Sinclair College president: 2019 marks historic year for the school

As the new year approaches, Sinclair Community College leaders are looking back on 2019 accomplishments that include a record graduating class, state and national recognition, physical improvements to the campus and the launch of two new bachelor’s-degree programs in Aviation Pilot and Unmanned Aerial Systems.

This is the second time in Sinclair’s more than 130 years that the school will be able to award bachelor’s degrees. The school previously offered “select bachelor’s degrees” from the 1920s until the 1940s.

“The demand for professional pilots is at an all-time high both within the region and throughout the world,” said Clay Pittman, chair of Sinclair’s Aviation Technology Department.

In the fall, Sinclair opened the $15.3 million James W. McSwiney Welcome Center, located in Building 10 of the main campus. The center establishes the college’s new front door to the community and provides a centralized location to address wrap-around student support needs.

MORE: Area college’s nursing program ranked No. 1 in Ohio

Additionally, Sinclair saw growth beyond its downtown main campus. Its new Centerville campus started classes in January 2019 with more than 380 students. The fall term saw more than 770 students enrolled at the site.

The Centerville location offers academic programs in Information Technology, Health Sciences, Elementary Education and a number of general education courses for transfer students. Sinclair also has locations in Englewood, Mason and Huber Heights.

Kyle Jones, chair and associate professor of Sinclair’s Computer Information Services Department, said the college last year received a federal grant of nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to train cyber security professionals.

“In our program, we have many opportunities and tools available to allow students to get hands-on experience in the areas of cyber defense sand cyber security,” he said. “The training pretty much covers the whole thing, from cyber defense all the way down to someone just (making an online purchase) — how to defend all of it.”

MORE: Sinclair’s Centerville center helps boost cyber defense training

As part of an effort to create more hands-on learning opportunities through internships and apprenticeship programs, the college launched the Office of Work-Based Learning to connect students to employers in their field of study.

The office serves as a front door to companies that want to engage with Sinclair students on work-based learning opportunities.

“This has been a historic year for us, with the launch of two new bachelor degree programs,” Sinclair President Steve Johnson said. “Along with the numerous different national recognitions we received, the most memorable event from this year was our commencement ceremony.”

Sinclair’s 2019 Commencement witnessed the largest graduating class in the history of the college – 30% larger than the 2018 graduating class.

Over 10 years, the college has experienced more than a 400% increase in the number of degrees and certificates awarded to African American male students and over a 200% increase for minority students.

MORE: Sinclair’s African American Male Initiative nearly triples in 3 years

The number of degrees and certificates earned by low-income students has also increased by more than 40%.

“We celebrated another record year of over 8,000 degrees and certificates that were completed by nearly 5,500 students,” Johnson said. “I am incredibly proud of everything our college has been able to accomplish. We look forward to the upcoming year and I am energized by the great things Sinclair will be doing for the region in the months and years to come.”

He said students have earned more than 40,000 degrees and certificates from Sinclair College over the past decade. “These credentials will result in increased earnings and opportunities for students and their families and help expand the workforce of the Dayton region,” Johnson said. “Nearly 90% of Sinclair graduates stay in this community.”

MORE: Sinclair to graduate record number of students in May

Recognition for Sinclair this year includes:

— Sinclair ranked first in the nation to offer work-based learning programs (Data derived from the National Center for Education Statistics’ and the U.S. Dept. of Education).

— Sinclair ranked most affordable community college in Ohio and Top 25 most affordable community college in the nation (Ranking based on U.S. Department of Education’s annual College Affordability and Transparency List).

— Sinclair’s nursing program ranked No. 1 out of 107 programs in Ohio. (Data source includes the U.S. Department of Education, States Board of Nursing, Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing Inc.).

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