CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati State Technical & Community College President Monica Posey has high aspirations for the college as it approaches its 50th anniversary. She shares her hopes about the future and gives us a peek into her past.
1. Your hometown and your favorite thing about growing up there?
I am from Philadelphia, or specifically West Philly, a place of row houses. On our small, one-way street, with few car owners and little traffic, a favorite activity was playing double-dutch jump rope in the middle of the street. Now double-dutch is a competitive sport, but it has always been popular among African-American inner-city girls.
2. What's the hardest job you ever had?
Probably my first year as director of Institutional Research at Cincinnati State was the hardest. The job did not exist at the college previously, so to build the department from nothing I used the work of our faculty-led Assessment Committee and visited other institutions. Mining data was hard and an IT programmer analyst taught me the necessary query language, but I still spent numerous hours verifying the data. I had completed Quality Assessment courses a while back, so I had to study multivariate statistics again. Year two was much better.
3. What's your favorite junk food?
Ice cream…on a cone, in a bowl, on a stick; almost all favors. I do not limit it to dessert. I like it, between meals.
4. What food can you not stand?
Anything that I do not know what it is. The best buffets have a sign naming each menu item. My first question to people serving appetizers…what is it? If I don't know what it is, I will not eat it.
5. What's your secret talent?
That's a tough question. My participation in martial arts has become less of a secret since becoming president. Within the art, my specific talent is "kata," or forms, a series of detailed patterns of movement. To make a demonstration more interesting, I do synchronized forms with three other females on our team. Sometimes I use a pair of Filipino rattan sticks that flow with the various moves.
6. Name an item on your bucket list
My maiden name is Huffman, half my relatives spell it Hoffman. My great-grandfather was Joshua, a German-Jewish immigrant. I want to travel to Germany and research my ancestry.
7. What about Cincinnati State makes you most proud?
The success stories of our students make me very proud. One high school graduate completed the Associate of Science transfer degree in two years. In two more years, she had a bachelor's and was accepted into medical school. Another graduate readily shares that he spent time homeless and down and out, started Cincinnati State in remedial courses taking several years to complete, but now has a bachelors, a masters, and a job.
8. What's the biggest piece of unfinished business you'd like to accomplish during your tenure?
Well, I am just getting started as president, so there is plenty to do! The bottom-line is that the college becomes the region’s first choice for students, employers, and our higher education partners. By the time the college celebrates its 50th anniversary year (2019-2020 academic year), I would like to kick off a new era of sustainable community support thanks to corporate partnerships and private fundraising so that all the educational and workforce needs are met for our region’s students. I would like the region to make Cincinnati State a top priority because we uniquely provide upper mobility to people of all economic backgrounds through our great faculty and dedicated staff and administrators.
9. Something else readers would be interested to know about you?
I completed my undergraduate degree at Cornell University in three and a half years. It’s amazing as I think back, because I almost dropped out my first semester there. As a first-generation college student it was so foreign, I thought I was not ready for college although I had been accepted and awarded a scholarship. But I stayed there, adjusted well in year two, then I took extra classes whenever possible so that by December of senior year I was complete.
I had studied design but focused on getting into a MBA program right away. This experience is the basis for much of what I share with students... stay in college, never give up. It also inspired my husband, Michael, and me to start an endowed scholarship at Cincinnati State to help students financially and to encourage them.