Update From President, Jason S. Wood, Ph.D. – September 11, 2021

Dear College Community,

Today is the 20 year anniversary of 9/11.  We know more about what occurred and at the same time there are still unanswered questions.  My invitation is simple.  Please take a moment to reflect on the first responders (police, firefighters, Emergency Medical Services, paramedics, dispatch) and their efforts to save lives during a scary and horrific attack.  These oral histories of first responders, survivors, and family members help me remember and deepen my gratitude and respect.  You can also access this month’s National Geographic, subscription required, for amazing photos of powerful artifacts from that tragic day.

I am grateful for first responders and their sacrifices.  It is gratifying to know we prepare students to serve in similar capacities here locally.  If you have a moment, consider thanking a first responder for choosing to serve.  From me to our faculty and staff who teach future first responders as well as our employees who are themselves volunteer first responders…thank you for doing what you do.

  1. COVID
    1. Perhaps this week I can just say…we are still working through it, learning more, and considering options to continue to safely provide the best teaching and learning opportunities for our students.  Thank you for your patience.  Thank you for your efforts to take care of our students.  Thank you for taking care of each other.
  2. Financial Update
    1. Please see the enrollment report (emailed to staff) for a current summary of our Full Time Equivalent (FTE).  We are trending up about 1%.  Needless to say, if you know someone who is interested in taking a class, please refer them to Kyle Bennett, Kaye Woodke, or Bri Williamson.
    2. The 2022-23 budget development process is bound to be more complex than ever before.  We are balancing the end of federal relief funds, capitalized salaries dedicated to Project Rise scheduled to sunset, multiple years of declining enrollments, and continuing impacts of the pandemic.
    3. There is reason for cautious optimism.  First, we have healthy reserves and will propose using funds to ease volatility in our revenue sources.  Second, we are experiencing positive initial returns on key projects (Project Rise, new student recruitment, and business and industry growth).  And third, we excel at helping students achieve their goals.  We are currently reaching out to employers and partners to learn more about their needs in order to develop innovative solutions to future programming and services.
  3. Student Senate – Please join me in getting to know the new Student Senate.  I am grateful they will be joining Exec Team on a weekly basis to discuss opportunities and issues as needed.  Shout Out to Robin Hamel for her exceptional work mentoring our students in their leadership responsibilities.  Robin is thoughtful, responsive, and supportive in her service to students…much appreciated!
    1. President: Celeste Sangster
      1. Program: Direct Entry Midwife and Non Profit Leadership
      2. Celeste is from Michigan and is from a large family with 3 sisters and five brothers. After SWTC, Celeste plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn my bachelor’s in health sciences with a minor in health disparities in society.  Celeste’s dream is to be accepted into the Johns Hopkins Master of Public Health Program concentrating on Maternal and Child Healthcare.
    2. Vice President: Ally Ihm
      1. Program: Agribusiness
      2. Ally is from Cassville and is a senior in high school but enrolled fulltime at Southwest Tech.  Ally has served in leadership positions with FFA, National Honor Society, and Student Council.  Ally is passionate about providing a wide variety of opportunities for students to get involved at Southwest Tech.
    3. Secretary/Treasurer: Mario Sanchez
      1. Program: University Transfer- Liberal Arts
      2. Mario is from Aurora, Illinois originally but lives in Platteville now.  Mario ran for an officer position to meet new people and challenge himself.   Mario led his soccer team as a team captain and his choir section. Mario is passionate about making valuable friendships that will last forever and enjoying life.
    4. Diversity Equity and Inclusion Chair: Alex Morris
      1. Program: University Transfer-Liberal Arts
      2. Alex lives in Fennimore and is a valued student employee in the Knox Learning Center, a founding member of the Charger Alliance student organization, and is a Point Foundation Scholar. Alex is also a visual artist in her limited spare time. Alex is passionate about working for positive social change in the world and  wants to bring forth an inclusive future. One of her career goals is to receive a DEI certificate.
    5. Wisconsin Student Government Governor (WSG): Stephanie Wilson
      1. Program: Graphic and Web Design
      2. Stephanie is from Mineral Point and is the only returning officer.  Stephanie was a strong supporter of the Charger Tech 360 program at implementation.  Stephanie has been a wonderful representative of Southwest Tech in her role with the Wisconsin Student Government.  She has really enjoyed meeting with our elected representatives to advocate for Southwest Tech and all Wisconsin technical colleges.
    6. WSG Lt. Governor: Samantha Lundeen-Janiak
      1. Program: Direct Entry Midwife
      2. Samantha lives in Grantsburg, WI. She is passionate about leadership, enjoys making connections and meaningful friendships with everyone she encounters, and strives to better herself each and every day.  She is very interested in working to improve access and communication for online only students and building a more secure social network for those that are not able to meet in person.
  4. Kudos to…
    1. Jake Wienkes, Jake Mootz, and Tyler Horton for their continued work and expertise to keep our campus technology safe and secure!  Attached Shout Out from Exec Team.  We are fortunate to have people like Jake, Jake, and Tyler helping our students with their laptops and technology needs. 😊
    2. Kim Schmelz, Gina Udelhofen, and Bri Williamson for creating ways for people to meaningfully thank the donors who support our students.  Through Kim’s leadership and her team’s efforts, more people have the opportunity to reach out and personally acknowledge the impact of the gift. The calls I made were among the highlights of my week. 😊
    3. Scott Kennedy for his extra efforts to recruit women to participate on the golf team.  Scott has broadened his focus by using his professional network to help new student audiences consider Southwest Tech.  It is impressive how many people Scott knows in the industry and how much they support his work.😊

Finally, please note that I recognize there is much happening in our world today.  I hope you can do something you enjoy with someone you love this weekend.  Finding your happiness is truly part of our purpose in life.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, questions, or comments.  I am happy to help if there is something you need.  Take care.



Posted in COVID-19, Update