NWC names new Franken Institute director

Northwestern College has announced the hiring of a new full-time director of the Franken Leadership Institute. Dr. Sandi Altena, executive director of The Bridge transitional housing program in Orange City since 2008, will assume that role on Feb. 3.

“Sandi brings to this position a depth of leadership experience, including work with students in service-learning projects and internships, program development, mentorship, networking and administration,” says Dr. Adrienne Forgette, dean of the faculty. “She is well-prepared to engage external partners and build relationships among students and faculty.”

The Franken Leadership Institute was established in 2010 to support the development of Christ-like leaders who will capably and confidently bring their faith into their careers and communities after graduation. It is the home for many of Northwestern’s experiential learning opportunities.

Altena’s duties will include managing the Carlson Internship Program, a new effort that will place students in full-time specialized internship experiences. She will also work with faculty to incorporate meaningful service-learning opportunities into courses and administer adventure education opportunities such as Portage, a wilderness experience for new students.

“I love working with students and connecting people,” says Altena, “and this position will involve making a lot of connections. There is great potential for student learning and success through experiential education, and I’m excited about helping to foster that through my work at Northwestern.”

Altena earned a doctorate in adult and higher education from the University of South Dakota, from which she also earned a master’s degree in leadership. She completed her undergraduate education at Dordt College.

Before taking the helm at The Bridge, Altena served as Dordt’s director of residence life for 11 years. She also was assistant recreation director for the city of Sioux Center for 12 years.

The Franken Leadership Institute was founded in memory of Northwestern alumnus and board member Jim Franken, who served as CEO of the Interstates Companies and the Harbor Group in Sioux Center.