President's Blog

US Department of Education Program Review

Posted on October 30th, 2018

Back on August 23, 2017, the President’s Office and the Office of Financial Aid were notified by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that the College would have an on-site Program Review scheduled for September 25-29, 2017. On behalf of Vice President Amy Giordano and the Office of Financial Aid, I am sharing the following information about that visit and review in the message below.

What follows is quite detailed, but we wanted to share everything about the Program Review, especially the findings, actions, and timeline surrounding the process. No action is required on your part, as the process has successfully completed.

The review assessed the College’s administration of Title IV and covered the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 award years. The U.S. Department of Education considers the administration of Title IV to be an institution wide effort. The review included many offices, but specifically it focused on the following areas: Office of Financial Aid, Records Office, Office of Business Affairs, Office of Academic Affairs, and Office of Admissions.

The review also assessed the institution’s administration of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, and Part 86 of the Department’s General Administrative Regulations.

The following is the strict deadline to which the College was required to adhere:

August 23, 2017: Initial notification
August 30, 2017: Due date of request of substantial documentation
• September 1, 2017: Due date of 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 Recipient Data
• Entire month of September: The Office of Financial Aid provided to the U.S. Department of Education requested records and documents, both hard copies and electronic
September 25-29, 2017: Program Reviewers on campus for interviews with students, staff, and faculty, reviewed documents from Academic Affairs, Business Affairs, Office of Financial Aid, and Records Office
January 19, 2018: Program Review Report issued to the College with six findings. Findings included:
Annual Security Report: missing items in the annual report
Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program: a biennial review had not been conducted. Missing items related to disciplinary sanctions (local and federal law are not mentioned), and missing descriptions of health risks due to drug and alcohol
Fiscal: Account records were not reconciled on a monthly basis to the General Ledger
Bank Account: The title of the bank account only included “Fed” for the Federal Funds account and “Federal” was missing from the Direct Loans account. Both had been corrected on site to state “Federal”
Enrollment Reporting: Inaccurate/untimely reporting for 1 student. This was corrected on site.
Consumer Information: Job Placement information for graduates is required. Equity in Athletics disclosure was not acceptable as presented; notification must be sent to prospective and current students and documented. Prohibition of copyright violations and associated penalties were not sufficiently disclosed.
January 19-February 22, 2018: Prepared Program Review Report response, included corrective action to cure all Findings
February 22, 2018: Submitted response of Findings to the Department of Education
May 15, 2018: Final Program Review Determination letter was received and it was determined that all outstanding findings were closed for the purpose of the Program Review. However, there was additional work in regards to the Annual Security Report and the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program
June 14, 2018: Submitted to the U.S. Department of Education and the Clery Act Compliance Division an update to our Annual Security Report
December 31, 2018: Due date to submit to the U.S. Department of Education and the Clery Act Compliance Division corrections to the Compliance Division Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Program. This was submitted on September 20, 2018

I want to thank all the employees involved in the review, especially the Office of Financial Aid, for their work on this important process. As you know, a large portion of our students could not attend Owens without the support of this office; the Program Review process is an important component of our ability to disburse Federal aid.


Steve Robinson, Ph.D.

Volleyball: NJCAA Region 12 D2 Champs

Posted on October 29th, 2018

This has been another special year for our women’s volleyball team. Ranked #1 in the nation for the second year in a row, our Owens Express volleyball team hosted the Region 12 NJCAA Division III Championship here at the SHAC over the weekend. The women defeated Lorain Community College in three straight sets: 25-14 / 25-18 / 25-16.

I have learned a lot about volleyball over the past two years. In addition to playing at a very high level, these women are excellent students and set a great example both on and off the court. These students are extremely supportive of one another, and their families attend most of the games. It is a very positive and energetic atmosphere.

The NJCAA Division III National Tournament is in Rochester, Minnesota this year. In 2017, our team was Division II national runner up: they only lost one match last season.

I am very appreciative of our student athletes and their families for their great support of Owens Community College. We support you, too. Go Express!


Steve Robinson, Ph.D.

Board Action to Restore 2015 Salary Reductions

Posted on October 11th, 2018

Yesterday, I was pleased to be able to send the following e-mail, and I wanted to post it here on the President’s Blog for posterity:

From: Steve J. Robinson
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2018 1:08 PM
To: Steve J. Robinson <>
Subject: Board Action to Restore 2015 Salary Reductions

Good afternoon:

At their working retreat this morning, the Owens Community College Board of Trustees took action on my recommendation to reverse the compensation reductions of those directly-affected employees who were subject to the salary reductions of January 2015. The restoration of the 2015 cuts will automatically be applied to employees who have remained in their same positions at the College since the time of the reductions.

Overall, the restoration of the 2015 salary cuts impacts about 65 non-bargaining unit employees, and about 35 bargaining unit employees in the Fraternal Order of Police (Officers & Dispatchers) and the Owens Support Staff Union. In the near future, impacted employees may review the adjustments in Ozone, Employee Services. These adjustments will be reflected in paychecks dated for October 19.

This is an important final step in turning the page on Fiscal Watch. I want to express my sincere appreciation to all of our employees for the contributions and sacrifices they made through the financial crisis. I also want to thank the employees in Finance and Human Resources for their hard work and analysis on this issue, as well as the Board for their approval.


Steve Robinson, Ph.D.
Owens Community College
P.O. Box 10,000
Toledo, Ohio 43699
(567) 661-7210

The restoration of the 2015 cuts was the work of many people, and it would not have been possible without the hard work of everyone here at Owens to emerge from Fiscal Watch a stronger, more resilient organization. Many of us here at Owens have been waiting for the ability to write this message. I am honored to be the person who was able to hit “SEND” on this message on behalf of our great team here at the College.


Steve Robinson, Ph.D.

Subscribe to President’s Blog

Posted on October 2nd, 2018

Thanks to the efforts of Information Technology and Marketing, I have been communicating with the help of this Blog for over a year. We launched the President’s Blog on September 6, 2017. I have enjoyed updating the Blog over the past year. As readers can tell, this is an example of “DIY” desktop publishing. I am not a graphic designer, but I put all the graphics and links into the blog. It takes me back to the days when I built my own websites for teaching. Back in the early 1990s, I developed one of the first completely online college courses in Michigan. I built all of those course materials by coding them in HTML.

Now You Can Subscribe to the President’s Blog

I especially want to thank Rodney Hough, our Owens Web Administrator, for the help with this Blog. He built a portal for me using WordPress, a very intuitive blog publishing platform. The Blog automatically publishes to the web site. At the end of last year, I received feedback from readers that the old blog entries disappeared. Based on that feedback, Rodney built the “Blog Archive” you see to the left of this screen. A new comment I have received from readers is the desire to “subscribe” to the Blog. The technology for this has existed for some time. Today, Rodney added an “RSS Feed” to the Blog: with just a few simple steps, readers can be notified when the Blog has been updated. You can even subscribe to receive the new blog entries as an e-mail.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” or “Rich Site Summary.” Below is a great description of RSS from a recent article by Jerri Collins on a web site called Lifewire:

Instead of checking back every day to any particular site to see if it’s been updated, RSS feeds give users the ability to simply subscribe to the RSS feed, much like you would subscribe to a newspaper, and then read the updates from the site, delivered via RSS feeds, in what’s called a “feed reader.”

Depending on how you subscribe, you should be able to simply click the orange button that Rodney installed on the Blog. If your e-mail or web browser work differently, the address for the RSS feed for President’s Blog is below:

One thing I like about publishing the Blog is the ability to communicate about important issues without jamming everyone’s e-mail boxes. We all received plenty of e-mail on a daily basis. The topics I explore here, such as strategic planning, important books in higher education, community issues, campus events, do not need to be sent as e-mails. A Blog is what I call an “opt in” type of communication: readers come here only if they want to read the content I post.

I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me to discuss the thoughts I post here on the Blog. After one year of publishing regularly here, I feel the Blog is an important component of a communication strategy to keep the President’s Office connected with our campuses and the wider community. We also use e-mail, campus meetings, video, Twitter, and the Pop Up President’s Office as ways to stay connected.

And special thanks to Rodney for making this happen!

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.

Strategic Planning Sessions Update

Posted on October 1st, 2018

Community Input Session Update

We have been hauling this colorful sandwich board across Northwest Ohio, having conversations with citizens and community leaders who care about the future of Owens Community Colleges. Through the month of September, we held sessions at the following locations:

  • 9/11 – Maumee Branch, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
  • 9/12 – Waterville Branch, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library
  • 9/17 – Wood County District Public Library – Bowling Green
  • 9/24 – Way Public Library – Perrysburg
  • 9/26 – Reynolds Corners Branch, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library

These sessions have been extremely productive. The activity is identical to the sessions that were facilitated by Owens faculty members during Opening Week of Fall semester. The same activity will take place every Friday in October here at Owens.

The five remaining sessions will be held in Toledo, Fostoria, Findlay, Genoa and Sylvania. I invite everyone to encourage their friends and colleagues to attend these sessions. More information about the sessions, as well as a link to RSVP, can be found here:

When we conduct these sessions, we show up early to set up the tables, configure the computer projector and sound system, and prepare a sign-in table with name tags. We also provide a pizza dinner for participants. A number of outstanding Owens employees have been part of our “set up crew” for these events, including Pat Jezak, Kris Holland, Roberta Montrie, Amy Giordano, Denise Smith, Jennifer Fehnrich, Meghan Schmidbauer, and Margaret Parker. I want to thank these employees for their help as we move through the community on our “listening tour.”

While we are not calling this initiative a “listening tour,” I think it’s important to point out that the activity is almost completely about listening. One participant jokes that most “listening sessions” are mostly about the presenter talking… meaning that the attendees do most of the listening. This article from the Sentinel-Tribune captures the kind of discussion that has been taking place at these sessions.

At the end of October, we will begin the process of synthesizing and analyzing the input we have received on vision and goals. Based on the first five sessions, it is clear that we have some great feedback from our community as we work to create our new multi-year strategic plan.

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.