TORRINGTON – In the second of Eastern Wyoming College’s presidential forum series, Dr. Doug Zalesky of Laramie shared his vision for the college’s success on Wednesday, should he become president.
Highlights of Zalesky’s vision for the college included strengthening and developing relationships, engaging students, understanding and working with the budget and distinguishing EWC from other colleges in the area.
In his first 60 days as president, if elected, Zalesky said meeting with faculty and staff – which he termed “Team EWC” – is critical.
In addition, he spoke of the importance of getting out into the EWC service area to speak with community leaders and educators, community members, legislators, service groups, agricultural organizations and outreach coordinators.
“It’s important to bolster or develop relationships with allied businesses, industries and economic development groups throughout the service area,” he said, naming Wyoming Workforce Services, the Wyoming Community College Commission and other Wyoming community college presidents as examples.
“One thing I think is a strength that I could bring to this position are my relationships at (the University of Wyoming),” Zalesky said. He discussed UW President Laurie Nichols’ strategic plan, which emphasizes the importance of community colleges to the state’s university system.
Zaleksy said he also has a strong working relationship with Frank Galey, Dean of the UW College of Agriculture, who is “extremely supportive of (EWC’s) current ag program as well as the future of the Agricultural Technology Education Center.”
Zalesky also said he has connections at the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Lingle, noting the importance of sharing resources and collaborating with other institutions, especially considering the current economic downturn.
“These are some relationships that are critical and that I would bring to the position if offered to be the next president,” Zalesky said.
In days 60 to 90, Zalesky said he plans to put student engagement at the forefront. He listed clubs and organizations, athletic teams and coaches and the student senate as key groups. He outlined new and different ways to engage students, including move-in day and ‘Welcome to EWC’ events.
“The president could interact by helping out, providing donuts and coffee or soft drinks, and welcome students as they come to campus for the first time,” he said.
Zalesky also discussed the different components important to a successful community college.
“It’s critical for the incoming president to get to know EWC as well as he can,” Zalesky said. “The plan would be for me to at least have a working knowledge of what’s going on in all the working parts at EWC.”
To close his presentation, Zalesky outlined his short-term goals if elected to lead the college.
“I would like to have a complete understanding of the EWC budget,” he said. “I’ve looked at budget cuts (in the past) as opportunities … to become more efficient and effective in how we spend money and how we spend our time.”
In the same vein, Zalesky emphasized the significance of securing funding to construct the ATEC building.
“What a tremendous opportunity,” he said. “All I know is it is time to get this done and give students the opportunity to enjoy and participate in this new building.”
In addition, Zalesky said he believes communication and transparency are critical to the president’s position.
“I would propose to do a weekly electronic journal or chronicle of what I’ve done the previous week to let everyone know what I’ve been doing for the betterment of EWC,” he said. ”The other thing is to take advantage of social media, specifically a twitter account for president’s activities.”
In order to review and enhance EWC, Zalesky said he would first look at enrollment management and help develop a strategic recruiting plan.
“You can’t manage what you don’t measure. It would be extremely critical for me to understand all the data that’s been collected … to make decisions related to enrollment,” he said. “It’s important to have a strategic recruiting plan … recruiting is becoming more competitive. Having a strategic recruiting plan is going to be critical in trying to
“We also need a strategic plan for enrollment growth (to) make sure we have the facilities and faculties to handle any growth that occurs.”
Zalesky stated he would work to develop the EWC alumni association to potentially provide legislative and financial support, school pride and recruiting success.
“I’m talking about expanding the EWC family and making it stronger,” he said.
Finally, Zalesky’s vision for the college includes “distinguishing EWC”.
“I think it’s going to be critical going forward … for students and funding … to distinguish EWC using programs of excellence. I think currently there are programs here at EWC that may qualify. I think it would be important for a task force … to get together and develop criteria, ” he said, adding this distinction would benefit marketing and recruiting.
Zalesky said a focus on enhanced student outcomes and hands-on learning would help distinguish EWC from other institutions.
He brainstormed additional ideas, including establishing student signing days for individuals who plan to attend EWC for academics, putting a bigger emphasis on EWC’s official brand and adding the word “The” to the college’s name.“It distinguishes ourselves,” he said.
To close his presentation, Zalesky reflected on his own education at EWC.
“The opportunity to come here as a graduate of this institution has brought me full circle,” he said. “I can think of nothing better than to give back to the institution that … stimulated me to go forward. I appreciate this opportunity very much.”
Zalesky received an associate of science from EWC, a bachelor of science from University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in animal science – production, a master of science from UNL in animal science, physiology of reproduction and endocrinology and a doctorate from Texas A&M University in physiology of reproduction and endocrinology. He did post-doctoral research at UNL in reproductive endocrinology.
He has served as the director of the Laramie Research and Extension Center for the University of Wyoming since 2011. From 2000-2010 he was the manager/research scientist at Colorado State University, San Juan Basin Research Center in Hesperus, Colo. He was the Extension Beef Specialist for South Dakota State University from 1993-2000. He held the same position for Louisiana State University from 1991-1993. He held several instructor, research assistant and research technician positions while completing his education at UNL and at Texas A&M University.
At UW, he has taught Equine Reproduction, Equine Management, Management of Reproduction, Breeding Soundness Evaluation, Equine Behavior and Welfare and Intellectual Communication in Animal and Veterinary Sciences. He has also been an adjunct instructor at San Juan Community College and Pueblo Community College/Southwest Campus.
He was recognized as the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus from EWC.
Zalesky has been published in over 20 publications, 39 peer review abstracts and 12