President Wharton shares what's happening at Briar Cliff

Wharton, Beverly

President Wharton on KSCJ's "Grow Siouxland" Show

Recently, Briar Cliff President Bev Wharton was a guest on the “Grow Siouxland” program with Chris McGowan on 1360 KSCJ AM radio in Sioux City. She weighed in on everything that’s happening at BCU, from the new doctoral program to the ways students are carrying out our Catholic, Franciscan mission.

Here are some of the highlights:

On Briar Cliff’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, the first of its kind in Northwest Iowa:

“This type of program (The Doctor of Nursing Practice) trains students to be leaders, to understand the various health policies, to understand information technology, to be able to be patient-focused — not that we aren’t at all levels — but this brings it to a totally new level, and really to the point where a nurse practitioner can actually run a clinic in any particular area.”

“Nursing has become a very important part of Briar Cliff — I guess I should say it has been — but it is growing. … We have an RN-to-BSN program, and a couple of years ago we moved that online to make it more accessible. This year, we had 251 graduates — 73 of them came from the nursing area.”

On a second doctoral program in the works:

“It’s still in the developmental phases, but it’s a doctoral program for physical therapy. We have identified this as a growing need. … There are not enough spaces in physical therapy schools for fully qualified students, so we’ve evaluated the requirements for establishing a program. We’ve made the decision to move forward and we are most excited to announce that we have hired the program director, which is an important part of this process. And Dr. Patrick Cross will be joining us in August to help us develop this.”

On the Heelan Hall addition and renovations:

“When looking at this project, we actually evaluated whether or not we should tear the building down and put up a new building. … But the reality is, as the architects evaluated the building, it was built during the golden era. It’s a wonderful facility, and so working with the Klinger organization, we’ve been able to add on to that and just create a facility that is incredibly useful and really is a great way to take the old, add the new, bring it together and enhance the learning environment at Briar Cliff.”

On the purchase of the South Sioux City dome for Charger athletics:

“It became really obvious (for the need) this spring, when we had such weather that wasn’t very conducive to outdoor work, and our students could be indoors practicing in spite of the weather. … This gives us more flexibility throughout the year in providing a wonderful facility where our students can work on their skills for their athletic endeavors.”

On the football team moving its home games to the University of South Dakota’s DakotaDome in Vermillion:

“We had one game up at USD (University of South Dakota) last year; it went very well. Many students were there, they had the opportunity to have tailgating in the parking lot before the event began, to have that college experience — and it’s absolutely an incredible facility. We see this as an interim move for us, but it’s an opportunity for us to provide a great playing experience for our students. The reality is, may of the fans for college football at the Briar Cliff level are the parents, the grandparents, the community members … this provides an opportunity for them to be in a great setting, and USD has been very welcoming.”

On Briar Cliff’s iPad program, which distributes new tablets to every incoming, full-time BCU student:

“When you look at the millennial generation, technology is very, very important to them. .... We have enhanced the wireless network on our campus and so we are positioned to take full advantage of this learning tool. And the iPad is an incredible learning tool. But we’re also being very flexible. Who knows? Three or four years from now, there may be a different tool we use, but in the meantime this is where we are. The example we’ve used with the iPads is that they’re kind of a collaborative learning instrument. Faculty members learn from it, students learn from it, they teach each other — and that’s what learning is all about.

On the tradition of service at Briar Cliff:

“As a Catholic, Franciscan institution, we are very committed to service. … We talk about Saint Francis — he was an ordinary man who was called to do extraordinary things. We really hope that everyone who walks through the doors at Briar Cliff will have some sense of that, sometime during their experience at Briar Cliff. … It’s not an afterthought. It’s part of what we do, each and every day.

“We bring people with special needs to campus, students can help with that. … We’re active with Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters, different service organizations, we tutor at one of the schools here in Sioux City — so those are just examples locally. But then we go beyond. You’ll find us in the inner city of Chicago. We’ve been doing tornado restoration work in Joplin, Mo., for the last two years. Maybe next year we’ll end up in Oklahoma or some other place. Last year, a group of students went to Jerusalem Farm in Kansas City and worked in areas of need. … We had students this year in St. Lucia, we had students in Guatemala, and our regular trip is Honduras. . … These experiences change students’ lives. They begin to realize how much we have and how little others in the world have. ... They come back and say, ‘And yet, they’re happy.’ And so (students) learn so much from that.”

Tags: BCU in the Media