It’s my pleasure to introduce you to another online edition of Doane Magazine. In this issue, you will read a few stories that are just a small representation of the amazing work being done by our current and former students. These stories include highlighting an alumna who has made a worldwide impact with her art, two Master of Arts in Counseling graduates who are breaking barriers and saving lives with a new mental health program implemented in select southeast Nebraska school districts, how a diverse group of students in a recent Master of Arts in Management cohort bonded together in their capstone program, and finally, a story on a current College of Professional Studies student who, despite being in the midst of a difficult battle with cancer, continues to persevere and work towards his degree. All of these stories make me very proud to be President of such a great institution, and I hope you, as an alumnus of Doane University, feel equally proud.
It’s important to me that we keep our alumni informed and engaged, and now is a good time to share a few important items that were discussed at our winter Board of Trustees meeting last Friday (February 22).
Doane has had great success in launching the Open Learning Academy (previously known as Prerequisites for Health Professions) and we plan to continue to build off this momentum. In just under two years since the program’s launch, OLA has had nearly 2,000 students complete a course. Under the Open Learning Academy, we currently offer 41 online courses. Students from all 50 states and from a few international countries have taken an OLA course, which operates under the 8-week term model.
As we expand OLA and explore new, innovative, and diverse revenue streams for the university, it is important that Doane has a formal academic structure to house these programs. The Board reviewed and approved the establishment of the School of Integrative Learning, which will consist of the Open Learning Academy and new opportunities reflective of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that defines this new school. The School of Integrative Learning (SIL) is an incubator for innovative academic programs that can nimbly respond to trends in higher education by providing in-demand academic programs and course offerings with flexible learning options and provide exceptional experiences for our students by leveraging new technologies and pedagogies to strengthen Doane’s presence locally and globally. The SIL will provide students with a robust, engaging, success-oriented experience and expanding array of demand-based programs such as certificates, badges, and credentials that demonstrate specific competencies, helping learners differentiate themselves in a competitive job market.
The School of Integrative Learning will join the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies, and College of Education as a major academic unit furthering our growth and expansion as a university. Andrea Butler, associate vice president of academic affairs for adult and online operations, will be the leader of this school. In support of the Open Learning Academy’s growth, Doane’s Office of Strategic Marketing created a new microsite for OLA, which can be viewed here.
The College of Education will be under new leadership beginning this summer, as Dean Lyn Forester is set to retire in June. After an extensive search was conducted, in coordination with the search committee, Paul Savory, provost and executive vice president, determined that it would be best to move forward without hiring any of the applicants. Dr. Tim Frey, professor in the College of Education, will be appointed Interim Dean for the College of Education. Dr. Frey will officially start in this role on July 1 and will be in the position for two years.
Another important item discussed at the Board meeting was the approval of adding a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee as a new Board committee. Luis Sotelo, Chief Diversity Officer at Doane, will serve as the staff liaison to the committee. The Board of Trustees will determine at a later date who will be the chair of this committee.
The university-wide strategic planning process is well underway as focused committees began meeting in December. The nine committees that make up this process are: Mission, Vision, Values and Peer & Aspirant Schools, Academic programs and curriculum, Enrollment and Marketing, Advancement and Alumni, Student Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, Information Systems and Technology, Student Experience, and University Operations. Committee work will continue through this spring with recommendations made to the Strategic Planning Executive Committee this summer. I am very anxious and excited to see the results of many people’s hard work in this process and I look forward to sharing updates with you as we near closer to the end of the timeline.
As always, thank you for your continued support of Doane University. I hope you enjoy reading these stories!
Jacque Carter, Ph.D