Not Slowing Down: Guide to Colleges & Universities

 Not Slowing Down: Guide to Colleges & Universities

Lei Kerr with students in her lab.

Local schools bring new programs to the Miami Valley despite the pandemic

While many schools were forced to pivot because of COVID-19, colleges and universities throughout the Miami Valley have not slowed down. Many have added new programs, buildings and more in preparation for fall 2020.

Antioch College

Antioch College has launched Antioch College Works, an initiative to offer full-tuition scholarships to Pell Grant recipients at the school. The program is designed to offer institutional aid after grant money from Pell and any other scholarship sources is used. The aid is awarded as both a scholarship and a work-study program, with students taking on campus and community-based work. This program will be launched in fall 2020.

Antioch College also previously owned and operated a private nature preserve, Glen Helen Nature Preserve. This property has recently been transferred to the Glen Helen Association nonprofit for its upkeep and ownership moving forward. Antioch College will still have educational opportunities in the Glen, including ownership of the Glen Helen Ecology Institute.

Antioch University

Antioch University has seen a 250% increase in online enrollment for summer 2020 compared to summer 2018. Its recently launched online MBA focuses on the idea of a triple bottom line that includes valuing profit, people and the planet, says Terry Ratcliff, provost of Distance and Extended Education at Antioch University.

“While we continue to be committed to place-based adult education, including current and future collaborations with Premier Health and Sinclair College in the Dayton area, we recognize that online and low-residency programs provide access to higher education for students,” says Ratcliff. “Moving forward, Antioch University is committed to providing access to quality learning opportunities in an expanding variety of formats.”

Antioch University also launched a master’s in individualized studies and a doctor of education program in educational and professional practice. Like other Antioch University programs, they combine online coursework with elements like colloquia and in-person residencies.

Cedarville University

Cedarville University’s recent enrollment has prompted the construction of a new residence hall, and it will be opening its new 282-bed facility for the fall 2020 semester.
“We’re encouraged that the building has remained on schedule,” says Jon Wood, vice president for student life and Christian ministries. “We’re excited to welcome students back. The new residence hall will provide much-needed capacity to be able to serve our students and provide a safe environment that is ideal for their learning.”

The building is one of the largest on campus, with 63,000 square feet of space, including a central lounge between the women’s wing and the men’s wing. The school has also added the Chick-fil-A dining commons this year, a 300-seat dining facility in the heart of campus.

Central State University

Central State’s new Exercise Science bachelor’s degree program has taken off during the past two years since its inception. Enrollment in the program grew from 30 students during the first year to the current 100 students. Students choose among sports performance, wellness and clinical tracks. Exercise Science has found a home in the Department of Agricultural and Life Sciences, which offers unique advantages for the students.

“We’re with chemistry and biology, and our students have a strong understanding that exercise science is a science,” says Kathleen Carter, associate professor at Central State. “They take their science courses and can apply them to health and well-being. It makes the sciences come alive for them.”
In other news, Jack Thomas was named the ninth president of Central State University in early 2020. He comes from Western Illinois University and brings decades of experience in higher education administration.

Clark State Community College

Clark State Community College has received a second RAPIDS grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, which has enabled the purchase of welding robotics equipment to enhance studies in manufacturing and engineering. The school has also installed a new precision planter that will aid its Precision Agriculture program.

“As a community college, it is our mission and our commitment to our service area to develop and train a responsive workforce aligned with industry, and to adapt as needed,” says Jo Blondin, president of Clark State. “Both of these programs provide regional businesses with what we call ‘unicorns’ at Clark State: graduates who are fluent in technology as well as skilled in content, communication and problem-solving.”

The Clark State Eagles will also have renewed athletics facilities beginning in fall 2020, with new scoreboards and a new gymnasium installed this year.

Edison State Community College

Fall 2020 marks the start of Edison State Community College’s 25+ Fast Track Program. For students over the age of 25, a $250 scholarship will be offered for any program of study, including the new program, which offers several new, online degree programs that are designed to be completed in as few as 16 months. Starting this fall, students can choose from accounting, engineering – industrial operations, computer information systems – business systems, social services, criminal justice and a medical assisting certificate.

The school has also added associate degrees in agricultural maintenance, aviation professional pilot and veterinary technology. It’s announced a certificate to become an emergency medical technician, a basic mechanical certificate in electronics engineering technology, and both certification and an associate degree in interactive media – graphic design and web design.

Miami University

The trustees of Miami University have recently approved new bachelor’s degree programs in robotics engineering, digital commerce and sales management, as well as a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and emerging technology. It has also already launched coursework in organizational leadership, data analytics, and business analytics and information, which were approved as new majors within the past year.

In recent university-based research and innovation, a collaboration between Lei Kerr, professor of chemical, paper and biomedical engineering at Miami, and the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has resulted in a new patent for a respiratory simulation device to assist with researching, diagnosing and treating breathing disorders.

The Modern College of Design

The Modern College of Design has modified its curriculum to create options for students. A part-time associate degree allows students to take only two courses per semester to accommodate their busy schedules. The college has also developed an accelerated 18-month version of its program that employs summer coursework. The result has been rapid growth in student enrollment, with enrollment growing 458% compared to the last summer semester.

The college offers an associate degree in applied business in design as well as a bachelor’s degree completion program in design leadership. The courses focus on the basics of web and print design before building more advanced skills that have demonstrable value in the job market.

“The students are finding employment in the Dayton region and sometimes beyond, so I think the jobs are out there,” says Jessica Barry, president of the Modern College of Design. “Many people need upskilling, including web-driven knowledge that even experienced designers don’t always have yet. Our programs are allowing designers to pick up those skills.”

Sinclair Community College

After graduating a record-breaking 2000 students from programs in the spring of 2020, Sinclair began its summer term with 12,000 students in more than 1,300 online courses.

The 2020 graduating class, which graduated virtually, produced a record number of associate-degree earners. The school graduated more African American and minority students than ever before. It also had 47 College Credit Plus high school students complete their associate degrees before graduating from high school, the highest number to achieve this feat in the history of the school.

“We serve a student population that ranges from the high school level to those that are age 60 and older who come back to skill-up and advance in their careers,” says Steve Johnson, the president of Sinclair. “We have numerous short-term, low-cost courses available to individuals who are looking to re-train or acquire new skills.”

University of Dayton

University of Dayton has created an interdisciplinary program in health care administration, drawing on coursework in community health, policy and communication. It will function as a concentration within a double major in communication and political science.

“We are seeing an increasing need for students entering the workforce to have interdisciplinary training. The complex issues that are faced in the health care industry (COVID-19 being a prime example of such) require integrative thinking and an ability to work with people from different backgrounds,” says Anne Crecelius, associate professor of Health and Sport Science at University of Dayton. “The exponential growth of the health care industry means additional opportunities, and the breadth of this program is well-suited to prepare students to succeed in this ever-changing industry.”

With medical and health care management careers becoming more readily available, this interdisciplinary concentration positions students well for a future that will demand the ability to communicate about health across a variety of circumstances.