SUGAR GROVE – The mood was optimistic Tuesday at Waubonsee Community College as members of the community gathered to discuss a vision for the future of the expanding institution.
The Waubonsee Visions Future 2050 Summit brought six speakers and hundreds of members of the surrounding area – Waubonsee staff and students, innovators in business and industry and members of the community and other organizations – together to discuss ways to make innovative improvements to the college. All residents of the surrounding area were invited to attend.
The six speakers covered a variety of topics including personal touches in a high-tech environment, preparing for the 2050 workforce, measuring readiness for job candidates and preparing for sustainability. The keynote speaker, Nicholas Webb, talked about “The Future of Disruptive Innovation” – how the technological landscape is changing and how educators can innovate to prepare students for those shifts.
“When we think about the future, we can’t look at it from the frame of reference of what happened before. What happened before is plagued with slowness and is plagued with shallowness,” Webb said. “The future is fast and deep. The changes that are going to happen in the next 30 to 50 years are on accelerated mode, and they are very deep in nature.”
After the initial presentations, attendees moved to small breakout sessions to discuss the speech topics in depth and to think about how to apply them to future goals for Waubonsee College.
Liz Murphy, the CEO of CampusWorks Inc., kicked off the series of speeches. She was optimistic about the future of Waubonsee as she referenced a 2020 College Master Plan to construct several buildings and two new campuses – one in Plano and another in Aurora.
The project finished five years ahead of time and under budget.
The new visioning process is a little more abstract.
“We want to engage the community in improving the college,” said Jim Sibley, Waubonsee’s executive director of marketing and communications. He cited the different topics of conversation and explained how he wanted the topics to “stimulate thought” in those areas to improve the learning experience.