Office of the President


President John M. Berry, PhD

President John Berry

John M. Berry, PhD, assumed the role of COTC president on January 1, 2019, and is the college’s second sole president. He was unanimously selected by the COTC Board of Trustees after a nationwide search.

Having previously served as director of student life at COTC, Berry returned to the college after positions at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina; Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio; and most recently, BridgeValley Community and Technical College in Montgomery, West Virginia.

After starting his own education at a community college, Berry went on to earn a doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration from The Ohio State University.

Planning for a Bright Post-Pandemic Future

Friends of Central Ohio Technical College (COTC),

In March, we mark the one-year anniversary of COTC’s move to primarily remote classes and services due to health and safety concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19. And while we faced many unexpected challenges during the past year, I’m particularly proud to note that COTC responded to those challenges with characteristic determination, resourcefulness and empathy.

Throughout the pandemic, the health and well-being of our students, faculty and staff have remained our top priorities, as does our commitment to continue offering exceptional academic experiences for our students. Any commitment to excellence also requires an ongoing focus on continuous improvement and strategic planning. Thus, even while facing the constant daily challenges of a pandemic, COTC continues to actively explore and implement new and innovative means to meet our students’ and communities’ needs.

Meeting the needs of our extended campus communities

The partnership between the college and community is paramount to each extended campus’s success, and the input of community members is essential to that success. To build an ever-stronger connection to the communities we serve, we are implementing several new strategies to enhance engagement with stakeholders served by COTC’s three extended campuses – Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala. The first of these is the creation of annual town hall meetings for each extended campus. During these sessions, community members will learn firsthand about the state of the college, with a particular emphasis on initiatives at each respective campus. Our inaugural sessions will focus on aligning workforce development and higher education needs, as well as the results of recently completed strategic workforce needs assessments for Coshocton, Knox and Licking counties.

We view these sessions as a chance for community members to share their insights, hopes and concerns regarding future local workforce drivers. In the coming months, I will share how the information gathered at the town hall forums and other initiatives will inform our strategic planning.

Strengthening workforce development

Furthering our relationship with a community partner known for strengths in workforce development, COTC’s Board of Trustees recently approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Career and Technology Education Centers of Licking County (C-TEC) to promote joint workforce and noncredit training and programs. The scope of collaboration could include:

  • C-TEC delivering noncredit programming with COTC supporting those efforts with referrals from industry partners or potential students.
  • The development of articulated credit agreements leading to pathways for students between institutions and curriculum alignment to reduce duplication.
  • Collaboration on statewide funding initiatives.
Alford Center and Pataskala campus renovation advance STEM education

I am delighted to report that critical infrastructure construction and improvements have continued during the pandemic. On our Newark campus, the 60,000 square foot John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology is on schedule for substantial completion in April. In addition to health sciences classrooms, this state-of-the-art facility includes operating room and emergency room simulation labs, patient simulation rooms and a virtual anatomy lab.

Faculty and staff will begin occupying the building in May, and we anticipate a public ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid-August. Classes are expected to be scheduled in the building starting in autumn semester. Our thanks to the Alford family and the many donors who have made this much-needed facility a reality.

Additionally, our Pataskala campus renovation is on schedule, and we expect classes to return to the facility for autumn semester. This $4.2 renovation will offer new laboratory, classroom and academic support spaces. These additions will enable COTC to expand educational offerings in healthcare and information technology, as well as transfer-friendly general education classes, to western Licking County. We anticipate a public ribbon-cutting at the Pataskala campus in mid-August.

I am incredibly proud of all that COTC has accomplished during this extremely challenging year. Along with our community partners, local industries and employers, we will continue to build opportunities to address workforce needs and to help our students build successful futures.

Stay Healthy, Stay Helpful, Stay Hopeful,

John M. Berry, PhD


COTC Legends of Loyalty

Legends of Loyalty Logo

The “Legends of Loyalty” award was established by the Office of the President to identify and recognize the recipients’ dedication and commitment to the college. It spotlights individuals who have, over the years, made a significant impact on the history of the college, and have gone above and beyond their required duties and proven unselfish allegiance.