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Sullivan University Eyes Growth in Northern Kentucky as it Celebrates First Year

Sullivan University’s Center for Learning - Northern Kentucky celebrated its one-year anniversary in Northern Kentucky this month by hosting a reception where the university’s leadership spoke about where the university currently stands and its future plans in Northern Kentucky.

The one-year old campus is located on Grandview Drive in Ft. Mitchell. 

Recently, the Sullivan University system announced that it will merge the three independent colleges it now operates under one name. In a merger that is tentatively scheduled to occur in June 2018, Sullivan University, Sullivan College of Technology and Design, and Spencerian College will all merge together under the Sullivan University name.

Tom Davisson, executive vice president and chief operating officer, believes that this merger will allow Sullivan to expand the number of programs it will offer in Northern Kentucky and help the university grow in this region and throughout the state.

“The Sullivan brand and Sullivan name are not as well known in this part of the state as it is in other parts, but it has been around for a long time,” Davisson said. “We fully plan to eventually turn the Northern Kentucky facility into a campus similar to what we now have in Lexington.”

Since it opened its doors on Aug. 30, 2016, the Sullivan University Center for Learning – Northern Kentucky has hosted numerous events related to business development, human resources, and career planning, and Vicki Berling Ph.D., executive director of the Sullivan University Center for Learning – Northern Kentucky, has met with approximately 1,000 community and business leaders to better assess the needs of the Northern Kentucky workforce.

“We have had an extremely busy year during which we have met with as many businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals as possible to learn more about their education and training shortfalls,” Berling said. “We want to identify the best ways for Sullivan University to address these unmet needs through our Northern Kentucky Center for Learning,”

“We have found that there is a continuing need for career-focused programs like the ones we offer, which can be completed in a stair-step manner.”

Sullivan also has been working with many of the public high schools in Northern Kentucky, offering college and career fairs; meeting with representatives of the Kenton County School District, Campbell County School District, Williamstown Independent School District, Grant County School District, and Highlands High School; and hosting informational sessions, such as “College Credit for High School Seniors.”

Sullivan hopes to foster strong relationships with each of these schools so their students are better equipped for Sullivan’s programs when they graduate, particularly those students interested in pursuing classes in its College of Information and Computer Technology, which Sullivan plans to offer in Northern Kentucky in the near future.

"It's critical that we have skills like algebra, trigonometry, and geometry because everything is computers these days and students have to get these skills from our public school systems," Davisson said. “They need to have skills in S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to be able to get into these technology programs."

Chris Ernst, executive director of Sullivan’s College of Technology and Design, believes that the programs his college plans to bring to Northern Kentucky will provide a significant advantage to the area’s workforce.

“We just built an advanced manufacturing lab (in Louisville) last year as part of our ongoing commitment to manufacturing education. We look for ways to offer programs and classes in high-demand fields," Ernst said. “And we take attendance at our schools, to promote and grow the self-discipline our students need to show up on time, which usually translates into their career once they graduate. Employers love that.”

Berling said that employers in the region are eager to find and keep skilled workers.

“This applies to every level of their organizations, from line staff to upper management,” she said. “For workers, continuing their education is essential to long-term career success at all levels. And we are working on partnerships that will enable us to address needs in the area of professional development.”

-Staff report