President's Blog

#EndCCStigma Podcast Teaser

Posted on March 19th, 2019

During Community College Month in 2019, we will be producing four unique episodes of the #EndCCStigma Podcast Project. A collection of voices from our social media to end the stigma against community colleges, these podcast dialogues are designed to amplify the voices of those of us who are pushing back against inaccurate stereotypes of two year college. These are the voices of students, graduates, faculty, administrators, community leaders and college presidents.

A teaser for the podcast project is below. Episodes “drop” on each Wednesday of Community College Month: April 3, 10, 17, and 24. Podcasts will be published here on my President’s Blog and Twitter.

Show Notes

Below are links mentioned in the Teaser Promo:


As we produce the podcast, I will try to achieve the highest standard of accessibility. To that end, here is a complete transcript of the teaser promo:

#EndCCStigma Podcast Project
Promotional Teaser

[Music plays]

Tenisha Baca
I am really proud of the fact that I started at a community college. I feel like it was one of the best decisions of my life.

Matt Reed
Community colleges teach. So we hire people who are good teachers and we focus all the professional development around teaching. It’s all about teaching. You are going to have amazing classroom experiences and they’re going to be affordable and they’re going to be local.

Josiah Litant
It’s to change the conversation that it’s not a “this or that.” That the four-year degree, the two-year degree, technical trades, those are options of should all be on the table. We have to get away from this idea that you know one is it’s going to go better than the other.

Tenisha Baca
You get a quality education at a community college. Don’t let anyone tell you anything less than that. So wherever you’re going in life, I feel that community colleges can help you to get there. They provided me quality preparation to help me to reach to where I am at right now.

[Music Fades]

Steve Robinson

Hey everybody and welcome to the hashtag #EndCCStigma podcast project. I’m Steve Robinson, President of Owens Community College in Ohio, and I’m delighted to be bringing you voices from our social media campaign to end the stigma against community colleges. We are planning four podcast episodes for the month of April, and if you’re listening to this message before April 10th or so, there’s a chance that your voice could be included in the podcast that will be published during Community College month.

There’s a lot of great activity happening on Twitter and social media to push back against inaccurate perceptions of community colleges, and we would love for you to join the conversation. The podcast will be published each week and Community College month, and this is not one of them. This is just a teaser, and I wanted to say a couple of things about the podcast as we go forward. First of all I want to thank three folks who’ve already recorded interviews with me: Tenisha Baca, Matt Reed, and Josiah Litant. You heard their voices in the intro, and I also want to give credit to the music. The music that will use as bed music, transition music, and outro music was composed by Scott homes and is licensed through Creative Commons. Scott makes great tracks for this kind of production work. You can find his information at The track that were using as background music for this podcast project is called “Make Your Dream Reality.” It is licensed through Creative Commons, and I would encourage you to go find Scott’s music, and if your organization is interested in having soundtracks, give him some attention and business.

So I look forward to hearing from folks. If you would like to be on the podcast, you can reach out to me on Twitter. My Twitter handle is @OCCPresident, or you can visit a landing page that we’ve put together with the URL

Thanks for tuning in. We’re very excited about the podcast project. The first one will be published on the Wednesday of the first week of April. Until then, keep using the hashtag #EndCCStigma, and I will see you on Twitter.

Steve Robinson, Ph.D.


Posted on March 18th, 2019


What a season!

Who could have predicted that our amazing Express Women’s Basketball team would find a way to make it to the NJCAA National Championship game with only six players? Two Twitter hashtags tell the story: #FindAWay and #SixStrong. Despite their small numbers, our 2018-2019 Express kept finding a way to win. At the Championship game in Bethlehem, PA, they fell to Hostos Community College from the South Bronx in NYC. Hostos were the defending champs, but our Express stayed in the game, falling short by only a few possessions 63-73.

When I watch our student athletes play, I always search for things they can teach me. This team taught me about resilience. The Oxford Living Dictionary defines resilience as: “The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”

Our Owens Express web site has a wonderful recap of the WBB team’s magical season here. I’m not much of a sportswriter, but here’s a unique lens I can focus upon these exceptional athletes. Here’s a letter I received yesterday from the Athletic Director of the host institution, Northampton Community College:

Even the defending champs Hostos praised our team and coaches on Twitter. There is so much for this team to be proud of this season.

On behalf of the entire campus community, I want to tell all the student athletes and coaches how proud they have made Owens Community College. Coach Perry and Coach McBrayer did an amazing job. Thank you for your hard work. Because we have six athletes on this amazing team, I’d like to list all of them here:

  • Whitney Thames (3)
  • Taylor Works (4)
  • Moreina Moore (20)
  • Liliana Velazquez (23)
  • Shyah Wheeler (24)
  • Tori Kopp (25)

Well done. We appreciate you making Owens proud on the national stage.


Steve Robinson, Ph.D.

Now What?

Posted on March 4th, 2019

Last week, the Board of Trustees approved our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, including newly-revised mission and vision statements. Our plan is based on months of work that includes input from hundreds of internal and external voices. Six strategic improvement goals now guide our important work; these goals are supported by twenty key objectives that are specific and measurable. The new mission and vision statements contain our organizational consensus on our purpose, what defines and distinguishes us from other similar organizations, and what we hope our College will become in the future.

What do we do now?

Despite the countless hours of work by dozens of people here at Owens, the work on our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan is just beginning. Often strategic plans are finished then find their way to a shelf where they sit until it’s time to write a glossy annual report. In order for our new plan to be useful, we will have to work to buck this trend. A cautionary tale about “stopping at the beginning” with strategic plans comes from strategy consultant Nilofer Merchant, who named this problem the “air sandwich.” She explains:

“An Air Sandwich is, in effect, a strategy that has a clear vision and direction on the top layer, day-to-day action on the bottom, and virtually nothing in the middle–no meaty key decisions that connect the two layers, no rich chewy center filling to align the new direction with the new actions…”

An important part of our work over the next three years will be to avoid the “air sandwich” effect by living out our mission, vision and strategic goals. From my perspective, we worked very hard to find and define the key elements of our identity, aspirations, and strategic direction; we can’t stop now. In fact, I made a few 2019 individual goals for myself in 2019, and one of them is “make everything about the strategic plan.” If we built the right plan, these six goals and twenty key objectives are the most important things we can be doing in the coming years.

As we move forward with our new plan, I will be using this blog as a way to amplify elements of our planning work. If you have ideas about how we can best execute and “live out” our mission, vision and goals, please reach out to me. I would love to have that conversation.


Steve Robinson, Ph.D.