Feb 252009

Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, president of St. Ambrose University, and Mike Bauer, a member of the St. Ambrose board of directors, cut a ribbon during a ceremony at the NewVentures Center in downtown Davenport. St. Ambrose has established a new downtown presence with offices and classrooms for the Masters of Organizational Leadership program at the center. Also present were members of DavenportOne’s Diplomats.

By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT — St. Ambrose University has established a new, downtown presence with offices and classrooms for its Master of Organizational Leadership program and other MBA courses. A ribbon-cutting ceremony Feb. 23 marked the occasion at DavenportOne’s NewVentures Center, 331 West 3rd St.

“This is an exciting collaboration of St. Ambrose being ‘in’ and ‘of’ the community,” said St. Ambrose President Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ.

Ron Wastyn, professor and director of the Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) program, said this was a unique opportunity to offer a professional, corporate environment for classes, which are held in the evening. “This is a dynamic situation. It gives the adult learners the opportunity to relax and be energized during their four-hour-long classes. It’s a new home away from home.”

Wastyn said St. Ambrose had been looking to expand in the community when the opportunity arose in downtown Davenport. “It’s flexible and worked for us.”

Talks began in November and classes started at NewVentures in January. “It’s a great fit for us and the space is so versatile,” Wastyn said.

One hundred ten students are currently enrolled in MOL. Some takes classes in Cedar Rapids or on Arsenal Island in Rock Island, Ill. But the majority of students are at the new site.

Dawn Luna, a MOL student who expects to graduate in May, said the new site is wonderful and the MOL program has “its own identity.

“It’s so professional and integrates us in the working community,” she said. This will give students the opportunity to learn practical skills in a more home-like atmosphere than a classroom atmosphere.

The rooms are versatile with Wi-Fi (wireless Internet access), LED projections and tables that can be easily moved to adjust to the sizes of classes or type of offering. Workshops and other events can easily be tailored to the various classrooms at the site.

Betsy Brandsgard, executive vice president of DavenportOne, acknowledged Sr. Lescinski, Wastyn and St. Ambrose in general for the partnership. “You will find the resources you need to grow. We look forward to your leadership with your commitment to downtown.”

Chad Stamper, director of NewVentures Center, said St. Ambrose demonstrates the importance of collaboration. Having a presence downtown will allow St. Ambrose to continue to offer education, networking, access to corporate markets and mentoring.

“This is in line with our mission to enrich the lives of others,” Sr. Lescinski said.

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