July 18, 2024

SWCC reviews purpose statement

As Southwestern Community College prepares to create their strategic plan for fiscal years 2025-30, the board of trustees took a look at the college’s purpose statement.


During Tuesday’s meeting, SWCC President Lindsay Stoaks asked the board if they had any suggestions regarding changes to the purpose statement. Presently, the purpose statement reads:

Southwestern Community College exists in order that community members have opportunities to gain skills and knowledge sufficient for successful employment, higher education achievement and lifelong learning.

Though seemingly short, a purpose statement is meant to be a brief explanation of an organization’s existence and how they will impact society. Iowa Code Chapter 260 acts as a guide for community colleges, including in the building of their purpose statements. Board members looked to this chapter as they workshopped the statement.

Tony Cass

“One of the things that I was looking at when considering this is, instead of saying ‘community members,’ maybe find some different wording to include students and adults,” board president Tony Cass said. “We offer educational opportunities to people of all ages, instead of just to community members.”

Sue Stearns

The board agreed with this assessment, with board member Sue Stearns suggesting the phrase “all persons” or “individuals” instead.

“It’s something inclusive... You could make a noble statement almost to the level of, all who enter here, or something like that,” Stearns said. “I could see community members also being constrictive in terms of, what community?”

The board also focused on the word “sufficient,” saying the term didn’t raise the school or the people to high enough standards.

“Why do we need sufficient? Why don’t we say something more positive than sufficient,” Stearns said. “This sounds like, yeah, we’ll meet your minimum needs, now go out there and get a job. I say take it out. ‘Gain skills and knowledge for successful employment…'”

Stoaks recommended a change to the phrase “exists in order,” saying various people have brought up this part of the statement.

The board liked the change in phrasing to “provides all individuals the opportunity” instead of “exists in order.”

With the various changes suggested, the proposed purpose statement would read:

Southwestern Community College provides all individuals the opportunities to gain skills and knowledge for successful employment, higher education achievement and lifelong learning.

The purpose statement will be further discussed in July’s board meeting.

In other SWCC news...

Construction is continuing on the Osceola campus, as workers prepare to put in a building pad for the new building.

A groundbreaking for the new CDL center be place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 20. The CDL addition will be incorporated into the Agricultural Sciences Center, located north of SWCC’s main campus, on Green Valley Road.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.