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Meeting the Needs of Students and Communities

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In this episode of the podcast, host Matt Rebro sits down with Dr. Liang Wee, the Interim Chancellor of Eastern Iowa Community College, to discuss his career journey and role as a community college leader. Matt introduces his guest co-host, Marc Zyla, a radio host and principal horn of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.

Dr. Wee provides insight into his responsibilities as chancellor, explaining that he oversees the entire college system and works to meet the needs of students, staff, and the community. Despite his interim role, Dr. Wee emphasizes his commitment to moving the college forward and describes his typical day meeting with various stakeholders.

The conversation takes an introspective turn as Dr. Wee reflects on his unexpected career path in education. He shares how he stumbled into teaching and stayed for six years, learning from a master teacher and witnessing the impact of caring, connected teaching. Matt delves into the "business of education," and Dr. Wee explains the various revenue streams of community colleges, emphasizing the importance of being good stewards of resources to serve students and communities.

The discussion then shifts to preparing students for future careers in an ever-changing job market. Dr. Wee stresses the importance of teaching employability skills, providing students with exposure to different career paths through experiences like shadowing, and embracing the uncertainty of the future. In the signature question, Dr. Wee reflects on advice he would give to his 16-year-old self, highlighting the importance of observing others, letting go of appearance-based worries, and fostering a habit of reflection.

In closing, Matt and Marc express their appreciation for the enlightening conversation, noting how it reinforced the idea that careers can evolve and combine various passions over time. Listeners are left with a deeper understanding of the role of community college leaders and the importance of adaptability in preparing students for the unknown future job market.

As a Vice President with Russell, a construction and development firm based in Davenport, IA, Matt Rebro brings 20+ years of industry experience and relationships to the team. He is a key contributing member to Russell’s Business Development outreach efforts. Matt’s focus is to help grow the Russell brand with targeted individuals and firms and to support his Russell team members to ensure existing client relationships are maximized to their fullest potential. As a native eastern-Iowan, Matt has demonstrated a commitment to supporting communities over the last two decades via personal and firm support of organizations such as Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Iowa Association of Business & Industry and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce Workforce Coalition.
Joy Dodson, Vice President of Community Relations at JA of the Heartland, is a Quad Cities native who graduated from United Township High School and Western Illinois University QC campus. Her career journey allowed her to expand her wings in North Carolina and Kansas before moving back to Bettendorf, IA where she has called home for the past 10 years. Joy embraced 10 years of growth and experiences in various roles under the Human Resources and Leadership Development umbrellas spanning multiple industries. She will forever be passionate about elevating and inspiring leaders through a people first proactive mindset!
Marc Zyla joined WVIK, Quad Cities NPR in May 2022 as the Director of Community Engagement. Prior to that Zyla had been the Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, where he continues to perform as Principal Horn. Zyla believes that there is something for everyone in public radio and brings passion and creativity to his position as Director of Community Engagement.