The Daily Express

Owens Community College Welcomes New Board of Trustees Member

The Owens Community College Board of Trustees welcomed a new Trustee at their monthly meeting today at the Owens Toledo-area Campus and heard details of the unique "open entry, open exit" curriculum in Skilled Trades Technologies that eliminates structured class meeting times.

James Kovac of Findlay, the Vice President of Manufacturing for Cooper Tire and Rubber Co., has been appointed by Ohio Governor Bob Taft as the newest member of the Owens Board of Trustees.

"We are honored that Jim is joining our board, bringing his outstanding experience in management and technical training combined with his service in the community," said Patricia A. Wise, Chair of the Owens Board of Trustees.

Kovac earned a bachelor's degree in industrial management from the University of Akron and a master's degree in business administration from Bowling Green State University. Over a 44-year career, he progressed from a skilled trades apprentice to vice president, responsible for four tire plants with 6,000 employees and sales of more than $1.8 billion.

He fills the vacancy on the board left by the retiring Wendell Fryer of Findlay, who served for 15 years, including four years as chair of the board.

Kovac served on the Owens Community College Advisory Board for the Findlay Campus for more than 15 years, and as president of the advisory board for a year. He also worked on a special fundraising committee for the Owens Findlay Campus expansion in 1991. He is actively involved in the United Way of Hancock County and the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce.

While living in Tupelo, Mississippi, he worked as a member of the Itawamba Community College District Workforce Council for two years.

The Trustees also heard a presentation about the unique "open entry, open exit" program, which will debut this Summer Semester in Skilled Trades Technologies classes, by Linda Stacy, Vice President, Workforce and Community Education.

Open entry, open exit allows students to start courses or modules anytime during a semester, she said. Training courses are in the form of short, skill-focused modules and hands-on experience in labs is the emphasis of each program.

"No formal classes are held just one-on-one instruction," Stacy said. "All training is self-paced to the student's own needs and abilities. This program is ideal in terms of flexible scheduling."

Skilled Trades Technologies include programs such as Construction Trades, Building Maintenance, Electrical, Mechanical, Machining, Pipefitting/Plumbing and HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration).

In other business, the Trustees approved Brian Bethune as the new Chair of Fine and Performing Arts. Currently the artistic director of the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, Bethune begins his position at the College as of July 1.

Bethune earned a bachelor's degree in theatre and art history from the University of Minnesota, a master of fine arts degree from Minnesota State University and a doctoral degree from Bowling Green State University.

He was an Arts Administration Fellow for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C. and an adjunct faculty member for the past six years teaching theater at a number of area colleges. He has directed and produced over 100 local productions, most recently directing "Romeo and Juliet" last year and "A Christmas Carol" in 2000 at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre

The Trustees are hosting a groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the new Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The Center for Fine and Performing Arts will allow Owens to expand instruction in music, art, theater, dance and photography. The new building, scheduled to open Fall Semester 2003, will feature a 520-seat theater, a 50-seat music/lecture hall, art and design studios for painting, ceramics and sculpture, classrooms for dance, piano and instrumental music, and gallery areas for displaying artwork.

The Trustees also heard a presentation by Terry Thomas, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, on results from the Ohio Board of Regents Performance Report. Thomas also updated them on the federal and state funding issues.

The next meeting of the Owens Community College Board of Trustees is at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing community college of its size in the nation. On the Toledo-area and Findlay campuses, Owens serves more than 36,000 credit and non-credit students. Owens is committed to offering small classes, personal attention and the lowest tuition in Northwest Ohio. Owens offers over 100 career-oriented programs and majors in Agriculture, Business, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.

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