Update From President, Jason S. Wood, Ph.D. – Jan 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

While I wish I could muster an energetic “happy new year”…I am weary from watching heartbreaking and horrifying events unfold in our country.  I am overwhelmed with my feelings of inadequacy and insignificance to make a difference.  The violent rioting is appalling and wrong and goes against everything we hold dear.  I have, however, been taught by good parents to trust, to believe, and to hope…then to act with integrity.  Please join me in doing so throughout this year of recovery and rejuvenation.  Again…I believe that we will win!

These words, written by President George H. W. Bush in a personal note to President Bill Clinton during the transition of power, demonstrate peace, unity, humility, respect, and integrity: “You will be our President when you read this note.  I wish you well.  I wish your family well.  Your success now is our country’s success.  I am rooting hard for you.  Good luck.”  It may feel like we have little impact in national or world events…but our behaviors during internal transfers of power reveal our personal and collective strengths and weaknesses.

May we each commit to being a part of the solution which, I think, starts with genuinely including others, especially those with different perspectives.  May we then commit to creating options for consideration with an abundance mindset so more people benefit and experience happiness.

Here is an update from around the college:

  1. Overcoming COVID-19 in 2021:
    1. Southwest Tech will be a vaccination site next week for those who currently qualify (Phase 1A eligible only).  Benefits include no cost to participants (although insurance may be billed), to ease coordination of vaccinations for our clinical students/faculty, and serve as a trial run for future vaccination options for faculty, staff, and students.  The initiative will be administered by Grant County health officials and likely occur in our Auto Collision lab.  We may need to provide some limited help.  The Moderna vaccine will be provided.  Maria Kindrai, nursing faculty, will be coordinating logistics with Dan Imhoff and Derek Dachelet and be the liaison between us and Grant County.
    2. As more and more people receive the vaccine, we are planning to continue a safe and strategic return to on-campus operations.  Physical distancing, face masks, and staying home if you have symptoms, are awaiting a test result, or have tested positive are still required behaviors.  Also stay home if you have had contact with someone with symptoms, someone waiting for a test result, or someone with a positive test.  We appreciate cooperation with these expectations.  We will formally address violations on a case-by-case basis.  More information and details about the plan will be provided at in-service.
  2. Adaptations and Adjustments: “For me, happiness is the joy we feel striving after our potential.” “Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it’s the realization that we can.” Both by Shawn Achor, Author of Happiness Advantage and Orange Frog
    1. Student Services: Holly Clendenen will serve as the Chief Student Services Officer.  Other updates will be provided at in-service.
    2. Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO): Barb Tucker is retiring in early March.  Mandy Henkel will be the formal ALO with mentoring and coaching oversight provided by Katie Garrity, Chief Academic Officer.
    3. As we have been planning for over a year, there will be updates at in-service regarding our executive leadership structure.  We hope our efforts demonstrate integrity, humility, and service to others as we seek to improve the results of our performance as a college.  “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  Maya Angelou
    4. Please note the student services structure and exec leadership framework are proposals.  While there has been significant input from many people, several who are most closely impacted, we will listen to and consider feedback through the end of next week.  If there are ideas or suggestions which will improve the decisions, we will incorporate those into what is actually implemented.  Our intent is to move forward with the adjustments on Monday, January 18.  A few of our prioritized principles include:
      • Create more opportunities through inclusive and collaborative partnerships leading to improved student learning outcomes
      • Design learning experiences of mutual benefit to faculty and staff so students better attain Core Abilities
      • Empower teams with meaningful ways to engage in our emerging decision-making process to achieve more equity in student success
  3. Diversity Week: “Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Diversity Week is January 18-22.  Personally, I think our efforts to create equity and foster inclusivity will be the best route to increased diversity.  I am grateful to the Diversity Work Group for the dynamic offerings. Please see the Diversity Week page (www.swtc.edu/diversityweek) for more details.
    • During the month of January, we would love to highlighting program, club, and department service projects that have been done throughout the year. We have created a smartsheet page, #SWTCCares Service Project Highlights, to share project info and upload photos.  Please share with us the good work that you, your teams, and your students are doing. We look forward to highlighting all the great ways Southwest Tech students and employees impact their local communities!
    • I encourage everyone to attend as many offerings as possible and would be interested in hearing about your experiences and observations.

Please send me any feedback or suggestions…always happy to visit with you too.  It will be good to see everyone on Tuesday at in-service.  Let’s make this year a time of togetherness and a time of triumph.  Take care.



Posted in COVID-19, Update