President's Blog

Your Community’s College: High Quality, Highly Affordable, and Responsive

Posted on December 21st, 2020

When you think of community college, are your first thoughts about an affordable, local education? Well, you would be right!  In fact, tuition and fees at your local public community college are typically one-third or less of the tuition and fees of a four-year institution (public or private).  Our affordability is possible thanks to generous state support as well as our primary investment in undergraduate teaching rather than research and graduate education. . We are also convenient, with one of our community college campuses within a 30-minute drive of home or work. That is why nationwide more than 8 million students – more than 40% of all undergraduates nation-wide – attend community college. Community colleges are recognized by local business, industry, and government leaders for our ability to respond quickly to local economic development needs with up-to-date courses, certificates, and degree programs that prepare and upskill the local workforce. We are, in fact, a major factor in attracting and expanding the region’s economic development and upward mobility of area employees and their families.

But do you also know about the high quality of a community college education?  Whether full-time academics or part-time faculty working in their profession, community college faculty are drawn to the teaching mission. Community college faculty bring their academic credentials and work experiences into their classrooms and laboratories to prepare students to excel in the workplace or transfer to a four-year school seamlessly. Community college faculty focus their professional development on becoming better teachers, staying current in their fields, and learning new teaching skills to support their students. They design their courses to support student success, knowing that many of their students are working while attending college and balancing other responsibilities to achieve their educational goals. Many community college courses, particularly those in general education (e.g., math, writing, psychology, biology, chemistry) are recognized as equivalent in rigor and outcomes to four-year institution’s courses through Ohio’s Transfer Articulation Guide Ohio Transfer Module.

The quality of a community college education extends outside the classroom as well. Our open admissions policies allow every Ohioan the opportunity to achieve their higher education goals. Consequently, the diversity of our students – demographically, level of academic preparation, and life experiences – creates a robust, inclusive, learning experience. The professional and highly-trained support staff at community colleges have the knowledge, skills, and compassion to build pathways to success for every student, whether they are single parents, differentially abled, facing food and housing insecurity, looking for meaningful extracurricular activities, and more. They assist students in creating solutions to what otherwise would be significant barriers to academic achievement and success.

Thanks to the prescience of state leadership more than 50 years ago, and the ongoing support of the Ohio legislature, Governor DeWine, and the Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner, every community in northwest Ohio has access to a college education that is of high quality, highly affordable, convenient, and responsive to the needs of the region. As the leaders of the three community colleges in northwest Ohio, we are proud to work together to meet the needs of northwest Ohio communities and serve you personally. As we approach this time of Thanksgiving, we are grateful to serve the 11 counties of Northwest Ohio. We thank our more than 67,000 graduate who have already chosen a local community college. We invite all who live and work in our area to make your dreams of a better life through high quality, affordable, and local higher education come true in the coming year.

A very grateful …

Bill Balzer, Ph.D. Interim President, Owens Community College

Bill Balzer, Ph.D.
Interim President, Owens Community College

Ron Schumacher, Ed.D. President, Terra State Community College

Ron Schumacher, Ed.D.
President, Terra State Community College

Michael Thomson, Ph.D. President, Northwest State Community College

Michael Thomson, Ph.D.
President, Northwest State Community College

Welcome Back!

Posted on September 2nd, 2020

Welcome – or welcome back – to Owens Community College!

I know many of you may be dealing with feelings of uncertainty, either from the anticipation of starting your higher education journey or from the new remote and hybrid learning environment due to COVID-19 – or both. I want to reassure you that our faculty and staff continue to work tirelessly to provide each of you with the resources and support services you need to ensure your success.

We all have a commitment to each other as we safely return to campus:  masks must be worn at all times while on campus, we maintain a social distance of at least 6 ft., and always practice proper hand hygiene to help stop the spread of COVID-19. For more information about Owens Safe Start initiatives, please visit and review the Protocol for Potential COVID-19 Illness following Ohio Department of Health & CDC Guidelines: OCC Students

While the health of our campus community is top of mind due to the current pandemic, Owens remains dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming educational environment for all of our students. We strive to cultivate an intentionally equitable and inclusive college community that takes into account the impact of our actions on all members. Each of you is an important part of this community and we will ensure you always feel that way by understanding, respecting, and valuing diversity during your educational journey and beyond.

In addition to these blogs, I will use the @OCCPresident Twitter account to highlight various campus or community events, topics around higher education, or other topics that may be of interest. If you have a Twitter account, please follow me. You may also share your thoughts with me by email at

Thanks for choosing to be part of our Owens community: strong, determined, and resilient. The faculty, staff, administration, and I are here to ensure you reach your higher education goals – a two-year degree, a certificate, professional development or personal enrichment, or a strong foundation before you transfer to a four-year institution. We wish you a great start to the new academic year and remember, your success starts here!

Bill Balzer, Ph.D.

Interim President