Owens president highlights college plan, presents teaching award

Press Staff Writer

        Dr. Dione D. Somerville began her third academic year as president on Aug. 21 by highlighting the strategic objectives of the new five-year Owens Community College strategic plan for faculty, staff and community guests, including Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) President and CEO Jack Hershey.
        She also recognized this year’s Presidential Teaching Award recipient, assistant professor Sara Burke, PT, DPT, who is now chair of the Physical Therapist Assistant program. The Findlay resident was one of 42 faculty honored by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) on the Dale P Parnell Distinguished Faculty list earlier this year. She began her Owens career in 2008 as an adjunct faculty member, became a full-time instructor in 2016 and rose to her current rank in 2021.
        The address was held twice, at the Findlay-area Campus in the morning and again on the Toledo-area Campus in the afternoon.
        Since taking over the Owens presidency in June 2021, Dr. Somerville said she has made it a priority to engage community leaders. More than three dozen community leaders attended two presentations.
        Hershey has spent the past 10 years leading the OACC, which oversees the state’s 23 community colleges. He spoke on both campuses about the state budget.
        Dr. Somerville focused her address on the strategic plan, which was adopted in May by the Owens board of trustees.
        “The plan is authentic to who we are,” she said. “The plan will drive us forward starting this academic year and help ensure success for our students, for our employees and for the communities we serve.”
        Her speech highlighted the plan’s six objectives to showcase what the 2023-24 academic year will feature:
        • Building a community of belonging – Owens will host the 34th annual Diamante Awards, a collaborative event with nearby four-year universities.
        • Expanding partnerships – Owens supports the Northwest Ohio Innovation Consortium’s Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program application.
        • Developing an agile framework – Owens launched Workday as its enterprise resource planning software system to better serve employees and students.
        • Deepening employee engagement – The College Forum will continue and provide open dialogue on college-wide matters for faculty and staff with Dr. Somerville and the leadership team.
        • Ensuring a sustainable organization – Dr. Somerville highlighted enrollment, following the increased Summer 2023 enrollment and continued enrollment momentum for Fall 2023.
        • The Findlay-area Campus will celebrate its 40th anniversary, hosting a special event Sept. 21 for community leaders as well as an open house for new students.


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