The future of Seward County Community College is ever changing. Just a few years ago our college could develop a 10 year strategic plan and envision real adjustments, well planned methodical changes could be developed, and sufficient resources and time were allotted to ensure the plan was successfully implemented. The last strategic plan for SCCC was developed in 2003 and was designed to address the college’s operations through 2010. That plan was developed through the use of community and area-wide meetings, staff input, and Board of Trustee recommendations. The plan included many aspects of the college in anticipation of what would occur in areas such as technology, student demographics, state and federal agency trends, and adjustments to academic and instructional practices. Certainly, the input and anticipated changes were well developed and the vast majority of the initiatives have been implemented.

One of the more significant aspects of SCCC’s past long range plans has been to develop and expand the relationship with Southwest Kansas Technical School (SWKTS). Historically, the relationship has been focused on student articulation, shared resources for customized industry training, and avoiding duplication of instructional programs. Both SCCC and SWKTS were established in the mid-1960’s and both have provided critical education opportunities to the residents of southwest Kansas and our neighboring states. However, as of today (July 1, 2008) SCCC and SWKTS will be one institution – Seward County Community College/Area Technical School (SCCC/ATS) – serving the area with more effective and efficient services. Students will be able to enroll through a single process, employers will be able to contact a single resource person, and the community will enjoy a focused, seamless system of post-secondary (higher) education.

The vision of individuals involved in past strategic plans has become a reality through the merger of SCCC and SWKTS – now SCCC/ATS. That vision included cost efficient operations with highly effective instruction leading to successful educational and career opportunities for the students. A great deal of effort was required to make the transition to a merged institution a reality but, as with anything that is worthwhile, great effort is required. However, the effort of our staff is only beginning as we realize the importance this merger will have on our community, service area, state, and nation. Our students have access to great instruction, career placement advisement, and articulation with universities for baccalaureate degrees.

SCCC/ATS cannot rest with this significant accomplishment. We now enter the next strategic planning initiative and once again we will solicit input from our community members, employees, and students. The future will require creative vision, recognized purpose, a concept of positioning SCCC/ATS for greatness, as well as continued operational effectiveness and efficiencies. Our college must be diligent in seeking improvement with a strategic plan as the guide for that improvement process. I encourage you to become involved in the planning process and participate when invited to the meetings. I intend that individuals will have a variety of means for participation – face-to-face as well as on-line communication will be solicited. As quickly as things change – technology, demographics, agency initiatives, etc. – the necessity for an adaptable and well designed strategic plan becomes more critical. The development of such a plan will be a high priority for SCCC/ATS this year. I welcome your input in and look forward to utilizing the process to establish the direction of SCCC/ATS.