Greetings, Colleagues.

Thank you for your continued efforts to help our students and each other.  I’m simply grateful to each of you for all you do.  Here is an update since our College Forum on May 15:

  1. The Board of Directors met on Thursday, May 21.
    1. The Board approved moving forward with the laptop program.  The next step is to work with Student Senate to see if they are supportive and issue a Request for Proposal to secure the equipment.  Kudos to the team of people from across the college who are working to make this happen.
    1. Approval was granted for the 1% cost of living increase effective July 1 with a $500 stipend to be distributed in June.  We are building the budget to include funding for all positions while cautiously watching the governor’s office and legislature for signs of a budget repair bill.  If the budget repair process is implemented, we will gauge the situation for the potential impact on our college.
    1. The fiscal monitoring report was presented and contains details into our college finances.  The 2020-2021 budget will be presented to the Board during the June meeting.  We anticipate recommending approval of a new Enterprise Resource Planning solution during the June meeting as well.  Thank you to the ERP steering committee for their excellent work during this elongated process.
  2. Return to Campus Plan:  The initial draft has been completed.  Distribution and training will occur as we slowly start to welcome a few faculty and staff back to campus on June 1.  Stay tuned for details with the mini-handbook, training module, and orientation details still being finalized.  Many thanks to the people involved in coordinating these efforts.  Truly amazing the work that has been completed.
  3. If you do want current information on our response efforts and plans, please review the COVID-19 site on our webpage.  There are FAQ’s, a history of the communications, and other important information.  If you have questions or suggestions, please submit those to your supervisor or sent an email to covid19response@swtc.edu.
  4. We understand there are many differing perspectives on the various details of returning to campus.  It is very important everyone follows the check-in procedure so we can do “contract tracing” and follow up with people in the event there is a positive case.  We thank you for your patience, cooperation, and understanding.  If you have suggestions for improvements, please let us know.
  5. Academic Assessment: I cannot stress enough how important it is to complete all academic assessment protocol to document the results of our decisions in order to continually improve learning for our students and ourselves.  Thank you to the folks who organized and delivered the Learning Academies.  We appreciate the strong attendance and participation as well.  This is a recent strength for our college and we want to keep assessment at the forefront of our work.
  6. Please remember to take care of yourselves.  Thank you to the Wellness Workgroup and the Self Care Committee members.  There are MANY opportunities to seek support and participate in programs designed to help you stay healthy physically, emotionally, and socially.  If interested in more information or participating, please visit the Hub or speak with a member of the work group.  Here is a snapshot of what is currently being offered:
    1. Weight Loss Challenge – the third this year
    1. Charger Chat – social zoom meetings to check-in with each other
    1. Mental Health Check video series by Gina Trollop
    1. 30-day Mental Health Challenge
    1. Zoom Yoga
    1. Quarantine Dress-Up Days
  7. Finally, a special thank you to Katie Anderson and Erin Kerkhoff for their work with the Graphic Web Design Virtual Showcase.  The annual end-of-year showcase was delivered via zoom and participants were impressed with the amazing work of the students who premiered their portfolios.  On a related note, thank you to Katie Anderson for leading her program through continuous improvement.  Over 3 years ago she implemented the Laptop for Students program and has seen a tremendous increase in student retention.  We are excited to expand the laptop program to more students.

Finally, please enjoy this Memorial Day weekend.  This is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of those who risk their lives in providing the safety and security of our country while allowing the many freedoms we enjoy.  I am grateful to the veterans of our armed forces who have served or who are actively serving for their honor, courage, and sacrifice.  There are so many other people who are heroes for their response to the current pandemic.  May we be sure to remember the service women and men while also contemplating the service of the front line workers.  In addition to reflecting on the service of others, I hope we will commit to an act of service to benefit the people who make a difference.  After all, at Southwest Tech our commitment is to improving the lives of others, a truly noble pursuit at which we excel.

Take care,

Jason S. Wood, Ph.D.
President of Southwest Tech

Posted in COVID-19, Update