Shawnee State University: Past and Present
In 1986, an act of the Ohio Legislature (put in effect on July 2) created Shawnee State University, from what was formerly a community college. Since then, Shawnee State University has continued to grow, and today offers more than 80 baccalaureate and associate degree programs.
These academically challenging programs are in such areas as the fine, digital, and performing arts; English and humanities; mathematical sciences; natural sciences; social sciences; teacher education; business administration; industrial and engineering technologies; video game and digital design; and health sciences.
In 2006, Shawnee State offered its first graduate program, a master’s degree in occupational therapy and, in 2009, began offering a master’s degree in teacher education.
Shawnee State University is the best academic value in the state of Ohio, and beyond, with one of the lowest tuition rates in the state combined with outstanding academic opportunities. In-state tuition rates are available to eligible students in Kentucky. A record-number of students are choosing Shawnee State, with 4600 students enrolled for fall 2011.
The only public university in Ohio located on the banks of the Ohio River, Shawnee State features a beautifully landscaped campus. Its 36 buildings include the Advanced Technology Center, home of the first Konica-Minolta Mediaglobe 3D planetarium system in the nation. Clark Memorial Library offers multimedia and streaming video resources, access to both traditional hard copy and electronic full-text books and articles, a variety of study-space options, and personal assistance to students and faculty. The 102,000 square foot Vern Riffe Center for the Arts features an acoustically superior 1,139 seat Main Theater and is home to both cultural and academic programs. The James A. Rhodes Athletic Center offers a gymnasium that is home to the Shawnee State Bears, weight rooms, racquetball courts, a dance classroom, and a junior Olympic size swimming pool.
Shawnee State’s Dr. Miller and Genevieve Toombs Children’s Learning Center provides an outstanding educational preparation for area preschool children and serves as a lab school for teacher education students at the University.
The SSU-SOMC Simulation Lab offers nursing students the opportunity to develop real-world critical thinking and life-saving skills in a virtual environment with the use of high-tech mannequins that breathe, have heartbeats and vital signs and show symptoms.
Shawnee State offers modern apartment-style housing, with more than 1000 students living on campus. All of Shawnee State’s residences are equipped with their own kitchens and bathrooms, and furnished living rooms and bedrooms.
Shawnee State has a rich tradition of success in athletics. A member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, the University has participated in 28 national championships. The women’s basketball team won the NAIA Division II National Championship on March 16, 1999. A member of the American Mideast Conference since 1991, the Shawnee State Bears joined the American Mid-South Conference in 2010, competing in Division I.
Engaged in relationships with universities in Germany, China, Morocco, and Spain, Shawnee State University attracts a growing number of international students while SSU students themselves have the opportunity to travel and study abroad thanks to the Hodgden Travel Fund and the Center for International Programs and Activities (CIPA).
Students come to SSU for many reasons including a low student/teacher ratio, more than $2 million in scholarships, and proven programs that ensure success in the classroom and into the future.
Shawnee State University—the regional state university for Southern Ohio—prepares students for the changing needs of business, industry, education, and society through its diversified degree programs. Recognizing the importance of knowledge, values, and cultural enrichment, Shawnee State University is committed to providing higher education that fosters competence in oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, and critical analysis/logical thinking. To enrich the lives of the community, the University provides opportunities for continuing personal and professional development, intellectual discovery, applied research, and appreciation for the creative and performing arts.
Goals and Priorities
Dedication to the region. The University’s primary focus is providing individuals in the region with the opportunity of a university education, offering baccalaureate and associate degrees in traditional academic fields, innovative interdisciplinary curricula, and technical and career-oriented programs. Shawnee State offers master’s degree programs in occupational therapy and education through its Graduate Center. provides the opportunity for other institutions to offer graduate programs on the Portsmouth campus. Although Shawnee State’s programs focus on the interests and needs of the Southern Ohio region, increasing numbers of students from other areas of Ohio, the tri-state, and the nation are enrolling. Students are attracted by the quality and distinctiveness of the programs at SSU, the personal attention provided by faculty, and the academic value of a degree from Shawnee State.
Focus on excellence in teaching. Teaching and learning are Shawnee State’s most important functions. Service and scholarship, including creative activities and applied research, are essential parts of this function, especially as they inform teaching. Faculty are evaluated first and foremost on excellence in teaching and second on scholarship and/or service to the University and the community.
Dedication to motivating college attendance and graduation. Shawnee State University serves an ever-increasing number of traditional, nontraditional, and transfer students who find themselves competing for jobs and careers in a global technological society. Our vision is to increase the quality of life of people—through education.
Pledge to developing cooperative relationships. As a state university, SSU fulfills Ohio’s public service expectations by meeting state priorities, including the continuing education and training needs of business and industry. Shawnee State is, therefore, a willing partner in cooperative ventures with educational institutions and organizations that assist in developing the economic, educational, and cultural base of south central Ohio.
Commitment to increasing quality. Shawnee State University is committed to a process of quality improvement in its desire to serve the changing needs of society, its institutions, and agencies. That improvement is implemented at SSU in several ways: conducting required academic program reviews every five years, meeting the quality standards of professional accrediting agencies, conducting multiple assessments of student learning outcomes, utilizing selective degree program advisory groups of practicing professionals, surveying alumni and employers annually, and applying Total Quality Improvement principles in selected classrooms and student-serving offices.
Theme: Teaching and Learning
Goal: To be widely recognized as an exemplary public university committed to student success and excellence in teaching and learning.
- Immersive Technology.
- Promote lifelong learning.
- Provide lifelong learning.
- Offer new academic programs.
- Proactively address state mandates.
Theme: Growth and Development
Goal: To assure the full development of the University through planned enrollment growth and wise investment in educational initiatives.
- Increase enrollment in undergraduate and graduate programs.
- Respond selectively to opportunities for growth and expansion of academic programs.
- Improve graduation and completion rates of students significantly.
- Improve institutional procedures through organizational change and continuous attention to student needs and human resource development.
Goal: To increase opportunities for students, the campus community, and area residents by pursuing joint initiatives with the larger community and by cultivating a shared sense of purpose within the University.
- Develop student-friendly community.
- Enhance campus culture and appearance.
- Increase parent involvement and support.
Accreditations and Approvals
Shawnee State University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, telephone 312.263.0456 or 800.621.7440. Graduates of the University are awarded master, baccalaureate, and associate degrees and certificates.
Shawnee State has been accepted to membership in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) of the Higher Learning Commission. This alternative route to accreditation emphasizes institutional improvement through continuous implementation of action projects, institutional self-assessments, and reporting through a systems portfolio that documents improvement.
In addition, the institution or specific programs are accredited or approved by the following agencies:
Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
4720 Montgomery Lane
P.O. Box 31220
Bethesda, MD 20824-1220
American Dental Association, Commission on Dental Accreditation
211 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)
1248 Harwood Road
Bedford, TX 76021-4244
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, American Physical Therapy Association
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
2201 Double Creek Drive, Suite 5006
Round Rock, TX 78664
Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
20 North Wacker Drive, Suite 2850
Chicago, IL 60606-3182
National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences
8410 West Bryn Avenue, Suite 670
Chicago, IL 60631-3415
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036-1023
202.466.7946 • Fax: 202.296.6620
National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC)
61 Broadway, 33rd Floor
New York City, NY 10006
Ohio Board of Nursing
17 South High Street, Suite 400
Columbus, OH 43215-3413
Ohio Board of Regents
30 East Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43266-0417
Ohio Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Medical Services (EMT-B and Paramedic Training Programs)
1970 West Broad Street
P.O. Box 182073
Columbus, OH 43218
State of Ohio, Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43216
State of Ohio, Department of Education
65 South Front Street
Columbus, OH 43216-4183
State of Ohio, Department of Education, Division of Vocational Education
25 South Front Street
Columbus, OH 43215-4183
United States Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-0498