Improving the South Sioux City College Center

Task force studies impact of WSC on greater Siouxland area

Chantal Lawson, Staff Writer

The College Center in South Sioux City is looking at some big improvements, thanks to collaborative efforts from various local parties.

“We co-own a wonderful facility in South Sioux City with Northeast Community College, our partner, at College Center.  We want to ensure that we’re using that resource in effective ways to best serve the region,” said John Dunning, a member of ago the Greater Siouxland Impact Study Task Force (GSIST) that was established in September by WSC President Marysz Rames.

The task force has been asked “to study the current impact and future opportunities for Wayne State College in the greater Siouxland area.”

The purpose of the study is to identify strategies that will enhance learning excellence, student success and regional service for the area, including opportunities to enhance current and initiate new external partnerships to support economic development in the region.

The strategies recommended will be based on information gathered through a review of Wayne State College’s past and current initiatives focused on this region, an analysis of enrollment data, an environmental scan of college/university outreach programs, a review of current literature focused on higher education outreach programs, as well as focus groups with students, faculty, staff, alumni and external stakeholders.”

With this plan of action, members of the committee were selected by the President, nominations submitted by the various Senates, the Wayne State Foundation, and leadership groups in the area such as the chambers of commerce and school boards. They were chosen on October 14.

The group includes: Josh Calkin (Faculty School of Arts and Humanities), Charles Parker (Faculty School of Business and Technology), Jan Dinsmore (Faculty School of Education and Counseling), Gustavo Zardeneta (Faculty School of Natural and Social Sciences), Leah Keino (Director of Multicultural Affairs), Dawn Hirschman(Office Assistant School of Natural and Social Sciences, Support Staff Representative), Dane Chernock (Undergraduate Student), Keaton Comstock (Undergraduate Student), David Harycki (Dean School of Education and Counseling), Bart Gotch (WSC Alumni Representative), Kevin Halle (Director of Admissions), Pam Miller (Dean of the College Center), Vern Fisher (Greater Siouxland School District Representative), Mary Honke (Executive Vice President –, Northeast Community College Representative), John Dunning (CIO, Facilitator), Rhonda Sebade (Assistant to the President, Administrative support), and Jim Jensen and Mike Patrick (Greater Siouxland Community and Industry Advisors).

The task force has met three times since they were appointed and member Rhonda Sebade has uploaded notes to the G: drive from each meeting. Thus far, at the first meeting on Nov. 6, the task force began by dividing themselves into four subcommittees: history (all members), environmental scan (Benson, Halle and Chernock), literature review (Keino and Calkin), and focus groups (internal: Hirschman, Parker, Chernock and Comstock; external: Benson, Miller, Honke, Fisher, Dinsmore, Gotch, Zardeneta and Keino).

They then organized a schedule for future meetings, deciding that they will meet on the first and third Friday of each month from 1-3 p.m. while rotating meeting venue between Wayne State College’s campus and the College Center.

At their second meeting, the task force organized a plan of action for the white paper and appointed committee chairs. Then the group worked as a whole to brainstorm various groups of people in the internal and external focus groups, and what kind of questions to ask them. These groups included Wayne State and Northeast Community College students at College Center, various Greater Siouxland students and families and more. The questions ranged from, “What educational opportunities are lacking in the area?” to “How do you feel about Wayne State?” The second meeting adjourned leaving the group with the homework of thinking of other ways to gather data and how to efficiently get input from the groups of people listed.

With that in mind, the task force held their most recent third meeting last Friday at 2 p.m. at Siouxland National Bank.

“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.”Personally, I›m excited to be working with the task force. Greater Siouxland is a vital part of WSC’s service region and it’s rewarding to be directly engaged with a great team.”

The committee will have their white paper of recommendations, a summary of collected data, and a financial model for their recommendations to President Rames by April 16. After consulting with the deans of schools, she will present the final strategy on May 1.