An Exciting New Step for Silver Lake College: Introducing the Work College Model

Posted By Chris Domes On October 01, 2015

As we begin this new academic year, Silver Lake College of the Holy Family celebrates its 80th anniversary. This is a significant milestone for the College, and as I begin my third year as President I am keenly aware of the importance of this moment for this very special place.

The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity set in motion decades ago a dream to begin a college to educate the women from their community to serve the Church and the world. Today at Silver Lake College, students and families discover an institution of higher education committed to the founding mission of educating the whole person—mind, body and spirit.

At the heart of our work is a commitment to solid academics, professional and leadership development, and providing our students the opportunity to grow spiritually, culturally and personally. We are preparing students for successful lives in the 21st century. Our students are armed as lifelong learners to adapt to an ever changing professional landscape.

Through a process of listening and collaboration, the College community, with the endorsement of the Board of Directors, launched a plan entitled “Foundations for the Future.” This plan is intended to guide the direction of the College over the next three to five years. I would like to highlight from the plan one of the strategic directions the College will be taking during the coming months and years—the Work College Model.

The First Catholic Work College

Silver Lake College will be the first Catholic College in the United States to adopt the Work College Model. The College will be the eighth college in the country to officially move in this direction and the only one in Wisconsin. This approach requires all of our full-time residential students to work in a professional role on the campus or in the community as a condition of enrollment. Work will be thoughtfully integrated and an intentional part of the educational program.

Beginning in fall 2016 each new full-time student living on campus will be awarded a work grant to offset a portion of tuition. Not only will this model reduce costs but it will prepare students for the 21st Century workforce.  At graduation, each student will receive a work transcript in addition to their educational transcript.

Today, each graduate of Silver Lake receives a solid Liberal Arts education ensuring their ability to write, think critically and express themselves clearly. Today, students also experience an education rooted in our Catholic tradition and Franciscan values. Values, ethics and moral principles are embedded in the student experience in and outside the classroom. The Work College Model adds an essential third dimension to this Franciscan education.

Training Servant Leaders for the Next 80 Years

By providing each student a professional pathway guided by a set of work competencies a student will truly receive a multi-dimensional, authentic education. This education develops a student intellectually, professionally and spiritually. Silver Lake College is truly educating the whole person.

We must ensure that each graduate of Silver Lake College is a lifelong learner ready to take on the unique challenges of the 21st century. We must ensure that the graduates of Silver Lake College are ready to be servant leaders in their homes, places of work and in their communities. Finally, we must ensure our graduates are prepared to be ethical decisions-makers and value-centered professionals.

It is an exciting time to be at Silver Lake College. At 80 years, Silver Lake College remains on a journey guided by mission and heritage and propelled by a spirit of optimism and hope.

If you want to learn more about the Work College Model, I encourage you to click the link below to our FAQ page to get answers to common questions about what it means for future students at Silver Lake College.

Visit the FAQ Page  


Topics: Work College

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