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Owens Community College Professor Selected to National Committee Exploring Student Success Through Developmental Education
Owens Community College Arts and Sciences Professor, Dr. Carol O’Shea, has been chosen from among developmental education experts nationwide to help lead a new initiative examining the transition of students from high school to college. Sponsored by the League for Innovation in the Community College, the new project will look to encourage a collaborative relationship between community colleges and high schools, improving the likelihood that high school graduates will be fully prepared for college-level coursework upon graduation. Dr. O’Shea is one of ten developmental education experts participating in the project.
"Being selected as one of ten individuals in the nation to serve on the project’s steering committee is quite an honor," Dr. O’Shea said. "This is the most ambitious project the League for Innovation in the Community College has undertaken and is a bold step toward making a real difference in the outcome of American education."
The League for Innovation in the Community College was founded in 1968 to enhance community colleges through innovation, experimentation and institutional transformation. The organization’s membership consists of 19 community colleges throughout the world. Dedicated to expanding access in higher education and improving student success, the league also has over 700 academic institutions affiliated with the organization.
Among the many goals for the project will be to articulate what participating community colleges mean by the term college-level skills, said Dr. O’Shea. "By having a shared understanding of these college-level skills, both high school and community colleges will be better able to ensure that students meet this expected standard by the time they graduate from high school," she said.
Students who demonstrate college-ready competencies will be awarded a College Competencies Certificate, either while still in high school, or having successfully completed developmental coursework while enrolled in a community college.
"My primary responsibility will be to develop an application and review process with eligibility criteria for community colleges seeking to participate in the project," Dr. O’Shea said.
In the pilot year, ten community colleges will be invited to participate in the project. Participating community colleges will be encouraged, but not required, to pursue program certification offered through the National Association for Developmental Education. The national organization will administer an extensive program self-assessment that fosters instructional excellence and encourages the use of best practices in developmental education.
According to Dr. O’Shea, the Competencies Certificate program will help bridge the curriculum and performance gap between high school and college, and will require community colleges to evaluate and improve their developmental programs. Both of these outcomes support efforts to maintain high academic standards at the community college, she said.
"Dr. Carol O’Shea is an exceptional member of the Owens Community College faculty," said Gerry Bazer, Owens Dean of Arts and Sciences. "She brings to the College extensive knowledge and experience in teaching a variety of courses, especially within developmental education, where she is acknowledged as a national expert."
Bazer added, "Through her involvement with professional and national organizations, Dr. O’Shea has been instrumental in strengthening Owens’ developmental education offerings, ensuring each student the opportunity to achieve success."
Dr. O’Shea joined the College’s faculty in 1993 as an Instructor of Communication and Humanities. In 1994, she was named Chair of the Developmental Education Program and now serves as a Professor of Arts and Sciences. During her nine years as a member of the College’s faculty, Dr. O’ Shea has taught composition courses at all levels and currently is responsible for teaching developmental reading, writing and public speaking classes at Owens.
Since 1994, Dr. O’Shea also has been instrumental in developing and implementing several new courses to the Arts and Sciences curriculum. One of the new classes offered on the Owens Toledo-area and Findlay-area Campuses is Accelerated College Writing (ENG 110). The course’s content focuses on students taking a full process approach to writing and analyzing the many options available when composing an essay.
An advocate for promoting developmental education awareness, Dr. O’Shea regularly speaks at local, regional and national conferences on the importance of increasing the number of students who pursue post-secondary education, as well as improving their readiness for college-level courses. Organizations who recently have selected Dr. O’Shea to serve as a keynote speaker include the Southwest Association for Developmental Education, National Association of Developmental Education and Learning Assistance Association of New England.
Her past professional involvement includes serving as secretary, research chair and president for the Ohio Association of Developmental Education, and she is currently the past president of the National Association for Developmental Education. In spring 2003, Dr. O’Shea will travel to Sitka, Alaska, to provide professional development in literacy education to faculty and staff at the local college, as well as to members of the community.
In 1991, Dr. O’Shea earned her doctorate in rhetoric and composition from Bowling Green State University. She received her master’s degree in English literature from Bowling Green and two bachelor’s degrees in English literature and linguistics from the University of Toledo. She resides in Findlay.
Owens Community College is the fastest-growing community college of its size in the nation. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students in Northwest Ohio. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 140 program areas 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.