President's Blog

2018 Year End Message

Posted on December 21st, 2018

Well, it’s time to close the books on 2018. We have all accomplished a great deal over the past year. After everyone went home yesterday, I found a quiet place to record a very brief thank you video for our faculty, staff, students and community partners. I am so appreciative of the important work you all do to help our students.

Below is a rough transcript of my video message. Please forgive the low production values here: I simply put my cell phone on a tripod and started talking. Oh, and special thanks to the Business Affairs Office: that’s their Christmas tree in the background.

See you next year!


2018 Year End Video

Hi. This is Steve Robinson, President of Owens Community College, with a brief message for our faculty, staff and students, as well as our external community partners. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your dedication and hard work over the past year. 2018 was an extremely productive year here at Owens.

We dramatically expanded our transfer pathways for students by adding Lourdes University to our suite of Express programs to join Bowling Green State University and University of Toledo.

We launched our groundbreaking Start Here Scholarship, which provides our College Credit Plus students with a tuition-free pathway to one of our associate’s degrees and junior standing at one of our four year college partners.

Many of our accredited programs achieved the most prestigious recognition possible with their accreditation bodies, including our Nursing Program which received accreditation with the Accreditation Council for Education in Nursing through Spring of 2026. That is eight years of full accreditation.

Our student athletes distinguished themselves on and off the court; we gearing up for our recently renewed sports of softball and baseball; and our women’s volleyball team brought home a national championship.

We have made significant progress toward our comprehensive strategic plan; in early 2019, we will be adopting a newly-revised mission statement, vision statement and strategic goals for the next three years.

2018 was a very good year.

So as you enjoy the holiday break with family and friends, please accept my sincere thanks for all you do to help our students succeed. When our students succeed, so do their families and the communities in which they live.

Have a happy new year, and I look forward to getting back to work with you in January when we return.

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.

2018 Owens Holiday Card

Posted on December 18th, 2018

Our creative folks in Marketing have outdone themselves this year. I have been receiving accolades from on campus and the community about this year’s amazing Holiday Video Card. Hats off to the Marketing Department, especially James Schuller, Erin Holmberg and Abby Bender for their vision and creativity.

Most of the video was shot in the lobby of Administration Hall, as James needed to control the camera from the balcony above. This is a fantastic example of visual storytelling. There is a lot to see in the short minute of this film; you’ll want to watch it a few times to catch the cute and creative things that happen. The message leaves us with an excellent “to do” list for the holiday break:

  • Create memories
  • Practice goodwill
  • Be jolly and bright
  • Spread good cheer
  • Serve others
  • Send good tidings
  • Comfort and joy
  • Be merry
  • Collaborate
  • Grow

Outstanding job, Marketing team! On behalf of all of us here at Owens, have a wonderful holiday break.

National Recognition

This year’s video received national recognition from PR Daily and made an impressive list of “5 Video Lessons from Organizations’ Holiday Greetings.” Offering our Owens video as an exemplar, PR Daily’s Beki Winchel wrote:

In Owens Community College’s greeting, a notebook, an award and other items are emblazoned with the school’s name—but there is no “in your face” marketing message about its programs. PR and marketing pros can take a page from these efforts and incorporate more subtle branding into their content. Doing so can help your messages resonate with your audience and make them more sharable.

Kudos, team! A great way to end the year by earning even more national recognition for our efforts.

See you next year!

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.


Fall 2018 Commencement

Posted on December 17th, 2018

One of the many honors I have during the year as President of Owens Community College is the opportunity to address the graduates at our Fall and Spring commencement ceremonies. Because we always have a keynote speaker, I try to keep my speech short and focused. I change my brief remarks for each event, so I thought I would begin the practice of archiving them here on my blog. Below are my remarks to the Fall 2018 graduating class:

President’s Remarks / 2018-12-14

Graduates, I am pleased to be the first of many people to congratulate you on the accomplishment of earning your associate’s degree. Today is a very special day for you and your families.

Commencement is one of my favorite events of the year. During this past week, it has been my privilege to spend time with a number of you at the many award ceremonies, program graduation events and pinning ceremonies that our faculty and staff organize to celebrate your success.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of a community college is our focus on teaching. While many of our faculty engage in research and scholarship, the primary emphasis of our accomplished faculty is the classroom. Over the past several semesters, our faculty have worked hard to facilitate your learning and guide you on your way to this important moment.

Graduates, I ask that you stand and turn to face our dedicated faculty, who are seated behind you. Please give them a big round of applause.

Here at Owens Community College, we are in the process of revising our mission statement.

Community colleges are mission-driven institutions. People don’t come to work at community colleges to achieve fame and fortune. The dedicated individuals here at Owens Community College who have helped you on your journey chose to work here because they believe in the mission of community colleges, a mission of both access and excellence.

As we revise our mission here at Owens, we know that two words will never leave that important statement. Those words are “students” and “success.” Each and every one of us here at Owens is committed to your success. Not only did we work hard to help you reach this important moment, but we are also dedicated to your success in the future. We are serious about our tagline: “your success starts here.” We are proud that your success started here, and we are very excited to see all that you will do and accomplish in the future.

As you think about what is next for you and your family, I have a personal request for you. You have already accomplished something significant. When you move forward into the next phase of your life, however, i would ask that you remember your time here at Owens Community College. Of course, we would be honored if you shared your stories about our wonderful faculty and programs in the future. But on behalf of all of us who have dedicated our lives to this important community college mission, I ask that you tell your community college story. As you earn future degrees and promotions, be proud that your success started at a community college. Keep it on your resume. Tell your colleagues and employers about what you accomplished here. If you hear outdated or inaccurate stereotypes about community colleges, share your experiences of our wonderful teachers, our dedicated staff, and the meaningful growth you experienced while you were a community college student. Despite many years of successes, there still exists an unfair stigma associated with community colleges. I ask that you help us to change that — one conversation at a time, as you move forward on your journey.

We are all very proud of what you have accomplished. It would make us very proud to be a permanent part of your story as you move forward in the world.

Thank you for letting us be a part of the success you have created for yourself.

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.

Help Portrait 2018

Posted on December 4th, 2018

For the second year in a row, our amazing Owens Community College team participated in the international Help Portrait event. 48 student and staff volunteers built an amazing pop-up portrait studio at our Downtown Learning Center on Saturday, December 1 from 9am to 3pm. This year the stars of our event were Owens photography students; along with their professor, Ruth Foote, the students photographed 33 separate groups of individuals, providing each with a printed copy of their portrait, as well as a thumb drive with digital copies and a copyright release for future prints.

Help Portrait has been a passion of mine since I came to Owens. Despite my heartfelt excitement about the event, however, my only contribution is excitement and promotion of the event. The wonderful people in the photo above (photo credit Ruth Foote) do all of the work. During the event, I give myself two jobs: a) say “thank you” and “welcome” until everyone is sick of hearing it; b) take process photos of the event as it happens. Below is a link to my slideshow on this year’s event:

Owens HP 2018

Like many initiatives at Owens, I expect our Help Portrait event will continue to grow and evolve over time. I especially wish to thank Denise Smith, Krista Kiessling, Michael Sander, Ruth Foote, and the Owens photography students for their amazing work this year. In addition to these volunteers, a number of faculty, staff and administrators stopped by to help and make Help Portrait 2018 a special event. Rob Thomas and the OutComm media students also documented the event and will be producing a video about the day and its purpose.

Special thanks to all for this amazing work on behalf of our community.

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.