Northwest State Community College and Terra Community College are joining forces to streamline administrative functions, a move that will allow each college to invest more resources locally on educational opportunity and quality.
“Terra State and Northwest State have a successful history of working cooperatively,” said Dr. Thomas L. Stuckey, president of Northwest State Community College. “Through this new collaboration, each college will reduce administrative costs and devote greater resources toward academic programming and student success.”
“This new arrangement puts Northwest State and Terra State on the cutting edge of higher education innovation,” said Dr. Jerome Webster, president of Terra State Community College. “Our goal is to provide the best possible educational experience for our students. These centralized positions carry greater responsibility; as we phase them in over the next few years, they will attract a larger, more qualified pool of higher education professionals.”
The boards of trustees for both Northwest State and Terra State independently approved the creation of the Northern Ohio Community College District, a regional council of government authorized by Chapter 167 of the Ohio Revised Code. The move does not merge the colleges themselves, rather it creates a centralized district and consolidates certain administrative positions for both colleges. The district office is expected to be housed at the University of Toledo Scott Park campus, in alignment with a consortium agreement with the University of Toledo. Both Northwest State and Terra State are approximately 40 miles from the new central office.
While important administrative functions will now be located off-campus, both colleges will continue the front-line work of education and workforce development in their distinct service areas.
“Both institutions are deeply rooted in the communities we serve, and that commitment will not change,” Stuckey said.
“Our colleges each have our own unique strengths,” Webster said. “Rather than competing with one another, we will play to each other’s strengths.”
The new central office is expected to be up and running by July 1, 2015. The first positions to move to the district office are the vice president of academic affairs and the chief financial officer. Terra State’s vice president of academic affairs is set to retire at the end of June, and Northwest State’s current vice president of academic affairs will move to the district office and assume the role for both schools. Similarly, Terra State’s CFO will move to the district office and will work collaboratively with Northwest State’s chief fiscal and administrative officer.
Other positions will be phased in over several years through attrition, including a chief executive officer (separate position from the college presidents); chief operation officer; chief workforce development officer; and marketing and public relations, human resources, and information technology functions. No faculty positions are affected by the change.
This is not the first time the two colleges have collaborated on shared personnel. In 2010-2011, each school was in need of a construction project coordinator. They jointly hired an individual who served both schools in this position for approximately 18 months.
In 2014, both schools were in search of a new director of financial aid. Drs. Stuckey and Webster discussed the possibility of collaborating on the position. While it didn’t work out in this particular case, it opened the door to further explore the benefits of such collaboration.
Northwest State Community College offers more than 70 academic programs and serves approximately 5,500 credit and non-credit students (average age of 30), with the majority of students from Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Van Wert, and Williams Counties. Seventy-two percent of Northwest State’s degree-seeking students receive some form of financial aid. Eighty-five percent of the schools nearly 9,300 alumni continue to live and work in the six-county area.
Terra State Community College offers 60 academic programs and serves roughly 3,500 credit and non-credit students (average age of 27), with the majority of students coming from Erie, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Seneca Counties. Eighty-six percent of Terra State’s students receive some form of financial aid. Eight-five percent of Terra State graduates continue to live and work in the college’s service area.