June 26, 2012

Owens Community College Faculty Member Chris Foley Receives National Educator of the Year Award

Foley PLANET Award

Owens Associate Professor of Science Chris Foley (left) provides instruction to one of his classes.

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Owens Community College Associate Professor of Science Chris Foley of Swanton has been chosen by the Professional Landcare Network Academic Excellence Foundation (PLANET AEF) to receive the prestigious 2012 Outstanding Educator of the Year Award for exemplary contributions and dedication to students and green industry education.

The Outstanding Educator of the Year Award, developed by the PLANET AEF in cooperation with the PLANET Accreditation Committee, recognizes professors who have made significant contributions to green industry education. Educators nominated for this award are recognized for devoting time, energy and enthusiasm to their programs and to the education of future leaders of the industry.

“I am honored to be mentioned with the previous Educator of the Year recipients and grateful for the amount of effort that my current students, alumni and faculty members put into the application  process,” said Foley. “It is always nice to be recognized for your efforts. It is important to me that students find their passion like I have. Thank you PLANET for acknowledging educators in the green industry.”

Foley began his career in the green industry as an employee at Frank’s Nursery in Clawson, Mich. He later earned his bachelor’s degree in horticulture science from Michigan State University in 1982. After graduating from Michigan State, he worked at The Andersons in Toledo. From there, Foley began his 22-year educational teaching career at Owens Community College, whose programs include urban agriculture and sustainability, golf course and athletic field management, and landscape and turfgrass management.

Students and peers describe him as being extremely passionate about the subjects he teaches and having the ability to pass that enthusiasm on to his students. Additionally, he works tirelessly in advocating for experiential learning opportunities for his students highlighted by coordinating landscape installation projects involving area residents. Foley also leads student plant sale activities, which helps support the Owens Student Landscape Turfgrass Crew Club’s participation in the annual PLANET Student Career Days. The event is a national horticultural and landscape competition involving over 50 colleges and universities across the country.

His passion and enthusiasm extends beyond the classroom as he oversees a nursery in Swanton, which focuses on the production of rare and unusual trees and shrubs.

PLANET is an international association serving lawn care professionals, landscape management contractors, design/build/installation professionals and interior plantscapers. The organization provides its members with a good business foundation to help them evaluate, plan and better manage their companies. Over 3,800 green industry professionals are members of the PLANET.

For more information about the College’s natural sciences programs, call 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7623 or (567) 661-7623.

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.