Update From President, Jason S. Wood, Ph.D. – Aug 29, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Pardon the brevity…or perhaps it is appreciated. 🙂

  1. The COVID-19 Return to Campus Phase 3 Plan:  The document has been updated and is located on the COVID-19 website and the Hub.  Included in this update are:
    1. The Bookstore’s plan
    2. Added two FAQ’s on what is a close contact and the use of gaiters.
    3. Updated the Staffing Plans received through 8.26.20.
    4. We have had 4 individuals who reported positive tests in the weeks before classes started.  These individuals continued to quarantine before returning to campus. We have not had a positive case reported from anyone who has been on campus since the start of the semester.  Thank you, thank you, thank you…for following the safety protocol we have put in place and encouraging others to do the same.  The ability to remain open benefits our students and the businesses who hire our graduates.
  2. Board Meeting Highlights:
    1. The Board approved the fundraising priorities for the 2020’s, which have also been endorsed by the Real Estate Foundation Board and the Foundation Board and include the following:
      1. Funding for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity – increase the number/percentage of students/faculty/staff of color
      2. Funding for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity – increase programming to sustain the conversation, learning moments, and policy development
      3. Create more endowed scholarships – offer the same amount of scholarships from endowment funding as is currently being provided by pass-through funds
      4. Create a student support endowment – offer the same level of support we are currently providing with annual investments
      5. Create operating flexibility in case the financial situation worsens considerably
    2. ABC’s of Accreditation: Barb Tucker presented the attached presentation (see email) which was shared with the Board.  Work is underway to establish teams to help author our written report which should be completed prior to graduation next spring.
    3. We reviewed enrollment, most recent data attached, and recognized the urgency in recruiting/retaining students.  The trend data is one element considered as options are being developed for the vitality and viability of our academic programming.  The Academic Council creates the potential solutions and the Exec Team authorizes approvals, or recommendations to the Board of Directors.  Please review the agendas/minutes, which are regularly updated, for Academic Council or Deans meetings on the Hub for specific information.  Feedback or suggestions are welcome.  Many people are working hard to be part of the enrollment solution and we thank them for their efforts.  We are simultaneously finding ways to save money, i.e. by not filling positions if possible, in order to be prepared for potential budget shortfalls at the state level.
  3. Program and Services Update:
    1. One of our unique programs, Dairy Goat Academy, has expanded access to learning through innovative virtual programming.  Kudos to Clare Heberlein for her efforts to provide high-quality learning to students in a new format.
    2. Thank you to Mary Johannesen for her good work with the high schools.  Mary has worked tirelessly to create opportunities for our 30 school districts to partner with the college to serve students.  We are grateful for her efforts and the successes of the many, many students who benefit from her work.

Please know your health and well-being is important to us.  I am especially grateful for our facilities crew, both day and night teams, for the fabulous job they are doing to keep spaces clean and sanitized.  If you have a moment, I encourage you to find out who cleans the spaces you use on campus and send them a brief note of appreciation.  We appreciate the many, many people who are making extraordinary efforts to ensure we continue helping students learn.  Please take care.


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

P.S. I realize there are limitations to my perspective of the college which can manifest themselves in these communications.  If you would like me to share something with the college about your program, students, or the services you provide to the college or our communities, please send me an email with the information and suggestions.  I’ll do my best to find a way to include it.  It would also be helpful to hear your suggestions for improving these communications.  Feel free to reach out so we can schedule a time to visit and discuss your ideas.

Posted in COVID-19, Update