Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) has appointed Dr. John M. Berry as its first new president in 15 years, succeeding its former president Dr. Bonnie Coe.
Prior to this appointment, he served as dean of students of COTC for 14 years and as director of student life at Ohio State University-Newark. He also previously worked in administrative positions at community colleges in North Carolina, West Virginia and in Lima, Ohio.
Under Coe’s presidency, the technical college became debt free, something which will help Berry’s vision of COTC’s future, he told Newark Advocate.
“With that good, healthy and robust financial environment, we are prepared to meet the ever-evolving landscape,” Berry said. “It’s a very different environment, with the creep of the Columbus metropolitan area into this area.”
Under Berry’s leadership, Central Ohio Technical is expected to increase its college accessibility to prospective students across its four campuses.
Last summer, COTC began offering short-term certificates that provide immediate employment in fields such as addiction studies, phlebotomy and electrocardiography upon completion. The college’s College Credit Plus program has also been beneficial for the school, with 1,285 middle and high school students enrolled to earn college credit.
“It’s a good jump start and is now actually, practically free,” Berry said. “It’s an opportunity for us to provide them with really concise pathways to their future.”
COTC’s Pataskala campus was recently awarded $3.2 million from the state capital biennium budget to fund the renovations of its building, which will include a new interior, creating additional science and nursing skills labs and improving classroom spaces.
At the Newark campus, 300 parking spaces on the campus will be added, and plans for the renovation of the John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology have begun. The campus will utilize the Alfords’ $2.5 million donation to add in-demand lab and classroom space for students.
There are 3,429 students currently enrolled in COTC. The college offers 31 associate degree programs in business and information technology, engineering technology, arts and sciences, public service and safety and health care, in addition to one-year and short-term certificates.
Berry earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, a master’s in higher education administration from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from The Ohio State University.