The Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education, a Dayton-based consortium of 21 colleges and universities across the state, has changed its name to the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education (SOCHE), announced organization president, Cassie Barlow, Ph.D., on Friday.
The change better reflects the organization’s expansion of programming to serve the entire state of Ohio. Additionally, the new name indicates the strategic efforts SOCHE is making to position Ohio as a leader that nurtures success for educators, students, industry, and working professionals.
Originally founded in 1967 as the Dayton Miami Valley Consortium, the organization name was changed to Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education in 1984. The current name change kicks off a year of celebration, as the organization commemorates its 55th anniversary.
“As our organization has evolved over the last 55 years, it became evident the time had come for another shift. The new name reflects SOCHE’s initiative and dedication to our member institutions and industry partners throughout the entire state of Ohio,” said Barlow, who has headed SOCHE since 2019, following a storied career with the United States Air Force. “We constantly supplement and adjust our programming to place Ohio at the epicenter of experiential learning opportunities. The new name shows our growth and collaborative efforts with educators, industry professionals, government, and organizations statewide in expanding the Ohio workforce.”
As a consortium, Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education offers a range of services designed to improve learning outcomes for students and retain professional talent in Ohio. SOCHE implements a multi-faceted, collaborative strategy that includes providing professional and workforce development support and services to member institutions and community partners.
Doreen Larson, SOCHE Board Chair and President of Edison State Community College, said, “The revision of the SOCHE name highlights our efforts to form alliances in ways that make the most sense and have the most impact regardless of location. We will follow our strategic leads wherever they take us!”
SOCHE hosts various events and training, largely geared toward faculty and staff in the education sector, that aim to improve student outcomes and expand education impact. Additionally, SOCHE facilitates collaborative council and committee meetings dedicated to sharing resources and dissolving roadblocks in higher education effectiveness. Several committees have grown to include industry professionals in efforts to work together to solve challenges such as developing and retaining the cybersecurity workforce in Ohio.
With a focus on experiential learning and closing workforce gaps in key industries, SOCHE places students, from high school to post-doctoral, in a range of internship positions statewide. Recruited from across the nation, SOCHE interns work in research facilities, government organizations, and both small and large businesses across Ohio. These internships provide an on-the-job experience that facilitates a well-rounded education and better learning outcomes.
A leader for higher collaboration, SOCHE works with K-12 schools, colleges and universities, governments, and businesses to transform Ohio communities and economies through the education, employment, and engagement of students. SOCHE is home to SOCHEintern, the Aerospace Professional Development Center (APDC), and Defense Associated Graduate Student Innovators (DAGSI).