Celebrating the Power of Education to Change Lives

Over the years, I have spoken and written frequently about “the power of education to change lives.” My belief in the power of education to change lives was instilled in me early in life by my parents, who were both fortunate to earn college degrees. This belief motivated me to pursue a career in higher education, specifically in the community college setting. And it has been so rewarding to personally witness the power of education to change the lives of our students, employees, and community members.

Renewal for All at Waubonsee

Fall is my favorite time of the year. As an employee of Waubonsee Community College for the past 33 and a half years, I have witnessed the magnificent transformation that happens to our campuses during the autumn months. The beauty of this season can be found in observing our spectacular trees change colors. The crisp air gives a sense of renewal, hope, and anticipation for what lies ahead.

It Starts with Access

I speak and write often about the power of education to change lives. And I have devoted my career to helping students personally experience this power. The first step in achieving this goal is to ensure that students have access to higher education.

Mission Accepted

A major strategic goal for this fiscal year was to review our Waubonsee Community College mission statement and to reflect on the relevance and meaning of the statement. The last formal review was conducted several years ago. Mission statements serve as an institutional compass and drive purpose. They succinctly express an organization's intent to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to meeting its stakeholder’s needs.

Waubonsee’s Strong and Resilient Women

According to the Pew Research Center, the first female college president in the United States was Frances Elizabeth Willard who became president of the Evanston College for Ladies in Illinois in 1871. When Evanston College merged with Northwestern University and became the Women’s College of Northwestern University in 1873, Frances Willard served as the first dean of women. An active social reformer, a statue of Frances Willard was the first statue selected for the National Statuary Hall Collection to honor a woman.

Lifelong Learning and Transformation

I have frequently shared that what drew me to my now more than 40-year career in higher education, specifically community college education, is the power of education to change lives. And, a favorite aspect of all of my different roles over the years has been the opportunity to meet and connect with students and hear their stories. Our Waubonsee website includes many stories of individuals who made Waubonsee Community College part of their learning experience at all stages of life.

Reset Your Journey

The New Year is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how we can improve our lives and continue to grow by becoming more intentional in whatever season of life we find ourselves. It is also an ideal time to take an inventory of factors that may be holding us back from experiencing something new. Even as the global pandemic lingers and events happen outside of our control, we can all continue to learn and grow by deciding to reset our journey.  

Thrive Locally. Share Generously.

November provides a lovely transition in the fall semester to embrace the wonderful benefits of being connected to each other in our local community. As the temperatures drop and the leaves turn to marvelous autumn hues, the change in season also provides a rich opportunity to slow our own tempo, to pause, reflect, and be thankful for one another; thankful that community colleges bring many different people together for a common purpose: learning and empowerment.

Thrive Locally. Transfer Easily.

Nationally, community colleges have a uniquely different mission than other types of institutions of higher learning. By providing an affordable and quality education to community residents, community colleges stimulate local economic growth, close the gaps for low-income individuals and families, contribute directly to individuals’ personal fulfillment, and provide an overall, higher quality of life for community residents.

New Pathways for Student Success

At Waubonsee Community College, there is excitement in the air to adapt new pathways for student success and equity. The global pandemic highlighted and exacerbated common barriers that have historically blocked success for many at-risk students.