Academy Is First in Nation to Immerse Mid-Level Leaders in Success Models

​Participants Include Two from Central Ohio Technical College

October 13, 2020, Newark, Ohio – Two leaders from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) have graduated as fellows of the first Ohio Leadership Academy for Student Success.

Bruce Weaver, director of the Center for Student Success, and Lisa Orr, assistant director of business and finance, were among more than 40 leaders representing all of Ohio's community colleges that graduated Oct. 2, 2020, as part of the academy, organized by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC). It is the first of its kind in the nation to gather mid-level administrators, faculty and staff for a year of training, exchanging ideas and immersion in how to promote student success.

"The fellows learned how to more effectively lead the many changes underway at our colleges – transformational changes – to improve student success," said Laura Rittner, executive director of the OACC's Success Center for Ohio Community Colleges. "We brought together people who have different roles at colleges so they could have a deeper understanding of how college leaders can work together to usher in these student success models."

The president of each of the state's community colleges could nominate two employees as fellows. They met six times throughout the year for two-day meetings, first in person and then online as the pandemic took hold. Sessions were relevant to Ohio specifically and included aspects of the Aspen Institute's presidential leadership curriculum. Fellows also worked on projects in small groups between sessions.

"The most important takeaway for me from the Leadership Academy is that student success is the responsibility of everyone who works within a college system. And thus, effective leadership must identify and administer ways to include everyone – every step of the way," said Weaver.

Orr added, "The reading opportunities and the conversations with the other fellows enhanced each of the featured speakers' message and pushed me to look beyond my everyday role at COTC."

The academy was funded by several national organizations, so colleges had minimal expenses to participate. Next year's academy will begin early in 2021, Rittner said, in the hopes that some sessions can be held in person.

The OACC represents the presidents and trustees of the state's 23 public two-year institutions that work to advance community colleges through policy advocacy and professional development.  For more information, please visit www.OhioCommunityColleges.Org.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.