News & Events
Board Recognizes 10th Anniversary of Waubonsee President’s Service
During the past 10 years, Waubonsee Community College opened two new campuses, saw its enrollment increase significantly, celebrated its 40th anniversary, upgraded its technology infrastructure and accomplished numerous other institutional milestones. At its monthly meeting Wednesday night, the Waubonsee Board of Trustees recognized Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek on her 10th year leading the college.
“Waubonsee is an amazing college that enables students to realize their potential and see their futures take shape,” Dr. Sobek said. “It has been an honor to work with such a dynamic and committed board of trustees, faculty, staff and student body to deliver life-changing educational opportunities.”
Dr. Sobek became Waubonsee’s fourth president on July 1, 2001. In this role, she is responsible for the overall leadership of the college — which serves more than 12,000 students each semester, employs approximately 1,200 faculty and staff, and offers educational programs and services through a network of four permanent campuses located across the 600-square-mile college district and extensive online offerings.
Under Dr. Sobek’s strategic leadership, Waubonsee has not just grown — the institution has also flourished and expanded its ability to serve the community. A significant highlight of the past decade at Waubonsee is the passage of two referenda in 2002 and 2003, which provided the initial funding for the 2020 College Master Plan. This plan provided the roadmap to serve the growing college district, resulting in the construction of four new buildings on the college’s Sugar Grove Campus, a new campus that opened in Plano in fall 2010 and the new downtown Aurora Campus that opened in June. Numerous other physical improvements to Waubonsee’s infrastructure have been completed since 2001.
Growth has certainly been a consistent trend during the past 10 years at Waubonsee. The expansion of college facilities was matched by the growth in student enrollment. In 2000-2001, Waubonsee students took 125,121 credit hours and in 2010-2011, students took 207,957 credit hours, which represents a 66 percent increase in credit hours. To support this growth, Waubonsee added 39 new full-time faculty positions over this period. The Waubonsee Foundation facilitated student enrollment growth by disbursing funds for student scholarships. Its assets in 2001 totaled $1.3 million and today total more than $3.1 million.
In 2003, Waubonsee was selected by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to participate in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) and received the full seven-year accreditation reaffirmation in spring 2010. This accreditation process formalized Waubonsee’s commitment to continuous quality improvement. Other initiatives relating to quality during Dr. Sobek’s time as president include the development of a college vision statement and brand identity, the refinement of the college’s strategic planning process, and the creation of an annual Presidential Action Initiative.
A strong commitment to community engagement has been a hallmark of Dr. Sobek’s tenure as president. In fact, this year her annual Presidential Action Initiative centers on “excellence through engagement.” Dr. Sobek currently serves as a member of the Rush-Copley Medical Center Board of Directors; the Valley Industrial Association Board of Directors; The Conservation Foundation Board of Trustees; the Marmion Academy Board of Trustees; and the Aurora Economic Development Commission Board of Directors. Other leadership roles include service on the American Council on Education Commission on Racial and Ethnic Equity, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Sustainability Taskforce, and the AACC Commission on Marketing and Communications. Dr. Sobek was recently elected to serve on the Executive Leadership Team of the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents.
In addition to her own personal and professional outreach, Dr. Sobek spearheaded multiple Waubonsee initiatives to better serve the community and its students. In the past decade, Waubonsee responded to changing trends and new challenges by creating the Brighter Futures recession response initiative, launching a parent’s outreach program, focusing on sustainability from a curricular and environmental stewardship perspective, fostering and celebrating diversity, and enhancing emergency preparedness and safety.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Sobek has gained more than 30 years of community college administrative experience. Prior to her appointment as president, Dr. Sobek served in a variety of administrative roles at Waubonsee. She joined Waubonsee in 1989 after 11 years of employment at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Illinois.
Dr. Sobek earned a doctoral degree from Northern Illinois University, a master's degree from Michigan State University, and a bachelor's degree, with Highest Distinction, from Purdue University. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and an honorary member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. She also completed Harvard University’s Seminar for Experienced Presidents.
Dr. Sobek’s leadership excellence has been recognized by numerous organizations. Her awards include the Outstanding Alumni Award from Northern Illinois University; the Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society; an Influential Women in Business award sponsored by The Business Ledger; the Michigan State University College of Education Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award; a Quad County Urban League Lifetime Achievement Award; and the National Council of Marketing and Public Relations District 3 Pacesetter of the Year Award. She regularly presents at national and regional conferences and has authored articles in local and national publications.