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October 26, 2017



Meet the candidates for Dean of Health and Human Services during open forums

The College has narrowed its search for the new Dean of Health and Human Services to two final candidates. Staff, faculty, and students have the opportunity to meet each candidate by attending the following open forums:

Thursday, November 2
Dr. Penny Smith
Open forum will be held from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. in Delaware Hall, Room 121

Friday, November 3
Dr. Curt Laird
Open forum will be held from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in Delaware Hall, Room 121 


Dr. Penny Smith


A native of Danville, Kentucky, Dr. Penny Smith has spent nearly two decades serving in executive government and higher education roles.  Her government experience spans multiple policies and programs such as: Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Head Start, the Workforce Investment Act, and Unemployment Insurance.

Smith’s highest ranking government position was in the administration of former Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, where she served as the Commissioner of Employment Services. This agency employed a staff of more 1000 and managed a budget of over $700 million dollars.

Her campus experience began in 2008, when she took a position as Assistant Provost for Outreach and Extended Programs at Kentucky State University. She was responsible for coordinating the University’s TRIO programs, dual credit programs, and the Office of Continuing and Distance Education. Currently, Smith is the Executive Director of Academic Services at Northeast Ohio Medical University. Her office provides curriculum management and assessment support to the college of medicine, pharmacy and graduate studies as well as library operations.

Smith’s career experience also includes positions as Executive Director at a medical college; Assistant Provost at a regional comprehensive university; Commissioner for a state workforce development agency; Policy Director of a state department of human services; and as Manager at a state higher education coordinating board.

She is a first generation college student. She graduated from Fisk University summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and went on to complete the masters and doctorate of education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education.

Her life’s mission and philosophy of poverty eradication can be summed up in a series of questions from “Invisible Man” author Ralph Ellison:

“How does one persuade the American to identify that which is basic in man beyond all differences of class, race, wealth, or formal education?  How does one make the illiterate and inarticulate eloquent enough so that the educated and more favorably situated will recognize wisdom and honor and charity, heroism and capacity for love when found in humble speech and dress?”

This quote was the introduction to her dissertation, and answering it has become her life’s mission. This quote has inspired Smith to strive in her career to assure that those with humble backgrounds and nontraditional circumstances are not only helped, but also respected. 


Dr. Curt Laird


Dr. Curt Laird serves as the Chair of the Sport & Exercise Studies and Hospitality departments, Intercollegiate Athletics, and College Recreation and Wellness at Columbus State Community College. Laird graduated from Columbus State’s Sport and Exercise Studies program in 1995, and returned to the College in 2015 with a wealth of experience in higher education. In addition to his responsibilities at Columbus State, Dr. Laird also serves on the Board of Commissioners for Commission on Sport Management Accreditation, a national agency charged with accreditation for the sport management academic discipline. He currently serves as the board’s chairperson.

Prior to returning to work at Columbus State, Laird served as a program coordinator and associate professor at Wingate University in North Caroline. Prior to that, Laird was a program coordinator and assistant department chair at Winthrop University in South Carolina from 2008-2012. He also has previous appointments at the University of Charleston in West Virginia, a previous stint at Winthrop University, and Ohio University. 

Laird has authored several publications, was named the NCAAHPERD Sport Management Educator of the Year in 2014, and was honored with a Presidential Citation at Winthrop University in 2012. Laird holds a Ph.D. from Ohio University in Higher Education, as well as degrees from West Virginia University and Shawnee State University. Originally from Groveport, Ohio, Laird brings 28 years of work experience to Columbus State. 


Representatives from Germany visit Columbus State to plan student exchange program

photo of groupFrom left are Shane Bendele, Professor in Engineering and Transportation Technology; Dorit Fratzscher, Executive Director of Dresden Sister City, Inc.; Bernd Petschke, and Elke Wiedemann, both from the Vocational Training Academy for Electrical Engineering and IT, Dresden, Germany.

Representatives from the Berufliches Schulzentrum Für Elektrotechnik (a vocational academy focused on engineering and IT) in Dresden, Germany recently traveled to Columbus to plan a student exchange program. The goal of the program is to share college, career and cultural opportunities centered on STEM subjects with the City of Columbus’ Sister City, Dresden. Columbus City schools, and Dresden Sister City, Inc., will partner to provide a unique exchange experience for students connected to our partnership with Columbus city high schools and students in Dresden. During their visit, Bernd Petschke, Elke Wiedemann, and Dorit Fratzscher had an opportunity to tour Columbus and meet with program partners, including Columbus State.


Job Fair: Early Childhood Development and Education

Early Childhood Development and Education is hosting a job and education fair on Monday, November 13 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the WD Ballroom. More than 20 childcare centers and four-year universities will be there to share information with students. The event will also promote Columbus State’s Early Childhood degrees and the Child Development Associate Certificate. If you have questions, contact Amy Smith-Gonzalez at


First Wednesday is November 1

First Wednesday will be held on Wednesday, November 1, starting at 8:15 a.m. in the Conference Center Ballroom, fourth floor WD. The meeting will also be live-streamed online at where you will be prompted to enter the password: cougars.


Financial Aid Office closed tomorrow

On Friday, October 27, the Financial Aid Office will be closed all day for training. The Resource Line, Customer Service Line, and Advisors in Student Central will not be available.  If there is an emergency, contact Marcus Jackson at ext. 2695.  


Utility work continues on and around Jefferson Avenue

 The city’s underground utility work along Jefferson Avenue will continue all of next week from Monday, October 30 through Friday November 3. The map at this link shows the expanded work zone for this portion of the project and the detour, which will run again through parking lots 4-S and 5-S.

This construction will close one lane of Spring Street. The parking meters alongside those lanes will not be available. In addition, the Spring Street entrance and exit to the 8-S parking lot will be blocked for the entire time. The 8-S lot will still be accessible from Jefferson Avenue.



Media, Gender, Sexuality and Healthy Intimacy

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Office of Equity and Compliance is excited to offer a presentation on “Media, Gender, Sexuality and Healthy Intimacy” on Monday, October 30 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. in Nestor Hall, Room 218. This is part of our Know It. Name It. STOP IT! stalking and intimate partner violence awareness campaign and will be presented by our community partner, SARNCO (Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio). SARNCO will share information about the role of media in perpetuating sexual stereotypes and offer skill-building strategies to move past these stereotypes to create opportunities for safe and healthy relationships. Please join us to learn more about this important topic and enjoy free snacks! Everyone who attends will be placed into a drawing for a gift certificate. 


Attend Columbus State’s International Thanksgiving Dinner

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Global Diversity and Inclusion Center would like to invite you to attend and support Columbus State Community College’s 32nd Annual International Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday, November 15. Each year we invite our international students and their families to join us in this special American tradition of fellowship and giving thanks. This event is made possible by generous donations of faculty, staff, and community members. Please contact Jasmine Marks if you would like to make a donation or purchase an event ticket for $15.   

Donor options:

Platinum Level Sponsorship: $300 (Provides tickets for 15 students and 5 guests from your organization/department or to cover dinner and other costs)
Gold Level Sponsorship: $225 (Provides tickets for 12 students and 3 guests from your organization/department or to cover dinner and other costs)
Silver Level Sponsorship: $150 (Provides tickets for 8 students and 2 guests from your organization/department or to cover dinner and other costs)
Bronze Level Sponsorship: $75 (Provides tickets for 4 students and 1 guest from your organization/department or to cover dinner and other costs)

Please feel free to give what you can. Our students appreciate your generosity.




College Knowledge: Information Technology

This month's College Knowledge session will feature Information Technology. IT Support Center Director Bart Prickett and team will lead our session and discussion. College Knowledge is designed to keep employees abreast of organizational changes and initiatives within each executive office. Come and learn about the good work happening in IT!

Upcoming session: Friday, October 27, from 9:00-10:30 a.m., WD 407. 
Please register in advance here.



Submit your news to Update

Do you have news or an announcement for the employees of Columbus State? Send your news to Update, the Columbus State newsletter exclusively for employees. Update is published every Monday and Thursday during the semester, and on Mondays during semester breaks. Send your news to by Friday at noon for inclusion in the Monday edition, and Wednesday at noon for the Thursday edition. Update editors reserve the right to edit submissions for clarity, brevity and editorial style.

Submit your news to students in Campus Life

Are you hosting a special event for students, starting a new class next semester, offering a workshop or seminar of interest, or would you like to share a special student success story? Send your news to Campus Life, the weekly online publication for Columbus State students. Send student news to by Tuesday at noon for inclusion in the Wednesday edition of Campus Life. Campus Life headlines are sent to students via email each Wednesday during the semester.