Taking over as the First Year Seminar (FYS) director three years ago, Katie Warber, communication professor, has recently stepped down. Warber has been teaching at Wittenberg for 10 years. In the fall of 2014, she became the director of the first year student program during its transition from Witt-Seminar (Witt-Sem) to FYS. English professor Ty Buchman set up the transitional and program for Warber during her sabbatical, and upon her return, she took over.
Upperclassmen probably remember their Witt-Sem as freshman. The required one semester class that was created to try and gear students towards a specific major and introduce the basic structure of all college courses, as well as helping to develop time management and scheduling skills. Underclassmen now know this as FYS, which still carries similar content as the Witt-Sem did, but is now a full year course and is under development to help entering freshman transition into college with more ease, as well as increase the retention rate for Wittenberg which has been a problem in the past.
Warber explained how she enjoyed organizing, creating budgets, planning and logistics. But overall, she couldn’t see herself doing much more for the program than what she has already contributed. Managing nearly 75 people, including faculty to teach FYS classes, students to be teaching assistants and to also stay in contact with 20 different departments on campus was “some of its burnout,” Warber said. She explained that it was time for a fresh pair of eyes to come in and help develop the program further.
Warber has also been grateful to the communication department for being flexible during her term. Reducing her class load from six classes a semester to three, she not only missed teaching in general, but she missed getting to know every communication student that came through the department. With every communication student required to take COMM 300, she got to know all the students in the department by teaching that class.
Warber noted that she may also be in line to become the chair of the communication department, which she feels will be slightly easier in terms of the amount of people she has to manage.
“Different jobs, similar skill set,” Warber said.
Taking over the FYS program helped Warber work with the new adventurous youth of Witt who are searching for a major to set them on a path to their dream career. Through this, she found ways to better market majors as a whole.
Warber has been the chair of several committees on campus during her 10 years and is currently the Grand Marshal of Wittenberg faculty. She has not stepped down from this position due to any animosity toward the program, but rather has made her mark and is ready for a new challenge.
“I want a year to figure out what I want to do next,” Warber said.
With a new president on his way to inauguration at Witteneberg, there could be many possibilities for leadership positions to open up, and Warber has the potential and experience to fill any of them.