Going beyond generic educational talent and reaching out to undervalued groups is an essential part of the job for Mike Lohre, senior English lecturer at Ohio State Marion’s Delaware Center.
After graduating with an master’s of fine arts in fiction and poetry from OSU, Lohre began teaching at OSU Marion 11 years ago.
“Students love him,” said Blythe Boger, director of the Delaware Center. “He is very encouraging.”
He is a favorite among Delaware Center students, Boger said.
“Students will wait a quarter to take an English class because he is teaching it,” said Louis Hominga, admission officer at the Delaware Center.
The admissions staff tries to talk students out of such an action, Hominga said. But it’s hard to do so when so many of Lohre’s past students rave about his classes.
Meeting and helping foreign students is part of Lohre’s daily tasks, a change from his childhood in rural Minnesota.
Providing education to those who never had access in the past is one of the most rewarding parts of his job, Lohre said. He was the first in his family to go college.
“He does so well with every type of student,” said Allie Johnson, an undecided first-year. Johnson said she took English 110 with Lohre last year and still remembers the good memories.
Lohre is also director of OSU’s Wuhan to OSU Summer Program, where teachers across the United States fly to China to teach university students about American culture.
“Mike had about 30 Chinese students over to his house for dinner one time,” Hominga said.
The Delaware Center has become a diverse campus of OSU that boasts about an 11 percent Somali and about a 28 percent minority population.
Lohre has developed an English curriculum particularly for that Somali population, many of whom are not native English speakers.
For those Somali students, education is part of the American dream, Lohre said.
Education is just as much a social experience as it is an educational one, Lohre said. This is one of the reasons why the Delaware Center closing is such a tough loss for him.
“This campus allows people to be social,” Lohre said. “Friendships are very important.”
For Lohre, watching what now will be his final year at the Delaware Center slip away is a harsh truth to take.
“We’re a jewel in the crown (of OSU),” Lohre said. “But somebody forgot about us.”