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Drake Learning Symposium

The Drake Learning Symposium offers faculty and staff a time to learn together around a shared issue of concern.

The 2019 Learning Symposium convened around the theme Drake Tomorrow: Why We Change, How We Change. The student body of the future is ever evolving, and demographics will change dramatically in coming years. Thus, Drake faces a choice.  Do we react to these changes as they occur? Or do we try to control our own destiny by planning, making decisions that will secure the future of the University, learning to serve our current students while working intentionally to plan for future generations of students? This was the focus of this year’s Learning Symposium, Friday, Aug. 16, in the Olmsted Center.

Jeremy Gudauskas and Whitney Roberts, North Central College, presented the Keynote Address, Navigating the Seas(ons) of Change: Lessons Learned From Those Still Swimming. In an effort to anticipate the shifting tides in higher education, North Central College in Naperville, Illinois has embarked on its fair share of institutional change over the last five years. From curriculum reinvention to leadership transitions to strategic planning and physical plant overhauls, faculty and staff have ridden the waves of change while keeping their eyes fixed on enhancing the student experience and staying aligned with the College’s mission to develop “citizens and leaders.” With their sea legs now under them, representatives from North Central will share lessons learned and opportunities leveraged in the pursuit of launching the next generation of changemakers.  

Whitney Roberts is the Director of Civic Engagement & Social Innovation at North Central College. During her near decade long tenure, she has lead institutional efforts to advance civic engagement and social innovation programing and curriculum at the college. She is a resource and advisor for students, staff, faculty, and community partners engaged in responsible civic engagement. As part of the Center for Social Impact team, she has helped to launch many campus and community wide programs and events, including the Changemaker Challenge pitch competition, and a new Social Entrepreneurship major. Whitney has worked inside and outside of the classroom as well as in the private sector as a management consultant. She teaches leadership theory and social innovation coursework in the Leadership, Ethics, and Values academic program in North Central’s Center for Social Impact.

Jeremy Gudauskas is an Assistant Vice President at North Central College. He co-directs the College's Center for Social Impact, a collaborative campus effort focused on engaging students in social entrepreneurship, civic engagement, service, community-based learning, and activism. In the classroom, Gudauskas teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership, social change, and social entrepreneurship in the Leadership, Ethics and Values program and Master of Leadership Studies program. Gudauskas also oversees the College's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Office of Career Development, Office of Faith and Action, and Office of Campus Recreation. Over his 14 years at North Central, he has been involved in launching a variety of new student-focused initiatives including a student-run music venue, a social venture pitch competition, a community-wide day of service, pre-orientation immersion experiences, a men’s leadership expedition, an outdoor adventure program, and multiple conferences. Prior to returning to North Central (his alma mater), he gained valuable experience working for a global technology corporation, starting a small business, and being a founding board member of a local non-profit organization.

In addition there were over a dozen breakout sessions for faculty and staff.

The Learning Symposium concluded with the year's first Drake Social at the Cowles Library Reading Room.