Update From President, Jason S. Wood, Ph.D. – Aug 21, 2020

Hi Everyone,

Our “Board Prep” team recently had a discussion about Speed of Trust behavior #2 – Demonstrate Respect.  We shared our appreciation for people at the college who do a good job of demonstrating respect including Lori Needham, Cynde Larsen, and Melissa Klinkhammer.  We noted the definition of showing respect includes the following values: kindness, love, fairness, and civility.  With all we see occurring around us, a little bit of respect sure makes a big difference.

Here is a college update:

  1. Thank you.  One great big huge thank you to everyone for their great work this week.  We are fortunate to have so many people who work so hard to help our students be successful.  We know it hasn’t been easy and there are certainly areas where we can improve.  For now, simply know your efforts are appreciated. 🙂
  2. Diversity/Equity/Inclusion: The Multi Culture Student Success Coach position has been posted.  We anticipate providing more services directly to our students soon.  We look forward to Chantel Hampton, Diversity Coordinator, leading another break-out session during our next virtual college update on September 4.
  3. Southwest Tech to host COVID-19 testing site:  In partnership with the Grant County Health Department, free COVID-19 drive-through testing will be held at the Southwest Tech Public Safety driving track on Wednesday, August 26, from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome. No appointment is needed. Participants can enter the location from County Highway F, south of Highway 18. Watch for signage.
  4. Please join me in congratulating Barb Tucker who recently announced her retirement!  Barb has written grants totaling over $20 million, provided leadership in a variety of capacities, and ushered in accreditation successes.  We are grateful for her service.  She plans to help us finish the accreditation assurance arguments before retiring on March 5, 2021.
    1. Between now and March, we will also lean on Barb to help transition the Accreditation Liaison Officer duties.   We anticipated this transition, albeit not as soon as it is occurring, and Karen Campbell, Derek Dachelet, and Mandy Henkel are serving with Barb as an Accreditation Steering Team.  They will invariably play a significant role in a successful transition.  Please stay tuned for more information about the succession plan that is being developed to fill this important role.  Because of our concerns about budget, we will be creative in creating solutions.  For those interested, a timeline of accreditation “to dos” is attached.
  5. As mentioned a few weeks ago, Katie Glass will be on maternity leave from January through March 2021.  The recently minted Dr. Kim Maier (kudos for completing your doctorate!) has agreed to cover Katie’s responsibilities, in addition to her regular duties.  Kyle Bennett, as previously planned for his position, will supervise the recruiters Kaye Woodke and Bri Williamson.  We are also exploring providing a professional coach to help Kim, Kyle, and Katie get the most out of this opportunity.  We hope to learn if the use of a coach is something that would be beneficial for broader use at the college in certain circumstances.  In this case, Dr. Audrey Reille will provide coaching services and I invite you to learn more about her background and expertise. (https://thrivinginadmin.com/)
  6. Dining Services will launch a new web-based application, Cow Chow, once we ensure compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. This new service will allow students and employees an opportunity to order food online and pick up food at the Café exit in a safe manner.  We know we will learn a lot from trial and error and your suggestions are appreciated.  Once we get started, please share feedback with Rex by emailing Rex.  This application will only accept credit and debit cards so we will explore other payment solutions as we move forward.  Stay tuned for more information as soon as it is available.
  7. Mail Delivery Update: Effective Monday, August 24, College mail and UPS will resume regular distribution. Departments will be responsible for collecting their mail from the mail slot in the Bookstore (right-hand side of the store, all the way in the back). Employees who receive UPS shipments will be notified via email and can come to the service counter in the Bookstore to retrieve their packages. (left-hand side, all the way back).
  8. Reporting COVID-19 Cases *source – page 10 of Phase III of the Return to Campus Plan
    1. What do I do if I am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or I am considered a close contact of someone who has tested positive? (See the COVID-19 Positive Response Action Plan)
    1. For employees, contact one of the Human Resources staff: Krista Weber (email Krista 608.822.2315); Connie Haberkorn (email Connie 608.822.2310); or Annetta Smith (email Annetta 608.822.2314).
    1. For students, notify one of the Student Notification Team consisting of: Dan Imhoff, Director of Facilities, Safety, and Security (Email Dan 608.822.2401); Danielle Seippel, Registrar (email Danielle 608.822.2317); or Brian Kitelinger, Safety Coordinator (email Brian 608.822.2376).
    1. What should I do if someone shows symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, etc.) or notifies me they are showing symptoms, have tested positive for COVID19, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19? Please give them the following advice:
      1. Stay home
      1. Call ahead to your care provider and report symptoms (if you have not been in contact with your care provider)
      1. Report your encounter using the report a concern online form
      1. Identify in the report any recent campus contacts. (Ex. They were in class on XX-XX-XXXX, held in room X.)
      1. Have them report it to the appropriate team – employees report to HR and students report to the Student Notification Team
    1. In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act, any incident creates a threat to the students, employees, or campus guests, which will result in a timely notification. These steps are essential to our efforts in reporting and mitigating the spread of COVID-19.  Stay tuned as we develop a reporting mechanism so you can see regular updates on the number of positive test results impacting our campus community.
  9. Again, we are all experiencing this crisis differently.  If you need additional help and support, please reach out to our Employee Assistance Program.  Simply contact Life Matters, (See email sent on August 21 for Employee Assistance Program info and password) for free and confidential support sessions.  We hope the care and support you receive helps you.
  10. Kudos to…
    1. Sara Biese, Cancer Information Management Instructor, sent a Shout Out to Christina Winch for outstanding work “organizing and managing the Instructional Vitality Course Assessment session…even though there were difficulties with power outages and tornado warnings.”  Thanks to both Sara and Christina!  The entire College Effectiveness Department also deserves credit for the success of Instructional Vitality Process!
    1. Sue Friederick and Rex Smith for their work to provide free lunches to students during this past week.  Thank you to those who helped deliver food to various pick-up spots around campus.  Well done!
    1. The faculty in Derek Dachelet’s division for having a 100% compliance with all COVID-19 requirements during an unannounced walk-through inspection.  Thank you for creating a safe environment.  We work to ensure compliance because it helps keep people healthy.  Nice job!
    1. Ken Bartz, Emergency Medical Services faculty, for thanking Katie Snitker for her good work with an EMS student.  Ken credits Katie’s outreach with saving a student…which is exactly what they do in the Knox Learning Center.  Well done!
    1. Natalie Long for recognizing Robin Hamel and her work to engage students with the college.  Natalie wrote, “We are lucky to have Robin provide an engaging, fun, caring environment for our students even though they are not on campus.”  Thank you both!

Finally, let me say again thank you for your efforts, especially this past week.  The first week of classes was very different this year. For students who are new to higher education it had potential to be even more intimidating than normal.  While we continue to stress the importance of our safety protocol, please take time to express to students that this comes from a place of love.  Maya Angelou taught, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”  We care about our students health and providing them access to face-to-face instruction. The best way for us to continue to give our students both health and learning is to show our students that we are all united in the precautions we have put in place: social distancing, facemasks, hand washing, and reporting illnesses.  We will all continue to strive to do our best to make it a great semester for our students!


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

Posted in COVID-19, Update