On October 30th, Delaware Technical and Community College held a meet and greet to introduce its new vice president and campus director, Dr. Lora Johnson. After a brief introduction by President Dr. Mark Brainard, Johnson shared her vision for Del Tech’s Wilmington Campus before opening the floor to questions from community partners and decision-makers.
Johnson is a familiar face around Del Tech, serving as its department chair of entrepreneurship from 2006-2008, a program she helped to create. Since September 2008, she has served as assistant campus director for New Castle County’s Wilmington and Stanton campuses. Johnson has a background in banking, a business background, which Brainard and Del Tech hope will serve the school well in her new position.
Johnson’s new role marks a new strategy for Del Tech: the creation of separate organizational structures for the George and Stanton campuses. Until now, the college has relied on a single vice president and a single assistant campus director for each county, leaving New Castle's team with double the responsibility. Brainard wanted to try something new: "We want to be nimble, and really anticipate and really anticipate a lot of the needs here in the city of Wilmington.”
In her speech, Johnson outlined how difficult managing such a large portion of the college could be. During the 2017/2018 academic year, Del Tech served over 35,000 individuals through more than 100 academic programs, as well as providing workforce training, continuing education and youth camps. The college has increased the number of associate degrees its given each year by over 40 percent in the last eight years, from 1200 to 1700.
One of the major changes Johnson mentioned was moving some programs from two- to four-year degrees, citing as an example the addition of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in addition to their two-year Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). She explained that changes in the local employment environment have shifted demand from ADNs towards BSNs. To meet this demand, Del Tech’s Wilmington Campus has also begun offering a BSN program which also allows working ADNs to graduate while already part of the workforce.
Del Tech has been considering expanding several other programs, including occupational therapy and respiratory care, but Johnson says that the future of Del Tech will be based on community needs. “That’s why we have a lot of you in the room. Once there’s a need, that will determine what we start to develop or research, to see what the workforce is like.”