The English poet, John Donne, wrote in 1624 that no one is an island. This phrase has been used in countless commencement addresses to urge students to be engaged with their communities. However, I think, that Donne was not giving exhortation, but rather a description of reality.
Some claim colleges and universities are islands or ivory towers – disconnected and uninformed about the “real world” all around them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Our task in higher education is to develop students’ skills and abilities and to prepare them to be good citizens and servant leaders, and innovators and entrepreneurs, preservers of our heritage and builders of our future, teachers, and learners. None of these are solitary in either intent or results.
In addition to our number one priority, the student, colleges, and universities intentionally serve their communities. A number of WAICU members featured in this edition of the Independent have chosen their turn to focus on helping others. I encourage you to read all the stories carefully because all of them have something to teach us about institutions that are far from islands.
Be well and stay safe!
Rolf Wegenke, Ph.D.