Portrait of President Dr. Christine Sobek
Christine J. Sobek, Ed.D.

The start of a year brings a sense of newness and opportunity that extends beyond just the turn of the calendar. Many of us have new year resolutions that we use as tools to help us enhance our lives in a variety of ways. We make plans that support our resolutions and do things like buy gym memberships and healthier groceries, make financial budgets, and create tools to help us stay organized.

Resolutions and plans do not have to begin in January, though. For Waubonsee, the Strategic Plan we launched last August serves as our resolution to be the top choice for learning in our community. This resolution and the plan that supports it are built on the three pillars of student equity and success, community connections, and employee and organizational excellence. Over the last several months we have seen many examples of the progress we’ve made in achieving goals within these three pillars.

Current Waubonsee students like Mark McCarney, Joseph Einsle, Natalie Wakileh, and Roxana Garcia are tremendous examples of people who have realized academic success as they move towards professional success and personal enrichment. After a long career in another field, Mark is learning new skills in HVAC. Joseph and Natalie are studying political science and Roxana was selected for a program this past summer to study climate in the country of Estonia. Former students like Michael Chinn and Matthew Maltese have gone on to rewarding careers with a great company in our community.

Community connections have been strengthened through our relationships with industry partners like EN Engineering to connect students like Michael and Matthew with great jobs. Our partnerships with four-year colleges give students educational opportunities beyond Waubonsee and our strong relationships with area high schools help prepare students for the academic rigor of college and the entire college experience. The relationships that Waubonsee has with partners throughout our community and beyond help people move throughout their academic journey from high school through bachelor’s degrees and into the workplace.

Employee and organizational excellence drive everything that we do at Waubonsee. It is our employees who make the difference in the lives of students every day through teaching and connections to resources, partners and jobs. Employee commitment to excellence is inspiring. All of the students I mentioned above have been positively impacted by many faculty and staff.

Many of these employees have shared their knowledge beyond their classrooms and offices by writing Waubonsee Voices columns. These columns present information and expertise on a wide variety of topics. I encourage you to take a look at our Voices columns where you can learn from our dean for admissions that you can make college happen for you, and from an instructor of manufacturing technology what a career in manufacturing is like, or from an assistant professor of criminal justice how students are accepting the challenge to make a difference. These are just a few of the many topics that our employees cover in Waubonsee Voices.

I am excited about the progress we are making on our “not-so-new” resolution and the pillars of our Strategic Plan. Our top priority is to be the top choice for learning in our community. Even though it is a new year on the calendar right now, this is not a new goal for us. It is grounded in a sentence in our long-standing Vision Statement: “Our success is defined by the dreams we help shape, the opportunities we help design, and the futures we help create.”