PERRYSBURG – The Owens Community College president has received a pay raise.

The board of trustees as its June 7 meeting announced that President Dione Somerville’s employment agreement was amended to include a 3% increase to her base salary, a $200 increase to her monthly auto allowance, and a 1% increase to her retirement plan contribution.

The move was made after an hour-long executive session, during which the board conducted the annual performance review.

The new agreement is effective July 1.

“Dr. Somerville has done everything that we have asked, according to the strategic plan,” said board Chairwoman Mary Beth Hammond. “She’s hit on all of those to move us forward.”

The strategic plan was developed during the previous president’s term and expires at the end of this year.

Completing the new plan is one of Somerville’s goals.

“What’s exciting about it is we have an opportunity to define and redefine ourselves … how we serve our region and all of our constituents,” she said.

Somerville said one of her biggest and most meaningful accomplishment is the outreach she has done to connect people to the colleges at both the Perrysburg and Findlay campuses.

“I think people have responded very well to that,” she said. “There is an excitement and that has been incredibly positive.”

The listening sessions Somerville has started also have been appreciated.

The collaboration with Bowling Green State University, the University of Findlay and regional partners also have flourished.

They “have always valued Owens but having a new person come in gives an opportunity to renew that collaboration,” Somerville said.

In the next year, she said she plans to implement the results of a Findlay campus task force, with the intent to revitalize that campus and continue with workforce development options for companies coming to and expanding in Ohio.

“There are some big pieces we have already started that we get to continue,” Somerville said.

She said Owens is a fantastic institution with an incredible foundation, and her experience as president in the past year is more than she could have hoped for.

“How much Owens is integrated into the fabric of the region is amazing,” Somerville said. “It’s been absolutely incredible.”

Somerville’s first day at Owens was June 15, 2021. She was given a three-year contract with a starting salary of $215,000.

In her first year, the college has:

• Strengthened its partnerships with Toledo Public Schools and other K-12 systems, ensuring clear pathways toward the postsecondary goals they want to achieve.

• Launched of the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which is a formalized commitment for the Owens community and emphasizes the ongoing commitment to ensuring everyone has a place on campuses and in programs.

• Been named one of the state’s inaugural Collegiate Purple Star Campuses.

• Opened the $9.6 million, 59,000-square-foot Dana Center on the Perrysburg campus. It offers technical training in advanced manufacturing and other skilled trades.

• Dedicated the Gene Haas Computer Numeric Control Machining Lab at the Dana Center, which features specialized, hands-on training tools for students pursuing various degrees and certificates, including Applied Engineering Technology, CAD Technology, Skilled Trades Mechanical, Tool & Die/Mold Making, Welding and more.

• Begun planning for the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics, a first-of-its-kind intercollegiate partnership with partners at Bowling Green State University and the University of Findlay. Somerville spoke on the partnership at the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Conference in a session entitled “How Intercollegiate Partners Align Higher Ed & Workforce Training.”

Somerville also launched a “Conversations” podcast, a monthly in-depth interview with local and state voices on the intersections of college and community across Northwest Ohio.

Somerville began her 28-year career in higher education as the assistant director of campus programming at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, before taking leadership positions at the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Lorain County Community College, Iowa State University, Bloomsburg University and Hawkeye Community College.

She had been executive vice president at Hawkeye Community College in Iowa since August 2020.

She earned a doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor’s degree in English/Writing from Ohio Northern University.

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