Skip to content

A conversation with the president

Home » News » Friends » 2023 » January
Dr. Jeffrey Rafn, NWTC President
Dr. Jeffrey Rafn, NWTC President

We sat down with NWTC president, Dr. Jeffrey Rafn, to recount the milestones of his decade-spanning career in service to higher education in Northeast Wisconsin. His leadership has transformed our 110-year-old institution on the highest collegiate levels and molded NWTC into an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in student success.

Q: What are you most proud of at the College?
A: I am proud of our unwavering commitment to student success, which is the core of everything we do. Our employees are dedicated to ensuring our students get the best education possible, and they do that by going above and beyond all expectations. Faculty and staff give their time, money, and talents to ensure all individuals who walk into an NWTC location have the chance to pursue their passions. Employee Giving, the Foundation, Service-Learning projects, Student Services, dual-credit opportunities, and many other student-first initiatives ensure that higher education is accessible to our community.

Q: What are some of the biggest changes in higher education throughout your career?
A: When I came to NWTC in 1997, I created a vision statement that said the College would deliver education ‘when, where, and how our students wanted it.’ This led to an increased focus on success and innovations in how we interact with prospective students and guide them through their college journeys. Now, with regional learning centers and campuses throughout Northeast Wisconsin, the use of distance learning technologies (which was accelerated by COVID-19), and innovative classroom models, we can truly provide flexible education. Micro credentials are the next evolution of that process. They will ensure fast-paced, individualized pathways through higher education with multiple starting and stopping points for students to seamlessly get an education when they need it to advance their careers.

Q: What is one of the biggest lessons you learned at the College?
A: Transparency is key. At times, that meant being more transparent than I thought possible. Both students and employees want to know what is happening with major decisions, and I learned that during tumultuous times, like Act 10, transparency is the only way forward.

Q: What is next for you?
A: I like to stay busy, and I want to continue meeting the needs of our community. I am passionate about literacy, basic education, and housing. I love to read, and literacy is a necessity in today’s world. I believe basic education and safe housing are fundamental human rights, and I want to use my abilities and experiences to help ensure our community has access to those.