Chatfield College to Host Community Meetings to Share New Strategic Plan

Chatfield College will be hosting a series of meetings and presentations at both campuses in order to share its new strategic plan with students, faculty, staff and its neighboring communities. These events will give the community a chance to weigh in on the plan, which will encompass the college’s mission and vision statements, core values, and step-by-step, three-year, strategic plan.

“Periodic but regular strategic planning is the sign of a vibrant and healthy academic institution” explained Chatfield’s Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Peter Hanson.  “Many teams and individuals have been working on this plan for more than a year, but we need our neighbors and all our constituents to participate in the process in order to create a collaborative document that meets the needs of all the people Chatfield serves.”

Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the morning sessions, while cookies and punch will be plentiful in the afternoon. The first “Community Coffee” will be held at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus, 1544 Central Parkway, on Thursday, March 15th at 8:30am. That same afternoon, “Community Cookies” will begin at 3:30pm. The Brown County campus will host both a “Community Coffee” morning session at 8:30am and an afternoon “Community Cookie” session at 3:30pm on Monday, March 19th in the Welcome Center.  Chatfield’s historic Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251 in St. Martin/Fayetteville.

Your RSVP is not required, but would be much appreciated.  To RSVP, or for more information, contact Cheryl Kern at 513-875-3344 ext. 130 or

Chatfield College is a private, faith-based, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in Brown County and Cincinnati, and is an open enrollment college. The Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118; the Cincinnati campus is located in historic Over-the-Rhine at 1544 Central Parkway; Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit the website, at, call (513) 875-3344 or e-mail



Chatfield College Welcomes Community to Weigh-In on Strategic Plan

Chatfield College is working hard on its next three-year strategic plan, and we welcome your input!

As our sensational new Academic Dean, Dr. Peter Hanson told me, “Periodic but regular strategic planning is the sign of a vibrant and healthy academic institution.”   One of Chatfield’s many strengths is the close relationships we maintain with our friends and neighbors, and all of the faculty, students, staff, vendors, and contractors we work with, who make up the Chatfield community.

Under the direction of our Board Planning Committee, comprised of the chairs of all seven of the standing committees made up of Chatfield trustees, we have been taking a close look at our vision for the future, our mission statement, and the core values we hold so dear to our institution, all emanating from our long and valued history as an Ursuline College.  St. Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines (all the way back in the 16th century) told us to “change with the times”, and Chatfield is committed to being nimble and responsive to the needs of our students during these rapidly changing times in higher education and in the workforce.  This is why a current and well-thought-out strategic plan is essential.

Please come and share your thoughts with us!  We have planned four sessions – two on each campus – and to accommodate as many people as possible, both morning and afternoon meetings are scheduled.  Coffee and doughnuts will be available at the morning sessions, while cookies and punch will be plentiful in the afternoon. Our first “Community Coffee” will be held at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus, 1544 Central Parkway, on Thursday, March 15th at 8:30am. That same afternoon, “Community Cookies” will begin at 3:30pm. The Brown County campus will host both a “Community Coffee” morning session at 8:30am and an afternoon “Community Cookie” session at 3:30pm on Monday, March 19th in the Welcome Center.  Chatfield’s historic Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251 in St. Martin/Fayetteville.

So no matter how you feel a connection to Chatfield College, whether or not you have ever taken a class, or know someone who has, are a neighbor, or are even a graduate yourself, or if you just want to learn more about us, you are invited to participate and share your views. Your RSVP is not required, but would be much appreciated (so our cookie chefs can be fully ready for you.)

To RSVP, or for more information, contact Cheryl Kern at 513-875-3344 ext. 130 or email

I look forward to seeing you at Chatfield!

John P. Tafaro became Chatfield’s fifth president in 2009.  Email him at                         

Scholarship Opportunity for Brown County High School Seniors Tied to U.S. Constitution

Chatfield College is offering a U.S. Constitution Scholarship to a Brown County high school senior. In order to apply, students must submit an essay describing, “What the U.S. Constitution Means to Me”  The $4,000 scholarship will be awarded to one Brown County high school senior who enrolls at Chatfield College, with $1,000 available per semester for four semesters.

The idea for this scholarship came from Brown County resident of almost 50 years, Bill Herdman.  Mr. Herdman is also one of the oldest surviving World War II veterans living in Brown County and is active in local veterans activities and other civic organizations.

“I think it is very important for our students to have an understanding of such an important piece of United States history,” Herdman shared. “We do live in the greatest country in the world, and students should appreciate the rights they enjoy as American citizens, all emanating from this glorious document – our Constitution.”

Mr. Herdman will be one of five judges for this program.  In addition, the others are superintendent of Brown County Educational Service Center Jim Frazier, former U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Chatfield Trustee Robert Knueven, and Chatfield’s president, John P. Tafaro.

Three-term congresswoman and instructor of Chatfield’s political science course, Constitutional Development, Jean Schmidt shared her enthusiasm for the project:

“I am very excited to read the essays of our seniors, and to see what the constitution means to them on a personal level. This is a great opportunity for someone to share their knowledge of the Bill of Rights, for example, and earn a scholarship.”

The deadline for the applications is Thursday, March 15th. Interested students can apply online at or get a scholarship application from their high school guidance counselor.

Chatfield College is a private, faith-based, liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree in Brown County and Cincinnati, and is an open enrollment college. The Brown County campus is located at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118; the Cincinnati campus is located in historic Over-the-Rhine at 1544 Central Parkway; Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, visit the website, at, call (513) 875-3344 or e-mail




Inclement Weather Policy

As an institution of higher education, Chatfield College must always weigh carefully any decision related to the cancelling of classes due to weather events. We encourage personal safety as the primary focus, and that is necessarily a personal consideration that will differ from person to person, across the variety of weather patterns from which we all arrive to Chatfield.

When any classes are cancelled due to widespread inclement weather, regional radio and television stations will be notified. Notification of cancellations will be also be made by One Call Now and by email.

The decision to cancel classes is not based upon the actions of public schools or other organizations, but is based on the judgment of Chatfield College administrators who assess weather reports, road conditions and other variables. Our collective goal is to provide a quality collegiate education regardless of circumstances.

Students will remain responsible for the work required to maintain academic progress in the event of a cancellation, and faculty will enable that work to take place in a supportive manner, without academic penalty.

Student Spotlight- Elizabeth Burnside

Elizabeth Burnside wants everyone to know you are never too old to go back to school. At the age of 56, she is a full-time student at Chatfield’s Over-the-Rhine campus. Many people think a mother of two and grandmother of four could never go back to college, but Elizabeth had the support of her family and she knew she could do it! After she graduates from Chatfield in the fall of 2018 with her associate degree, Elizabeth plans to open a daycare center in her community—one that will cater to the various schedules of parents, including overnight shifts. She says she feels drawn to help those out there who may be working very hard but still struggling to support their families. It is her giving heart that led her to Chatfield in the first place, and what makes her such as exceptional student.

Before enrolling at Chatfield, Elizabeth spent her time mentoring graduates of Miami University who were teaching at Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, helping them to understand how best to teach in an urban school setting. As she worked with these young educators, it inspired her to go back to school herself. Just about the time she was kicking the idea around in her head, a Chatfield admissions counselor visited the school for a college presentation. Although Elizabeth had previously been unsuccessful taking college courses online, she decided to check out Chatfield to see if it would be a good fit for her.

After becoming a student, Elizabeth found the classes to be very small and really enjoyed the one-on-one attention she received from her instructors. She was impressed by the supportive programs on campus like tutoring and mentoring.

“It was a good feeling to know that I could ask for help, and not be embarrassed because I knew I wasn’t the only one who needed it,” Elizabeth said.

In fact, as she became more settled on campus, Elizabeth made it her personal goal to welcome new students and make sure they had what they needed. She encouraged them to seek help if they needed it and reassured them they could do it.

“Elizabeth has been a nurturing figure since she arrived on campus—the students look up to her and seek her out for advice or encouragement. She is there to offer advice or wisdom, or just lend an ear,” said Ryan Hall, Over-the-Rhine’s associate dean and site director.

Along with her full course load, Elizabeth was instrumental in starting the Chatfield Student Service Club (CSSC) at the OTR campus. Under her leadership, the group has organized several charity projects, including gathering hurricane relief supplies for Matthew 25 Ministries and volunteering at the Freestore Food Bank in Cincinnati. Over the Christmas holiday, Elizabeth located a needy family in the area and the students gathered presents for the children. Upcoming CSSC projects include a luncheon for new and returning students and activities for Black History Month.

“I believe Elizabeth’s passion for leadership and giving back has really helped drive the success of CSSC,” Ryan adds.

Elizabeth thinks of herself as a mentor to her fellow students, and offers this advice to anyone of any age considering returning to school:

“Make sure you have a plan and support of at least one person. That person can be someone on campus, there are advisors dedicated to your success. Start slow if you need to, one class a semester is still a start. If you try it, you’ll have help if you need it. Do not get discouraged. You are not too old.”


Benefits of Small Class Sizes

Many people who attend college classes with a large number of students don’t enjoy the experience.  “I felt like I was just a number” or “I felt lost in the shuffle” are common complaints.  The benefits of small class sizes at the elementary and secondary levels are well known, but those benefits translate to the college level as well.

“I like being in the smaller classes because I can get more one-on-one time with the instructors.  This spring will be my third semester at Chatfield and I like it a lot,” said Business Management student Marco Torres.  “A couple of my friends go to larger universities and they complain about the high number of students in the class. I just think learning is better when you have a smaller group.”

Most classes at Chatfield have an average of 11 students.  It’s enough to have a diverse mix of personalities and learning styles but still allows everyone to get to know each other on a personal level.

“Shy students come in all class sizes.  There are strategies that you can employ to bring them out of their shells, but it’s much easier to do that when you can get to know them better in a smaller class environment,” said Dr. Farzaneh Naseri-Sis, the English Department Chair at Chatfield.

Naseri-Sis said that the students also benefit from the relationships that are built in a smaller class. “They get to know their classmates and how to work with them. With large classes, many times students don’t get to interact with every individual, which is a shame.”

She added that students also tend to perform better when there are fewer people in the room. “In large classes, sometimes the students can get distracted with electronics instead of staying involved in the class.  It’s a lot harder to do that in a small class,” Naseri-Sis said. “You get to work with students one-on-one and they are generally more focused.”

That one-on-one attention is also the major academic benefit to smaller classes.  “I teach writing, and sometimes during class, students will ask me to read something they have written and give them immediate feedback.  That is possible in a small class, but it would be impossible in a class with 100 students or more,” Naseri-Sis said.  She added that a smaller number of students can get more out of classroom exercises by actually participating instead of just listening to others.

Nasari-Sis also explained that being able to get to know her students and their needs allows her to pair someone that is struggling with someone who is more comfortable with the material.  “When they get engaged with each other, the time flies by and they both get something out of that experience,” she said.  “The confidence level grows in both students when they work together like that.”

If you or a family member would like to know more about our small classes, caring instructors and safe environment, please give us a call. You can reach our Brown County campus at (513) 875-3344 and our Cincinnati campus at (513) 921-9856.

For more information or to schedule a visit, visit our website at



When That Big-Time College Doesn’t Work Out

This is the time of year – after all the holiday celebrations are done and the decorations put away – when college students head back to school.

Or do they? According to research by Complete College, only 19 percent of college students complete their bachelor’s degrees in the “traditional” four years.

Some are overwhelmed with academic challenges. Others simply can’t justify, or even afford, the high cost of tuition, room and board. Many just need a break.

And that’s OK. Today’s “traditional” student is now in the minority, while what we used to call “non-traditional students” make up the majority of college attendees.

What is important is that you continue your education in some way while you take a break from the school where you started. That’s where a local, two-year, open-admission college comes into play. In Greater Cincinnati, we have a few such colleges – Chatfield College being one of them. At any of these schools, credits earned will likely transfer to any other college or university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. At Chatfield, a private, faith-based school, we have articulation agreements with 24 other colleges, which means they’ve reviewed and pre-approved our classes for transfer credit.

Two-year colleges are affordable, too. At Chatfield, students are eligible for Ohio College Opportunity Grants, as well as privately endowed scholarships available to those with the initiative to apply.

So if all the excitement of big-time college football or basketball has worn off, and the days of dorms and food courts are behind you, or even temporarily on hold, you can continue your education at a school where teaching and learning happens. Our students are the reason we are here, and all our efforts are directed toward making you successful.

If you plan to work full-time this semester, consider taking a single class to keep your head in the game. We can handle that. If you want to pursue your associate’s degree with us, even better. Or if you thought you never had the chance to go to college, it’s not too late.

It’s OK to take your time, but don’t ever give up.

Click here to have one of our admissions counselors call you with more information.

-John Tafaro,
President of Chatfield College

Alumni Profile: Christina Schnetzer

Sometimes life has a way of bringing us full circle, and that’s exactly what alumna Christina Schnetzer, ’97, says about returning to Chatfield as an instructor. A very active student who has become a dedicated part-time faculty member, Christina says Chatfield is her academic home, and she can’t imagine being anywhere else.

In 1994, Christina was a single mother in her thirties and recently divorced when she decided to visit Chatfield College in Brown County for its annual Quilt & Craft Show. She was new to the area and looking for new opportunities. After signing up for a free tee-shirt at the admissions booth, Christina received a call from one of Chatfield’s counselors a few days later. He asked if she were interested in going back to school. When she said she couldn’t afford it, he told her with the help of scholarships and grants, it was possible to attend Chatfield at a net cost she could manage. After that phone call, Christina realized her dream of becoming a teacher could become a reality and began the enrollment process immediately.

“I went to Chatfield with a nine-month-old baby on my hip, holding the hand of my eight-year-old,” Christina says. “The registrar and other staff members were so accommodating, passing my baby around and giving her older sister a coloring book, just so I could register for classes and sign all the paperwork to enroll.”

As a young person, Christina had many jobs, some of which she called terrible, but she did what she had to, in order to pay the bills. Before the arrival of her second daughter, she had a great job at UPS but after having issues with her pregnancy, Christina was limited physically and could not return to work. She decided it was time to “work smarter, not harder”.

“As a child, my parents taught me that my work ethic would determine who I would become and I would need to make my own way. This was important to me to follow. This way I didn’t feel like I owed my success to anyone other than myself,” Christina shared.

Wanting to teach her two small children the same thing her parents had taught her, she made her mind up that she was going to earn her degree.  Entering Chatfield’s campus for the first time, through the beautiful tree-lined front drive, Christina remembers a peaceful feeling coming over her. Although there were some obstacles to overcome, like past grades and previous college attempts, Chatfield’s staff worked hard to help her.

Christina explained, “I remember feeling like the Holy Spirit led me through the process. The registrar told me somehow my grades transferred, which at the time seemed impossible.”

As Christina began her journey at Chatfield, she had a lot to juggle—two kids, a full-time job and going to class. Even with a lot going on at home, she was very involved on campus—singing in the choir, volunteering in the admissions office and at the quilt show, writing and directing her own play, and even putting on a talent show.  For a few semesters, Christina was enrolled in an independent study and she remembers instructors allowing her to bring her youngest on campus when she had no other option for childcare. In particular, Christina shares her gratitude to former instructor Sue Hamann as a very influential person in her life, who told Christina “yes, you have to do the work but sometimes you have to roll with the punches.” Christina said everyone at Chatfield would go above and beyond to make sure the students had what they needed to succeed.

“It’s important to realize that not every student has a support system at home, and sometimes Chatfield is their support system. The communal atmosphere here means so much, because you don’t find that everywhere. People care and the students matter,” said Christina.

In the spring of 1997, Christina graduated from Chatfield with an associate degree. After waiting a few years, she decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree. Despite continued work and family responsibilities and a scarcity of available time, her hard work paid off in 2004, when she graduated from Antioch University with a bachelor’s degree in humanities.

Before going back to school to earn her Master of Science at Kaplan, Christina was pursuing another of her passions—singing. Performing at open mics and an assortment of professional gigs, she returned to Chatfield to sing at its Band fest event. It was then Christina decided to start taking steps to become an instructor. Since the beginning of 2015, Christina has been teaching English and communications classes at Chatfield.

She believes teaching is her calling, rather than just another job. With a laugh, Christina says she believes what they say is true—if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. As a part-time instructor, Christina said there are a million others things she could do with more benefits and a tangible payoff, but her reward is seeing students reach their goals and achieve the dreams they set out to accomplish. She hopes to continue to find new ways to grow and serve the Chatfield community.

As both an instructor and as a mom, Christina teaches the value of self-motivation. She says she may be tough on her students, but she is just as tough on herself.

“We can show these students that they can achieve whatever they want, as long as they work hard enough for it,” she said. “We’re not straight-A students all the time, and that’s okay. What matters is that we are still working at it.”

Christina offers this advice to anyone considering going back to school, “When I decided to go back to school all those years ago, I did it for two reasons. First, to show my kids the importance of drive and working hard for what you want. Secondly, I wanted to show the ones who said I couldn’t do it, and even myself, that I could, I would, and I did.  You can too.”


No More Worrying: There’s a Safe and Local Option

Safety and security on college campuses is a concern for many people these days. Each year, thousands of parents see their students heading off to begin their college careers.  And even though the kids are grown, the parents still worry about them.

One local college that has an excellent record for safety and security is Chatfield College.

Every year, college campuses are required to report campus safety plans and crime statistics to the United States Department of Education. The record for Chatfield is outstanding.

“For at least the past ten years, Chatfield has had no incidents to report. That’s across both our Brown County and Over-the-Rhine campuses.  We are an extremely safe environment,” said Dr. Peter Hanson, Chief Academic Officer and Chatfield Dean. Chatfield is a non-residential campus, so none of the issues that can arise in a dormitory setting are a problem.

“Our students are living at home or with their families,” said Hanson. He added that if a student is troubled in some way, help is never far away.

“When a student walks in looking troubled, it’s not very long before someone will walk up to them and ask them how they are doing and if they are OK,” Hanson said.

“Knowing our students enables us to have one-on-one interactions with them,” Hanson added that the sense of security also contributes to academic and social success.

“It certainly stands to reason that if you are comfortable, you are going to be able to learn to a far greater extent than if you are uncomfortable or insecure,” Hanson said.

And the students aren’t the only ones that get a sense of security from the close environment at Chatfield.

“It brings a sense of peace to parents and other family members to know that their student is in a safe environment.  All parents want the best for their children and that includes safety and security,” Hanson said.

That security is also found in downtown Cincinnati at the Over-the-Rhine campus of Chatfield as well.

“The entire campus there is contained within a single building.  We have a very knowledgeable and well-trained staff in OTR, just like we do at our St. Martin campus.  They help to ensure that our mission to teach and help the students grow continues to move forward,” said Hanson.

And if someone who doesn’t belong happens to come along at either campus, Hanson said it wouldn’t be long before they were spotted.

“Someone that doesn’t belong would stand out immediately.  The majority of people know which car belongs to whom and things like that, so we are all looking out for each other like a close neighborhood or family.”

Hanson said that the feeling of security and safety is one of the foundations of Chatfield’s success.

“As a smaller school, we are always going to be able to have that close interaction with our students. If they have any problems with academics or with other issues, we see that immediately and can make sure they stay on the right track.”

Mary Castle is a non-traditional student in her 40’s who has rekindled her college career at Chatfield.

“I feel very safe and secure there.  I know everyone on campus. I feel safe, not only for myself but if I bring my children, I know they will be safe as well,” said Castle.

“I have a nephew that goes to Chatfield through the Ohio College Credit Plus (CCP) program.  He’s a junior in high school.  I think it’s a very safe place to be.”

Student Kamri Offutt is still a senior in high school, also attending through CCP.  But by the time she graduates from high school, she will have earned her associate degree from Chatfield.  She started attending classes there at 16 years old.

“I literally drove right into Chatfield and felt this really calm feeling like ‘this is where I’m supposed to be.’ It’s really cool when you feel something like that,” said Offutt.

“I feel completely safe.  I‘m not afraid to leave my laptop on the table while I run to the library or something.  The worst thing that happened to me is that I lost my keys, but that was my fault,” she laughed.

Castle said that she encourages people her age to check out their education options at Chatfield.

“The admissions staff at Chatfield have been very encouraging to me as I restarted my college career.   It’s never too late to learn. If you stop learning, you lose part of yourself,” she said.

Meanwhile, Offutt said she sees her upcoming graduation as bittersweet.

“I wish I didn’t have to leave next year.  I encourage everyone to just come and experience Chatfield.  Once you see the campus, you will fall in love,” she said.

To start your college career in the safe and secure environment at Chatfield, call the St. Martin Campus at (513) 875-3344 or the Cincinnati Campus at (513) 921-9856.  You can also check us out online at


Consider Giving to Chatfield This #Giving Tuesday

After Thanksgiving, many of you fought the long lines and did some early Christmas shopping on Black Friday.  Many more of you shopped on Small Business Saturday, which helps our small local businesses.  Today, some of you are probably making purchases on Cyber Monday on your breaks or lunch hour.  Tomorrow, we celebrate generosity on what is known as Giving Tuesday.

Now entering its sixth year, Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving back and kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. Since its inaugural year in 2012, Giving Tuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy.  It connects diverse groups of individuals, communities, and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

This will be our 4th year participating in #GivingTuesday at Chatfield College.  This year, Chatfield students have been hard at work serving their fellow students and in their communities. Chatfield Student Service Club (CSSC) has completed several different projects this year like gathering hurricane relief supplies for Matthew 25 Ministries, donating their fall festival proceeds to buy toys for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and supporting needy families through the Christmas season. In fact, in honor of Giving Tuesday, the groups at both campuses plan to give back by serving at the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati and Hope Emergency in Brown County.

In turn, we hope to receive monetary gifts on Giving Tuesday, of any amount, to show our students that they are supported in their efforts of serving others and achieving a better future for themselves and their families.

We are excited to say we are also eligible for the gift match on facebook. Thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, every gift given through our facebook page tomorrow beginning at 8:00am will be matched up to $2,000!

You can help us achieve our goal!   Make your gift for #GivingTuesday on Chatfield’s facebook page, our website at, mail in your gift to Chatfield College at 20918 State Route 251; St. Martin, OH 45118, or call us at 513-875-3344 X 130 to make your pledge or payment.

Every gift matters to our students.  Please share this with all of your friends and family, so that we can spread the word concerning our campaign, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, as we will be making periodic updates as we near our goal.