The Newark “Branch”, as it was first known, began operations in September, 1957 as The Ohio State University’s first off-campus two-year accredited program. Newark’s old high school on West Main Street was “home” for the evening classes from 1957 to 1965. In the fall of 1965, the program took on a new pace -- a new name, a new home, and its first full-time director. It then became The Ohio State University-Newark (OSUN) and moved to the Newark Senior High School campus on Wright Street.
In the meantime, the Newark Campus Advisory Council, a group of interested local citizens, was appointed by the President of The Ohio State University to coordinate community efforts for campus development. In the spring of 1966, over 7000 individuals and businesses in the Licking County area subscribed well over $1,000,000 in voluntary gifts to acquire a permanent site for a campus and to provide local matching funds to obtain a $1,800,000 grant from the State of Ohio in order to construct the first permanent building. By November, 1968, a full schedule of day and evening classes was being offered at The Ohio State University-Newark on the new 155-acre campus.
During the later part of the 1960, educational leaders, both on the Newark Campus and in the area’s public schools, were learning through experience what various state and national studies would further indicate: that an increasing number of people wished to take advantage of curricula for which neither the University’s baccalaureate programs nor the vocational schools were ideally suited. At the same time, various business and industrial leaders were expressing a need for employees suitably trained in either two-year collegiate technical education programs or specially designed “short courses” for their employees.
In August, 1969, each of the boards of education of the four school districts in Licking County adopted a resolution requesting the establishment of the Licking County Technical Institute District. The District was officially designated as encompassing all of the Licking County. The Ohio Board of Regents approved the creation of the District on October 17, 1969. In October, 1970, the Board of Trustees of the Licking County Technical Institute District, appointed in accordance with Ohio law, held its first meeting.
Recognizing the diversification of Newark area manufacturing, as well as the needs of the county’s 30-bed hospital and a wide variety of business establishments, an extensive survey of the need for associate degree graduates was undertaken to determine the numbers of such graduates that would be desired and would be hired by Licking County employers during the next five-year period.
Replies from 45 employers of 12,966 Licking County employees, including 1434 professionals representing the business, health, and industrial sectors, indicated an unusually strong need for Associate Degree personnel in the areas of business, health, and engineering technologies.
The data not only indicated a demand for well-trained technical and para-professional personnel in the Licking County area, but also has served as valuable bases for judgments in developing programs and establishing curricula.
After conducting its thorough study of the needs of the District, the Board of Trustees submitted the Official Plan for the creation of the Central Ohio Technical Institute on January 26, 1971, and received its charter from the Ohio Board of Regents on February 19, 1971.
Believing collegiate technical education to be an integral part of higher education, the Board of Trustees of COTC envisioned a partnership between COTC and The Ohio State University at Newark. An agreement was signed by OSUN and COTC on July 1, 1971, describing the cooperative relationship and specifying a cost-sharing plan by which the costs of operating the Newark Campus would be shared by both COTC and OSUN. At that time, Dr. Robert A. Barnes, Director of the OSU Newark Campus, was given the additional appointment as chief administrator of COTC. This and subsequent administrative appointments in July, 1971, provided the two separate institutions each with its own governing board, but sharing one chief administrator.
Classes first were held in Founders Hall of the Newark Campus in the fall of 1971 with 114 students enrolling in Accounting, Electronic Engineering, Electromechanical Engineering, Glass-Plastics, Radiologic and Secretarial Science Technologies Programs. On June 8, 1973, the College held its first commencement ceremony for 25 graduating students.
With COTC Board authorization given on October 16, 1972, college officials began the process of seeking full accreditation from the North Central Association of College and Schools at the earliest possible date. Full accreditation was granted in April, 1975.
On the COTC Newark Campus additional buildings have been built to accommodate the growth of the College. In the fall of 2007 the Newark Campus will be comprised of Founders Hall (the original building on the Newark Campus, opened in 1968), Hopewell Hall (opened in 1976 with two additions added, one in 1984 and one in 1988), Adena Hall (opened in 1978), the Newark Campus Child Development Center (opened in 1988), Baker House (acquired in 1991 by the Thomas J. Evans Foundation), LeFevre Hall (opened in 1993), and the Reese Center (opened in 2003).
In 1977 COTC began offering off-campus courses in Coshocton and Knox Counties. In the spring of 1980, the service area for COTC was officially expanded by the Ohio Board of Regents to include Coshocton and Knox Counties. In 1986, COTC established full-time offices in both counties to offer off-campus courses.
In the Winter Quarter of 2003, COTC opened the Coshocton Educational Center in Coshocton to expand the course offerings in that county. At that time a full-time Campus Administrator and support staff were hired to serve the needs of the Coshocton Campus, as well as two admissions/advising representatives and clerical support staff. In the spring of 2006 COTC purchased the Roscoe Village Inn in historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton. A highly successful campaign to raise the necessary funds to renovate the Inn, renamed by the College Montgomery Hall, into classroom and laboratory space while preserving the historic essence of the building, was launched in late Spring 2006. Those renovations were completed prior to the Autumn of 2007 and beginning that Quarter the Coshocton classes moved fully into Montgomery Hall. In the fall of 2008 COTC expects to enroll over 450 students at the Coshocton Campus.
In the 2005-2006 academic year COTC was approached by community leaders in the Knox County area requesting COTC expand their services into the Knox County. In the fall of 2005 the staff of the Knox Campus was expanded from one full-time admissions/advising representative to a full-time Knox Campus Administrator, an additional admissions/advising representative and clerical support staff. In the 2005-2006 academic year the College expanded course offerings and the locations courses were held in Knox County while searching for a permanent home for the Knox Campus. In late spring 2006 the College acquired the historic movie theatre on the square in Mount Vernon. In 2007 the College launched a campaign in Knox County to raise the necessary funding to renovate the Theatre for COTC classes and laboratory space. In the fall of 2008, COTC expects to enroll over 300 students at the Knox Campus.
From 1971 until May, 2004, the COTC President was a cost-shared position, with the COTC President also serving as The Ohio State University-Newark Dean/Director. In May, 2004, upon the resignation of the College's fifth cost-shared President, the Board of Trustees voted to hire Bonnie L. Coe as the College's first President serving only COTC.
In the fall of 2006 COTC expanded their course offerings once again to the "western front" of Licking County. COTC .offered over 60 courses and enrolled over 200 students at various Pataskala locations beginning Autumn Quarter 2006. Once again the community embraced the College and work has already begun to secure a building site to house a western Licking County campus of Central Ohio Technical College.
In the Autumn Quarter 2007, COTC enrolled a total headcount of 3105 students in 37 associate degree and certificate programs on all campuses of the College. During the 2007-2008 academic year, over 420 students completed their program requirements and graduated from the College, bringing the total number of COTC graduates to over 8000.
Work was completed on the new John & Christine Warner Building on the Newark Campus in late summer 2008. The Warner Building openedin the Autumn of 2008 and houses the Newark Campus Library, the Student Services area, the Campus Cafeteria and the Newark Campus bookstore, as well as faculty offices for the use of the Ohio State University at Newark faculty. The Campus Facilities Office is already hard at work meeting with the Campus community to re-allocate the spaces vacated by the combination of these services into the Warner Building for other purposes.
2007-2008 was a busy year for the College. In the Spring Quarter 2008 the College switched from the Jenzabar PX (POISE) administrative operating system to the Datatel Colleague administrative operating system for the Student Module (the Human Resources, Finance Office, and Payroll modules had gone live previously in 2007). With enhanced capabilities, the College expects that Datatel Colleague will allow COTC support further expansion of its campus offerings and better serve students, faculty, staff and the community. The Student Module components cover the offices of Admissions (Prospects and Applicants), Registration, Fee Payment and Billing, Student Financial Aid, Course and Program Management, and Faculty Information and Credentials. The Student Module launch was successful; further enhancements, such as Degree Audit capabilities, Advancement Office capabilities and interfaces with existing software on the campus are to be implemented in the coming months and years.
In the early Winter of 2008 the College completed its two year long comprehensive self-evaluation in preparation for the Higher Learning Commission’s site visit in May. In May, site visitors from the HLC spent three intensive days visiting with all constituents of the College, both at Newark, at the Extended Campuses of Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala, and at various clinical and practicum sites used by the College. At the end of the site visit, the visitors informed the College that they would be recommending the full ten year accreditation renewal for all existing programs offered at COTC. In addition, both the Knox and the Pataskala campuses will be recommended for full accreditation approval, meaning COTC will be authorized to offered full degree programs at both sites. Finally, the visitors will recommend that COTC be allowed to developed totally online degree programs within the next three to five academic years.