Good October, friends! We entered a very busy month on campus with Board of Trustees meetings, the transition from Session I to Session II courses, advising season, athletic competitions at home and on the road, and several fall festivals--what a whirlwind time (see photos below for a few highlights):
Do remember to take time to slow down and appreciate this season on campus. The days are shorter, the trees are more colorful, and we seem to be in a race to the end of the semester. Overwhelm has a tendency to set in. In the spirit of our Quaker practice, take a moment of silence, if you wish, among the trees or in the Adirondacks nested under the Simon Goodman Memorial Carillon or on the patio of the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture. It will be winter before we know it.
While there are too many things to cover in this brief blog, I offer several key highlights:
Board of Trustees Updates
The Board of Trustees met on October 13 and 14, 2023 for their quarterly meeting. Many trustees arrived early to engage in campus activities with students, faculty, and staff and to receive tours of the Watson Library construction project on Thursday.
We began our open meeting Friday with welcome comments, introductions, and a moment of silence led by Board Chair, Dan Buckley. I followed Dan with an update on the state of Higher Education, a high-level overview of Wilmington College's strategic paths forward, including a deep dive into the ongoing All-Campus Visioning Sessions. The Ad Hoc staff/Board committees each presented priorities and progress made through October in the areas of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management, Advancement, Buildings and Grounds, External Relations, Marketing and Communications, and Student Affairs.
*Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management Committee
Admissions reported the Fall 2023 census head count as of September 4, 2023, totaling 964 students. Traditional undergraduate students make up 92% of the total enrollment. The incoming new student enrollment for Fall 2023 totaled 295 new main campus students (263 new first year and 32 new transfer students). While 80% of incoming students were from Ohio, the College enrolled 6 new international students along with 51 students from States other than Ohio.
The Prison Education Program approvals are on track and moving through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Substantive Change Request processes. All three sites--Warren, Lebanon, and Dayton Correctional Institutions--have been submitted for approval through the HLC. We await site review.
Wilmington College is in partnership with the Rize Education Consortium in order to develop four new academic offerings for the fall of 2024. More specifically, Rize utilizes a course-sharing model that helps private colleges expand educational opportunities for students. This incubator model helps schools create new shared majors, using top-quality curricula developed and taught by leading experts, wrapped by existing Wilmington College coursework and programs. Wilmington College is exploring four incubator programs in the areas of: Public Health, Nutrition, Data Science, and Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
A new Center for Teaching Excellence is under development and was introduced by Vicky DeSensi, Professor of Psychology and CTE program coordinator. The CTE will soon be located in the Watson Library and will promote engagement with scholarly and engaging teaching practices to support the academic development of instructors and their students.
Wilmington College is set to host the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) championships for outdoor track and field in the spring of 2025. Efforts are now underway to raise funds for the replacement of Beckett Track (1994) in Williams Stadium, which has not been fully resurfaced since 2003. Nearly 50% of funds have been raised so far. Thank you to the Advancement Team for the vision and drive.
*Buildings and Grounds Committee
The Buildings and Grounds Committee reviewed and approved a proposal to install new Heater/Air Conditioning units in the Austin-Picket residences halls. The project will involve the installation of a device similar to those in hotel rooms, providing students with user controllable Air Conditioning and Heat. This will eliminate the need to upgrade the failing old heating system in both buildings while providing AC to students at a cost less than the cost to replace the old heating system. The project will also address the extra power needed in Austin/Pickett to support the upgrade. The estimated cost is ~$2mil. Contract review is in process and project kickoff will follow its signing.
*External Relations, Marketing, and Communications Committee
The Port Authority and Wilmington DRIVE (Downtown Revitalization Investment Vibrancy Effort) Program closed on the Masonic Lodge site (28 W. Main St. in downtown Wilmington) on Sept. 29. Wilmington College, in partnership, agreed to work with the DRIVE Program to sponsor a business feasibility study to explore programmatic opportunities within the space. A budget of up to $250K was approved by the Board of Trustees. Findings from the study will be shared with the Port Authority. The college will begin a Request for Proposals to begin the feasibility study.
Wilmington College has contracted with Ed2Go, a first step for the College to be a provider of workforce training to local and regional employers. It also expands the menu of options for Wilmington College students and alumni who may be looking for targeted skills (e.g., project management, Six Sigma training, business intelligence and analytics) that are valued in their respective industries. Workforce readiness and keeping younger workers in the state continue to be priorities for the Ohio governor and state legislature. Wilmington College may also qualify to be a training provider with the Ohio TechCred program for specific technical credentials. Additional information:
Wilmington College is completing its onboarding with Ed2Go and is working on the marketing communication for this partnership. This will include a web page that features advanced career training modules (typically completed in 6 to 18 months) and fundamental courses.
The links to the raw catalogs for both kinds of course modules are below. Wilmington College will highlight those advanced career training modules and fundamental courses that match most closely key industries in the region: healthcare, supply chain management, manufacturing, etc.
Fundamentals short course site: https://www.ed2go.com/wilmington/
Advanced Career Training modules: https://careertraining.ed2go.com/wilmington/
*Student Affairs Committee
Wilmington College received $93,276 in funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education in 2024 and 2025 to support mental health programming on campus. Funds will be used to:
Hire a part-time mental health counselor/graduate intern to provide direct services to student at hours that are convenient to them;
Offer mental health first aid training to students, faculty, and staff;
Provide the CALM app to students and student-facing employees to raise awareness of the importance of mental health, self-care, and ways to support;
Market mental health initiatives as well as purchase promotional, branded items to increase awareness of mental health services on campus while assisting with focus, test/presentation anxiety, and other stressful situations.
All-Campus Visioning Series to Continue October 24, 2023
Members of campus are invited to continue with our All-Campus Visioning Sessions, with the second session occurring on Tuesday, Oct. 24 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 second visioning session, please reflect on the following query:
How can Wilmington College broaden the scope and delivery of its experience to key constituencies, including students, faculty, staff & administrators, and the Wilmington Community?
This session will include some opening remarks and reflections. It will also include opportunity for group sharing and conversation, allotting approximately ten minutes for each of the key constituencies identified.
Dr. Susan Resneck Pierce, President and Professor Emerita of the University of Puget Sound and a nationally-recognized higher-education leader, will facilitate our shared visioning.
Israel Palestine Campus Forum Scheduled for October 25
When: October 25, 2023, 7:00 to 8:15 p.m., in the T. Canby Jones Meetinghouse
Wilmington College students, faculty, and staff are invited to learn critical information regarding the recent outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas with Dr. Marlaina Leppert-Wahl, Associate Professor of Political Science, and Dr. Michael Snarr, Professor of Political Science, and with special guest Dr. Elliot Ratzman, Chair of Jewish Studies at Earlham College.
Dr. Ratzman teaches Jewish Studies in the Religion Department at Earlham College. He has been involved with efforts for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine for many years. He is writing a book about antiracism and Jewish thought titled Zipporah's Knife: A Jewish Reckoning with Race.
WC's Simon Heys a Three-time JennaStrong Event Winner
(Story by David Wahl III)
The Wilmington College cross country program hosted the 10th annual JennaStrong Fall Classic. The men's Quaker team finished 6th in a field of 27 teams.
Simon Heys took home his third crown of the season in four races, as the Senior crossed the line in a meet record time of 24:23.8. Heys was able to show the home fans something special after taking the victory last weekend at Pre-Nationals. The Quakers had two other runners finish in the top-35--the duo of Noah Tobin and Tate Yoder. Tobin finished in the top-10 with a fifth-place time of 25:27.4. Yoder came across the finish in a 32nd-place time of 26:29.7.
Hayden Setty was 38th for the WC women. The freshman finished in 20:40.7.
She was followed by Meghan Cory 47th in 20:49.6, Bella Stevens 117th in 22:23, Sarah Balliett 144th in 23:09.4, Kendal Staley 179th in 24:54.9, Kaitlyn Rauch 192nd in 25:26.6, Emmi Stevens 197s in 25:45.0, Breanna Bailey 208th in 26:52.4, Olivia Chase 210th in 27:22.3, Madison Dietz 225th in 31:08.1, Morgan Fleischer 227th in 31:29.1.
The Quakers head to Findlay, Ohio as postseason begins at the OAC Championships on October 28th.
Announcing The "Dub Club" Athletics Fan Club
A new student organization called the "Dub Club" has formed recently whose purpose is to plan and organize student section activities, including themes, chants, and special events. According to their Instagram (@dubclub_1870), the purpose of the fan club is to engage the Wilmington College community by promoting attendance at athletic events.
"We want to enhance the overall college experience through exciting game-day atmospheres."
The club is open to all interested students. Meetings are announced on Instagram and held monthly. Benefits of joining include access to WC spirit items and other membership perks.
In closing, stay warm and dry this week, friends. Don't forget, you can snag free hot coffee at the TOP each morning from 8:00-9:00 a.m. as part of the "Campus Perks" program.
In peace and gratitude,