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Ohio higher education leader visits Ohio University campus to discuss innovation and partnerships

Christina Van Fossen
January 29, 2020

Mike Duffey, Senior Vice Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, and Deputy Director, Innovate Ohio, visited the Ohio University campus earlier this week, Mon., Jan. 27. Duffey met with a variety of campus and community leaders to discuss innovation, updates, and partnerships for the betterment of Ohio.

“The goal is to make Ohio the most innovative, creative and entrepreneurial state in the Midwest,” Duffey said. 

Leaders from TechGROWTH Ohio, the Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Innovation Center met with Duffey to discuss the entrepreneurial synergies across campus and in partnership with the region.

In addition to learning about entrepreneurial efforts, Duffey had the opportunity to hear about programs, partnerships, and initiatives taking place within Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and supported by state investments. Topics involved youth mental health, economic development, and building leadership capacity in the region. Project partnership updates were provided by Holly Raffle, professor; Jason Jolley, professor of rural economic development; Mark Weinberg, Voinovich School dean; and Jay Johnson, director of the Voinovich Academy. 

Duffey engaged with students Katy Perani, Master of Public Administration candidate, and Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholars Eli Wanner and Kate Feddersen as they discussed their work with the various Voinovich School faculty and professional staff. 

“I want to ask the students if you have any wishes for the administration, or anything you’d like me to take back to the Governor’s office,” Duffey asked at the end of the meeting. 

For lunch, Duffey was joined by Rep. Jay Edwards, majority whip of the Ohio House; Steve Patterson, mayor of Athens; Tasha Werry, executive director of Voinovich School partner program Building Bridges to Careers; and others to discuss multiple leveraged state investments throughout the region and how they are addressing critical needs, from K-12 career pathways to local government challenges.

Afterwards, a meeting was held in Cutler Hall with Eric Burchard, director of government relations, and several Ohio University senior officials to discuss the Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted’s new initiative, TechCred. The new program allows Ohio’s businesses the chance to upskill their workforce through short-term credential workshops. TechCred will partner with various organizations and universities to provide the programming to enhance the skills of future and current employees in a variety of occupations.  

The day was concluded with a meeting with Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. 

Duffey has had a long-standing interest in public service, previously serving as a State Representative of the 21st District in the Ohio House of Representatives. He looks forward to visiting Ohio University’s campus again to continue discussions of progress for our region and state.