Riverland president articulates his goals for academic year

Published 10:39 am Friday, August 23, 2013

By Alex Smith, alex.smith@austindailyherald.com

For students at Riverland Community College, summer is coming to an end. Classes are set to begin Monday, and Riverland President Adenuga Atewologun is ready to tackle his first year on campus.

Adenuga Atewologun

Adenuga Atewologun

Atewologun said there are plenty of goals to achieve at Riverland this year.

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He plans to set a formal, five-year strategic plan based on the future draft report that came from MnSCU.

“The first thing is to initiate a strategic planning process,” Atewologun said.

Enrollment is “down by a percentage or two,” compared to previous years according to Atewologun, which is something he wants to improve. Although that’s only a week’s data, they’ve already intensified efforts by having a series of meetings regarding enrollment.

“We are hoping we will be 1 percent higher than last year,” Atewologun said.

Another goal is to secure the new leadership on campus. Gary Schindler, new dean of student services, is among fresh faces in the school.

“We’re going to stabilize leadership,” Atewologun said.

A new welcome center is also in the works to support students throughout their college career.

“We have a goal of emphasizing more of our student service,” Atewologun said. “We are focusing on the completion of students.”

Atewologun also said he wants to focus on students of color on campus.

“We want to breach the achievement gap between students of color and white students,” Atewologun said. “It’s one of the worst gaps in the state.”

Some of the new additions to the Austin campus include a new facility for Apple Lane Childcare Center, which students began using in mid-June for children ages preschool to fifth grade. The expansion was mainly funded by the Hormel Foundation, which donated $3 million to the new program.

A new partnership with Kingsland High School will allow students to take some of the advanced math and physics courses without leaving Spring Valley.

“Those courses would sometimes articulate into an associate of arts degree,” Atewologun said.

Riverland students will have the opportunity to earn a degree outside of Austin without having to leave. The 2+2 program allows students to earn their associate degree in business from Riverland, and then transfer all of the credits to Cardinal Stritch University to finish a four-year degree in business management.

Riverland is boasting its online courses this year.

“Out of all these state colleges and universities, we have the most quality online courses in the whole state,” Atewologun said.

Though many things will be different this school year, Riverland’s accreditation in nursing and business will remain the same.

“We have accreditation that’s ongoing for the institution for some of our programs like nursing and business,” Atewologun said. “We want to be sure we continue our accreditation.”