Dr. Bill Balzer
Interim President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Bill Balzer is Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of Owens Community College. Appointed by the Board of Trustees on August 4, 2020, he will serve a one-year term while a national search is conducted for a permanent replacement in summer 2021. In his interim role, Balzer is responsible for the organization, administration, and supervision of all affairs at the College as established by the Board of Trustees.
Before joining Owens, Balzer served as Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives at Bowling Green State University, a position he held for six years and to which he will return following his interim presidency. In this position, Balzer’s responsibilities included serving as chief negotiator and working closely with the faculty bargaining unit as well as guiding the strategic planning and implementation process to advance BGSU. As a member of the executive team, Balzer played an active role in COVID-19 response and preparedness efforts to support the health and vitality of the university community.
Balzer has over 35 years of experience in higher education. Balzer held several administrative appointments at BGSU including Chair of the University’s nationally recognized Department of Psychology, Dean of Continuing & Extended Education, and interim Vice President for University Advancement. He also served as Dean of BGSU Firelands College (Huron, Ohio), whose mix of associate degree programs, noncredit offerings, focus on student access and success, and engagement with employers and educational partners closely aligns with the mission of Owens. In 1996, Balzer was awarded a fellowship from the American Council on Education and spent his fellowship year working in the Office of the President at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.
A baccalaureate graduate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Balzer earned a master’s degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and his doctorate at New York University, both in the area of industrial-organizational psychology. After joining BGSU in 1983, he served on the psychology faculty and was promoted to full professor in 1992. He has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level on both BGSU campuses, including courses on statistics, interviewing, performance appraisal, and organizational psychology. Balzer has consulted with profit and non-profit organizations including Owens-Illinois, Citibank, Pepsico Incorporated, Merrill Lynch & Company, and Procter & Gamble. He served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Psychology and Journal of Business and Psychology.
Balzer’s community engagement activities include economic development and job retention, meeting facilitation and strategic planning, and organizational development and change. He has volunteered his services with area organizations including Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Arts Council of Greater Toledo, Erie County Community Foundation, Montessori School of Bowling Green, WBGU-TV, and Notre Dame Academy. He has served on several boards including Notre Dame Academy, Erie County Economic Development Corporation, Firelands Regional Medical Center, and Owens Community College Arts & Sciences Advisory Board.
Balzer has published over 50 articles and chapters and participated in more than 150 conference presentations on a wide range of topics including job attitudes, evidence-based decision making, and Lean Higher Education. His most recent focus has been the application of Lean principles and practices to higher education; Lean Higher Education: Increasing the Value and Performance of University Processes (2010), was the first book on Lean Higher Education (LHE). A second edition of this book was published in 2020; both are recognized as key resources for universities and colleges pursuing LHE. Balzer’s research focus in this area includes understanding and improving the application of Lean principles and practices in higher education, expanding the contributions of IO psychology to the understanding, application, and evaluation of Lean. He continues to publish and present work on LHE and has been an invited keynote speaker on the topic of LHE. He led BGSU initiatives to improve university processes and effectiveness, and advises colleges and universities contemplating the adoption of Lean. Balzer is a certified Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.
Dr. Balzer is committed to the Owens Community College mission to foster student and community success by providing a high quality and affordable education that leads to rewarding careers, personal growth, and regional economic strength. His broad experiences in higher education and professional background have prepared him for this interim presidency at Owens.
Dr. Denise Smith
Vice President, Academic Affairs/Provost
Denise Smith is the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Dr. Smith provides senior leadership for all academic programs including the Schools of Business, Information and Public Services, Nursing and Health Professions, Liberal Arts, and STEM as well as Academic Support, the College’s Honors Program and Institutional Research. Dr. Smith came to Owens Community College as a faculty member in Sociology in 2003. Dr. Smith became Chair for Arts and Sciences on the Findlay area campus in 2007. In 2008 she became chair of the Social and Behavioral Science department before joining Academic Affairs in 2012. Dr. Smith received a Ph.D. in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands. Her research focuses on educational leadership and student success. She also holds a Bachelors degree in Social Sciences from Tiffin University and a Masters Degree in Sociology from the University Toledo.