Update From President, Jason S. Wood, Ph.D. – October 29, 2021

Hi, Everyone.

How are you doing?  We don’t see each other enough to ask each other in-person.  If there is anything you need, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

The human voice can be a miraculously joyful experience, like the sound of a loving sister heard for the first time.  Even when the human voice isn’t audible, it can be seen and felt in deeply powerful ways that expand our perspectives and build empathy for others.

I wish each of you could hear me say how much I care about you.  I know many of you are carrying heavy loads at work or at home.  The repercussions are manifested in diverse ways.  Please take care of yourselves too.

Remember, please remember, the work you do matters.  The difference you make for our students and for each other is real, it’s meaningful, and it’s significant.  Know that you also mean a lot to others outside of work at our little college.

All of you have people in your personal lives who are so very important to you, and you to them.  Please accept this invitation to use your voice with someone who means a lot to you and share this message.

I believe you will bless the life of the person you call in ways that may never be understood.  I trust you and the person you contact will feel genuine joy and rejuvenating comfort.  Perhaps the tender mercy you give and receive from this simple request will be just what is needed in your life, at least that is my hope.  I certainly feel it is worth the effort.

Here’s an update from around the college:

  1. COVID Update
    1. We continue to support travel requests for student learning, including out-of-state opportunities.  We do expect our college COVID protocol to be followed, as well as any other increased expectations of other places during the trip.  We do ask that out-of-state travel for other purposes, including professional development, wait until further notice.  This temporary strategy helps with the budget, allows focus on current priorities, and reduces the risk of illness.
  2. National First Responders Day – October 28
    1. Please take a moment and reflect on the benefits we enjoy due to the people who choose to respond to disasters, crisis, or emergencies.  These folks often put themselves at risk as they selflessly seek to help other people.  Here’s a compilation of a few stories of first responders from around the country and how they help their communities.  I was particularly interested in the career support for previously incarcerated individuals who help fight forest fires…seems like a win, win, win for everyone!  Is there a first responder story that stands out to you?  If so, please share on yammer. 😊
  3. Employee Giving
    1. As you know,  Southwest Tech has a strong culture of giving with over 90% of our full-time employees giving a gift in each of the past five years.  Amazing and greatly appreciated!
    2. Because people have a lot on their plates right now, we are scaling back the formal employee giving campaign this year.  My forever goal, which I believe we will achieve someday, is 100% participation. Fortunately, we are already over 70% of our faculty and staff who have given a gift this year. #humbledtoworkhere
    3. Please consider giving to one of two opportunities in November:
      1. The Southwest Tech Holiday Project: This project helps make the holiday season happier and more joyous for our less fortunate students.  Our donations provide families with a holiday food box and a gift for each child in the household.  Over the last five years, Southwest Tech has provided holiday cheer to over 125 students and 320 children! Please consider donating by Nov. 12th for this project to ensure gifts can be purchased and provided in time.
      1. The Foundation’s Giving Tuesday Campaign: A national day of giving, always held the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, will focus on the Charger Dream Fund.  Students can receive one-time grants up to five-hundred dollars to help them stay in college during a personal emergency or hardship. The Charger Dream fund supported 101 students with nearly $44,000 in grant awards during the 2020-21 school year. Giving Tuesday is Tuesday, November 30th.
  1. Please take advantage of using payroll deduction – $1 a pay check is a great place to start. Payments can be made online.  Checks or cash can be given to the Southwest Tech Foundation. In-kind gifts are an option too. Ask Kim Schmelz if you would like to know the greatest needs for in-kind gifts or have other questions.
  2. Cyber Security Month
    1. To “celebrate”, here’s a reminder: The annual cybersecurity staff training, required of all employees, is conveniently located under the campus Staff Training area in Schoology.   More information on accessing the training can be found on  SWTC’s Knowledgebase page: SWTC Cybersecurity Training.   Please complete the training prior to the end of the calendar year.
    2. Please remember: Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!
    3. We are grateful to our IT professionals who keep our network and infrastructure as safe as possible.  Nice job, IT Team!
  3. Kudos to…
    1. Jamie Seitz!  Jamie has helped the Electrical Power Distribution program while they wait for a new safety assistant to be hired.  The attached Shout Out from Joe Randall expresses heartfelt thanks for Jamie’s good work. 😊
    2. Kaye Woodke!  Kaye did an excellent job with Open House.  In the attached Shout Out, Sherry Kane detailed several ways Kaye went above and beyond! 😊
    3. Darci Colsch!  As a nursing instructor, there are always ways to help students.  Angie Starkey noted in the attached Shout Out that Darci’s impact made a difference for students! 😊

Who knows how many of you actually make it this far in my emails, which is understandable.  There will always be plenty of work to do.  If you do read these messages, please drop me a line with what you like and what you’d like me to improve.  The feedback helps me adapt future messages.

I hope you are able to do something you enjoy with someone you love this weekend.  Being a holiday, please be safe and have fun!

Take care,


Post Script:  Devin Hughes was our Orange Frog trainer back in January of 2020.  I enjoy the wisdom he imparts on LinkedIn.  As we enter the month of giving thanks, I thought his message below would resonate.

Girl Praying
Posted in COVID-19, Update