Caitlin Baine


Featured Instructor

Caitlin Baine headshot.

Like many Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) students, Caitlin Baine’s educational story started at a community college.

“I didn’t go to university right away, partly because I didn’t have the financial means to do it,” Baine, part-time psychology faculty, explains. “I didn’t know what I was getting into when it came to college. I was intimidated by four-year colleges.”

Aside from helping alleviate financial strain, starting at a community college “made that transition from high school to college much, much easier,” Baine says. “There were people there that I already knew, and I was still close to family, so if I needed something, or if family needed something, I was there.”

After community college, Baine received her four-year degree at Middle Tennessee State University, and then pursued her master’s degree in educational psychology through Purdue Global. She’s currently pursuing her doctorate degree at The Ohio State University. Being an active student herself, she can relate to her students on a much more personal level.

“I understand where they’re coming from,” Baine explains. “I’ve had students come up to me and say, ‘I’m so overwhelmed right now.’ And I can say, ‘You know what? That’s okay, let’s work this out.’ I’ve got tips, time management skills – if they want to work on an assignment and turn it in the next day, that’s totally fine. I get it because I’m right there with them.”

A history of educational work

Education has always been at the core of Baine’s professional plans. She started out pursuing education in community college, but switched to psychology when she went on to a four-year university. However, she ended up merging the two disciplines by pursuing educational psychology. Specifically, Baine focuses on educating adults with disabilities.

COTC is Baine’s first experience teaching in a higher education environment, but it’s hardly her first time teaching. She teaches soft skills to adults with learning disabilities, which she started while she was still in Tennessee through an organization called Possibility Place. Additionally, she’s an active member of Best Buddies, an organization “designed to provide one-on-one friendships with volunteers and individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities.” When she receives her doctorate degree, Baine will continue working with adults with disabilities.

Her extensive teaching experience has directly translated to COTC classrooms. “I’m able to look at my COTC students at an individualized level. That’s what all my training and work in special education has prepared me for. If I see a student struggling in my class, I can take a very individualized approach to figuring it out,” Baine explains. “I don’t ever want any of my students to feel discouraged. I want to make sure that I am on each student’s level.”

The future Mrs. Ohio

Portrait of Caitlin Bain wearing Mrs. Licking County 2024 sash.

Aside from teaching, Baine has another exciting project in the works. This June, she will compete in the Mrs. Ohio America pageant. Baine grew up tangential to the pageant circuit; her dad and grandfather were both auditors for the Miss Ohio Scholarship pageant, and her grandmother was the judges chairperson.

Baine’s interest in the Mrs. Ohio originated from realizing how much their values lined up with her own in terms of community involvement and engagement. “I figured, you know what, why not? Let’s do this and have some fun at the same time.”

If she’s awarded the title of Mrs. Ohio, Baine’s community outreach will focus on the disability community. “It’s going to be focused on employment: integrated employment opportunity for adults with intellectual disabilities.” Baine currently works with several organizations around Licking County and central Ohio with this goal in mind.

“Don’t hesitate,” Baine advises students, both future and current. “Sometimes that fear, that hesitation, it holds us back.” She also affirms that “college is not a one-size-fits-all experience. You really need to tailor that experience to your own journey. Don’t worry about what your peers are doing – your biggest job at the moment is to focus on you, your path, your journey and where you want this experience to take you.”

In her limited free time from the classroom, whether teaching or learning, Baine loves volunteer work. She coaches cheerleading for the West Licking Special Olympics, sits on the Buddy Walk planning committee for the Downs Syndrome Association of Central Ohio, and is a member of the Best Buddies Ohio Citizens program. She also spends time with her three daughters, who are currently helping her prepare for her pageant. “My eldest has set up weekly meetings so we can go over interview questions.”