Spotlight: Jan Algozine

October 16, 2009

jan algozineShe once toured with her own accordion band through New York and Chicago, and dreamt of becoming an actress.  Now she is happy with her newest job at Silver Lake College, having held a variety of positions since she started working here in 1977.

Born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, Jan experienced a lot before moving to Two Rivers.  She lived in Germany where her first daughter was born, then returned to Lafayette and got a B.S. in Secondary Education, a M.S. in Special Education.  She had her second child in Texas, and from there she came to Two Rivers to find a job.

Jan worked as controller of Hamilton Industries until Sister Martina Van Weisen told her about a new opening at Silver Lake College as the Director of Study Skills.  When she had started coming to campus, there were only 200 students in attendance.  She enjoyed this job for a while until she was asked to be the director of Student Services.  Along with alumnus Craig Wenner, she started a women’s basketball team, which became an official intercollegiate program in the 1980s.

Around this time, Sister Arlene Brisbane was looking to add Learning Disabilities to the Special Education program, so Jan, with her Master’s in Special Ed stepped in and taught Intro to Learning Disabilities and Diagnostics.  While all that was happening, she remained the director of student services until all of the directors were given the title of Vice Presidents—then Jan became the Vice President of Student Services.

It was after this that Jan pursued a Masters in Student Personal Development and Training at Acusa Pacific University out of West Cobaina California over the summers.  She took leave and drove to CA for two summers, where she lived in student housing to complete a Master’s in Social Science.

Back at Silver Lake, around 1985, Career Directed Programs came on the scene.  When Jan returned from earning her Master’s, she became one of the first instructors.  She taught Liberal Arts courses and Management.

More recently, Jan became the Vice President of Student Life and the Dean of Students, from which she says, “I gained the greatest respect for the president and vice presidents.  They carry the weight of this college on their shoulders.  I think that being in the administration means that you spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not we are making the right decisions.”

In 2006, Jan stepped down from her vice president position and became the Director of Career Resources and Internships, because she wanted to more closely do what she loved to do: and that is working with students!  Today, her title has changed to be the Director of Experiential Learning, and she couldn’t be happier with her position.  She says, “I totally enjoy and love what I do because I have an opportunity to reach out and help people.  I can help students and alumni do a job search; I place students in internships; and just this past year, I helped two students go to Germany for international internships!”

A lot has changed since Jan started working here.  “When I first came to the college, as I said, we had about 200 students that were going here and at that time we had one of the first admissions offices ever.  In the 1970s the college had been solely for the sisters, who graciously opened their doors to lay men and women.  I came around 77.  They started reaching out and recruiting.  We had never really done that before.”

In Jan’s eyes, SLC has always changed to meet the needs of the changing world, while staying true to its Franciscan mission.  “Throughout my experience here, we’ve always tried to meet the needs of the community around us,” Jan says smilingly (as she does everything).

Jan certainly lives out her mentor’s advice.  She remembers, “My father would always say, ‘Life is what you make it.  It’s about the journey.  You need to make the best of every day.  Nobody owes you anything.  You owe the world.’”  We know that Jan has followed this advice because certainly the college, and countless individuals, would not be the same without her joyful spirit and desire to serve others.

You may contact Jan Algozine at Janis@silver.sl.edu or (920)686-6192.


One comment

  1. What a great story. I’ve know Jan for a long time but I never knew her “history” and never realized how many different positions she has had at the college over the years. Just look what she accomplished by starting the girls basketball team and how it has progressed through the years. I’ve always admired her passion for SLC and now I understand even more the “why” and “how”. SlC is very fortunate to have her on the team!

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