Expanding the OWU Connection

Ohio Wesleyan Creates New Leadership Roles to Oversee Its Signature Program

By Cole Hatcher

Megan Ellis, M.Ed.
David Markwardt, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University has appointed two current employees to fill new leadership roles within the OWU Connection as the program is expanded and fully incorporated into the student curriculum.

David Markwardt, Ph.D., professor of Biological Sciences, becomes the OWU Connection’s new associate dean, and Megan Ellis, M.Ed., executive director of the OWU Career Connection, becomes executive director of the OWU Connection. Both appointments are effective May 16.

Ohio Wesleyan’s faculty approved a plan in January to reimagine an OWU education, which includes incorporating the OWU Connection into all aspects of the curriculum as of fall 2023. The OWU Connection helps students to think big (understand issues from multiple academic disciplines), go global (gain international perspective), get real (translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience), and do good (volunteer to help others).

An Ohio Wesleyan faculty member since 2003, Markwardt currently holds the Herbert and Margaret DuPont Endowed Professorship in the Biological Sciences. He teaches courses in introductory and advanced cell and molecular biology, immunology, and cancer biology. Since 2019, he has served as the chief pre-health adviser for OWU students planning to go to medical or dental school. Markwardt also is a member of the Committee on Academic Programs, which helped develop, write, and implement the reimagined curriculum.

A 2005 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, Ellis joined the university in 2015 as the first administrative director of The Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship. In 2019, she moved into the newly created role of executive director of the Career Connection, creating a robust career services program that is integrated throughout a student’s time at the university. Ellis also currently serves as executive director of the Delaware Entrepreneurial Center at OWU, which opened in 2018 with support from both the City of Delaware and Delaware County.

Ohio Wesleyan’s new curriculum includes three pillars: 1) a universal first-year seminar designed to provide students with the foundational academic skills they need to thrive at the university; 2) course requirements based on core competencies intended to teach students to think, speak, and act as engaged global citizens; and 3) a universal requirement that all students complete at least one OWU Connection experience before they graduate.

The three pillars resulted from a yearlong study and represent the first reimagining of the OWU curriculum in more than 50 years. “The resulting general education curriculum, supported by WCSA (student government), is forward-thinking and student-focused,” President Rock Jones, Ph.D., said in announcing the change, “and it upholds and enhances OWU’s historic strengths.”

Learn more about attending Ohio Wesleyan at owu.edu/admission and more about the OWU Connection at owu.edu/connection.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “Best Colleges” lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.