News & Events

Future of Waubonsee and Larger Community Discussed at Summit

group of people sit in a large event room watching a speaker and computer screen
More than 250 students, faculty, staff and community leaders participated in the Waubonsee Vision 2050 Futures Summit on June 23.

More than 250 Waubonsee Community College students, faculty, staff and community leaders participated in the Waubonsee Vision 2050 Futures Summit on Tuesday, June 23, at the college’s Sugar Grove Campus. The event, which featured presentations and discussions, was designed to bring stakeholders together to anticipate, imagine and elevate the collective futures of the college and community.

With the successful completion of the Waubonsee Community College 2020 College Master Plan earlier this year and the upcoming celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary in 2016, President Dr. Christine Sobek believes the timing is right for a Vision 2050 initiative.

“Our anniversary is not just about our past but also the chance to tell the story of our future,” Dr. Sobek said at the summit. “We’re here today to write the next chapter together.”

World-renowned business futurist and innovation thought leader Nicholas J. Webb presented the day’s keyote address, entitled “The Future of Disruptive Innovations.” Among the many topics Webb touched on were the “innovation value range” and how the traditional incremental and landmark innovations of the past are no longer enough; future innovations will need to be breakthrough and/or disruptive because moving forward, the only changes that matter are those that are “fast and deep.”

Webb also talked about the future of education and how it’s no longer enough for students to prove that they’ve learned something, but rather, they now need to prove that they’re able to apply that knowledge to create or invent something real.

This idea of tangibly demonstrating knowledge and competencies was also the focus of a presentation by Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy President Dr. José Torres, who spoke of digital badges as “the new currency.”

Such competency currency is crucial given what Rama Kavaliauskas, President of Sterling Engineering, dubbed an “age of specialization” in her presentation on the future workforce. She did also point out, however, that while every technological revolution displaces a certain facet of the workforce, it also creates the need for a different, often more elite, one.

Other key presentations included “Personal Touch in a High-Tech Learning Environment,” from Waubonsee faculty members Allison Beltramini and Justin Hoshaw, and “Preparing for Sustainability,” with President/CEO of The Conservation Foundation Brook McDonald.

All community members are welcome to join in the ongoing discussion of these and other topics through the college’s online Idea Lab at