Update From President, Jason S. Wood, Ph.D. – December 4, 2021


Thank you to everyone who has given a gift to the Foundation this year in support of our students.  Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”  I strongly believe it is all about approaching perfection, 100% of us giving, rather than the dollar amount generated.  Thank you to those of you who have thrown something back to our students. 😊

For the past five years we have had over 90% of our faculty and staff give a gift in support of our students.  Wow.  So impressive!  We are currently at 80% for this year and the words of Winston Churchill ring true, “We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.”  It’s quick and easy to give a few bucks and your generosity will bless the life of a student in need.

By way of update…

  1. Graduation: Winter Graduation will be held on Friday, December 10, with two ceremonies – one at 1:00 p.m. and the other at 3:00 p.m.  Programs are split between the two ceremonies and more information on the specific programs for each ceremony can be found on the graduation webpage.  All are invited to attend.  As we publicly celebrate our students and their achievements, I hope each of you will take a moment to reflect on your role in helping our students succeed.
  2. In-service: Scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, 2022, the College will be closed to the public for the entire day.  We expect everyone to participate in the scheduled activities during the morning session.  We realize many of you have a lot on your plates.  If you need time to work on other projects privately, please use the afternoon to do so.  Please try and avoid holding meetings during the afternoon.  Hopefully the morning session will have something for everyone.
    1. Star Spangled Banner: I am very excited to share that our very own John Kvigne, ag power instructor, will open our in-service by singing our national anthem.  May we come together in gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy.
    2. The afternoon will provide an opportunity to serve and make a difference for people who need a warm place to sleep or a good meal.  Again, you are welcome to do your work responsibilities that need your attention or you can voluntarily serve on the following projects:
      1. Sleep In Heavenly Peace:  We will assemble bunk beds on campus to be distributed to children in need throughout our district and beyond.  People are also welcome to donate new blankets or bedding.
      2. Meals of Hope: We will vacuum seal nutritious and simple meals which will be available for students in our Food Pantry.  If enough people participate, we will donate extra meals to local food banks or schools.  It is possible we will make 25,000 meals!
      3. Gratitude Shout Outs:  We will create homemade cards and write thank you notes to people who are making a difference for others.
  1. Information Technology:
    1. Cyber Security Training: As a reminder, the required annual cybersecurity training is conveniently located under the campus Staff Training (FERPA+) area in Schoology.   The learning path provides content to help develop a foundation of awareness for on campus, remote, and personal usage. 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.  If you already did…thank you!
    2. Project Rise: If you know someone working on Project Rise, please take a moment and thank them for their efforts.  We are at a critical juncture in the process and acknowledge the excellent work our folks have put into the project.  Please stay tuned for an update on a restructured timeline for key deliverables with a modified budget proposal.
    3. Charger Tech 360:  As you know, we invested federal pandemic relief funding to provide laptops, software, and IT support to all of our students and hotspots when needed.  As those funds end we are working to find ways to lower the direct cost to students.  One way to increase the value to students is for faculty to pursue Open Education Resources (OER) that can be installed on the computers prior to disbursement.  Stay tuned for stories and reports from instructors who have successfully found ways to reduce the cost to students through the use of OER while also improving the quality of learning for students.  Finally, a HUGE thank you to our IT department for their efforts to support student learning and success through this initiative.
  2. Listening and Learning: Agriculture
    1. As we have shared previously, there is a lot of research being conducted regarding innovations in the ag industry that may be opportunities for academic programs.  Our goals in program development are mutually integrated and include the importance of growing enrollments, engaging students in quality experiential learning, and serving the ag industry by preparing graduates for future trends.  While we are going to pause our current efforts which means: the ag programs we decide to offer next fall will look very similar to our existing offerings.
    2. We are very enthusiastic about the possibility of formalizing livestock and  dairy judging clubs as formal teams for students.  There is potential to attract more people to our college and retain current students in programs across the ag curriculum.  Planning and prioritizing for development of ag judging teams will occur in early 2022.  Fortunately we have Ryan Weigel and Christina Winch who are experienced, interested, and could lead these efforts.  Stay tuned for more soon!
    3. As I try and learn more about the possibilities in ag, organize a process, and consider potential outcomes, I am indebted to the folks in the ag industry who have taken the time to help me understand.  A couple dozen  students have provided their perspective and feedback on various topics.  Several people from local employers have hosted me at their businesses helping me to learn more.  Special thanks to Brad Biddick, Jim Schweigert, Jason Biddick, Terry Arndt, Kevin Raisbeck, and Rose Kelley.  I also commend Kim Maier for leading a DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) process and the people from local employers who participated.  While we will take longer than originally anticipated, we will respect our ag heritage, honor their input, and create an exciting future…all in due time!
  3. Kudos to…
    1. Joan Young!  In the attached Shout Out, Joan is applauded for her efforts to help individual students be successful.  Nice job, Joan!
    2. Christina Hill and Rex Smith!  In the attached Shout Out, Christina and Rex are thanked for their exceptional service during a very busy time.  Well done, Christina and Rex!
    3. Katie Snitker!  I appreciate her reflective approach to decisions.  Katie demonstrates her openness through active listening.  Thank, Katie, for being a leader at the college!

As the year comes to a close, please know I am grateful for your service to the college.  I care about you and your well-being.  Please take care of your family and friends and cherish the time you spend together.  Enjoy celebrating your beliefs and traditions with the people you love.  Hopefully we can each sincerely learn about someone else’s perspective, experiences, and ideas so we can show increased kindness and respect to all people.

Feel free to send me your thoughts, ideas, or questions.  If there is something I can do to help you, please let me know. 



Posted in COVID-19, Update