NSCC and Purdue University Fort Wayne Sign Articulation Agreement

Northwest State Community College (NSCC) and Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW) signed an articulation agreement on February 5 that will allow students to transfer credits from an associate of applied science degree at NSCC into a bachelor of applied science degree at PFW. NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson participated in the signing, along with PFW Executive Director of General Studies, La Tishia Horrell.

Per the articulation agreement between the two schools, students must meet the admission and graduation requirements for both Northwest State Community College and Purdue University Fort Wayne. The two-state articulation is not uncommon for institutes of higher learning and is particularly advantageous for community colleges like NSCC given its proximity to the Indiana and Michigan borders.

“We are very pleased to strengthen our relationships with the four-year partners that our students rely on. It’s important that we provide clear pathways for our students to make it as easy as possible to complete both their two and four-year degrees,” said Dr. Michael Thomson, NSCC president.

“This exciting partnership is yet another example of how Purdue University Fort Wayne strives to make completing a bachelor’s degree more convenient for our students,” said La Tishia Horrell, executive director of general studies at Purdue University Fort Wayne. “Since the requirements for our bachelor of applied science degree can be completed online, a Purdue degree, and the excellent education that accompanies it, is now accessible without the need to relocate. We look forward to welcoming our new Mastodons from Northwest State Community College.”

NSCC Foundation Receives Ag Grant

The Northwest State Community College Foundation received a $3,000 Agriculture Action and Awareness Grant from the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. The grant funds will allow NSCC to offer two summer camps that will expand the knowledge of agriculture among northwest Ohio youth. NSCC will partner with Natural Resources Conservation Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Fulton Soil & Water Conservation District on the project. The camps are expected to serve up to 50 students, ages 10-15, from the College’s six-county service area of Williams, Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Paulding and Van Wert counties.

Robbin Wilcox, executive director for development and the NSCC Foundation, noted, “By offering hands-on activities and visits to agricultural facilities, we will provide opportunities for youth to explore careers in agriculture. This is vital not only for the future of agriculture, but for the economic development in our local communities.”

Wilcox noted the success of the 2017 ag camp held at the College’s Archbold campus, and shared the upcoming camps, “will promote the sharing of fundamental concepts in agriculture, demonstrating how agriculture improves lives. We are grateful for the generous support of the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation for helping make these camps a reality in 2020.”

The project seeks to accomplish three main goals: 1) Teach students the fundamentals of agricultural science and its impact in their daily lives and future; 2) Spark interest among youth to pursue careers in agriculture; 3) Promote mentorship and networking between the youth and local agricultural businesses.

The Ohio Farm Bureau is “a grassroots membership organization that works to support our state’s food and farm community.” The campaign for the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation “will expand our endowment to provide increased support for scholarships and professional development opportunities allowing individuals to advance their knowledge, share ideas, and improve people’s lives.” Foundation support provides student scholarships, funds for innovation in the communities, and much more – all helping to drive economic growth through agriculture. Additional information on the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation is available online at OFBF.org/foundation/.

The dates and details of these summer ag camps are not yet confirmed. Once finalized, complete information will be available at NorthwestState.edu/Events.

NSCC Experiences Continued Enrollment Growth

For the second straight semester, Northwest State Community College has experienced enrollment growth, both in terms of physical headcount on campus, as well as full-time equivalency (FTE). The head count increase is attributed in great part to a 19% increase in College Credit Plus students from spring 2019. The FTE is up a modest 0.44%, but repeated growth is noteworthy, which provides an opportunity to reflect and show appreciation.

“We are so grateful to the families in this area who continue to rely on us for both direct to job as well as transfer education,” said Dr. Michael Thomson, NSCC president. Northwest State proudly serves a six-county service area of Williams, Fulton, Defiance, Henry, Paulding and Van Wert Counties. The College also has a high-quality training facility in Toledo at the UT-Scott Park location.

Thomson remarked, “As we complete our 50th anniversary year and embark on a new strategic plan, we are singularly focused on meeting our community’s needs for high-quality, affordable education. It’s very rewarding when the community sees Northwest State as their primary educational partner.”

With the start of the 16-week spring semester, the College now also turns its attention to second eight-week courses, which will begin March 16. Eight-week courses are available across virtually all academic divisions as a way for students to catch up or stay ahead on their education pathway.

Thomson concluded, “In a country where someone’s economic fate seems more and more dictated by their birth zip code, it is imperative that Northwest State help local families attain their educational hopes and dreams. Our graduates become northwest Ohio future leaders, enjoying family sustaining wages and a high quality of life. This is the fundamental purpose of community colleges in the United States, and it makes us the envy of the world.”

Nursing Program Announces NCLEX Passage Rates

The need for skilled nurses continues to grow nationwide, and Northwest State Community College is leading the way in preparing students to meet the healthcare demands of our communities. The practical nursing graduates from 2019 at NSCC earned a 100% pass rate for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX), while the registered nursing graduates earned a 92.86% pass rate.

“The faculty and I are pleased to announce the NCLEX results for both the practical nursing and associate degree nursing programs. Our graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX examination and qualify for entry-level nursing positions,” noted Dr. Kathy Keister, dean of the Nursing & Allied Health Division at NSCC.

“Keys to graduate success include the dedication of our experienced faculty and the strong partnerships with area hospitals and healthcare facilities who provide highly effective clinical experiences,” Keister continued. Dr. Keister also noted that within six months of graduation, 100% of NSCC nursing graduates are either working or enrolled in a baccalaureate program.

“Having consistently high passing rates, with multiple times 100% pass on the first try, is a testament to a dedicated group of faculty that ensures high-quality learning environments and student success,” said Dr. Michael Thomson, NSCC president. “As Northwest State’s premier community institution, local hospitals depend on our medical programs, like nursing, so they can ensure high-quality medical care. We’re so proud of our nursing students, and look forward to their success serving our local families,” Thomson continued.

Nursing careers are hard work, but are also potentially lucrative, which makes the NSCC education worth the time and effort. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage from May 2018 for a registered nurse is $75,510, while the mean annual wage for a licensed practical nurse is $47,050.

Both the practical nursing and registered nursing programs are accepting applications at Northwest State’s main campus in Archbold. 

[1] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm

[1] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm

NSCC Foundation Receives FRS Grant

The Northwest State Community College Foundation received a $5,000 community grant from the Foundation for Rural Service (FRS), to conduct a three-day cybersecurity and telecommunications summer camp for high school students in northwest Ohio in 2020. Per FRS, the camp will, “instill cybersecurity awareness, spark interests and provide hands on technical skills.”

Robbin Wilcox, executive director for development and the NSCC Foundation, noted that the grant, “provides another exciting opportunity for Northwest State to provide high school students from our area with engaging, hands-on learning opportunities in high-tech areas.” Wilcox also noted her appreciation for the Foundation of Rural Service and its ongoing commitment to engagement efforts in rural communities.


FRS is the philanthropic arm of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, which includes Farmers Mutual Telephone Company as a member. FRS advances the quality of life in rural communities through programs that support young people in rural areas, encourage community development, and help the public – especially policymakers – better understand the challenges that rural communities face.

The dates and details of this summer camp are not yet confirmed. Once finalized, complete information on the cybersecurity and telecommunications summer camp will be available at NorthwestState.edu/Events.

Ohio Community Colleges Seek Donations to Help Students

 As the 2019 tax year comes to a close and Ohioans are looking for charitable-giving tax deductions, the state’s 23 community colleges are encouraging families to consider making a financial gift to their local college, boosting efforts to help improve student success and advance innovation. Northwest State Community College President Dr. Michael Thomson lauds the generosity of our community, while noting the students’ need for help on their educational journey. 

“Northwest State had a record year of giving – the NSCC Foundation issued the College a check for more than $765,000, and we proudly awarded $650,000 in scholarships to roughly 330 students at our annual Scholarship Awards Night event,” Thomson said. He continued, “The need continues to be great — many of our current students receive some type of financial aid, and we are committed to making a high-quality education accessible to all.”

“Community colleges provide tremendous value to Ohio families and our overall economy, but there’s a troubling gap between that value and the low level of annual giving those colleges receive,” said Jack Hershey, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC). “It’s amazing that just one percent of all the annual giving to higher education nationally is directed to community colleges, when those colleges enroll more than 35 percent of all the postsecondary students in the state.”

Hershey said the OACC is stressing five compelling reasons for giving to a community college:

  • Donors may be able to take advantage of charitable tax deductions.
  • Students are appreciative. Many of the students attending community colleges are the first in their family ever to attend college or are nontraditional students, often raising families. The cost of college can be a particular burden to these individuals.
  • Invest in YOUR community. After receiving their degree or certificate, a large percentage of community college students seek job opportunities locally compared to graduates of larger four-year schools, who too often move away from the local hometown to find work.
  • Scholarships help! While Ohio’s community colleges are affordable, private giving helps increase scholarships and opportunities for more students to get on the path (and stay on the path) to a rewarding new career.
  • Help close Ohio’s skills gap. Community colleges are playing a critical role in Governor Mike DeWine’s efforts to help more Ohioans get a degree, certificate or credential needed to close the state’s skills gap by developing new programs and training workers for emerging industries.

Learn more about the NSCC Foundation online or by contacting Robbin Wilcox, executive director – development & NSCC Foundation, at 419.267.1460 or rwilcox@NorthwestState.edu.




Fall Commencement Awards 127 Degrees/Certificates

Northwest State Community College celebrated the December 2019 graduating class at its fall Commencement Ceremony on December 16 in the Voinovich Auditorium.  The ceremony recognized the awarding of 127 degrees and/or certificates to 122 students from the divisions of Arts & Sciences; Business & Public Services; Nursing and Allied Health; and Science, Technology, Engineering Technology & Math (STEM) and Industrial Technologies.  

Dr. Dan Burklo, NSCC associate vice president for academics, kicked off the ceremony with a note of celebration. Burklo noted that 82% of the graduating class lives in the College’s six-county service area of Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Van Wert and Williams counties, and that the grade point average of the class is 3.25.


Keetyn Ayers of Defiance was the student speaker. She graduates magna cum laude with an associate of applied business degree in business management and entrepreneurship. Keetyn is also an Award of Merit recipient, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Kappa Beta Delta, and the Dean’s Leadership Cluster.

Ayers shared a personal story of childhood hardship, but noted that once she hit rock bottom, she found her guiding light. “It is ironic how sometimes the most beautiful sunrise emerges from the darkest of nights,” Ayers said. Her emotional speech included heartfelt appreciation for her mother, grandmother and husband, and a congratulations to her fellow graduates.


The keynote speaker for this year’s commencement ceremony was Cecily Rohrs, former coordinator for the NSCC Center for Lifelong Learning. Rohrs graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor of science in education and taught speech and English for Paulding, Stryker and Archbold schools. She also worked at Sauder Village for 27 years, retiring as their director of public relations and marketing. “I am confident that the quality of the years ahead of you will be determined in large measure by your pursuit of lifelong learning,” Rohrs remarked.


During the ceremony, eleven students were recognized as Award of Merit recipients. Award of Merit recipients are chosen by faculty from the respective divisions based on leadership involvement, special talents or abilities in their academic field, and significant contributions to Northwest State. 

Award of Merit recipients included:

Arts & Sciences

  • Maxie Ratanasri, Associate of Arts; Associate of Science
  • Rachelle Wyse, Associate of Arts
  • Caleb Davila, Associate of Science
  • Kassidy Swanson, Associate of Science
  • Seth Brakefield, Visual Communications Graphic Design

Business & Public Services

  • Keetyn Ayers, Business Management
  • Jacqueline Sager, Office Administration

Nursing & Allied Health

  • Melissa Bowling, LPN to RN
  • Kimberly Clingaman, Registered Nursing

STEM & Industrial Technologies

  • Kyle Nicely, Electro-Mechanical Engineering Tech.
  • Scott Zimmer, Plastics Manufacturing Tech.


The College also recognized three individuals who were recently awarded emeritus status, an honorary title awarded for distinguished service to the academic community. The three recipients were Dr. Edward Singer, former Arts & Sciences faculty member; Dr. Von Plessner, former dean of business and business faculty member; and Philip McCartney, former Board of Trustees chair and member. Mr. McCartney was honored posthumously.

Dr. Singer began teaching at NSCC in 1986 in the Arts & Sciences Division, including serving as the lead sociology faculty. Singer played a crucial role in adding sustainability to the NSCC institutional learning outcomes and also coordinated student efforts to bring recycling to campus. In 2008, Singer was the recipient of the NSCC Distinguished Faculty Award, which recognizes individuals who exemplify excellence in teaching.

Dr. Plessner began teaching at NSCC in 1984 in the Business Division, including a variety of business courses on campus, as well as training topics at job sites in northwest Ohio. Plessner served as dean of business from 2007-2013 and led the division through the first specialized business accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. Plessner received the Master Teacher Award in 1989, Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member in 2003, and the NSCC Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.

Mr. McCartney served for fourteen years on the NSCC Board of Trustees, from 1997-2012. During that time, he served two terms as Board chair in 2002 and 2008. During McCartney’s tenure on the Board, he received recognition from the Ohio Association of Community Colleges and was awarded Trustee of the Year for his dedication to promoting community colleges in Ohio. In 2012, an honorary doctorate of technical letters was conferred upon Mr. McCartney posthumously by the NSCC Board of Trustees for his leadership, vision and dedication.

Ohio Treasurer Issues Proclamation for NSCC

The Northwest State Community College Board of Trustees met in regular session on Friday, December 13 on the Archbold campus. After roll call, Patrick McCauley, public affairs liaison for Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague, issued a proclamation to Northwest State recognizing the College’s 50 years of service to northwest Ohio. McCauley addressed the Board and NSCC faculty and staff in the conference room, sharing his admiration for the continued work NSCC does to educate and train students to help area employers thrive and grow.


NSCC President Dr. Michael Thomson discussed the ongoing work related to the College’s next strategic plan, which will succeed the 2016-2019 iteration. In its present state, the next plan consists of five “pillars” and focuses on life-changing education, engaged community, learning for all, empowered team, and organizational excellence. Thomson also noted the College continues to seek the community’s input into the plan.


During the meeting, the Board also voted to award emeritus status to Von Plessner, Edward Singer and the late Philip McCartney, effective December 13, 2019. The three individuals were lauded for their contributions to the College, its students, and the community, and each will be recognized at a special dinner ceremony prior to fall commencement on December 16.

In other Board action:

  • Approved the employment of Ryan Hamilton to dean of the STEM & Industrial Technologies Division, effective January 2, 2020
  • Approved the promotion of Jason Rickenberg to dean of the Business & Public Services Division
  • Approved the employment of Joshua Verhoff to faculty, industrial technologies
  • Approved the transfer of Cherie Rix to coordinator of the Success Center
  • Approved the 2018-2019 College audit, the 2019 School Employees Retirement System audit and the 2019 State Teachers Retirement System audit
  • Approved the transfer of College reserves
  • Approved the 2019 affordability and efficiency report
  • Approved miscellaneous employment contracts and three resignations