Update From President, Jason S. Wood, Ph.D. – Oct 24, 2020

Greetings, Colleagues.

The climate survey has been completed and results will be shared broadly in the near future.  Please join me in celebrating the overall satisfaction with employment trend!

Overall Satisfaction with Employment at SWTC Chart showing the results from our employment survey from 2014 to Fall of 2020. The bar graph shows a steady rise from 3.81 in 2014 to 4.44 in the Fall of 2020.

This success is not by accident and is a credit to every single person who has bought in to strengthening our culture through living our values.  I am humbled to work with so many dedicated and caring people who truly put students first in word and deed.  There are many elements of the results to celebrate and also issues identified which we can improve.  As an early effort to improve my own contributions, I will host a series of listening sessions on topics important to you.  The college forums and updates are primarily for sharing important information and updates.  They are not, however, necessarily designed to foster two-way communication nor do they facilitate sharing of multiple perspectives.  If you have a topic you would like featured during a “Listening Session”, please send your idea to a member of the Internal Communication Team:  Katie Glass, Krista Weber, Dennis Cooley, Karen Campbell, or me.  Please note these sessions will be scheduled soon and additional information will be provided.  I look forward to learning how I can do a better job of listening to your ideas and observations while providing additional opportunities for multiple perspectives to be shared and explored.

  1. COVID Updates
    1. As positive cases continue to rise and more and more people are in quarantine, we encourage and expect increased diligence in complying with our safety protocol while on campus.  We expect compliance with facemasks, social distancing, and other protocol to allow us the best chance at completing required in-person learning.  Thank you to those who are doing their best to help keep each other safe.
    2. As a reminder, if you have concerns for your safety or well-being, please speak with your supervisor or someone in Human Resources.  We continue to adapt customized safety protections for specific individual needs or arrange for alternative work assignments.  We remind you of the additional COVID-related paid time off to help you as needed.
    3. Please remember our approach to the pandemic: we were among the first to open our doors for in-person learning (to a very select few programs in very specific situations with additional safety protocol) and we will be among the last to be entirely back to in-person learning and operations.  While we have had recent setbacks which have required temporary reassignment to virtual learning platforms, or pauses in services like the Child Care Center being closed for a period of time, we are interested in learning more about how we can operate safely in-person when possible.  At this time we do not anticipate a change to the calendar for the remainder of the academic year because there is not enough information to justify selecting one option of others.  We will continue to address specific situations on an individual basis.  We are being deliberate and intentional and we thank you for you patience as well as suggestions.
  2. Project RiSE: Thank you to everyone who is working on the Enterprise Resource Planning implementation.  It has been very time-consuming for key people and we are grateful for the good work that is occurring.  For a more in-depth update, please read the attached document which includes a timeline, a RAID analysis (Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies), and staffing information.  Again, we appreciate the efforts so many people are making to help this project be successful in Raising and Innovating the Student Experience (RiSE).
  3. Budget/Enrollment:  Our budget forecast remains cautiously optimistic that we will finish the year as we projected.  We are on track with our financial performance for the year except for slowly declining enrollments.  We are down about 3% and will begin tracking spring enrollments and applications soon.  We did receive approximately 125 applications at Open House which, while fewer than in the past, may represent a stronger student commitment to actually enrolling.  Kudos to the recruiting team of Kyle, Bri, and Kaye for their active, timely, and personalized outreach to everyone who submitted an application.  While we monitor enrollments, we all know that each student we serve is a person with hopes and goals.  Our focus is always on their success.
  4. Elections:
    1. We encourage you to exercise your right to participate in the political process.  Please research the candidates and policies.  Learn early about the requirements for casting your vote.  We urge increased civility and respect as dialog and debate occur.  Finally, please vote.
  5. Kudos to…
    1. Stephen Goss for building kits for students to be able to complete projects from home so learning can continue. Nice work!
    2. Christy Chappell and Nicole Nelson for working closely with our new Nursing Assistant certification examiner, alumnus Courtney Friese, to assure she had the access and materials needed for students to test.  Thank you to Christy and Nicole for anticipating a need and creating the best possible experience for all!
    3. Jake Wienkes for his expertise in operating technology during college functions.  Please see the attached Shout Out.  We’re grateful Jake, from State Farm Southwest Tech, is on our side!

In conclusion, the meeting information for the October 29 Board retreat and meeting is now available on the College’s website.  We appreciate the students, faculty, staff, and employer who will be participating.  Please note the event will be held virtually with an on-campus option.  The Board members are learning more about the dynamics our faculty and staff experience with hybrid classrooms and meetings.  Those in attendance will comply with our safety protocol and those who participate virtually will have arrangements made to attempt to provide an equivalent experience as possible.  We look forward to the important work contained in the agenda and I welcome your thoughts, questions, or feedback.

Chuck Bolstad, as the Board Chair, always asks me to express to you how much he and the Board care about you and your wellbeing…they thank you deeply for your service to the college.  Please take care, stay healthy, and know we are grateful for your contributions to help our students be successful.


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

Posted in COVID-19, General, Update