Dordt College News

Netz to retire from Dordt

October 17, 2005

On October 26, Mr. David Netz will retire from his position as chief information office and vice-president for Information Services at Dordt College. As he concludes more than a decade of service to the college, Netz has been engaged in one final study, developing models of distance education technologies that might be used to expand Dordt’s educational offerings beyond traditional geographic and generational boundaries. Dave Netz

“Mr. Netz has truly pioneered and done significant work in developing the very effective information services departments on our campus,” said President Carl E. Zylstra in announcing Netz’s departure. That work since 1995 has included:

• collaborating with Mutual Telephone (now Premier) to replace 56K computer connections with high speed and wireless internet on Dordt’s campus and throughout Sioux Center;

• modernizing the campus telecommunications network;

• acquiring a new data software system with the capacity and capability to meet future needs;

• converting the library’s web-based catalog to custom designed software;

• developing intranet and online learning management systems;

• constant upgrades to classroom technology that are both cost efficient and effective

• establishing a state-of-the-art multimedia computer lab for students in several majors

• making computers available to every student by means of computer workstations and notebook computers available for checkout at the library.

Netz is quick to point out that the technological advances seen at Dordt College in the past decade were the result of many professionals working together. As Vice-President of Information Services, he oversaw three directors: library services, computer services and media services. With Netz’s retirement, that hierarchy will be revamped, with these directors now reporting to the vice-presidents of academic and business affairs.

Netz’s ties to Dordt College extend far beyond the past 11 years in Information Services: David was a student at Dordt College back in the ’60s, where he met and married his wife, Phyllis in June of 1965.

That’s when he got what he calls “One of those little God nudges.”

Netz had a student workstudy job in the library, and the cataloger quit. The library staff encouraged him to take a couple summer courses in Vermillion, which allowed Netz to be hired half-time at the library during his senior year.

After receiving his English degree from Dordt in 1966, David continued his education at Western Michigan University, then served an internship at Ohio St. University in 1967-68. “That was another God nudge,” said Netz. “That internship was really helpful in understanding the world of information and higher education.”

In the fall of 1968, a reference librarian position opened at Dordt, and Netz was hired to initiate Dordt’s library science program. For four years he taught cataloguing, reference, school library administration, utilizing media materials, English and swimming water safety.

“I’ve always enjoyed new opportunities and challenges, looking at where we are and where we are going,” said Netz. That philosophy is reflected in his career path, which led him to similar positions at three other colleges before returning to Dordt in 1995.

Reflecting on his time spent at Dordt College, Netz said it has been very satisfying working with library and computer service personnel, who have always worked together as a team to create the excellent infrastructure that now exists. He also enjoyed the opportunity to work professionally with student workers.

“Dordt’s workstudy program is an added learning experience that intentionally pushes students beyond menial to meaningful involvement,” said Netz. “Workstudy supervisors consistently and intentionally add responsibilities that allow students to explore career options and skill sets outside of the classroom.” He hopes that philosophy has served as a “God nudge” to other students seeking the career paths God has for them.

Netz said he sees good things ahead for the future of Dordt College, with computer technology making distance education and global access possible here in Northwest Iowa. “The challenge for the future is to keep up with technology and to serve students, whether on-campus or remotely, in a safe, secure way.”

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