Clark State Community College has appointed Dr. Rhoda Sommers as the dean of Health, Human, and Public Services.
Sommers is an experienced leader in higher education, having served as an academic dean for 11 years at two different institutions, Malone University in Canton, Ohio, and Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. She has also served as a full-time faculty member in teacher education for five years and taught elementary and middle school in Ohio and Pennsylvania for 13 years.
“Dr. Sommers will bring a wealth of experience as a higher education administrator that will allow us to continue moving the division of Health, Human and Public Services forward,” said Dr. Tiffany Hunter, vice president of Academic Affairs at Clark State. “She is a thoughtful leader who prides herself in leading with integrity.”
Sommers stated she believes community colleges fill a distinct need for programs and educational opportunities too often overlooked by traditional four-year institutions; and community colleges tend to be more dynamic, in tune with the needs of students and communities, and open to innovative programs which fits well with her beliefs about the purposes and goals of higher education.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the faculty and staff in the Health, Human, and Public Services division and finding ways to support them in their work with students,” said Sommers. “As a leader, I am committed to empowering others and helping them be successful in fulfilling their responsibilities. Our top priority needs to be helping students complete their chosen program of study and finding fulfilling employment.”
Sommers grew up near Columbus, Ohio, earned her bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University, master’s degree from Grace College and her doctoral degree from Andrews University. In addition, she earned a license to teach English language learners through the University of Cincinnati. Her volunteer experiences include hospice, serving as a GED tutor, teaching English language learners and Stark County (OH) Job & Family Services planning committee.
Sommers said she was impressed with the friendliness at Clark State and the intentional way everyone is focused on supporting students in reaching their goals.
In addition to becoming part of Clark State, “I'm looking forward to spending more time with my mother and extended family who live in Plain City, Ohio,” she said.
Sommers began her position at Clark State on September 3.