The Ohio Board of Regents, issuing a bold challenge to strive for greatness, called on each state university to establish Centers of Excellence – defining those areas of study and research it excels in, then committing to concentrating and building on those strengths to gain world-class recognition in the field.
Ohio’s Centers of Excellence position the University System of Ohio to be a magnet for talent and a leader in innovation and entrepreneurial activity. The Centers accomplish this by developing distinct missions that are recognized by students, faculty and business leaders, while eliminating unnecessary competition for resources, students and faculty within the state.
Ohio Centers of Excellence are important economic drivers, generating public and private investment, attracting top-flight intellectual talent, and creating an energized, entrepreneurial environment that retains top graduates.
Ohio’s universities have risen to the challenge. More than 50 Centers of Excellence have been established, with additional proposals being evaluated. The Center of Excellence categories represent key industrial areas in which future job growth can be expected::
- Advanced Energy
- Biomedicine & Health Care
- Agriculture, Food Production & Bioproducts
- Advanced Transportation & Aerospace
- Enabling Technologies: Advanced Materials & Sensors
- Cultural & Societal Transformation
Progress has been made. Institutions in each category are planning to promote collaboration, reduce duplication and pool resources. Metrics and benchmarks have been established so the performance of each Center of Excellence can be determined annually. Planning is also underway to extend the Centers of Excellence program to community colleges and to Ohio’s many outstanding private, non-profit institutions.
It is no easy task becoming the best. But the rewards for Ohio will be enormous.
The Centers of Excellence program encourages universities to work together and with private sector businesses to bring continuous improvement to the effort of positioning higher education as a catalyst for innovation and business sustainability. As Centers are designated, their university representatives convene annually to build collaboration.
In addition, the Centers of Excellence program calls for an annual “showcase” event for each category to foster stronger partnerships between the Centers and business and industry. Also, an annual evaluation process is conducted to assess performance, leading to the periodic designation of new Centers as they emerge.