development of Anxious Children

Benton 207
Anxiety and related personality features such as shyness are incredibly common in children, so there has been a great interest in understanding how these characteristics develop. This session will present recent innovations in our understanding of what anxiety looks like in very young children and how biology and family interactions may shape anxiety development. Ideas also will be presented about what both professionals and family members can do to help anxiety-prone children develop in a happy, healthy way.

Elizabeth Kiel joined Miami’s faculty in the department of psychology in 2010 and is currently an assistant professor teaching in the areas of clinical child psychology and developmental psychology. Her research focuses on how processes in typical development (attachment, parenting, temperament) can help us understand how shyness and anxiety develop in early childhood.

„Backstage Pass Tour of the Miami University Equestrian Center

Learn the inside scoop about the center's history as well as the day-to-day activities of the horses, riders, and staff. Shuttle bus leaves from the bus stop at Shriver Center at 3 p.m.


Backstage Passes


If interactive learning is more your style, Backstage Passes are for you! Get up-close and hands-on with Miami faculty and staff for informative, behind-the-scenes demonstrations and tours.

Red Hawk Racing Formula SAE Car Viewing

10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
High Bay, Garland Hall
The RedHawk Formula SAE team has spent the last year designing, building, testing and preparing their vehicles for competition this summer in Lincoln, Neb. The competition, June 17-20, will give our team the chance to demonstrate and prove both our creative and engineering skills against 77 teams from other universities around the world.

Formula SAE brings together nearly all aspects of engineering. The project is broken up into four teams: chassis, drive train, suspension and business. Come down to the MME High Bay in Garland Hall to see the car in its final preparation prior to its first race next week.

„8.5 x 11": Learning How to Make Paper

10–11 a.m. and 2–3 p.m.
Paper Lab, Engineering Building
We use paper every day—so where does it come from? Visit the Chemical and Paper Engineering Department to see a Pilot Paper Machine and experience the basics of making your own handsheets. This is a kid-friendly class, and it’s easier than you think! Presented by Doug Hart and Aaron Yonka ’96.

MAKETANK’s STEM to STEAM programming: Let’s Build Helicopters!

11 a.m. - Noon
High Bay, Garland Hall
MAKETANK will lead a session for all ages making hand helicopters. Using a few simple materials, a knife and hot glue participants will make their own hand-powered helicopter while we learn a bit about Daniel Bernoulli and his principles of flight.

MAKETANK’s STEM to STEAM programming: Go Fly A Kite

1-2 p.m.
High Bay, Garland Hall
MAKETANK will lead a session for all ages making tetrahedral kites. Participants will build their own kites using the materials provided while we discuss kinetic art and the forces that act on a kite while it is flying.

Etheridge Hall Tour

2–3 p.m.
Etheridge Hall
Dedicated in 2013 to honor former vice president for student affairs Robert Etheridge, LEED-certified Etheridge Hall is a significant departure from Miami’s traditional residence hall floor plan design. The hall is comprised of eight individual “houses” totaling 30 residents each. Each house is full of student-requested amenities. This Backstage Pass gives alumni the chance to check out this new building. Meet in the archway of the hall at 2 p.m.

David and Anita Dauch Indoor Sports Center Tour (The DISC)

3–4 p.m.
Meet at Shriver Center bus stop, Maple St.
Don’t miss the opportunity for an insider’s tour of Miami Athletics’ newest facility. The David and Anita Dauch Indoor Sports Center is a year-round home supporting Miami’s varsity, club and intramural athletes, and it’s open for business rain, snow or shine. It features a full 120-yard indoor football field, sprint lanes and a number of other resources that support and enhance the preparation of all Miami’s athletes. Shuttle bus leaves from the Shriver Center bus stop at 3 p.m.

Miami University Equestrian Center Tour

3–4 p.m.
Meet at Shriver Center bus stop, Maple St.
In this insider's tour of Miami's Equestrian Center, alumni will learn about the center's history and the day-to-day activities of the horses, riders, and staff. Alumni also will gain first-hand knowledge about the daily care of the horses. Shuttle bus leaves from the bus stop at Shriver Center at 3 p.m.

Preserving our Memories: How Libraries Save the Past for the Future

4–5 p.m.
King Library Center for Digital Scholarship
Presenters Ashley Jones and John Millard will help you learn about the special challenges faced in preserving different kinds of physical materials and how libraries are leading the way in saving these treasures for future generations. This backstage pass includes a brief handson discussion of strange and mysterious formats like VHS, reel-to-reel tape, and mini-discs as well as behind the scenes tours of the advanced digitizing facilities in the CDS and the preservation lab in King Library's conservation department.

Men's Ice Hockey Facilities Tour

4–5 p.m.
Meet in Goggin Ice Center Lobby
Already the home of one of college hockey’s top programs, the Goggin Ice Center received an important renovation and addition within the past year. Tour the new weight and conditioning room, see the simulated shooting room and experience a number of other improvements including locker room upgrades and a hallway celebrating the program’s championship success. Meet in the Goggin Ice Center Lobby at 4 p.m.

Questions? The Alumni Weekend staff is here to help.
Email us at call us at 866-682-5867.