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Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Chancellor Neil Aspinwall, who took the reins midyear, will head a five-member steering committee and 15-member planning committee to shape Sowela’s future. The scope of the mission extends beyond the borders of the Lake Charles campus and its Morgan Smith facility in Jennings. (Donna Price / American Press)<br>

Chancellor Neil Aspinwall, who took the reins midyear, will head a five-member steering committee and 15-member planning committee to shape Sowela’s future. The scope of the mission extends beyond the borders of the Lake Charles campus and its Morgan Smith facility in Jennings. (Donna Price / American Press)

Input sought on Sowela’s future

Last Modified: Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:24 AM

Special to the American Press

New chancellor. New buildings. New path to accreditation. Now, Sowela Technical Community College will conclude 2012 with an effort to craft a five-year strategic plan.

Chancellor Neil Aspinwall, who took the reins midyear, heads a five-member steering committee and 15-member planning committee to shape Sowela’s future. The scope of the mission extends beyond the borders of the Lake Charles campus and its Morgan Smith facility in Jennings.

“Sowela must remain connected to the communities in which it serves so that we can respond to the needs of the businesses and industries as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Aspinwall said.

“Engagement with our local communities and industries, particularly with the workforce training aspects, is also a high priority,” said Charles Nwankwo, chief information resources and technologies officer, who is assisting with the strategic planning effort.

Sowela’s institutional knowledge will be assisted by the community. Elected officials, business and industry leaders, civic leaders, and Sowela alumni will gather at the Lake Charles Civic Center later this week for “A Conversation on College and Community” to share their views.

The planning committee will gather information throughout the rest of the year, generate feedback in January, draft the plan in the two months after that and then implement the plan beginning in August.

Sowela has enlisted the expertise of consultant Daniel Seymour, former vice chancellor of Houston Community College, for the effort. Seymour, of QSystems, is a Fulbright Scholar and Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award senior examiner. He has consulted for more than 40 colleges and universities nationwide.

Sowela, which will celebrate 75 years of technical education in Southwest Louisiana in 2013, opened the Phillips 66 Process Technology Center this year and will soon open a new arts and sciences building. The college is seeking Commission on Colleges accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

In early 2013, it will break ground on a 35,000-square-foot health and nursing facility.

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