Ohio Technology Consortium makes an impact at the state and national levels in 2023

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Mar 12, 2024) — 

The Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH), a division of the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE), is dedicated to advancing education, workforce development, scientific research and innovation for Ohio. Composed of three organizations — OARnet, OhioLINK and the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) — OH-TECH participated in a diverse range of outreach initiatives in 2023 to engage the communities it serves and connect to new audiences. 

Joint Initiatives  

OARnet, OhioLINK and OSC were joined by staff from the OH-TECH Shared Infrastructure and Consortia Services groups at the Ohio State Fair in the ODHE booth to offer educational activities for families. ODHE and OH-TECH also participated in COSI’s Big Science Celebration, which features dynamic and interactive science demonstrations and activities from local STEM professionals, researchers and experts.  

OARnet and OSC partnered to welcome program officers from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a tour of the data center during The Quilt’s Fall Member Meeting in Columbus (read more about OARnet’s support of The Quilt meeting in the section below).  

Group of people standing at booth at COSI
OH-TECH and ODHE staff members participated in COSI's Big Science Celebration. 


OARnet focuses on uniting people through technology with its resources, services and outreach initiatives. With engagements across various organizations and partnerships, OARnet stands out as a prominent leader and actively contributes to numerous communities.  

Working with partners 

In 2023, OARnet continued to develop strong partnerships both within and outside the state, contributing to the regional and national discussion on networking innovation. OARnet participated in programming activities, including BroadbandOhio’s inaugural Digital Opportunity Summit; the Ohio Higher Education Computing Council (OHECC) conference at Wright State University; the Inter-University Council (IUC) Shared Services Summit; an event with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) staff; the Ohio Digital Government Summit; and Ohio Two-Year Colleges Technology Council (OTCTC) meetings.  

OARnet also contributed its expertise at recurring committee meetings such as the Ohio Homeland Security’s Ohio Cyber Collaboration Committee (OC3); CyberOhio’s Homeland Security Advisory Council for Cybersecurity (HSAC-Cyber) Executive Committee and Subcommittees; and the IUC’s Chief Information Officers (IUC-CIO) meetings. 

OARnet held its Fall Member Meeting and celebrated its 35th Anniversary in conjunction with national gatherings for The Quilt, NSF’s Campus Cyberinfrastructure program and FABRIC. Members were able to join national discussions and create new connections in broadband, cybersecurity and more.  

Three people serve on a panel discussion at OARnet meeting.
OARnet's fall Member Meeting featured a panel discussion about research and education networks in various states. 

National presence  

OARnet plays a dynamic role in the networking landscape, holding leadership positions in various national organizations. Representatives from OARnet actively participated in the winter and fall Member Meetings of The Quilt, which is a coalition of regional research and education networks. As members of the Schools, Health & Library Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, OARnet attended the annual reception and AnchorNETS Conference. Additionally, OARnet Executive Director Pankaj Shah participated in the VP and CEO search committee for Michigan’s Merit network as well as on an NSF review panel.  

Supporting research and education 

OARnet is actively engaged in charting a course to the future of quantum networking technology through a collaborative effort with The Ohio State University Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering (CQISE) funded by a Third Frontier Research Initiative grant. An internship program created in partnership with Ohio State professors Anish Arora and John Hoag placed students at OARnet where they gained real-world experience in broadband, networking and telecommunications technologies from April to September 2023. Additionally, Shah and Chief Relationship Officer Denis Walsh presented at BroadbandOhio’s Community Accelerator Program, an initiative that leverages broadband infrastructure funding for community-driven internet expansion projects across Ohio.  

As a contributor to the project, OARnet attended the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport groundbreaking ceremony for the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence (NAAMCE), which promotes the growth of manufacturers and operators involved in electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles. Working with private sector partners, OARnet completed last mile connection upgrades to 41 schools utilizing the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds, which brought all higher education institutions to a minimum of 10 Gigabits per second. OARnet also partnered with the Management Council to upgrade the state Information Technology Centers (ITCs) and large urban school districts that serve K-12 institutions to 100 Gbps, with capacity for 200 Gbps, with the help of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. 


OhioLINK collaborates with its 117 academic member libraries to provide the resources and services essential to teaching, learning and research for Ohio’s higher education students, faculty and staff. As one of the largest library consortia in the country, OhioLINK engages with the broader library community throughout the year, enhancing awareness of its resources and services, and engaging in important conversations within the library and information science field.  

Connecting with the community 

In 2023, OhioLINK interacted with more than 9,000 member library staff across the state in hundreds of virtual meetings, including its popular annual summer semester webinar series. OhioLINK also connected with its community at the Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO) annual conference. OhioLINK’s table acknowledged the magnitude of member library staff’s workload during the ongoing migration of consortia-wide shared systems software, which is the backbone of each member library’s operations, and focused on the consortium’s collective achievement in advancing this massive project. 

Executive Director Amy Pawlowski and Associate Director of Discovery and Delivery Theda Schwing held several briefings for member institution CIOs on the selected software and OhioLINK’s implementation plan. While OhioLINK is leading, most of the implementation will be executed at the local library level. Parts of the process will require campus libraries to collaborate with their local IT staff. The CIOs expressed appreciation for being brought into the conversation early. 

OhioLINK has also communicated with member institution faculty in addition to its traditional librarian audience. Several recent consortium contracts with publishers include a new open access publishing option in addition to providing access to journals for OhioLINK library users. During 2022 and 2023, OhioLINK’s open access agreements saved 35 Ohio institutions more than $6 million in avoided Article Processing Charges (APC) costs. To educate member institution faculty about OhioLINK’s open access publishing benefits, Associate Director of Licensing and Analytics Joanna Voss created outreach tools and webinars.  

Participating in the community 

OhioLINK sponsors and shares its expertise at many conferences. Pawlowski was invited to keynote Shawnee State’s annual Celebration of Scholarship, a showcase for research presentations and academic awards. In addition, she was invited to participate in the Charleston Leadership Forum, a discussion among a select group of attendees at the Charleston Conference, an annual gathering of librarians, scholarly communications professionals, publishers and industry consultants. At the conference, Pawlowski also presented on collection development, electronic resources and using OhioLINK’s consortial analysis as a framework for local decision making.  

Anna Bendo, director of affordable learning initiatives, served on the planning committee for the Cleveland State University regional open education conference OpenCon Ohio 2023. Emily Flynn, metadata and electronic theses and dissertations (ETD) coordinator, hosted a U.S. ETD Association Users Group Meeting and participated in a panel discussion.  

OhioLINK staff attended a variety of other conferences, including the Ohio IT Leadership Forum, Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE), Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), American Library Association (ALA), Electronic Libraries and Resources (ER&L), International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) and Northern Ohio Technical Services Librarians (NOTSL).  

A person views a computer screen with the OWL website
OhioLINK featured the OWL information resource in its display at the Ohio State Fair. 

Advocating for affordable learning 

In 2023, OhioLINK administered additional cohorts of the Affordable Learning Open Course Redesign Grants, which offset the costs for faculty to learn about teaching with low- to no-cost Open Educational Resources (OER) materials. More than 115 faculty from 46 OhioLINK institutions have participated. Eighty-eight percent of grant recipients are teaching with the OER course materials found through the grant. Interest in the grants continues to be strong, and OhioLINK expects to continue the program in 2024. 

Based on learning acquired during the Open Course Redesign Grants, OhioLINK funded nine member librarians to complete a seven-month Open Education Network OER-specialist certification program. The program will make OER librarians’ expertise more accessible to faculty across the state, and OhioLINK will seek additional funding next year to certify more librarians.  

Hoping to expand OER use to workforce training, OhioLINK met with recipients of grants from the Intel Semiconductor Education and Research Program to discuss utilizing OER materials to help prepare people for employment at Intel’s new Ohio manufacturing facility. 

Ohio Supercomputer Center 

OSC's commitment to advancing science and technology places the Center at the forefront of research computing. OSC consistently undertakes efforts to educate individuals, elevate research within Ohio and actively engage with the broader research computing community. These ongoing efforts enable OSC to participate in global conversations and contribute to the evolving landscape of scientific and technological advancements.   

Data center tours 

OSC conducted informative and interactive tours of its data center in the State of Ohio Computer Center for interested groups, including representatives from Intel’s Ohio offices, Dell representatives, NSF program officers for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute for Intelligent Cyberinfrastructure with Computational Learning in the Environment (ICICLE) and Rear Admiral Tracy L. Hines of the U.S. Navy.  


OSC contributed to the national and international research computing communities by attending and participating in multiple conferences this year, including the ISC High Performance conference, the Gateways conference, the Practice and Experience in Advanced Research Computing (PEARC) conference, the Coalition for Academic Scientific Computation (CASC) conference and the SC conference on supercomputing.  

Closer to home, OSC hosted the ICICLE All Hands Meeting, which brought together institute members to plan for the upcoming year. 

Cover of booklet with image of child standing on laptop
OSC developed an illustrated activity book about supercomputing. 

Youth Education 

To continue its part in educating tomorrow’s research computing leaders and technology-minded scientists, OSC hosted the Summer Institute and Young Women’s Summer Institute. High school students and middle-school girls engaged in hands-on learning experiences at overnight summer camps, where they acquired skills in computer science, mathematics, science, engineering and programming.  

OSC Director of Strategic Programs Alan Chalker presented “What’s So Super About Supercomputing?” multiple times, including during the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery’s CodeFest23 and OhioX’s Ohio Tech Day 2023, which teaches and inspires students interested in technology and innovation. New this year, OSC developed an illustrated activity book to accompany the presentation and distributed it to more than 4,500 children and families.