Monica Posey was recently named president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, which has a branch campus in downtown Middletown.
Middletown is the northern-most branch of the main Clifton campus of Cincinnati State, just north of downtown Cincinnati.
Cincinnati State Middletown has been especially robust in recent years, growing from 250 full and part-time students when the Middletown branch opened in 2012 to now more than 750 students.
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The Journal-News recently spoke with Posey, and here’s what the leader had to say about the college’s role in downtown Middletown and its future.
Q: What is your vision to keep more students at your branch campuses, especially the one in downtown Middletown?
A: Student retention at our Middletown campus is a high priority. To help students stay engaged, we provide flexible scheduling, the availability of online courses, support services, events and a great deal of communication. For example, students who struggle academically have access to free tutoring, experienced advisers, and a caring and concerned faculty and staff. Students who experience life events that jeopardize their ability to stay in school are able to obtain referrals to community resources that help them stay on course. And our Student Ambassador program, along with various student groups, provides students with opportunities to get involved with their peers and further enhance their learning experience.
Q: When you hear the words, Cincinnati State, what comes to mind?
A: The word "indispensable" comes to mind. Cincinnati State provides advanced training for many of the people who keep our region thriving, healthy and safe — from cutting-edge manufacturing and engineering, to nursing and medical technology, business and IT, culinary, public safety, and more. We also provide affordable paths for students who want to transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor degree. And we are constantly working to develop new programs that meet employer needs. One of the major employers in our region refers to Cincinnati State as a "gold mine" for workforce talent. I agree.
Q: While more than half of college students are women, about one in four college presidents are women, and only 13 percent of college presidents are minorities, according to a comprehensive study by the American Council on Education completed in 2012. You also are the first president hired from within Cincinnati State since the school expanded to become a community and technical college in 1994. Does that make you a trailblazer and what would be your advice to other minority women seeking positions in higher education?
A: I agree, the percent of women and specifically minority women as college presidents is low, however, there are many great trailblazers who have come before me. I see myself as a role model in perseverance and also institutional commitment. When facing career challenges over the years, my focus was on a long-term commitment to the college and to the community. My advice to women is one of encouragement, the trend and acceptance of us as institutional leaders is positive. The awareness of diversity and full-inclusion is helping women and minorities. My advice is to build lasting relationships, enhance your credentials and experience, and always help others.
Q: You have said, “The future of Cincinnati State will not be defined by me alone.” What does that mean and what do you see as the future of Cincinnati State?
A: My statement means that the future will be shaped and implemented collaboratively by our faculty, staff and administers in partnership with the community. One faculty member described this as a "new era of collaboration." I believe this will lead us to a new era of excellence and achievement because we have so much talent and creativity among us. This future would be one in which CS is fully recognized as the first choice institution in the region, truly valued for open access technical and transfer education and workforce training.
Q: What role do you see Cincinnati State Middletown playing in the redevelopment of downtown Middletown?
A: Cincinnati State has been part of the revitalization of the downtown Middletown district with its prominent presence at the corner of North Main and Central Avenue. Our central location brings more foot traffic into the downtown area, and our students, faculty, and staff members create more demand for places to eat, shop, bank, and do business in general. Cincinnati State plans to remain a key partner with the City of Middletown to continue to strive to revitalize the downtown area by partnering in community events, sharing resources, and devising creative solutions to enhance its interface with the downtown Middletown area.
Q: What would you like Butler County residents to know about Cincinnati State that they may not already know?
A: Many Butler County residents may not realize that Cincinnati State Middletown services their community with small class sizes and individualized attention for its students, along with free one-on-one tutoring, free parking, and personalized advising. This level of student service helps ensure success for students who otherwise may have thought: "college isn't for me." More than 30 associate degree and certificate programs can be completed on the Middletown Campus, either in person, online, or a combination of the two. More than 100 additional programs can be started in Middletown and finished on the Clifton Campus of Cincinnati State. Having a community college like Cincinnati State within Butler County is a tremendous enhancement for the community and is hopefully something that more and more people will explore for themselves and for their family members, friends, and employees.
Q: A large percentage of Butler County residents are senior citizens. Is there a way for them to take advantage of what Cincinnati State offers?
A: Cincinnati State has so much to offer seniors and we love how our more mature students enhance the learning environment for everyone on campus. For many people, they have put their children, spouses, and sometimes extended family members through College before they consider doing so for themselves. And most importantly, we often find that mature students have less distractions and life interruptions and are able to focus on their studies better than students of traditional college age. An active and engaged mind is extremely beneficial for seniors, and having an educational goal and a school-family to cheer them on can be the best gift our Butler County seniors can give themselves.
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