SILVIA OAKLAND, TRUMPET EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Wartburg College’s next five years focus on two areas: educating the whole person and being an inclusive community, said President Darrel Colson in his State of the College Address Tuesday. He also announced that 100 fewer students were enrolled for Winter Term compared to Fall Term.
Colson highlighted three main topics throughout his speech: strategic planning and the vision of Wartburg for the next five years, COVID-19 and an enrollment census from Fall Term to Winter Term.
The speech began with a thank-you to faculty and staff for their overwhelming hard work while managing an academic year with COVID-19. Colson continued on Zoom by addressing the goals and visions of Wartburg for the next five years saying, “Wartburg College is called to be the leading institution in education of the whole person. Together we create an inclusive community, combining diverse curricular and co-curricular experiences to prepare students to be resilient leaders of positive change through service in a complex world.”
These goals will be implemented using help from student services, providing more opportunities for richer experiential learning, increasing cultural competency, and developing a more inclusive and equitable climate for students.
After addressing the vision, Colson discussed COVID-19 and the campus. Colson said the delayed start Jan. 18 to Winter Term helped avoid a surge that was predicted to happen after the holidays in December 2020 and the Winter Term was off to a better start than Fall Term in terms of morale and readiness for classes.
The flow of vaccinations was also addressed as Iowa transitioned from phase 1A to phase 1B this month. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) have different classifications of who receives the vaccines. According to IDPH, higher education workers are not included in the 1B phase. Colson did add, however, some faculty, staff and students may meet other criteria in phase 1B that would allow them to receive the vaccine.
Wartburg College will receive $1.9 million in federal aid as a coronavirus package and $645,000 will be given to students. The date of distribution of that aid has not be released as Wartburg is awaiting guidance from the federal government and the new U.S. Department of Education under the Biden administration.
Finally, Colson addressed the enrollment census of the college from last term to the beginning of the current term. The full-time enrollment was up since 2014 with a total of 1,388 students. However, the college did lose over 100 students in the transition of terms.
“I’m not surprised about that attrition, but I’m disappointed as I’m sure you are. Common sense would say that this pandemic and the ways that we’ve had to adjust to the pandemic have made life more difficult for students,” Colson said. “I can only imagine how frustrating it is for students. I mean it’s frustrating for me, and I don’t have to deal with all the challenges that they have to deal with about classes and being in quarantine and cancellations and postponements. It’s got to be extremely frustrating. It’s a tough task; it’s tough for them [students], tough for us [faculty, staff]. It’s just it’s not the environment that any of us signed up for.”
The address ended at noon with an opportunity for faculty to ask questions. Faculty asked if the reports of the new Diversity and Inclusion Task Force will be available to faculty and staff. Colson said at this time there was no official answer.