Conrath hired by Otterbein to help with outreach
Melissa Conrath has been hired as the assistant to the president for community outreach at Otterbein University.
Conrath, 58, will retire in October after five years as superintendent of Worthington City Schools. She will take a few weeks to travel and regroup prior to starting the newly created part-time position at Otterbein in January.
She will help Otterbein president Kathy Krendl find ways to broaden and extend programs to serve nontraditional students in a changing university environment.
With the number of high school graduates declining as more baby boomers' children become adults, colleges and universities are looking for new roles in their communities and new markets to serve.
Conrath might work on a program that focuses on encore career paths for adults who want to take on new job challenges at midlife or beyond. A college course or a whole new major might be the key to easing that transition.
Otterbein also might expand into the Westerville community with noncredit courses, partnering with the city, schools, libraries or business community.
Conrath also could be called upon for her education expertise in developing new courses to meet the professional development needs of teachers. She will work with Otterbein's women's leadership program to develop a mentoring program, matching graduates in leadership positions with female students.
A lecture series and discussion groups allowing older citizens to learn from the expertise and research of Otterbein faculty could be developed, as well.
"The idea is that the university wants to make sure it is meeting the needs of the community," Conrath said. "It's going to be exciting."
As she becomes more familiar with Otterbein, Conrath has become impressed with the quality of its programs, she said.
"I now have an appreciation for why the university has earned a national reputation," she said.
Krendl became Otterbein's first female president in July 2009.
"The president has a clear vision for the university, and I'm excited to play a role in that future," Conrath said.
Conrath said she plans to work also as a part-time consultant for the Franklin County Educational Services Center.
Prior to being hired as Worthington superintendent, Conrath was superintendent of Big Walnut schools. She also was assistant superintendent of Gahanna-Jefferson schools and executive director of instruction for Mansfield City Schools. She began her career as a high school physics and biology teacher.
Conrath has a bachelor's degree in zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University, a master's degree from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in science education from Ohio State University.