The chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education said Tuesday in Hillsboro that education “has to be more seamless” from high school to college to fields of technical certification, resulting in a “lifelong learning” experience for Ohioans.
John Carey, who served 17 years in the state legislature in both the Ohio House and Senate, sometimes representing Highland County, was appointed chancellor in 2013 by Gov. John Kasich.
Carey told Hillsboro Rotarians on Tuesday he has “been to Hillsboro more than any other community in the state.” He said part of the reason is the effective leadership being exhibited by Kevin Boys, president of Southern State Community College, who introduced Carey on Tuesday at the Ponderosa Banquet Center.
“Kevin Boys is one of the leaders of higher education in Ohio,” said Carey. He said he visits SSCC often “because they’re doing things so well.”
Carey, who served as assistant to the president for Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives for Shawnee State University in Portsmouth prior to being appointed chancellor, focused much of his remarks on the need to make education more accessible, and touted the College Credits Plus program, which allows high school students to simultaneously take college courses, a program in which SSCC heavily participates with local high schools.
Carey said Ohio is witnessing “more non-traditional students now than traditional,” including older adults who pursue degrees through online programs. He mentioned recent efforts to partner with Western Governors University, an online school that allows students to learn at their own pace, calling it “a low-cost pathway” to a college degree and saying the state is working on ways to “expand those opportunities in Ohio.”
According to a story last October in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, “Ohio’s community college graduates can seamlessly transfer to the online Western Governors University and receive discounted tuition toward a bachelor’s degree under a new partnership announced by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges. The agreement… extends online, competency-based learning opportunities to all graduates, offers a tuition discount to graduates and employees and establishes a transfer program in nursing.”
Carey said that a change in higher education funding that is based “not on enrollment, but completion and graduation,” has increased retention rates and will hopefully lead to higher graduation rates.
Carey said the higher education department is doing more to partner with job training agencies and other entities such as the business community.
Carey was warmly received by a number of Rotarians with whom he has worked in the past, with Highland County Commissioner Shane Wilkin saying Carey’s effectiveness and quick responses while in the state legislature served as reasons to abolish term limits.
Carey was accompanied by Jeff Robinson, director of communications for the higher ed department.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.