Kim Wagner, executive director of student financial services and auxiliary enterprises, oversees the teams that operate the financial aid, student accounts, business and finance systems, food operations, bookstore and child care departments within the business and finance division at ECC. “In general, I oversee most areas that deal with students and money,” said Wagner, who has been with the college for over 15 years, coming to ECC in 2002 after responding to an ad in the Chicago Tribune.
While her position deals with students and finances, Wagner is an advocate for students' success and hopes to find ways to ease financial burdens that may unexpectedly arise during students' time at the college.
“I am a true advocate for students. If anyone has a student who needs financial assistance, please have the student reach out to me,” said Wagner. “I have heard too many stories where students have dropped out of ECC because of financial reasons when we could have provided assistance. Sometimes there are resources-financial or community agencies-that can help students through a difficult time. I want students to know that they have options.”
In addition to completing her doctoral degree, there's one main goal at the top of Wagner's bucket list: traveling overseas to explore Limerick, Ireland and meet cousins she found through family genealogy research. “Thanks to social media, we are able to communicate and see pictures of them, but it would great to visit where my great-great grandfather was born and meet our extended family,” said Wagner.
We caught up with Wagner to learn more about her life and her work at ECC. Here is what she had to say.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been at ECC?
I was honored to represent ECC (along with a fantastic team) at the 2014 Community College Futures Assembly competing for the Bellwether Award for our financial literacy program. Although we didn't win that award, we certainly gained national recognition for our passion to serve our students in financial education.
What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?
I would listen. I would schedule 30-minute blocks of time with the ECC community to learn about concerns, areas of innovation and understand more about our students, faculty and staff.
If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
With two very active children, my outside activities tend to involve scout outings, making crafts and reading with my third and fifth graders.
Where was the best place you've traveled to?
The best place I have traveled is Glacier National Park in Montana. I love the majestic setting of the forests and the wildlife.
What's one fact we should know about you?
I'm in my last year of my doctorate program, pursuing a Doctorate in Community College Leadership at Ferris State University. This time next year, I hope my family will refer to me as “Dr. Wagner.” However, my husband is also pursuing a doctorate in K-12 Curriculum and Instruction, so the thrill of being the only doctor at home will be short-lived.
What would be your “theme song?”
“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor (It is guaranteed to put a smile on your face once you hear the first few notes!)
What was your favorite class in school?
My favorite class in college was a history class about the 1960s. The topic was truly fascinating, and I had an outstanding teacher that not only wanted us to learn about that time period but also wanted us to experience it through speakers, music and discussion. He was one of the main reasons I chose to minor in history.
What was your first job out of school?
After I graduated college, I worked at Arthur Andersen in downtown Chicago as a public accountant until the company's unfortunate demise in 2002.
What quote best describes your philosophy?
“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because…”
We have been given the honor to change people’s lives through learning.