Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Kenneth Janz – Winona State University’s Interim president for 2023-24

Jacob Gifford
Kenneth Janz was interviewed on September 1, 2023 in his new office in Somsen Hall. A Sit-Down Chat with the New Interim President Kenneth Janz. Janz outlines his goals for the university and how he got the position.

“I’ve never thought about being president. That is an honest to God truth. My dissertation is around leadership orientations of chief information officers in higher education. I’ve always thought that was what my role would be even when Scott Olson [Winona State University’s previous president] offered me the chancellor [Scott Olson]’s job, I wasn’t going to take the job at that point. I had a lot of people approach me telling me that it was a good opportunity so that was when I put my hat in the ring and here I am. So yeah, when people say, ‘what are your life goals?’ I will say being president of the university was not a goal of mine”.

Those are the words of Kenneth Janz, Winona State’s new interim president.

Before this role, Janz started out as a high school business education teacher, then did some technology coordination at a high school level, and then worked in the college of education at Indiana State University, and then came to Winona State in 2008 as the CIO, and then as the Dean of Library before becoming the Interim President.

Janz said that he chose Winona State because of the community that the college brings. “We rally together as a community. I even see subsets of our community, this family. You don’t have that everywhere,” Janz said.

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Janz relayed four goals he has in store as being President.

“The first goal is to create a university vision statement, which will be a light for us to look forward and drive to,” Janz said.

The second goal unveiled is building a student life plan. This would support the involving life a student holds with work, classes, and activities.

“Another goal is creating a track within our general education program to be online. We want the on-campus experience, but I think we need a general track that can be done online,” Janz said.

The fourth goal Janz mentioned is around “non-academic unit benchmarking.”

Denise McDowell, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Student Life, who also was a candidate to becoming the Interim President, speaks on what her goals would have been if she were president.

“I would have set up the play for whomever is coming in as president. Once we have the president, we’re going to figure out who we are now as an institution and who we want to be in the future,” McDowell stated.

McDowell speaks on the differences between her and President Janz, stating that she has a more “relational” style that builds relationships and conversations while Janz has a more strategic style that has a project management emphasis.

“I think [Janz] has one of the strongest strategic planning minds of people I know and have met here at Winona State. He does it naturally; plan, think forward, strategize, try to get it on paper, and really map it out,” McDowell said.

McDowell believes that having Janz as president can give the president after him a clear roadmap that will create a new and improved institution.




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About the Contributors
Sophia Sailer, Editor-in-Chief

Sophia Sailer (she/her/hers) is currently the Editor-in-Chief at The Winonan.

Sailer is also a DJ for KQAL and hosts “Sippin’ with Sophie” on Saturdays from 3-6 PM. You’ll also catch Sailer at TV Services in Phelps, if you ever need to rent out a camera.

Sailer is from Eden Prairie, Minnesota and is a fourth-year student at Winona State University studying Mass Communication: Creative Digital Media as her major, and Advertising and Film studies as her minors. She loves talking to people and making sure their voices are heard and hopes to do that with her leadership at the Winonan.

Recently Sailer studied abroad for 2 weeks in Italy, creating art.

Sailer’s hobbies include listening to music, shopping, making art, and hanging out with friends.

Jacob Gifford, Features Writer

Jacob Gifford (They/He) is a photographer and a features writer for the Winonan and started in fall 2023. Jacob is in his third year at Winona State and is studying Psychology with a minor in Philosophy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies.

Besides working for The Winonan, Jacob is also the Vice president of Philosophy Club at Winona State.

In his free time, Jacob enjoys hanging out with friends, longboarding, playing videogames, and writing and playing music. Jacob also enjoys going to concerts of local bands.

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