Greater Siouxland Task Force moving at fast speed


Photo Courtesy of Northeast Community College Website

South Sioux City College Center is making changes to better enhance students’ experience.

Chantal Lawson, Staff Writer

Last semester, the Greater Siouxland Task Force was created with the purpose of gathering data and determining how Wayne State College can better serve students and utilize the College Center in South Sioux City.

“WSC is committed to learning excellence and its impact in the region,” John Dunning, leader of the task force said. “From RHOP to a teacher education program that uniquely serves applied technology education and other teacher shortage areas, many WSC grads take what they learned during their college career back home and put it to use in Greater Siouxland.”

Months have passed since the group formed, and they’re productively headed toward their deadline. They meet every other week, as was planned during the first meeting last semester, and a lot has been accomplished.

“The task force has a substantial charge and a limited amount of time, but the members of the group are talented and passionate, so I’m confident that we’ll have solid recommendations for Dr. Rames by our April deadline,” Dunning said.

During the Jan. 15 meeting, the task force finalized an external survey with plans to send out to students and parents in the Siouxland area.

On Feb. 4, the external survey was made available in English and Spanish. A plan was made and agreed upon with the South Sioux City schools that 1,200 students would take the survey, and a link on their websites would be available for parents to participate in the survey as well.

The questions ranged from, “What educational opportunities are lacking in the area?” to “How do you feel about Wayne State?” The task force also looked over a rough draft of their white paper document. (The finalized white paper will be submitted to Dr. Rames in April.)

Demographics of the Siouxland area were also analyzed at the Feb. 4 meeting. It was discovered that there are 20,000 potential students in the Siouxland area, and we are yielding 300 out of that pool, according to the task force’s meeting notes. This is the purpose of the group: to increase the yields and serve the Siouxland people better.

The group met again on Feb. 19. With two meetings until their white paper deadline, they were productive.

The external survey was analyzed. According to the group’s data, 80 percent of students said they wanted to go to college; however, only 60 percent go. While many wanted a four-year education, they chose a two-year education. The group determined that they needed to work on those that don’t attend by marketing WSC’s affordability on television and radio.

The task force also looked at the current Hispanic student opportunities at WSC and discovered what the Hispanic student retention rate is. With this information, the group had six areas to discuss in the white paper. Ten was their goal. So, they sent the internal survey to faculty and staff.

The task force went into their March 4 meeting and further analyzed the exterior survey. Few responses from high school seniors were received, and the group determined that maybe this was because seniors had already made a college choice. Additionally, very few parents had responded.

The task force’s meeting notes for this meeting included an idea of implementing soccer to recruit Siouxland students, but they wanted to do some more interviews to be sure.

Directly from the meeting notes: “Most significant is that WSC needs to reach out more and become more involved, which seems to be a common theme.”

In general, the task force has worked diligently to gather information and data to complete their white paper by the April deadline. Dunning will be working to update the paper as more data comes in. As the group approaches their April 16 deadline, more work is needed but progress is clear.