Kim Heier is one of the most recent appointees to the Doane University Board of Trustees, stepping into her role last year. Heier has a strong connection with Doane, as she received her bachelor’s degree from Doane in 1987 and a master’s degree from Doane in 2005. Heier worked at Doane from 1996-2012, first serving as the Director of the Hansen Leadership Program, then serving as Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Student Leadership, and most recently an adjunct faculty member in the communications department. Heier currently resides in Sedona, Arizona.
As a recent elect to Doane’s Board of Trustees, what has your experience as a board member been like so far?
Having a long-standing connection to Doane made my decision to join the Board of Trustees an easy one. I am thrilled to be onboard. Being a trustee is exciting, but it is also hard work. It requires commitment and dedication and there is a lot to learn. I already know this: Doane University is blessed with great trustees.
What are some of the biggest challenges the board currently faces?
President Dwight Eisenhower said, “Whenever I run into a problem I can’t solve, I always make it bigger. I can never solve it by trying to make it smaller, but if I make it big enough, I can begin to see the outlines of a solution.”
We welcome challenges! By elevating them we have an opportunity to make Doane an even better university.
Many of our challenges are the same as those experienced by other universities: rising costs for students and the university, student debt, recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty, understanding the needs of today’s students--how they learn and what they want, increasing philanthropy and endowment, maintaining and improving traditional campuses, creating elegant and effective online learning solutions and being forward-looking in the use of technology.
Some of our challenges require us to think way out of the box...let’s do it!
As a two-time graduate from Doane and someone who worked at Doane for over 15 years, why have you been so loyal to the university?
Doane touches my heart in so many ways. It was formative as a student, fulfilling as a cabinet member, and deeply rewarding as an adjunct professor. Nearly my whole life has been full of Doane-related experiences—all of which have added immensely to the richness of my personal and civic life. How can you not be loyal to a great organization like Doane that supports such reward?
With the landscape of higher education constantly evolving, what trends should Doane be cognizant of moving forward?
First and foremost, we need to think in the realm of today’s students and the world in which they will exist. This is not as easy as it sounds, trustees need to educate themselves about what today’s (and tomorrow’s) generations of students want and require. We also need to understand how they will be served by their education and what they need to be effective in their lives after they graduate.
This doesn’t speak to cost, directly, but while we are thinking so robustly about how to best meet our student-driven mission, we might as well take into careful consideration what it costs to run a place like Doane. We need to look for value, manage our organization with great fiscal acumen and be mindful of what students can afford.
Born out of these kinds of things we see the impressive amount of online learning in the world today. We must be prepared to meet our mission in a variety of ways and on diverse fronts.
What excites you most about Doane’s future?
We need graduates prepared to be go-getters and leaders. Doane has a rich history of educating people that make a real difference in the world. I’m exuberant thinking about Doane’s role in doing so.