The Board of Trustees unanimously approved Bower’s appointment as the sixth President in the 47-year history of Owens Community College during their board meeting. Both the Board of Trustees and Bower have agreed to a three-year contract. Bower will formally assume his new presidential responsibilities July 1.
“I am pleased to announce and proud to welcome Dr. Mike Bower as the new President of Owens Community College,” said Dee Talmage, Chair of the Owens Community College Board of Trustees. “Dr. Bower is highly respected among the higher education community nationwide and brings to Owens Community College and the Northwest Ohio region a strong background and extensive experience as an academic leader. Most of all, he leads with his core value of how can we best benefit the students. He is the right person to lead this academic institution and build on the College’s longstanding commitment to serving our students and the surrounding communities through excellence, innovation and collaboration.”
“I have been blessed with supporting people throughout my life to help others succeed,” said Bower. “When I researched Owens Community College for the presidential search, I could sense such support by viewing AQIP projects, the student newspaper, the Board of Trustees meeting minutes and other meeting documents. Owens Community College has dedicated teams that value student learning and I am very excited to be selected to serve these teams.”
Bower brings to Owens more than 17 years of experience in higher education as a faculty member and administrator in North Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Indiana. He also spent more than 19 years working in various leadership positions of business and industry with Ford Motor Co. and Thomson Consumer Electrics (formerly RCA) in Indiana and Ohio.
Since July 2008, Bower, age 62, has served as the President of Lake Region State College in Devils Lake, N.D. Lake Region State College is a student-centered, open access, comprehensive community college within the North Dakota University System. The college is committed to providing quality academic education, vocational/technical training, workforce training, educational outreach opportunities and life-long learning with an enrollment of approximately 3,000 students.
Under his leadership, Lake Region State has expanded educational opportunities in a number of academic areas with the overall goal of enhancing student learning and community economic success, highlighted by securing state funding of $2.6 million for a 1.6 G.E. megawatt wind turbine to support the green initiative and provide current technology for the wind technician program. He also testified for appropriated dollars in the amount of $4.6 million for the technology center expansion and renovation for nursing, optimized agriculture, simulator electronics, automotive and wind programs. New innovative academic programs and hand-on learning resources unveiled within the last several years include wind energy technician, fitness trainer technician, nursing, American Sign Language and interpretive studies, and simulator technology.
His advocacy for higher education also includes reaching out and engaging community and educational partners through the academic institution’s Community College Foundation as well as through legislative support and strategic planning specific to local and regional community support to the college for student learning and career success.
Previously, Bower served as Executive Dean for Extension Campuses/Continuing Education/Corporate Services at Mott Community College in Flint, Mich. from 2004-08 where he provided leadership and oversight for the day-to-day operations of five divisions, which included Lapeer Campus, Southern Lakes Campus, Northern Tier Campus, Continuing Education and the Livingston County Regional Michigan Technical Education Center. He also oversaw the University Center that houses such academic institutions as Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Wayne State University and Rochester College.
Prior to Mott Community College, Bower served as Campus Dean of Chippewa Falls at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Clair, Wis. from 2001-03 and held several academic leadership positions at Central Community College in Columbus, Neb. from 1997-2001. His professional background also includes serving as an Instructor at Ivy Tech State College and an Adjunct Instructor at Indiana University Kokomo, both located in Kokomo, Ind.
Bower’s board-level professional and community involvement includes serving on the American Association of Community Colleges Economic/Workforce Commission, the American Association of Community Colleges Framework for Accountability, the North Dakota School for the Deaf Board, the Lake Region Forward Devils Lake (Economic Development) and the Lake Region Chamber of Commerce, among many others. He also serves as a Higher Learning Commission Peer Review Corps Consultant-Evaluator.
President Bower earned a doctorate in education administration, curriculum and instruction from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Devils Lake, N.D. resident holds a master of business administration from Indiana Wesleyan University, a bachelor’s degree in industrial supervision from Indiana State University and an associate’s degree in automotive technology from Vincennes University.
Last year, the Board of Trustees announced that a national search for the new President of Owens Community College was underway to succeed Dr. Larry McDougle, who retired Sept. 30. John Satkowski, Vice President of Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer, has served as the College’s Interim President since the beginning of October. The presidential search process was led by Owens Board of Trustees Chair Dee Talmage, who served as Chair of the Presidential Search Committee.
The Board of Trustees enlisted the professional services of the global firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. to assist in conducting the presidential search. Heidrick & Struggles has a long and storied history of conducting searches nationwide as well as extensive experience in higher education.
Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Arrowhead Park Learning Center in Maumee and the Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit www.owens.edu.