Focus on the Future initiative begins

— Brett Scwickerath/TRUMPET
— Brett Scwickerath/TRUMPET

Wartburg’s Focus on the Future initiative will meet for the first time at Wartburg College on Feb. 17, President Darrel Colson said.

He said through the six year Transforming Tomorrow campaign ideas have been proposed for the future.

“We want to be sure we’re doing everything we can to provide a really good service for students,” Colson said.

He said seven tasks forces will focus on academic innovation, student success and expanding the college’s reach.

Dr. Todd Reiher, a professor of psychology and current chair of the faculty council, will co-chair the entire effort with Regent Sara Tomson Hooper.

Janeen Stewart, executive administrator for the president’s office, has been involved in all strategic planning initiatives since she began working for the college in 1999.

Stewart will be co-directing the Focus on the Future initiative with Lia Kampman.

“This is a very focused effort that will explore targeted strategic opportunities and shape priorities in the final three years of the strategic plan,” Stewart said.

She said she is coordinating four of the task forces and Kampman is coordinating the other three.

Colson said three of the task forces focusing on academic innovation will look at engineering science, health sciences and interdisciplinary programs.

He said the two task forces focusing on student success will look at student recruitment, support, engagement and satisfaction and the living and learning environment.

The two on-campus co-chairs for these topics will be Cassie Hales, director of Residential Life, and Derek Solheim the director of Pathways.

Colson said Dr. Bill Withers will be co-chair of the experiential learning and entrepreneurial endeavors task force to expand the reach of the college.

Kristin Teig-Torres, director of Community Engagement, will also be working on expanding the college’s reach, as a co-chair of a task force on regional partnerships, Colson said.

He said the first goal of the task forces is to expand deep and integrative learning in the liberal arts tradition.

“We will identify and clarify the next investments we are going to make, the investments for the future,” Colson said.

Stewart said while the task forces will not directly result in a new comprehensive campaign, they will hopefully generate new ideas.

Colson said he believes Focus on the Future will build a foundation for future philanthropic support, increase a sense of ownership for future initiatives and increase the awareness of the college and understanding present and future initiatives for people who might not know the school as well.

Colson said the different ideas will generate actionable ideas for the October Board of Regents meeting.

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