Education Futures Podcast 32: Dr. DeWayne Frazier, Iowa Wesleyan University

by | Sep 21, 2021 | Education Futures Podcast

​Being poor should not be a barrier to education.

Dr. DeWayne Frazier grew up in rural Appalachia. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school, much less go to college. Even before becoming a higher education administrator, he understood the importance of education. And he knows first-hand the extra hurdles poverty can create during a student’s academic journey.

In this podcast episode, Dr. Frazier talks about his passion for making education accessible for any student who wants it. As the University Provost at Iowa Wesleyan University, Dr. Frazier outlines what the school is doing to help all students reach their goals of a college degree.

Lowering the Barriers

There are many reasons why a student who wants to go to college doesn’t. Sometimes it’s a lack of transportation. Asking a student to go 50 miles to the nearest community college can be like asking them to go to Mars if they don’t have a way to get there. Sometimes it’s a lack of knowledge, especially if no one in their family has been to college. At Iowa Wesleyan, they work to bring families into the experience with the student so that everyone is comfortable with the process.

“We also do family education and that’s something a lot of schools have missed in the last couple of decades,” Dr. Frazier said. “They’ve been trying to get a college-ready student, whereas we need to be a university-ready institution for students.”

To do this, they have success coaches to walk students through some of the confusing parts of applying for college, such as filling out the FAFSA. Some of the parents have limited English proficiency, so the school brings in coaches who are fluent in their language.

“We want to be able to educate the entire family about this because it does certainly, as the African proverb says, it takes a village to raise a child,” Dr. Frazier said. “You want to be able to be a part of that network and bring the family into this college experience.”

Helping Students Become Lifelong Learners

Four years may not seem like a lot of time for a student, but it can be ages when it comes to technology. Institutions like Iowa Wesleyan know that they aren’t preparing their students for today. They are making sure they will be successful tomorrow.

“We have to teach them how to be flexible, how to truly be able to engage change, how to be an impetus for that type of change,” Dr. Frazier said. “I see learning happening as much outside the classroom as it happens inside the classroom. So our co-curricular experience is very intentional. We assess it, we plan it, we check, we adjust.”

Empowering Non-Traditional Students

Iowa Wesleyan University has a history of creating pathways for students who weren’t welcomed in other places. Arabella Babb Mansfield, an Iowa Wesleyan alum, was the first female lawyer in the United States. In the 1890s, Iowa Wesleyan had the first documented international students earning their degrees.

“This place has always been about inclusion and opportunities,” Dr. Frazier said.

Those opportunities extend outside of the traditional campus as well. Iowa Wesleyan is working with the incarcerated population to help them continue their education during their sentences.

“The truth is, if we want to help them and to rehabilitate them, it’s not about just, ‘Oh, release, here you go. Now you got to go find a career,’” Dr. Frazier said.”It’s not easy sometimes when you have a felony or have something behind you like that. But if you have an education and you are able to get that while you are paying your debt to society, what a blessing. Because we’re making a better world, we’re releasing people who are going to have an opportunity.”

Listen to the full podcast to hear more about how Dr. Frazier and the team at Iowa Wesleyan University are helping students break down barriers and reach their goals.

Full Transcript

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

Greetings everyone. This is Rob Reynolds, I’m the executive director at TEL Education and I’m joined today for this podcast by Dr. DeWayne Frazier from Iowa Wesleyan University. DeWayne is the provost there, and I’m really excited to have him join us today. Lots of questions. We work with a lot of smaller liberal arts universities. That’s one of our types of partners we work with, and they’re always so unique and they occupy such a special place in higher education, and they all reach very diverse communities and unique communities. And it’s always fun for me to talk to people like DeWayne and hear what they’re doing and their vision is for education, for helping people of all ages, and for serving their community. So DeWayne, thank you so much for joining me today.

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

Thank you. It’s really an honor Dr. Reynolds to be able to be a part of this and just to be a partner with TEL. It’s a first-rate organization, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know your staff and your personnel, some great people that really have similar synergy with Iowa Wesleyan and they care about the students and their learners. So I’m glad to be a part of this with you all.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

Well, I appreciate that. And one of the things that I find as we work with our partners is that a good partnership is about having a relationship where both are committed to helping students of all kinds. And you certainly do that both personally in Iowa Wesleyan and we’ve been so impressed with what the University is doing. I wanted to start off by asking you, because this always kind of sets the stage for the conversation, to talk a little bit about your own personal journey in education and learning because I know that really shapes a perspective that someone has. So why don’t you jump in and tell us a little bit about how you got here?

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

Absolutely. And I’m still trying to figure out how I got here. But I certainly will share a little bit of that. So I tell people all the time, for me, education is the great equalizer. It’s what changed my entire life. And I believe by divine providence, I had that opportunity. And I grew up in Appalachia. So for those that might not understand always my pronunciation of things of the Appalachian mountain region. But I grew up in a family.

My mother was 15 when I was born and I’ve come from a very poor family just to be blunt and honest and grew up in a trailer of 13 different people in a modular home. And I was the first in our family to finish high school. So it was important. And so education did so much for me. But I was able to actually go to a small private liberal arts college, a place that I will always have a passion and love for. Campbellsville University, which is a part of that Appalachia College Association, where I’ve done quite a bit of my work over the years.

But I laugh because Rob, I smile when I think about my family and I was raised by my mimo and papo or grandmother and grandfather. And it was fascinating because my papo would always say to me, “My goodness DeWayne, what are you doing? You’re going to be in school for your entire life.” And then finally, they asked me one time, mimo and papo, now that I was a doctor if I could write them a subscription.

And I said, “Well, I can get you a subscription to a newspaper, other things, but I can’t do that for the medicine.” And I’ll never forget these comments as much as they love me and treated me like gold. They both said, “Well, what’s so good at being a doctor anyway?” I was like, oh yeah, I get you. But it’s funny because what I have learned in my own educational journey is as people are able to get education further, that it does put a fear in a lot of first-generation college families because they’re afraid their child or their grandchild will leave them and not be able to come back or do this and that.

And my grandma and papo, like I said, they were more open to anything that I wanted to do. But for them, they would have been just as satisfied if I worked one of them blue-collar jobs in our little area and things. But my educational journey has really put me in a position where I wanted to make sure that social economic status especially, did not become an impediment for people to get an education. And I’ve been blessed ever since. And I’ve been able to do that for now almost 25 years. I’m getting old Rob.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

That’s amazing. One of the most important things and people say this, but I’m not sure they always understand what it means. In terms of providing equity and education is lowering the barriers to entry. And your story is such a great example. You get someone out in the hollers. You get someone who has no background at all, not just them, their whole community has no background for what higher education can be.

And if you ask them even to drive 50 miles to go to a local community college, you might as well be telling them to go to Mars. It’s not only a distance in geography, it’s a distance in culture and everything else. And so we have to address that problem and really lower the barriers of every kind and say, “Hey, we can bring it to you. We can explain why it matters. We can make it affordable. We can make it make sense to you and the people around you and show you how it’s going to help you.”

And that’s so important. Higher education over time, to me, has become a destination, a place that people go. And I think we forgot that we have to go to the people and we have to make that possible. I know that a lot of your background is really about doing that. You spent time working on adult education and you’ve spent time really trying to lower those barriers and help people. What have you found that works DeWayne as you’ve kind of been in that and had that personal mission as well as professional mission?

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

Sure. It’s interesting. When I had went off to college, it was an hour and a half away, but still deeper in the Appalachian Hills. But it was interesting when I did that because I talk about the divine providence of how God is in control ultimately. But what was amazing was, I come from a place where diversity was with someone with a different last name because it was basically my relatives on the entire street.

The diversity was when someone went to church on Saturday night because they were Catholic. The rest of us went on Sunday morning. And so I joke about that, but the truth is I went off and I had an international roommate. I was a soccer player, had an international roommate, completely started the whole trajectory that changed my worldview and everything. And interesting enough, I have had the opportunity to do something very unique.

I used to work in a country in Malaysia, working with marginalized populations that didn’t have the opportunity for education, providing US education at a branch campus there. So I’ve had that opportunity. I’ve worked with ACA Appalachian College Association, had a great relationship over the years with a wonderful HBCUs, our HSIs, and also even some relationships with our tribal institutions through New Mexico and other places.

And what I’ve discovered is that we’re so more similar than we are different. Some of our ACA schools we’re partnering with HBCUs, for example. And so for us here, we are what’s called a minority-serving institution because over 50% of our students are non-white. So they’re Hispanic, International, African-American, Asian-American. And so what we’ve tried to do is level the playing field when it comes to affordability, doing what we can to really make it affordable.

But we also do family education and that’s something a lot of schools have missed in the last couple of decades. They’ve been trying to get a college-ready student, whereas we need to be a University-ready institution for students. And so what we’ve done is, we spent significant time actually doing kind of a model that you guys do as well. But something that I was a part of the pioneering doing, and in about 10 years ago, success coaches. So we hired success coaches.

I have success coaches that speak fluent Spanish, who as I know, I believe you do as well, Rob. But they speak Spanish and so they’re talking with their parents and talking to them through FAFSA. Some of these parents have limited English proficiency. So we want to be able to educate the entire family about this because it does certainly, as the African proverb says, it takes a village to raise a child and you want to be able to be a part of that network and bring the family into this college experience. If it’s a first-generation college student, their parents need some of that education. I wish my grandparents received some of that at that time. So what we try to do ultimately is a overall family education when it comes to the whole process and procedures.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

And I think it’s so wonderful first of all, and it’s so fascinating that you’ve really embraced that model and I know it comes from your background of community. We tend I think, to look at students as these individuals and we see them just in terms of them and maybe their parents because their parents are paying the bill. But we forget that especially when we reach out to underserved communities, it is a community.

That child belongs to parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins that probably in that same community goes to a barbershop or to a store and talks to people. And all of those people contribute to that ecosystem that student lives in and has existed in. And the more we can reach out to that ecosystem and inform it, so it can reinforce and say, “Hey, how are you doing in college? This is important. Man, I’m so proud of you.” It just builds for those people.

And you mentioned FAFSA, the whole idea of trying to overcome the information barriers that exists for many people trying to get into higher education. How do you fill out the forms, et cetera? I love that. Having people that speak different languages. Helping the parents understand. That’s just so important DeWayne. It kind of brings me to the thought of just higher education in general. There’s a lot of talk. I was reading a poll this morning that Charles Koch Foundation had done with YouGov.

It was a poll on American public opinion about how our higher education can improve. And one of the things that came out is, higher education has to do a better job of meeting the needs of employers, of meeting the needs of students, and making sure that they’re successful when they get out. Not just giving them a degree and saying, “Hey, pat you on the back. Good luck.” But really realizing their responsibility in part of that journey. As a provost at Iowa Wesleyan and thinking Iowa Wesleyan in particular, but also in higher education overall, what do you see the role really being for a University, and how do you see that evolving?

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

Absolutely. No. And that’s a great point. And honestly, I listen and I read just like you do, and you see this almost a dichotomy of either you’re making things career-ready or you’re providing a true liberal arts Renaissance approach. And we have to be able to meet it somewhere in the middle. And here’s what I mean on that. There are certain majors that are so discipline-specific that you have to pass a test when you complete. That’s teacher education. That’s programs like nursing.

I mean, there’s national norms and tests you have to pass. I don’t want a nurse that’s a C student taking blood from me or working on me or giving me medication. So, there are careers that are just like that, that are taught at schools like ours. But then there are also students who need to come in and learn how to truly learn. How to be a lifelong learner. How they need to come in because the truth is the jobs that some of them will be working don’t even exist today Rob.

So we have to teach them how to be flexible, how to be able to truly be able to engage change. How to be an impetus for that type of change. And if you can do that and teach them really how to be engaged learners and get that bachelor’s degree, they can specialize at the master’s level if they wanted to get a marriage and family therapist, because they were a psychology degree. Or if they wanted to go and get a master’s of social work because they were human services.

There’s all kinds of things they can do beyond that. Like I said, sometimes it really is about helping them become lifelong learners. So as the provost of the institution, we say, or at least I say all the time, that I see learning happening as much outside the classroom as it happens inside the classroom. So our co-curricular experience is very intentional. We assess it, we plan it, we check, we adjust.

And that program here is about service learning, where we go out in our communities and we do service and we reflect on that. Why we did it. What are changes in our mindset after doing that type of service. So not just community service, but true service learning can support credits for classes and it’s major-specific. We do things like writing-intensive classes in business. People get mad at times. Why do you have to have a class that’s writing intensive in business?

Because I can tell you now writing goes across all curriculums. If you write a poor cover letter, no matter what job you’re applying for, it could really hurt you on getting that. So we really try to meet that in the middle. We have a lot of career opportunities. We even have a career center here. But all of our students are also required to have internships. We were ranked in US News and more important, some of the other magazines, Washington Monthly, about being number one because 100 percent of our students actually had been taken internships that graduated here and we helped with that placement.

But it’s always specific to what they’re majoring in. But what happens if someone’s an English degree? Some of them might work at a local newspaper, but they can go work for any business. So we are even right now Rob, trying to figure out what is a 21st Century humanities degree. And we are starting to figure out as we’re more in touch. I have my oldest child is 18, but my kids, I have six children and they’re teaching me everything about contemporary music and social media.

I thought I knew a lot until I’m around them. But it’s funny but this new major that we’re thinking about would have blogging. Most people don’t even know at my age what blogging is. But doing blogs, using social media, being able to be an influencer because that’s what they want to be able to do. How do you use YouTube for your business for the good? And so these types of things, trying to really create a 21st Century learning environment where they are ready for a career, but at the same time, they’re ready to be lifelong learners.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

No, that’s just so wonderful. I was just thinking, you were saying that as someone who went through the whole pathway in the humanities and then became a startup person and a technology person, and a business executive. Later on in life after my first stint in academia, you have lived that firsthand. In a good way. And the way that, what made me able to keep moving forward was I could write well. I wasn’t good at a lot of other things, but I could outwrite everybody else that I was with, and that mean I had better proposals, better briefs, better ideas that I could articulate. And some people always say, “Well, getting a Ph.D. in Spanish, comparative literature and teaching that kind of stuff and literary theory, how did that help you?” And I said, “Well, it taught me to think, first of all. But more importantly, it really taught me to write and communicate, which is the number one differentiator.” If you’re ever looking for an outside person on an advisory board for that one, I’d love to participate. I have ideas. But no, I love that idea DeWayne, it’s just awesome.

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

I definitely will take you up on that offer.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

I’m being very serious.

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

Record that you said it.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

Okay. That’s right. I’m on record. So interesting, Appalachia. Now you’re in Iowa. So what is special and unique about Iowa? I love this question when I talk to people because again, we offer the same things, but there’s also unique things about a community.

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

Gosh, you might have to stop me here. Iowa’s my adopted home and some of the most amazing people I’ve ever been around in my life too. But here’s the deal. Iowa Wesleyan specifically is the first place west of the Mississippi River. It’s the second school, but first in Iowa to actually accept women back in 1842. This is the first coeducational institution in all of Iowa. And so I love a place where my daughters can walk on campus and see a statue that represents the first woman lawyer in American history. Arabella Babb Mansfield.

That was our student right here. And the first woman to become the commander of the international space station. Her advisor still teaches here, Dr. DP Wilson. Dr. Wilson was one of the first women in her time to actually get a Ph.D. in the agronomy and botany area at Iowa state. She still tells stories about how they didn’t want a woman in the STEM program even then in the 1960s and she would be left on field trips and other different things. But yet her heart and her spirit about it.

She’s empowered women for years. She’ll be teaching 60 years next year, Rob. Never seen it in my career. There’s something special about that. But it goes beyond that. The 1890s, we know we have the first documented international students. Hiroko Masaki who came from Japan. International students have always been a part of our tradition. The former president, just very past president of the University of Maryland, Dr. Wallace Lowe was our international student right here in Iowa.

And then you get people like Dr. Clement Isong, the first governor of the central bank of Nigeria. The Alexander Hamilton equivalent of Nigeria was our student through our Methodist connections and names around the world. He studied here in the 1950s. But it doesn’t even end there. Within the first 10 years of emancipation, the first black woman in the United States, Susan Mosley Granderson was getting her master’s degree right here and we have a diversity club that’s named after her.

I mean, this place has always been about inclusion and opportunities. And that’s one thing, I am Baptist so I laugh. I’m here in the Methodist world. They try to sprinkle me and I say, no, I’m fully immersed and we get a nice joke around that and everything. But these Methodist people are just amazing. They’ve always cared about, they would start a church and then they would start a school. That’s why there’s so many Wesleyans all across the United States.

You’ll see them all kinds of different places from the settlers. And they believe from day one that you should empower all genders and the men, the women had opportunities. And you’re also looking that people of color had opportunities. I mean, in this community right here, James Harlan was the president of our school and his best friend was a guy named Abraham Lincoln. And so he was actually interesting because James Harlan, his fight was for the American Indians and what he had seen had happened to them.

So this is a town and a place that’s always been about that. I get the surveys from the students and they say one of the things they like the most is this is a microcosm of a world right here, and a much more peaceful environment where we can talk, debate, discuss things and not argue over social media like too many people do. For me, that’s what’s special about Iowa Wesleyan. It’s this history, this foundation that’s here.

We’re far from perfect, but we’ve been blessed for so many years on what we did. We’ll be celebrating in just a few years, 180 years of an institution, which makes us one of the oldest Wesleyan west of the Mississippi river when you put that together too. Now just in terms of Iowa, I laugh because there’s two things they invest in Rob quite strongly here. And I never really saw it too much in Kentucky at times. First is roads. Oh my gosh, they are always fixing roads. There’s always something going.

And when you have this much snow and other things, you’ve got to be able to have good roads. And it was important for the transition of the agriculture and food and being able to move things. So they’ve always invested well in that. But equally they invest in education. So from the Iowa tuition grant to some of the highest on average specialty per capita teacher salaries, anywhere in the United States and the home of the ACT. I mean, this place is education personified. The name Iowa.

I’m not an Iowan, so I can brag about them at a different level there. But it’s definitely a special place where education is truly valued. And to make that point home Rob, I have set before with a local farmer that’s out here in the fields when it wasn’t harvesting season and he can talk with me about international politics, about international policies and everything, because it affects them. So for the person that thinks the farmer is not smart, well, you just need to spend a few minutes setting here in Iowa and learn how these individuals are some of the most amazing intelligent people ever. And it’s that education, love and passion that you see here in Iowa.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

Well, that’s wonderful. They should hire you for the tourism board. That was a great advertisement. But no, it really was. But it’s so true and it reminds me how we label things and then we start just treating those as stereotypes, whether it’s a farmer or someone of a different ethnicity, just whatever. And we don’t take the time to see what’s really there and we gloss over it and don’t see the richness around us. And I love that about what you’re saying and what’s available there.

I’m also reminded, you were talking about the whole Wesleyan movement and all of the outreach. The thing I say to people all the time when they ask me about TEL Education and what I’m about, et cetera. And I always say, “It’s service through education. We all have a mission. Mine is education. But it’s service to others through education.” And I hear that so loud and clear in what you’re saying. I’ve never found that anyone argues with me about that.

That’s a mission everyone can get behind and if you just stay true to it. I love what you’re doing there. Talk to me briefly, because one of the unique things about Iowa Wesleyan is you’re not the only ones, but you really do have a mission for non-traditional students. You do great work with all your traditional students, but you have a mission for non-traditional students. So what’s that about? And I know it’s just part of who you are. And what are some of the things you do?

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

I totally, I’m sold out about this as well. And when I start thinking of what you can do to help non-traditional students, it’s about empowerment. It’s about opportunity. I think, and it’s not always this, but just as the 35 to 50-year-old woman who’s been raising a family, who had to work two jobs to be able to, or maybe they’re a single mother and they’re trying to raise their children. I’ve seen this so much in my own life, my own family.

And now they have an opportunity as the children are older, to actually be able to get an education and be able to find maybe a career that they want to do. And when that happens, there’s something magical about it. I can’t tell you how powerful it is when two children run up to hug their mom because just finished their degree. Or the mom finished the degree the same year that the daughter or the son was finishing high school. And those hugs, I mean they mean the world to me.

I see it in first-gen students where they bring 20 and 25 people to graduation. When I see it this way of non-traditional students. You go back and you look at those that are incarcerated and many times they’ve made mistakes and they’re paying their debts to society. But the truth is, if we want to help them and to rehabilitate them, it’s not about just, oh, release, here you go. Now you got to go find a career and it’s not easy sometimes when you have a felony or have something behind you like that.

But if you have an education and you are able to get that while you were paying your debt to society, what a blessing. Because we’re making a better world, we’re releasing people who are going to have an opportunity. And I’ll just be blunt and personal with you. My father has spent most of my life and I don’t have a strong relationship with him, but spent it in prison, in jail. Growing up in Appalachia, that was something we saw all the time.

If he had had a chance to be [inaudible 00:24:47], get education and opportunity, he wouldn’t get out and get right back into crime. It breaks my heart in many ways, because education can do so much to liberate us from the non-traditional students to the traditional students. And like I said, it’s all worth that while and that one day a year, even though it can be somewhat difficult, but when you get that hug and you watch those children run up to that mom or to that dad and say, “We’re so proud of you.” Isn’t that pretty amazing to think about?

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

It really is. That’s amazing. I love hearing that. Now, stepping back just a little bit, you are an administrator and a top administrator in higher education. And you keep up with everything that’s going on in Iowa and west of the Mississippi, east of the Mississippi, because you’re a smart guy and you read things and you look at trends. And so what do you see that interests you out there in higher education today?

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

So the thing that probably interests me the most right now is the potential movement of free community colleges. I really think that that is a wrong move. And I’ll explain why because it’s really, really difficult. Basically, when we go to the shoe store, we don’t get one shoe. One shoe does not fit all people. And you’ve got to be able to fit and be able to meet the needs of different learners.

Community colleges are amazing places, wonderful places, and they are great places for certain students, but they’re not for everybody. If you start actually fully funding community colleges through federal monies and other items, what you’re going to do is really kill the private liberal arts colleges around this country that have made education inclusive and they are part of the backbone of our society. They’re the jobs in small communities and things.

So what I’ve really been struggling and advocating for the best that I can, is that I would like to see us look at it from the perspective of the money going with the student. So let’s make it affordable and let’s make Pell grants increase. Let’s increase Pell grants to the level of let’s double them because they haven’t increased in the number of years. Double those Pell grant opportunities for students who come from different socioeconomic statuses.

If I didn’t have Pell grants, I would not have been able to study in college. Our family didn’t have the money to pay for me. I was a super, super strong student. And so being able to get academic scholarships, other things, but I was only able to take the ACT once just because I didn’t have the money to pay for it. And many of these kids don’t have that opportunity. So we have to make it affordable because it will change everything for their family.

So right now that’s the one I’ve been looking at attentively. It’s a struggle to me in many ways, because I know what these liberal arts colleges, these private schools around this country are doing. And if we over flood our community colleges that are doing this great job with a certain large number of people, then the education experience is just going to be like herding cattle and trying to get them out. You’re not going to be able to get the interactions that even our community college professors that are doing this wonderful work want to be able to do. So that’s probably the trend that I follow most often right now, because it’s one that could affect all of us and I really see it affecting us in a negative way. And even though I think it’s well-intentioned, I just think that it’s just not the right move.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

Well, I totally agree with you DeWayne. And I’m always reminded when people talk about free education of any kind, but especially when they talk about free community college. My first response is the old line, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Nothing’s free, somebody’s paying for it. And we are. And so when we pay for things, even as taxpayers or as governments, et cetera, we want to think about the big picture. It’s easy to say, I’m going to do this.

It’s very similar to the old adage, a chicken in every pot, right? That’s kind of a band-aid. That’s not thinking strategically, holistically about what’s really best for a community, for a state, for a country. And how do we get people where they need to go? And that’s about pathways and community colleges are part of that pathway. Small liberal arts colleges are part of that pathway. R1 universities are part of that pathway.

But they all have to be viable or we’re not serving the whole community and we’re not doing the best we can do to give students the opportunities they need to become personally and professionally successful. And if we prioritize one in a special way, especially at the lower part of that journey, we’re really mucking with an ecosystem we just don’t understand. And that’s what happens. People want to fix something and they don’t realize the education ecosystem is very complex.

And it’s like any ecosystem, if you just go in and say, “Oh, that bird’s a nuisance, I will get rid of that bird.” Then you realize if you get rid of that bird, it just ruins the whole ecosystem. And I think this is really similar to that. It is an ecosystem and people want to do what’s expedient, what looks good and get some good press. And you have to stand back and say, what really is going to serve our kids. And you talked about building 21st Century lifelong learners.

And that’s what we have to be building. And what’s going to serve them best in doing that. And what kind of pathways do they need and how do we make all of those journeys possible? So yeah, it’s a good flash in the pan. It’s probably not the best thing for everybody. We have to bring this to a close. I want to tell you how much I appreciate all the things you shared with us. It’s been fascinating and uplifting and inspiring. And now I’m looking at my calendar and seeing how soon can I get up there and break bread with you and see more about all the great things going on. It’s one of the…

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

I love giving tours of campus. So I’m ready.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

It is truly one of the joys of my job, getting to go and meet with our partners and really getting in and kind of living through them a little bit vicariously and getting the excitement of what they’re doing. And seeing the students and how it’s changing their lives. It’s always inspiring to me and I can’t wait. But DeWayne it’s been wonderful. And for those of you listening, this has been, excuse me, Dr. DeWayne Frazier is the provost at Iowa Wesleyan, and he’s joined us and told us all these wonderful things about his personal journey and about what’s happening in Iowa and specifically at Iowa Wesleyan. DeWayne, thanks a bunch today. We really appreciate it.

Dr. DeWayne Frazier:

No problem. We’re blessed and we’re very proud to be partners with TEL. Thank you all for what you do. You guys are doing a wonderful job as well. So thank you.

Dr. Rob Reynolds:

All right. Thank you so much.

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