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Inaugural WISE Cadre Receives Marching Orders

Hands-On Learning Opportunity Represents 'College's Mission in Action'

August 26, 2014

The new WISE program's first cohort of

The new WISE program's first cohort of "WISE guys" includes, from the left, FRONT ROW — Genesis Rocks, Audrey Harris and Carly Pritchard; BACK ROW — Hunter Stith, Ashley Wilson, Megan Canfield, Hannah Kockentiet and Griffin Stith. NOT PICTURED: Shelby Millikin and Lane Hacker.

Wilmington College is redefining the term “wise guys” with a certificate program designed to combine a meaningful work experience and internship with academic courses in leadership.

The Wilmington Institute for Stewardship and Engagement (WISE) started this fall with an initial cohort of 10 students engaged in a distinct hands-on learning program. They gathered for the first time Monday (Aug. 25) afternoon.

They will engage in 11 credit hours of academic courses complemented by a leadership-driven internship and work opportunity that could result in as high as $3,000 in institutional grants applied directly to their financial statements.

Corey Cockerill, associate professor of communication arts, helped develop the program for which students will graduate with a Certificate in Leadership & Sustainable Change that will become part of their official College transcripts.

“WISE is an infusion of curricular and extra-curricular courses, work and internship, plus a two-hour capstone,” she said. “We’re graduating from this program future community builders.”

Ruth Brindle, curator of the Quaker Heritage Center; Michael Snarr, professor of political science; and Mark Denniston, Green Chip coordinator; also comprise the program’s leadership team.

Brindle received positive responses from more than two-dozen area businesses and organizations that could offer internship or work opportunities for students enrolled in WISE.

Snarr said WISE will be especially attractive to the “high energy, leadership-style students we attract.” He noted how participants can set themselves apart in the job market while becoming agents for change and defining their role in contributing to the public good. “We’ve been doing all these things at WC, but now they’re wrapped into one program.” he said.

Cockerill said they are working closely with WC’s Career Services, Center for Service and Civic Engagement, Work Program and Green Chip (Creating High-Impact Portfolios).

President Jim Reynolds welcomed the cohort as they learned their work affiliations would include campus leadership programming, conference services and business development, intramural sports operations, and special projects connecting youth from diverse backgrounds with WC’s agriculture program.

“There’s a historic connection to work at Wilmington College,” he said in hearkening the building of Marble Hall by students, the booming work-study program at the Randall Company in the 1950s and 60s, and the work inherent with the agriculture program. “I think you’re going to make a real difference on this campus.”

Denniston added, “I believe in the mission of this College and its uniqueness. This is the College’s mission in action.”