President's Blog

Northwest Region Higher Education Compact

Posted on March 22nd, 2018

Earlier this week, we joined with the other public colleges and universities in our region to sign the Northwest Region Higher Education Compact, an expression of collaboration between Northwest State, Rhodes, Owens, Terra, Bowling Green State University and University of Toledo. I was fortunate enough to speak at the ceremony along with Chancellor John Carey, Dr. Sharon Gaber, UT President, and Dr. Rodney Rogers, BGSU President. Among other thoughts, my primary message was:

“Owens is proud of its strong working relationships with higher education partners in Northwest Ohio. This compact formalizes many existing partnerships, including our groundbreaking Falcon Express and Rocket Express dual admission programs with BGSU and University of Toledo. As a group of strong partners, this compact will help to facilitate our continued service to students, families and businesses in the region.”

From our perspective at Owens, this agreement simply formalizes the high degree of collaboration that already exists among the higher education institutions in our region. In this blog entry, I thought I would share some background and context on the compact agreement.

Required by State Law

These regional compacts are required by recent legislation; they are referred to as “Workforce education and efficiency compacts” in Ohio Revised Code. The Northwest Region Higher Education Compact covers 8 key areas and is modeled on language from the requirements spelled out in ORC 3345.59. Those areas are:

  1. Examine program duplication
  2. Develop regional workforce education strategies
  3. Enhance resource sharing
  4. Reduce operational/administrative costs
  5. Enhance career counseling
  6. Expand alternative delivery (e.g. competency-based/project-based learning)
  7. Increase collaboration with workforce initiatives, ASPIRE, and K-12 districts
  8. Develop strategies to enhance resource-sharing between institutions

Every region of the state is required to execute a similar compact that addresses the above topics. Below is the actual statutory requirement:

“Not later than June 30, 2018, all state institutions of higher education that are located in the same region of the state, as defined by the chancellor of higher education, shall enter into an agreement providing for the creation of a compact.”

At the suggestion of Dr. Sharon Gaber, our region worked to formulate the first compact in the state. Again, from our perspective at Owens, this compact agreement formalizes the existing collaboration that we routinely explore with our higher education partners in the region.

Collaboration in NW Ohio

Prior to the requirements that are spelled out in ORC 3345.59, a great deal of collaboration has taken place between and among the colleges and universities in Northwest Ohio. Two fantastic examples from Owens that have become state models of community college to university transfer are the Falcon Express and Rocket Express dual admissions programs we have created with BGSU and UT. Teams from the colleges and universities in the region frequently meet on the areas described in the compact language. These meetings and discussions will continue. It is important to point out that the compact does not require any signatory to take a specific course of action or participate in a particular initiative. In fact, the compact agreement specifically states:

“Its own appointed Boards of Trustees will govern each institution; each institution will maintain its own separate identity; and each institution shall have neither power nor authority to act for or bind the other institutions.”

The important bottom line is that nothing in this agreement prohibits Owens from doing what is best for our students, our institution, and the communities and businesses that we serve.

An Important Note on “Program Duplication”

Regarding Item #1, the review of so-called “duplicative programs” has already been completed by Interim Provost Denise Smith, and no programs will be impacted/eliminated due to duplication. While there are some duplicate programs within the region (Nursing is an example of a program that many of the colleges in the region each have), these programs all have strong enrollments and adequate workforce need to co-exist in the region.

A Copy of the Signed Agreement

Below, I have created a link with a copy of the actual signed agreement in PDF format:

NW Ohio Compact.signed 3.20.18

Quality higher education partners that share a geographic region should be exploring the topics outlined in the compact as a matter of course. This agreement formalizes that best practice inside a framework. Chancellor Carey was very pleased to see the high level of collaboration in our region, as were the legislators (including our own Sen. Randy Gardner) who attended the signing event.

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.
Interim President


ODHE Campus Climate Survey

Posted on March 9th, 2018

Earlier today, I sent the following message to all faculty and staff regarding the ODHE Campus Climate survey that will be sent to students next week. This survey is part of our comprehensive efforts to create a safe and inclusive college climate:

As you may know, safety on college campuses has become an increasingly important issue over the past several years. At Owens Community College, we care about student safety and strive to provide a safe environment that encourages respect, support and prevention. In this effort, we are joining with other colleges and universities across the State to again participate in a Campus Climate Survey that is mandated by the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

Beginning next week, students will receive a link to an anonymous survey that has been designed to measure perceptions of safety and experiences at Owens Community College.  The link to the survey will come in an email from the Owens Office of Student Conduct & Student Life. Students’ participation in this survey is completely voluntary and will help us to evaluate and improve our efforts to keep our campuses safe. Their responses will be completely anonymous and will not be linked to them in any way. Following participation in the survey, students will have an opportunity to enter into a drawing for one $100, one $50, and two $25 Visa gift cards.

Please be aware that the survey asks questions of a sensitive nature and for responses about different types of violence that students may have experienced. If you are approached by a student who has questions about the survey or is in need of additional assistance, information about available resources is provided below.

On-Campus Resources

  • Owens Counseling Services at 567-661-7168 (confidential)
  • YWCA Advocate at 419-705-6653 (confidential)
  • Title IX Website with resources and information at

Community Crisis Resources

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4763
  • YWCA H.O.P.E. Center at 866-557-7273 (Lucas County)
  • Cocoon Campus Advocacy Program at 419-352-1545 (Wood County)
  • Open Arms Crisis Center at 419-422-4766 (Hancock County)

Individuals with ethical concerns about the survey should contact Dr. Kristin Price, Chair Institutional Review Board by phone 567-661-7542 or email

The principle contact for this survey is James Katzner, Manager of Student Life and Deputy Title IX Coordinator.  You can reach him by phone 567-661-7159 or email

Thank you for all that you do to support our students.

Responsible Employees

Another element of our efforts in this area is our required Not Anymore training for “responsible employees” here at Owens. Responsible Employees are defined as Vice Presidents, Associate Vice Presidents, Officers in DPS, Deans, Chairs, Directors, Department Heads, student organization advisors, and athletic coaches. This is excellent training; below is a copy of my personal certificate for completing the training:

If students ask about the survey, please take an opportunity to reinforce our institutional commitment to provide a college community that is free from sexual violence and harassment. I explored this topic at greater length in my very first blog entry of 2018.

Thank you,

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.
Interim President