News Releases

State Board Recertifies College’s Department of Public Safety

Posted on April 28th, 2022

Owens Community College Department of Public Safety The Owens Community College Department of Public Safety (DPS), led by Chief Steven M. Harrison, has been recognized by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board. Created to hold agencies to high standards, accountability and instill a greater confidence with the public, the Ohio Collaborative certified or recertified the College’s department in these three categories:

  • Use of force and recruitment and hiring
  • Community engagement
  • Bias free policing and investigation of employee misconduct

“We are always looking for ways to increase public trust and confidence. Being certified by the Ohio Collaborative helps us improve those efforts,” said Chief Harrison. “People can come to our college and know they are going to be in a safe learning environment.”

The College’s DPS was recertified for use of force, recruitment and hiring standards. In order to receive recertification, the department had to meeting various protocols including:

  • Conduct investigation/report review for use of force policy compliance.
  • Establish an agency recruitment plan.
  • Detail the sworn officer application and selection process.

DPS has received certification for community engagement as well as bias free policing and investigation of employee misconduct standard. To receive these new certifications, the department had to meet specific protocols including:

  • Share photos of agency personnel participating in activities or information exchanges.
  • Document reviews of body camera capture data.
  • Define timelines for the resolution of complaints.

The Ohio Collaborative is a 12-person panel comprised of law enforcement experts and community leaders, originally established in 2014. A total of 573 law enforcement agencies in Ohio have received certification.


Posted on April 4th, 2022

PERRYSBURG, Ohio – Owens Community College Professor of English Jen Hazel has been selected for the 2022 Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction Recognition by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). Awarded to select individuals who make a difference in community college classrooms across the United States, this highly competitive national designation honors faculty who are active in their students’ lives and in their colleges’ activities to ensure student success.

“My passion for teaching runs deep, so I was honored to be nominated for this award,” Professor Hazel said. “Owens is such a great place to work; I know I am making a difference here. This award motivates me to continue doing the work I love and supporting our students, both in and outside of the classroom.”

“Speaking on behalf of the entire Owens community, I am thrilled for Jen and applaud the award committee’s recognition of what she has achieved,” said Dr. Dione D. Somerville, President of Owens Community College. “Her passion is evident from her many committee activities, her efforts to increase student access to Open Education Resources (OER) and her commitment to providing rich and relevant learning experiences for all. Jen consistently goes above and beyond to find ways that each student can learn, and we are so fortunate to have her on our team.”

Professor Hazel has taught at Owens for 15 years. In addition to her classroom instruction, she serves as the campus Assessment Lead and on the Completion, Center for Teaching and Innovation Implementation, and Opening Week teams. Professor Hazel also co-chairs the Curriculum Committee and the BIG Read and chairs the Oregon Road Film Series and The Silo committees. In the Humanities Department, where she is the Program Director, she currently spearheads the effort to embed tutoring into Composition I courses and is incorporating OER materials into other courses, including Composition II, to ensure students have access to the support and materials they need to succeed.

This is the second straight year that Owens faculty have been recognized nationally for teaching excellence, demonstrating the quality instruction students receive at the College. Associate Professor of Math Sarah Long received the Distinguished Faculty Recognition in 2021. In addition to AACC recognition, award winners also receive a custom commemorative medal and are further celebrated at a private reception during the AACC Annual Convention, which will be held in New York City from April 30–May 3 this year.

Owens Receives $1.16 Million Grant to Improve Adult College Readiness

Posted on December 1st, 2021

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Dec. 1, 2021 – Adults interested in pursuing higher education but unsure where to begin now have additional resources available at Owens Community College thanks to a $1.16 million Educational Opportunities Center (EOC) program grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Owens will receive $235,050 per year for five years to help unemployed workers, low-wage workers, and returning high school and college students enter or continue a program of postsecondary education. These resources are available to members of the northwest Ohio communities, regardless of which higher educational institution they choose to attend.

“The EOC grant will allow Owens to further our commitment to making higher education accessible to the members of our community,” Denise Smith, Ph.D., provost and vice president of academic affairs, said. “Our goal is to assist adult students in their pursuit of continuing education or higher education by providing one-on-one support in obtaining their high school diploma or equivalent, connecting them with the college admissions application process and increasing their financial literacy and understanding of student financial aid options.”

Educational Opportunities Centers are one of eight federal grant programs known as the Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO), which are authorized by the Higher Education Act to help low-income, first-generation students and student with disabilities succeed in higher education. These programs assist in advancing these individuals from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

For more information on Owens Community College, please visit or call the admissions office at (567) 661-7777. For more information on the EOC program, please contact

Owens Community College Invests in Workforce Training by Opening $9.6M Dana Center

Posted on October 4th, 2021

Owens Community College will host a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday, October 6 to showcase the $9.6 million Dana Incorporated Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, a facility created in response to labor market needs for the purpose of preparing skilled workers for in-demand jobs.

Also known as the Dana Center, the renovated 59,000-square-foot facility provides students with highly technical training in advanced manufacturing and the skilled trades. The Dana Center is located at 458 Depot Road, Perrysburg on the Owens’ Toledo-area Campus.

“This ceremony will allow us to publicly thank Dana Incorporated for making the lead gift that helped create the Dana Center for students of today and tomorrow,” Dr. Dione D. Somerville, Owens Community College President, said. “We would also like to thank the Gene Haas Foundation, JobsOhio and all of the donors whose contributions made this facility possible. This center helps Owens fulfill its goal of working in partnership with business and industry to advance economic development in the region.”

SSOE Group received the 2020 Excellence in Workforce Development Award by the Ohio Economic Development Associations (OEDA) for the Dana Center’s design that provides highly technical and integrated training in a modern setting with amenities including natural lighting, glass walls and polished floors – a clean and safe environment conducive to learning.

Midwest Contracting, Inc. was the general contractor.

The ceremony will conclude with a ribbon cutting and then guests will have the opportunity to tour the Dana Center’s labs and classrooms. Light refreshments will be available.

The College’s academic offerings began in 1965 with four associate degree programs, including two leading to careers related to advanced manufacturing. Today, Owens offers more than 70 associate degree programs and certificates, with more than 20 connected to the advanced manufacturing industry.

More information about the Dana Center is available at


Posted on April 28th, 2021

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, April 28, 2021 – Students pursuing degrees in the critical fields of science technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at Owens Community College will be eligible for additional scholarships, thanks to the Choose Ohio First (COF) Grant program announced by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) earlier this month.

“This important grant from the ODHE will allow Owens to help even more students thrive on their path to successful STEM careers,” said Bill Balzer, interim president, Owens Community College. “This additional financial support will provide many students with the additional resources they need to prepare for in-demand jobs and grow Ohio’s talent pipeline. This is all possible thanks to the vision and advocacy of Lieutenant Governor Husted and ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner.”

The grant will provide $278,100 over five years to recruit and support cohorts of 10-15 students during their educational journey. Students pursuing one of Owens’ more than 75 STEM-focused degrees and certificates are awarded up to $1,500 per semester for fall and spring semesters only.

Part of the COF scholarship program at Owens includes a partnership with Bowling Green State University to assist students looking to transfer to BGSU to pursue a bachelor’s degree in STEM. This partnership provides a four-year degree pathway with an emphasis in robotics for the following programs:

  • Mechatronics Engineering Technology
  • Pre-Mechatronics Engineering Technology
  • Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology
  • Engineering Technology

The Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program is a $100 million investment to be awarded over five years, targeting universities and colleges recruiting Ohio residents into current STEM programs, supporting the increased success of students in those fields, and making substantive improvements to the pipeline of STEM students and STEM educators. Participating institutions award scholarships to students based on need and merit.

For more information about Owens’ School of STEM, please visit

For more information on the Choose Ohio First program, visit


Posted on March 23rd, 2021

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, March. 23, 2021 – Owens Community College has been named a finalist in two categories – Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership and Students Success – for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2021 Awards of Excellence. The national awards recognize exceptional work among the nation’s two-year colleges.

 Owens is one of twelve community colleges and the only one from Ohio to be recognized as a finalist for the AACC 2021 Awards of Excellence.

“We are pleased to be recognized by the AACC as finalists for our corporate partnerships and student success initiatives,” stated Bill Balzer, interim president, Owens Community College. “Fostering success for both students and our community is our mission and we are extremely proud of all the amazing work being done by our exceptional faculty and staff.”

The Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership Award honors local, regional and national collaboration between a college and corporate partner that has achieved demonstrable, multi-year success in advancing the mission of the institution(s), the economic prosperity of a community, region or the nation, and the learning excellence of students.

Owens has been recognized for its partnership with Raise the Bar Hancock County and eight Findlay-Hancock County manufacturers to launch the Ohio Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (OH! FAME) program.

“What makes this partnership successful is the role the businesses play. They are active in developing curriculum, guest speakers, board members, and much more,” said Tracy Campbell, assistant director, Advanced Manufacturing and FAME. “Each student has an employer mentor as well as a college success coach to help guide them on their career path along with their educational path. It is a pleasure to be able to work with the students and employers to help fill the needs of the region.”

The Student Success Award recognizes a community college that has demonstrated, through evidence, a sustained commitment to proactively advancing the cause of student success at a community college.

Over the past two years, the College has transformed its student placement processes and how to improve underprepared students’ success. The College has moved from a single measure of placement to a more holistic approach using multiple criteria and student feedback to provide more accurate placement.

In addition, the College embarked on a complete review of all its associate degrees to decrease both the number of credit hours required and time until completion. The majority of programs now have clear pathways to completion in 60-65 credit hours by streamlining the choice of program courses and removing unnecessary elective credits.

 AACC’s Awards of Excellence underscores the association’s priorities and brings national visibility to promising practices among its member colleges.

Nominees will be judged by a select committee of the AACC Board of Directors. The winners will be announced at the Awards of Excellence Virtual Gala during AACC Digital in May 2021.


Posted on February 1st, 2021

Ultimate goal is improving student success 

Ten faculty members from Owens Community College have jumped at the chance to improve their online teaching skills by participating in a 25-week Effective Online Teaching Practices course offered in collaboration with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).

The teachers will be joining more than 150 faculty members from 22 Ohio community colleges as they learn and implement equity-promoting, evidence-based teaching practices shown to improve student engagement, persistence, course completion, and learning.

The program is part of a collaboration between the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). ACUE programs in effective teaching practices are based on more than three decades of research that demonstrates effective teaching improves learning for all students.

Considered a graduate-level course, the program consists of 25 modules separated into four blocks—Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Online Learning Environment, Promoting Active Learning Online, Inspiring Inquiry and Lifelong Learning in Your Online Course, and Designing an Effective Course.

Equity-promoting teaching practices are among the hundreds of recommended approaches that faculty learn about and develop in ACUE courses, as demonstrated in ACUE’s Inclusive and Equitable Teaching Curriculum Crosswalk.

Faculty will be teaching classes at Owens while taking the course, which begins this month, so they will use what they learn immediately. Faculty who satisfy program requirement will be awarded ACUE’s Certificate in Effective College Instruction, the only nationally-recognized college teaching credential endorsed by the American Council on Education.

The opportunity is offered free of charge to faculty through a partnership between ACUE and OACC’s Success Center as part of the Every Learner Everywhere (ELE) initiative—and was made possible by Achieving the Dream (ATD), an ELE network partner. 

Jack Hershey, president and chief executive officer of the OACC, said the training will teach faculty ways to keep their online courses fresh and impactful.

“We are working hard to level the playing field to close equity gaps among Ohio students,” Hershey said. “Offering this course to faculty is one more way to do that.”


Posted on October 27th, 2020

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Oct. 27, 2020 – The strong partnerships between Owens Community College, Haas Automation, Inc., HFO Midwest and the Gene Haas Foundation has been taken to the next level as the Gene Haas Foundation recently awarded a $250,000 grant for naming rights to the new Owens Dana Advanced Manufacturing Training Center’s Computer Numeric Control (CNC) Machining Lab. The 7,000-square-foot space will be known as the Gene Haas CNC Machining Lab and will feature several Haas CNC machine tools to prepare students for high-paying manufacturing jobs.

The Haas Foundation grant follows the 2019 gift from Dana Incorporated for which the advanced manufacturing training center is named.

“Our Dana Center, including the Gene Hass CNC Machining lab, demonstrates the college’s commitment to specialized training in advanced manufacturing and related fields,” said Bill Balzer, interim president, Owens Community College. “This generous grant from the Gene Haas Foundation enhances our strong, long-standing partnership to ensure meeting the region’s employment and training needs for many years to come.”

Students pursuing a mechanical major are instructed in drafting, machine design and repair and machining principles, which may include tool and die design and detailing, fluid power applications and CNC applications. In addition to theory and hands-on instruction, students will take courses such as communications, industrial psychology, management and applied statistical process control.

The Gene Haas CNC Machining lab is a premiere educational space for students, incumbent workers, individuals, and companies who seek hands-on training and advanced skills needed by Northwest Ohio’s regional manufacturing-based employers. Additionally, the lab will be dedicated to students pursuing many degrees and certificates, including Applied Engineering Technology, CAD Technology, Skilled Trades Mechanical, Industrial Mechanic Certificate, Tool & Die/Mold Making, Welding and more.

“I’m extremely proud of the evolution of our partnership with Owens Community College (OCC) and congratulate them on being awarded a $250,000 grant by the Gene Haas Foundation!” states Dave Tucker, president of HFO Midwest. “Owen’s Community College was one of our earliest Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) success stories, going back more than 20 years. Our early adoption of the HTEC program has proven to be a winning proposition for all stakeholders, as well as the manufacturing communities we serve. I’m confident that the new Gene Haas CNC Machining Lab at Owens will prepare students for a great career in manufacturing by educating them on the most popular and advanced CNC machine tools currently in use.”

Owens regional business partners have expressed an urgent need for additional training to meet the predicted 2,118 new jobs in advanced manufacturing over the next five years. The Gene Haas Foundation’s continued investment in Owens will provide additional hands-on training to students and increase skilled personnel entering the workforce.

“Owens Community College is a known pillar in the region for delivering advanced manufacturing training opportunities,” Adds Toni Neary, director of education, Morris Group, Inc., Haas Tower Services. “We have fostered an amazing partnership with Owens Community College including housing our local showroom on campus, working pro-actively in the HTEC (Haas Technical Education Center) network and with annual grants for student scholarships from the Gene Haas Foundation. This takes our partnership to the next level.”

Approximately 200 to 300 credit and non-credit students utilize the CNC lab annually while completing Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) courses.

The Dana Center focuses on expanding and preparing new and incumbent skilled workers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. The 59,000-square-foot facility features six skilled technology labs, including computer-aided design (CAD), CNC and manual machining, electrical, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and alternative energy, mechanical and pneumatics, and robotics and programmable logic controller (PLC).

For more information on the Dana Center or the Gene Haas CNC Machining Lab, please visit

About the Gene Haas Foundation
Founded by Haas in 1999, the Gene Haas Foundation has awarded more than 50 million dollars to deserving charities and educational institutions. The Foundation was formed to fund the needs of the local community and to support manufacturing education. The foundation provides scholarship funds to community colleges and vocational schools for students entering technical training programs, especially machinist-based certificate and degree programs as well as supports youth programs that inspire young people to consider manufacturing careers.

 About HFO Midwest
Haas Factory Outlet ( a division of Midwest Manufacturing Resources, Inc., has been supporting the manufacturing community of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia for over 25 years as the exclusive distributor for Haas CNC machine tools, rotary products and automation. Offices are located in Springboro (Cincinnati-Dayton) and Twinsburg (Cleveland). Each facility offers showrooms for demonstrations, training and services.


Posted on October 16th, 2020

Participants Include Two from Owens Community College

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Oct. 16, 2020 –  Two leaders from Owens Community College have graduated as fellows of the first Ohio Leadership Academy for Student Success.

OACC Recognition PhotoErica Parish, dean, Accreditation and Academic Support and David Shaffer, executive director, Student Services were among more than 40 leaders representing all of Ohio’s community colleges that graduated Oct. 2, 2020, as part of the academy, organized by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC). It is the first of its kind in the nation to gather mid-level administrators, faculty and staff for a year of leadership development, exchanging ideas and immersion in how to promote student success.

“The fellows learned how to more effectively lead the many changes underway at our colleges – transformational changes – to improve student success,” said Laura Rittner, executive director of the OACC’s Success Center for Ohio Community Colleges. “We brought together people who have different roles at colleges so they could have a deeper understanding of how college leaders can work together to usher in these student success models.”

The president of each of the state’s community colleges could nominate two employees as fellows. They met six times throughout the year for two-day meetings, first in person and then online as the pandemic took hold. Sessions were relevant to Ohio specifically and included aspects of the Aspen Institute’s presidential leadership curriculum. Fellows also worked on projects in small groups between sessions.

“The Ohio Leadership Academy gave me a greater understanding how the budget process and other decisions made at the state-level affect what happens on our campus and in turn affect the success of students,” said Parish. “This experience was worthwhile and something that I would highly recommend to other college leaders.”

The academy was funded by several national organizations, so colleges had minimal expenses to participate. Next year’s academy will begin early in 2021, Rittner said, in the hopes that some sessions can be held in person.

The OACC represents the presidents and trustees of the state’s 23 public two-year institutions that work to advance community colleges through policy advocacy and professional development. For more information, please visit www.OhioCommunityColleges.Org.


Posted on October 6th, 2020

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio, Oct. 6, 2020 – Owens Community College’s Dana Advanced Manufacturing Training Center has been awarded the 2020 Annual Excellence in Workforce Development by the Ohio Economic Development Association (OEDA). This award recognizes unique approaches to any aspect of workforce development and acknowledges an organization that has developed innovative practices and programs.

“The Annual Excellence Awards showcase the best of the best in economic development and gives members of the profession the opportunity to collectively celebrate the success of the economic development profession,” Jennifer Price, OEDA Executive Director, said.

The Dana Center focuses on expanding and preparing new and incumbent skilled workers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. The 59,000 square-foot facility features six skilled technology labs, including computer-aided design (CAD); computer numerical control (CNC) and manual machining; electrical; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and alternative energy; mechanical and pneumatics; and robotics and programmable logic controller (PLC).

“We are pleased to have been recognized by the OEDA for the College’s commitment to workforce development. The Dana Center represents the College’s latest significant investment to directly impact Northwest Ohio’s regional economy,” stated Bill Balzer, interim president, Owens Community College. “A skilled workforce is critical to fill thousands of new and existing jobs in manufacturing and aligned careers throughout our region and the state. The Dana Center was specifically designed to meet these needs now and well into the future. We thank Dana Incorporated and other supporters for joining us in meeting the region’s training needs for the new and incumbent workers for decades to come.”

Owens was nominated for the OEDA award by project architect Tim Swartz from SSOE Group. Headquartered in Toledo with a national and global footprint, SSOE is a leader in aligning education design with workforce needs.

For more information on the Dana Center, please visit