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Columbus State promotes senior leaders to executive roles

Campus News | Thursday, February 4, 2021

Appointments elevate the College’s focus on holistic student support and enterprise-wide operations and partnerships integration

Columbus State Community College has named Dr. Desiree Polk-Bland vice president of Student Affairs and Charles W. Noble III, Esq., chief of staff. Both are newly created positions that serve on the College president’s leadership team contributing to overall institutional decision-making and engagement, and are designed to help facilitate Columbus State’s positive outcomes for students and the Central Ohio community.

Dr. Desiree Polk-Bland
Photo of Dr. Polk-BlandUnder the direction of Dr. Polk-Bland, the creation of a Columbus State office of Student Affairs recognizes the realization of years of community partnership development to support the life needs of Columbus State students so they can sustain a successful academic path. The leadership role formalizes institutional administration of emerging programs Polk-Bland has stewarded to address food insecurity, housing instability, transportation access, health care, child care, technology access, and supportive employment.

“Desiree has been instrumental in establishing a comprehensive student life portfolio on our campuses, and her dedication to supporting the entire student experience has distinguished her as a national thought leader,” said President David T. Harrison. “Her leadership has propelled community partnerships that help our students address food, housing, and other non-academic challenges that might otherwise derail their momentum.”

“Columbus State is creating solutions for our students to make success unavoidable,” Polk-Bland said. “Narrowing academic performance gaps, while equally critical to equity in completion outcomes, can only go so far when students are struggling to meet basic needs. That’s why we will continue to strengthen and grow our partnerships with proven community service organizations to keep our students on track toward shared goals for upward economic mobility.”

Prior to her promotion to vice president, Polk-Bland served as Columbus State’s executive dean for Advising and Student Support, a portfolio that she will continue to lead under Student Affairs that includes student advocacy and federally funded student support services targeting College acculturation and educational support. Prior to Columbus State, she held roles at Tidewater Community College, Ivy Tech Community College, and Indiana University East.

Polk-Bland earned her Ph.D. in leadership for higher education from Capella University. She holds two master’s degrees from Indiana University, a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, and is a proud associate of arts graduate of Ivy Tech.

Charles W. Noble III, Esq.
Photo of Charles NobleNoble joined Columbus State’s Office of Talent Strategy in March, leveraging a professional background in organizational strategic alignment informed by a legal counselor perspective. His service as chief of staff will focus on the advancement and planning of integrated leadership efforts by Columbus State’s Board of Trustees, the Columbus State Foundation Board of Directors, the public-private real estate development entity Columbus State Community Partners, and College administration. He will also provide guidance on the management and growth of College community partnerships that further collaborative reach to meet the current and future service needs of Central Ohio.

“Charles has rapidly proven himself capable of coordinating the efforts of College and community stakeholders who share a vision for our students and our region,” Harrison said. “The power of partnership is a fundamental principle at Columbus State, and Charles is a gifted leader with a talent for unifying like-minded entities into cohesive, productive alliances.”

“To work at an institution with Columbus State’s commitment to partnership for the betterment of the community represents a tremendous opportunity,” Noble said. “Leveraging the goodwill and aligned purposes of like-minded leaders at the College and across the region to meet shared goals is, for me, a dream role.”

In his promotion to chief of staff, Noble will continue to provide legal guidance to the institution in support of the general counsel. Prior to coming to Columbus State, Noble served as chief legal counsel and chief strategy officer to the Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services. He has also been director of African American Male Initiatives at Columbus Urban League and Program Manager for Boys and Men of Color Initiatives at The Ohio State University’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.

Noble earned his J.D. from Ohio State’s Moritz College of Law and a master’s in urban planning and design from the University of Maryland College Park, in addition to a bachelor’s from Ohio State.


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