With a sudden cold snap this week, it seems we've unofficially reached the winter season on campus (official winter begins December 21). I have not seen, but have heard of, flurries in the air. While fall is my favorite season on campus, I certainly do look forward to the first blanket of snow.
I'm not sure if you read the Old Farmer's Almanac, but being farmers, we always keep one on hand. And, though I can't speak for its accuracy, the Almanac does lay out a prediction for the next few months for the Ohio Valley.
"Winter will be colder than normal, with above-normal precipitation and snowfall. The coldest spells will occur in late December, early January, and late January through mid-February. The snowiest periods will be in late December through mid-January and late January through mid-February."
I also enjoy comparing the Almanac with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predictions. This year, per usual, they disagree.
In her blog article S(no)w pain, S(no)w gain: How does El Niño affect snowfall over North America?, Michelle L’Heureux is not shy in predicting the lasting impact of warmer oceanic temperatures and what many have called a "Super" El Niño for the Midwest. Although that sounds impressive and a bit ominous, it actually means warmer temperatures for Ohio and, on average, less moisture and less snowfall.
I suppose only time will tell whether the weather is best predicted by the Almanac or NOAA. I won't be selling my sled anytime soon.
In other (and likely more important) news from campus:
Benefits Open Enrollment Period
We're pleased to pre-announce that the Benefits Open Enrollment period for 2024 is approaching and is expected to open from Monday, December 4th, through Friday, December 15th. This is a key time for you to review, update, or change your benefits selections for the upcoming year.
Important Aspects of This Year's Enrollment:
Semi-Passive Enrollment: Most current benefits will automatically roll over. However, we encourage you to review your options to ensure they continue to meet your needs.
Action Required for HSA/FSA: Please note, if you are enrolled in a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), you must resubmit your elections for these accounts.
The Office of Human Resources will be sending out more detailed communications shortly. We encourage everyone to be proactive in understanding and choosing the benefits that best suit your individual and family needs. Please feel free to reach out to the HR team with any preliminary questions.
All-Campus Visioning Series Introduces Query #4
Members of campus are invited to continue with our All-Campus Visioning Sessions, with the fourth session occurring on Tuesday, December 5, via Zoom. The session will last approximately one hour, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., and will then repeat from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. for those who cannot attend at 11:00 a.m.
These sessions provide opportunity for all members of the College, both students and employees, to consider how to best operationalize the College’s shared mission, vision, and core values. A specific query to prompt our reflection will accompany each session. For the fourth visioning session, please reflect on the following query:
How can Wilmington College leverage its signature local and global partnerships?
This session will include some opening remarks and reflections but will largely focus on group sharing and conversation among campus community members. The session will be facilitated by Dr. Susan Resneck Pierce, President and Professor Emerita of the University of Puget Sound and a nationally recognized higher-education leader.
Good News Briefs
We have signed two new Articulation Agreements this week: 1) with Northwest State Community College in the area of Ag Education; and 2) with Hocking College in the area of Equine Business Management. Thank you to Russ Kincaid, Daren Wright, and Chad McKay for working with our partner institutions to make these opportunities possible.
Both the Academic Policies Committee (APC) and Faculty have approved Public Health as a new B.A. concentration under the reorganized Applied Social Sciences area for the fall of 2024. The Admissions team will begin promoting the program to new and transfer prospects in the coming weeks. Website updates will take place in December to reflect the new offering.
Wilmington College applied for and was matched with a Lead for America/American Connections Corps fellow who will work for one year on Prison Education Program support and other projects pertaining to rural and economic development. We welcome WC alum Jordan Snarr into this new and important role.
Efforts have commenced to resurface Beckett Track (1994) in Williams Stadium, which has not been fully resurfaced since 2003. Subsurface materials have been ordered. Watch for more information about the expected timeline for this project. Wilmington College is set to host the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) championships for outdoor track and field in the spring of 2025.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee has announced it is on-track with planned upgrades to the heating and cooling system in Austin/Pickett beginning Summer of 2024. The project will involve the installation of a device similar to those used in hotel rooms, providing students with user-controllable air conditioning and heat. This will eliminate the need to upgrade the old and failing heating system in both buildings while providing air conditioning to all rooms. The project will also involve replacing all of the building's windows and updating furniture.
Advancement has reported great success in this year's Giving Tuesday campaign, which in 48 hours raised $100,557.00 for Wilmington College programs and projects--more than double its original goal. The campaign involved nearly 200 donors from 22 states, with financial support distributed across 37 different campus programs or causes.
With finals week just ahead, things are moving at an incredibly rapid pace. Do take a moment to slow down and find some silence (and maybe a good cup of coffee). The end of the year is just weeks away.
In peace and gratitude,