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David H. Devier: A Comprehensive Journey in Education, Leadership, and Innovation

David H. Devier

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David H. Devier’s journey is an inspiring testament to his determination and resilience. He came from a blue-collar family in rural northwest Ohio and followed a transformative path to college, motivated by his high school football team’s success. He faced the challenges of limited means and support and enrolled in Ohio Northern University (ONU), where he initially studied engineering. David then switched to industrial arts education, which marked the beginning of his remarkable journey. He also benefited from the guidance of five significant mentors who influenced his career.

The first two mentors inspired Devier to return to ONU and adopt their effective teaching methods. In the next five years, he taught high school, earned a master’s degree, taught at Central State University, obtained a Ph.D. from Ohio State University, and rejoined ONU as faculty with two of his mentors. He enjoyed a 15-year tenure at ONU until a third mentor, ONU President Dr. Debow Freed, saw his leadership potential.

With Dr. Freed’s encouragement, Devier moved into administration and pursued a series of career advancements. He worked at Owens Community College, the University of Cincinnati, Clark State College, and finally Glen Oaks, taking on higher levels of responsibility in each position. As he nears retirement in his forty-eighth year, David H. Devier reflects on his remarkable career, shaped by mentorship, dedication, and a profound impact on the educational landscape.

A Dynamic Educational Leader and Community Advocate

David is a multifaceted leader who advocates and facilitates in both educational and community spheres. As a servant leader, he supports employees in their tasks and fosters student success. Devier embraces diverse responsibilities, such as being a cheerleader, early adopter, communications promoter, community engager, and government connector at state and national levels.

David has contributed to the growth and development of educational institutions throughout his illustrious career. He has been involved in constructing new facilities and renovating existing ones, showing his commitment to providing optimal learning environments. For example, at Glen Oaks Community College (GOCC), he led the construction of a 106-bed housing facility, which the Board of Trustees named after him and his wife.

David’s impact also lies in his efforts to boost enrollment at every institution he has served. He has increased student numbers through strategic initiatives, such as diversified programming, flexible modalities, and dual enrollment opportunities. At GOCC, his initiatives have enrolled hundreds of high school students each semester, making up a significant sixty percent of the total population. His commitment to educational advancement and community engagement highlights his influential and dynamic leadership in higher education.

Legacy of Educational Excellence at Glen Oaks Community College

Glen Oaks Community College (GOCC), established in 1965 in St. Joseph County, Michigan, has been a cornerstone of education since it opened its doors for classes in September 1967. The college offers a range of certificates and associate degrees in both technical and general education. It has also cultivated a successful transfer pathway, enabling thousands of students to start their educational journey locally and transition seamlessly to four-year partner institutions for completing bachelor’s degrees and beyond.

GOCC has been a global hub for education, with students transferring to over three hundred different institutions worldwide in the past decade. This shows the college’s commitment to fostering diverse educational opportunities and facilitating academic pathways for students with varied goals.

On the career-focused front, the nursing program is the flagship offering at GOCC. The program has achieved remarkable success, as shown by impressive passage rates on nursing exams. This excellence in specialized fields reflects the college’s dedication to preparing students for successful and impactful careers in key industries. GOCC continues to play a vital role in shaping the educational landscape, providing a solid foundation for students and contributing to their success both locally and globally.

Holistic Support for Academic Success

Many students face the challenge of inadequate academic preparation, which often leads to retention issues. GOCC has implemented robust support systems to help students through developmental courses while progressing in credit courses aligned with their majors.

The college also recognizes the specific needs of first-generation, lower-income students and leverages the TRIO federal program to provide intense support. This initiative has helped students overcome academic obstacles. The TRIO program offers tailored assistance and resources, playing a crucial role in supporting these students on their educational journey.

The college’s commitment to addressing common obstacles includes a holistic approach, ensuring that students receive the guidance and resources they need to navigate developmental courses successfully. Through programs like TRIO and other support systems, the college works towards minimizing academic challenges, fostering student retention, and promoting advancement in credit courses aligned with students’ majors.

Inclusive Initiatives and Support Programs

GOCC, under David’s leadership, has also implemented mandatory orientation programs, giving students a structured introduction to college life. Intense advising adds to personalized guidance, ensuring that students receive the support they need to navigate their academic journeys successfully. Financial aid counseling is a key component, addressing the challenges faced by students from lower-income families and facilitating their access to resources.

To address immediate student needs, GOCC has established emergency funds, showing a proactive approach to supporting learners facing unforeseen challenges. The commitment to various programs reflects David’s dedication to creating an inclusive environment where students from all walks of life can thrive.

Navigating Higher Education Challenges and Opportunities

David identifies two critical challenges in higher education. First, enrollment has declined across various sectors, from community colleges and regional universities to private and flagship universities. This decline exceeds the predicted decrease from a smaller pool of graduating high school students. A factor contributing to this trend is a belief among over half of working-age Americans that higher education is overpriced and not worth it. This perception likely affects the overall enrollment decline.

The second challenge is the low enrollment in technical fields that lead to high-paying jobs in trades and technical support. This issue is especially pronounced in community and technical colleges where programs face closure due to a lack of students despite a high demand for skilled workers. The worker shortage has forced employers to hire individuals willing to work consistently and invest in on-the-job training because of the scarcity of qualified candidates in these fields.

Regarding opportunities, addressing the enrollment decline requires a strategic reevaluation of the value and affordability of higher education. Institutions can adapt and communicate the benefits of their programs, ensuring that students and their families understand the long-term value of investing in education.

Additionally, the demand for skilled workers in technical fields offers an opportunity for educational institutions to bridge the gap between industry needs and enrollment. Developing innovative programs, partnering with businesses, and promoting the benefits of pursuing technical education can attract students to these critical areas.

Pursuit of Work-Life Harmony through Diverse Hobbies

David balances his professional and personal life well, drawing on his diverse hobbies and interests. As a former industrial art teacher and professor, he enjoys auto restoration, woodworking, home renovation, and memorabilia collecting for Ada, OH. These hobbies not only serve as an outlet for creativity but also contribute to a fulfilling and balanced personal life.

David’s hands-on approach to leisure contrasts with his academic and administrative responsibilities. These pursuits give him a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment, fostering a well-rounded lifestyle. By spending time on personal interests and hobbies, David H. Devier shows the importance of balancing professional and personal spheres. This approach enhances his well-being and effectiveness in his roles at Glen Oaks Community College.

Revolutionizing Education for Adult Learners

David would revolutionize the education system by supporting returning adult students if he had limitless resources. He would create comprehensive programs that help these students pursue higher education and balance their family life. These programs could include enhanced financial aid, flexible scheduling, and additional resources for the unique needs of adult learners.

His goal would be to make education accessible to all citizens, recognizing that addressing diverse life circumstances is necessary to maximize the potential of the entire population. With unlimited resources, David would advocate for systemic changes that remove barriers to education, fostering an environment where people of all ages and backgrounds can advance their lives through learning.

Guiding Parents in Navigating the Educational Journey

David advises parents on how to support their children’s educational journey from the early years to higher education. He emphasizes proactive financial planning, suggesting parents join state and national tuition savings programs early on. This way, families can save resources to ease the financial burden of higher education.

David also encourages students to engage in dual enrollment programs in high school. These programs provide college credits at no cost and a head start on their higher education journey. This early exposure can reduce overall educational expenses.

David stresses the importance of maximizing financial aid opportunities. He suggests exploring federal options like Pell scholarships and loans, local scholarships, state-funded grant programs, and “promise” programs that support students financially. This approach ensures that families use available resources, making college attendance feasible.

Additionally, David advocates for pursuing scholarships by parents and students. This involves researching and applying for local and national scholarships that match the student’s academic achievements, interests, and goals. Staying informed about financial aid options is crucial for navigating the complex landscape of educational expenses.

Beyond financial considerations, David underscores the importance of creating a supportive environment at home. He recommends encouraging open communication, providing guidance, and instilling a sense of value in education. This contributes to a well-rounded and successful educational journey. By promoting continuous learning through extracurricular activities and community engagement, parents can play a pivotal role in shaping their children’s educational experiences. David aims to make higher education accessible and achievable for all students, ensuring they can embark on a fulfilling educational journey without financial barriers.

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Also Read: The 10 Inspiring Education Leaders, 2024

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