Greater Cincinnati colleges and universities continuously improve upon their institutions in all areas, including academics, economic development, student engagement and more. Cincy Magazine spoke with many of these higher education institutions about the new things that are being developed.

Warren County Career Center

Located in Lebanon, the Warren County Career Center has been developing and revising its workforce training programs. Most recently, its advanced manufacturing program revised its curriculum, which includes skills in robotics programming, and hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

The Warren County Career Center is also adding some programs for high school students, starting with an Advanced Career Pathway grant for aerospace, which will ultimately become part of the aerospace academy program at the Warren County Airport.

Another new program is the advanced technologies and robotics program for high school students, which is similar to the adult electromechanical PLC program. Those that complete the adult workforce electromechanical PLC tech program earn competency certifications in industrial electrical motor controls, programmable logic controllers, FANUC robotics programming and hydraulic and pneumatic systems, American Welding Society D1.1 structural certification: MIG processes and OSHA 30-hour general industry certification.

Lastly, Warren County Career Center is focused on strengthening ties between area businesses, industry program advisors and higher education partners.

Galen College of Nursing

As an institution that focuses solely on nursing education, Galen College of Nursing opened its doors in 1989 and to this day is one of America’s largest private nursing colleges. The Cincinnati location was opened in 2007 and continues to provide the region with nurses.

“We are always reevaluating our curriculum to produce the level of nurses that area hospitals are looking for,” says Keri Shain, director of community relations at Galen College of Nursing.

In July 2014, Galen added an RN/BSN program that lasts 16 months. Because many that go through the RN/BSN program are currently working as nurses in the area, the classes are held online.

“They can take the classes at times that work for them and their schedule,” says Shain.

In addition to the RN/BSN program, Galen also has two-year associate’s program and an 18-month LPN to ADN/BSN program.

Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development

With a mission to “provide quality career and technical education programs and services,” Great Oaks keeps its programs up to date by listening to area employers and their needs.

“People are finding out that certificates is where it’s at,” says Carol Gittinger, director of adult workforce development of Great Oaks.

For adult students, Great Oaks is adding three new academic programs: construction technologies at Scarlet Oaks, automotive service technician at Scarlet Oaks and heavy equipment operations and engineering at Live Oaks.

Also, Great Oaks was awarded a RAMTEC (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative) grant of $1.5 million dollars in 2014. The purpose of RAMTEC is to address the skills gap by preparing high school and adult students with higher-level manufacturing and engineering skills.

The institute also continues to expand and improve its lab spaces.

Xavier University

On Cincinnati’s east side, Xavier University and its students are busy.

In February 2015, Xavier University opened a new Center for Innovation on its campus. The center focuses on academic theory with business reality, offering innovation design programs, coaching and mentoring as well as space for collaboration. The university has partnered with MakerBot to bring a MakerBot Innovation Center to campus, making it the first university in the Midwest and the first private university in the U.S to implement a MakerBot center. In addition, Xavier’s School of the Arts and Innovation is scheduled to open in the fall of 2015.

While the university is expanding its programs, Xavier students are making a stand by leading a bystander engagement campaign to address some of the challenges that college students face today. The “It’s on X,” campaign, based on the White House’s “It’s on Us” campaign, will send a message to future students and current students that everyone needs to stand up, step in and promote a culture of respect.

Students are also getting help through the summer intern housing program, which is entering its third year. Last summer, 450 interns from more than 75 different companies and organizations were provided housing through the program.

Xavier expects the number of students seeking housing through the program to grow.

Art Academy of Cincinnati

For 150 years, the Art Academy of Cincinnati has been committed to the visual arts and continues that mission. As the academy prepares for its 10th anniversary in Over-the-Rhine, some exciting developments have come to the institution. With a quickly growing photography program, the academy hired Will Knipscher on full time. The academy has also put in a sound booth for videography.

“I think we can see there is a difference in millennials from the traditional easel painting,” says Katie Dreyer, executive assistant to the president of the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

This spring, students and faculty will be taking their annual trip to New York City. One of the academy’s faculty, Ken Henson, head of the illustration program, will be doing a reading at Catland in Brooklyn.

“It’s a great chance for students to be exposed to the art epicenter,” says Dreyer.

Students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati are also doing some interesting things including opening a new gallery called Exposure/13, a student-run gallery in OTR. Exposure/13 and the Art Academy partner with different organizations like the Red Door Project.

Dreyer says that the Art Academy and its students will continue to make and strengthen their relationships in the community.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College has a few initiatives that it’s pushing forward at its campus.

Cincinnati State will offer more courses to high school students through the College Credit Plus program. The credits earned range from six credit hours to full associate’s degrees.

“We are working to build a robust pathway,” says Jean Manning, vice president of marketing and communication at Cincinnati State.

The program also helps students graduate with little to no debt before transferring to a four-year institution for a bachelor’s degree.

The second initiative helps to meet the needs of the region’s employers. Manning says that there has been an emphasis on transportation and logistics lately.

Cincinnati State has begun two new programs, the supply chain management program and the material handling program. The college also is host to a new nonprofit organization called the Tristate Transportation and Logistics Council, which has more than 30 members.

To help its students accelerate to graduation, Cincinnati State is working to streamline its programs. Student also can take a PLA, or prior learning assessment, based on their work experience, helping them move ahead in their learning.

The last initiative that Cincinnati State is working on is the maximization of its partnerships with other institutions both state and private-held. With over 130 programs and certificates, Manning says that having these partnerships is “such a benefit.”

Thomas More College

As Thomas More College in Crestview Hills launches its strategic plan, many new things will be happening for the liberal arts college.

“What we communicated to our community is where we want to be in the five years,” says Tony Roderick, director of development at Thomas More College.

The college hopes to move its total student headcount from 1,655 to 2,300 students, grow its endowment from $15 million to $23 million dollars, and increase the number of students living on campus from 400 to 600 students. Roderick says that the increase in students living on campus will require additional residential facilities.

There are other new things that have happened at Thomas More this year. “We have new programs launching as we speak,” Roderick says.

Thomas More College has added a bachelor of arts in law set to begin in Fall 2015. The degree program offers a foundation in both legal theory and practice, preparing students for advanced levels.

The institution has also added an athletic training major and a marine biology track during the current year.

Students in the marine biology track utilize the Ohio River Field Station, which went through a major renovation project from 2011-2012. From the capital campaign, a new education and conference center was built along with a new section with dorm rooms.

Roderick adds that Thomas More has a unique partnership with Newport Aquarium, which allows students to get both freshwater and saltwater experience.

The Ohio River Field Station is Thomas More’s first certified green building.

On the athletics side, the Thomas More Saints now consist of 21 athletic teams, including the new men and women’s bowling teams, and a women’s lacrosse team.

In 2014, Thomas more expanded its choir program and added a marching band.

For those that haven’t been on campus in the last few years, they will quickly notice the Mary, Seat of Wisdom Chapel with seating for more than 300 people, located right off of Villa Madonna Drive.

“It’s the centerpiece of our campus,” he says.

Cincinnati Christian University

The summer of 2015 will be an important time for Cincinnati Christian University. It is unveiling multiple centers, like a Center of Entrepreneurship under the direction of Ron Heineman. The center offers entrepreneurs a way to apply for start-up money to “make their business plan a reality.”

“It’s an opportunity for our students, graduates and local residents,” says Steve Carr, director of marketing and communications at Cincinnati Christian University.

In the next couple of year, students will have a new dorm on campus; the school is preparing to build a new dormitory by 2016.

The university also continues to strengthen its academic programs, including its business program. The business program has added to its faculty Dave Farris of Zempleo and Steve Carvajal of Microsoft.

Athletics are also getting a boost. Cincinnati Christian University NAIA athletics program is adding two new varsity sports teams, a men’s baseball and women’s softball team.

Morehead State University

Located southeast of Thomas More College is Morehead State University, which is home to the Morehead Eagles and some top-notch space science education.

At the Space Science Center, students are able to build CubeSats, smaller-sized nanosatellites, and launch them into space. Morehead State is one of the few institutions in the nation offering this program as a bachelor’s degree.

Also in the works is building a $50 million addition to Morehead State’s student center. “It will be a one-stop shop for students,” says Jim Shaw, vice president for university advancement at Morehead State University.

The university will also be building some new resident halls, a dining facility and volleyball facility, as well as the 21st Century Center for Manufacturing.

The manufacturing center allows students in applied engineering and technology to experience working with industry-leading technology.

That’s not all that’s new.

In Spring 2014, the university awarded its first three bachelor of arts in traditional music degrees. It’s the first and only traditional music program of its kind in the country, according to Shaw.

In addition to its new degree program, the university is opening a dual-credit residential high school for Kentucky students, called the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics.

“We are bringing in the first students this fall [August 2015],” says Shaw.

He says curriculum will focus on STEM, community service and entrepreneurship.

The program will allow students to finish high school while completing up to two years of university coursework.

“We [at Morehead State University] are focused on student success,” says Shaw.