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* Shoreline gets ready for next budget cuts

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The Senior Executive Team at Shoreline Community College prepared more indepth responses to several of the more common concerns raised during the recent feedback period on the preliminary budget reduction recommendations. To view those responses, click here.

Shoreline Community College is getting ready to implement another round of state-mandated budget reductions.

 

“The administration has carefully reviewed all the feedback comments received over the past several weeks, feedback that we deeply appreciate. We’ve also tried to analyze the latest news from Olympia and anticipate the likely implications,” said John Backes, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Based on  all of that information, we’ve made adjustments to the preliminary recommendations released Feb. 22 and communicated those adjustments to leaders of the classified and faculty unions.”

 

Backes said that employees who were not previously notified that they may be directly affected by the adjustments would be told by their supervisor, a vice president or director, today, Friday. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, April 4-6, every potentially impacted employee will have an opportunity to speak with President Lee Lambert. The President’s Office will schedule those meetings.

 

The details of the reduction plan will be presented and discussed at the all-campus meeting, 12:30-2 p.m., April 6, Room 2308. The meeting will be Webcast on Elluminate.

 

“These reductions are based on our best determinations of what the college will face once the Legislature finished its work; $3.1 million in reductions,” Backes said. The preliminary recommendations were aimed at a $2.77 million mark, but the state’s revenue forecast released March 17 and subsequent advice from staff at the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges increased the target.

 

Despite not having an actual reduction number from the state, contract requirements mean the college must start layoff and reduction-in-force processes now if they are to take effect by the start of the new fiscal year, July 1, 2011. As in previous years, President Lambert has said that if a smaller cut is required, reduction processes can be stopped, but they can’t be accelerated. If planned cuts are delayed into the new fiscal year, Lambert has said it would just mean additional budget reductions would be needed to make up the difference.

* West Coast Vehicle Conference at Shoreline

032211-auto.jpgThe Vehicle Maintenance Management Conference (VMMC), the premier West Coast educational conference for the vehicle maintenance industry, celebrated its 60th anniversary by doing something that hadn’t happened in the previous 59 years: it moved locations.
 
The conference was conceived and hosted by the University of Washington, but conference officials decided to move to the Professional Automotive Training Center at Shoreline Community College for the March 22-24, 2011 version. The conference is still a program of UW Education Outreach, produced by UW Professional and Continuing Education.

According to Kerry Swayne, Washington Department of Ecology and VMMC chairman, the move means more usable classroom and the opportunity to include hands-on training in the three-day conference.

“We’re very excited to have VMMC on campus,” said Shoreline President Lee Lambert. “The conference participants  are key figures in the transportation industry and this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our national-award winning program and facility.”

Photos...

* State forecast causes SCC to adjust budget target

News from Olympia is causing Shoreline Community College officials to again adjust the potential budget-reduction target.

 

With a worsening economic picture outlined in the revenue forecast released March 17, and subsequent advice from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, Shoreline officials are now planning toward a possible $3.1 million cut starting July 1, 2011.

 

“We’ve got to go there and then hope it will be enough,” Vice President for Academic Affairs John Backes said Monday, March 21. “These cuts are far beyond painful. It’s hard to see how we would be able to continue to serve students in the same numbers and to the same level.”

 

The college just concluded two weeks of gathering campus feedback on possible reduction numbers based on Gov. Chris Gregoire’s plan proposed in January. Labeled “preliminary recommendations” because of the myriad variables that could impact a reduction target, the potential reduction announced Feb. 22 added up to $2.77 million. The recommendations included as many as 20 faculty positions, 7.5 classified positions and 4.5 administrative positions.

 

The state’s revenue forecast, however, appears to assure that the reduction required will be deeper.

 

Compared to the November forecast, revenues are expected to drop by another $80 million in the current year. Looking ahead for the next two years, the forecast is gloomier by another $698 million next biennium or about $798 million over the next three years. While the numbers change depending on who is talking, the general yardstick used by the state Office of Financial Management shows that the project shortfall is now at $5.1 billion. That would be a 22 percent increase in the shortfall contemplated in the Governor’s budget, according to the State Board.

 

“Based on this information, SET (the Senior Executive Team) has made the decision to plan toward a reduction of $3.1 million,” Backes said.  Despite the increase, Backes said SET is still working to complete a budget reduction plan by the previously published deadlines and an April 6 all-campus meeting. “We’re reviewing all the information received during the feedback period and looking at how to hit this new mark.”

 

The Legislature isn’t expected to have a budget ready by April 6, but Shoreline President Lee Lambert has said the difficult timing this year is no different than in the previous three years. Because of contract requirements, the college must start on reductions before a final number is given the college by the State Board. Lambert has said the college could pull back personnel cuts if they’re not needed, but couldn’t accelerate the processes for union represented employees.

* President takes SCC education to the world

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Map of President Lambert's trip

When Gov. Chris Gregoire put higher education on her list of exports for the state of Washington, Shoreline Community College  President Lee Lambert liked what he saw.

 

China is the biggest market in the world,” said Lambert, who accompanied Gregoire on her trade mission to China and other Asian countries this past September. “Shoreline is one of the best community colleges in the world. We have programs and education they want and need.”

 

Lambert, who traveled to China twice more this past fall, is on the road again, hoping to solidify partnerships with Chinese universities and industries that could bring needed resources to Shoreline in the form of students and cash. Just what might happen depends on what the Chinese are looking for, he said. In some cases, Shoreline could provide instruction to students, or perhaps training for Chinese instructors. Some could be face-to-face here or in China or it might be online.

 

“It takes time,” Lambert says. “You build relationships first, then do business.”

 

In Lambert’s briefcase for the trip that kicks off  March 18, 2011, are potential proposals involving Shoreline’s programs for automotive technicians, registered nurses, English as a second language (ESL), study abroad and early childhood education. “But if they have something else in mind, I’m happy to discuss other programs and options,” he said.

 

Lambert is scheduled to arrive in Shanghai and meet with a Shanghai-based consultant, Margaret Zhang. Lambert and Zhang will travel to Nanjing Jilin Secondary Vocational School. Lambert said the Nanjing school has expressed interest in Shoreline’s automotive program, recognized as the national leader in manufacturer-based training and job placement.

 

“The Chinese automotive sales market is exploding,” Lambert said. “But, the technician and repair side hasn’t kept up. Some people there are starting to realize that and see the need and opportunity.”

 

Lambert is then scheduled to visit Qingdao University, where the ideas of bringing Chinese students here and sending domestic students there are on the plate during two days of meetings. “Internationalization is an important part of what we’re doing at Shoreline,” Lambert said. “One in three jobs in Washington is tied in some way to international trade. If we can help facilitate that through education and cultural understanding, our students are better off and the state benefits, too.”

 

From Qingdao, Lambert will travel to Changchun for meetings arranged by a Chinese automotive consulting firm.  “They call Changchun China’s Detroit,” Lambert said. The area is the core of China’s automobile manufacturing industry and home to FAW, a major manufacturer. FAW produces vehicles under the Hong Qi and FAW Tianjin brands and has production agreements with Audi, Volkswagen, Toyota and General Motors.

 

Joining Lambert for the Changchun portion of the trip will be Annie Sun, a graduate of Shoreline’s Toyota technician program and currently taking business-related classes.  “Annie had experience in the Chinese automotive industry before coming to the U.S.,” Lambert said. “Her ideas, experience and energy are helping to make this effort possible.”

 

After Changchun, Lambert will travel to Chengdu, where he will meet with officials from a Chinese automobile dealership as well as area schools about ESL and early childhood education opportunities. “Our ESL faculty and program are very good,” Lambert said. “Now, they’ve taken this idea of delivering ESL classes in an online environment and really run with it. They are developing innovative curricula that can meet the needs of students around the world.”

 

Early childhood education might not seem like an intuitive educational export, but Lambert said Shoreline’s program has drawn attention.

 

“We have a unique blend of on-campus parent-child center, a network of co-op childcare centers and a certificate and degree program,” he said. “Shoreline has hosted a number of Chinese educators and delegations over the past several years and they always take note of our early childhood education program.”

 

From Chengdu, Lambert will head for his final stop, Beijing.

 

“I’m scheduled for two days in Beijing,” Lambert said. “I’m planning on making some new connections. I’ve got several universities lined up, but I’ve also got some flexibility to be open to possibilities.”

 

Lambert is scheduled to arrive back in the U.S. on April 1 and on campus April 4.  

*Trustees hear budget-reduction concerns

BOTcrowd031611.jpg

A full board room listens to comments from a speaker. Others waited in the doorways and hallway to hear views on potential budget reductions.

 

Economic news

 

The State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council is scheduled to give the March revenue forecast at noon, March 17, in Olympia.

The Legislature has been waiting for these numbers to finalize the current year supplemental budget as well as better understand the level of reduction needed for the coming year.

 

Previous revenue forecasts are posted on the council's web site and the new forecast is expected to be posted about the time of the hearing at:

http://www.erfc.wa.gov/forecast/revenueForecast.shtml

The board room at Shoreline Community College was overflowing with people to hear comments at the March 16, 2011 Board of Trustees  meeting.

 

Four faculty members and four students spoke to trustees during the open comment period about their views and feelings on potential impacts at the college brought on by state budget reductions. For the past two-and-a-half weeks, the college has been gathering feedback on preliminary recommendations for cuts, based on Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget and advice from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges. Those recommendations totaled about $2.7 million in reductions, including as many as 20 faculty positions, 7.5 classified positions and 4.5 administrative exempt positions.

 

No final decisions have been made on a budget plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2011, but action must start soon, according to President Lee Lambert. Because of contractual requirements for both faculty and classified employees, personnel reduction processes will need to start before the Legislature votes on a budget, setting a reduction target for all government agencies. Lambert has said that those processes can be reversed, but are difficult to accelerate. An all-campus meeting is scheduled for April 6 to talk about a plan that the college would need to begin implementing.

 

“Shoreline is all about quality and I would like it to stay that way,” faculty member Diana Knauf said at the board meeting. “I may leave, not because I’m going to lose my job, but because I don’t want to be a part of this.”

 

Matt Lorenz, a student, told the trustees that there already aren’t enough classes and was concerned that fewer full-time faculty would mean fewer classes. Another student called Shoreline “a precious place” and said she valued the roles filled by full-time faculty members.

 

Faculty member Rachel David said she grew up in a family of professors an attended UC Berkeley. “I had advantages,” David said. “I came here not to teach students like me, I came here for the underprepared. The vision I hear for this college and this state, those students won’t be here.”

 

Robert Francis teaches economics at Shoreline and said the faculty cuts as outlined in the preliminary recommendations would take a way from programs needed by students who want to transfer to universities. “Pulling back on transfer, I think could leave a college that is not sustainable,” Francis said. “We need to rejuvenate transfer programs.”

 

Biotechnology teacher and Faculty Senate Council member Guy Hamilton asked what the vision of the college is on how it will serve its targeted number of students. “We see a list of cuts that add up to a number, but how is that sustainable?” he said, adding that faculty members want to be included in finding a solution.

 

A new student, Isaiah Airhart, said he’d just moved from Colorado, a state he said ranks 50th in investment in education: “We just passed Mississippi.” He urged caution when considering cutting teachers and the impacts on society. “If you start cutting teachers, you might as well start building prisons,” he said.

 

Board chair Jerry Smith thanked everyone who spoke, saying he empathized with their comments and feelings and paraphrased Charles Dickens with “this is the best of times; it is the worst of times.”

 

“I heard and appreciate everything that was said,” Smith said

 

Trustee Phil Barrett asked for help from those in the audience.

 

“We’re really between a rock and hard place here,” Barrett said. “Talk to your legislators. We need you to help us. (Shoreline) is a gem, let’s not tarnish it.”

 

SCC/Jim Hills

* Budget feedback review process starts

What’s next?

The state Legislature won’t pass a budget in the next two weeks, but Shoreline Community College must still start the processes required by contracts for personnel reductions, President Lee Lambert said.

“The contracts for faculty and classified employees have timelines built in,” Lambert said. “To assure that reductions would take effect by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, we have to start now. If necessary, we can always pull back, but we can’t speed up.”

Lambert also announced Monday that he would like to have an all-campus meeting Wednesday, April 6, to present and explain reductions that would start then. “I know it is a difficult time, but we need to get people together,” he said.

Timeline

  • Feb. 11: All-Campus Meeting
  • Feb. 14-18: Deans & Directors review
  • Feb. 22: Publish initial recommendations with preliminary position reductions
  • Feb. 23-March 14: Campus feedback opportunities
  • March 15-25: PSET review of feedback
  • March 28-31: Union notifications
  • April 6: All-campus meeting
  • April 4-15: Notification to faculty, classified & exempt

Budget calendar link

Over the past three weeks, Shoreline Community College faculty, staff and students offered a mountain of feedback on preliminary recommendations to meet state-mandated budget reductions.

Now, the task is for the senior executive team to review all of it, sifting for suggestions that can help the college deal with what may be a growing state budget problem.

“I want to thank everyone for their comments,” Shoreline President Lee Lambert said Monday, March 14, 2011. “This is a very difficult process and recent comments from key legislators indicate it could get tougher. However, hearing from as many people as we did over the past several weeks is helpful.”

This portion of the budgeting process began Feb. 22 when the preliminary recommendations were sent to all employees by e-mail. Between then and March 14, numerous face-to-face meetings were conducted with senior executive team members and comments were collected through an anonymous e-mail form and drop boxes placed around campus.

The preliminary recommendations are just that, an early look at a range of potential budget-reduction targets and how the college might make cuts that would fall in that range. In numbers presented in February by Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell, the approximate range was from $2.25 million-$3.1 million. The preliminary recommendations included reductions that added up to something in the middle: $2.77 million.

While there were many comments submitted both in meetings and anonymously, in his review of the feedback, Campbell said he saw some themes emerge, including:

  • Review the affiliate faculty status
  • Why cut programs across the board, including those with healthy enrollments vs. targeting specific programs?
  • Why cut ESL if the college is moving toward a virtual college and more international students, where more ESL would be needed?
  • Why not cut expensive-to-run professional-technical programs?
  • Isn’t it preferable to teach-out program rather than cut substantial numbers of faculty?
  • Show the relationship and impacts on costs and student FTEs of cutting all part-time faculty before cutting full-time faculty.
  • Why the difference between the preliminary recommendations and the cuts announced, but not acted on, in December?
  • Rationale/criterion that cuts should come from departments with more than four full-time faculty disregards the work load of faculty in these departments.

In a meeting Monday, senior executive team members discussed Campbell’s theme areas.

Affiliate faculty status is the result of labor negotiations and any change would also have to come through the negotiation process, Stephen Smith, Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs, said. Smith noted that faculty contract negotiations are ongoing, but cannot be included in budget considerations.

On questions regarding which programs might be reduced, John Backes, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said that regardless of cuts, the college must still meet the four main missions of a community college, including transfer, professional-technical, adult basic education and contract training. On full-time vs. part-time, Backes added that to part-time faculty are necessary for the college to serve the current number of students. He said recommendations in areas with more than four full-time faculty were an attempt to keep as many disciplines at the college as possible, while preserving a core of full-time faculty members.

Campbell has said that the difference between the December and February potential reductions are primarily due to time. In December, the state asked for a plan to meet significant cuts this current school year. Items in that plan needed to result in immediate savings, but the Legislature pulled back on the request. The reductions in February’s preliminary recommendations could be spread over a year.

From the anonymous comments sources came some from students such as this one: “As a student, it is sad to see certain professors that are young and really awesome at their job get riffed …”

Other comments questioned a variety of college expenditures including the foundation, the number of administrators including vice presidents, deans and directors and continuing the athletics programs.

Some comments looked at other expenses and suggested unplugging electric water coolers, lowering thermostats in buildings and shutting off lights. Still others looked for additional revenue, suggesting efforts such as night and weekend classes offered to the community.

President Lambert cautioned Monday that while the preliminary recommendations started from Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget, and then modified based on comments from the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, they may not be enough.

Over the weekend, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, and House Ways and Means Chair, told the Seattle Times that another $500 million to $1.5 billion could be added to the current budget shortfall, already at $5 billion. The next real information is due Thursday, March 17, when the state is expected to release the next quarterly revenue estimate.

“We’ll know more after Thursday,” Lambert said.

SCC/Jim Hills

* SCC looks at online education with virtual college blueprint could

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A significant step has been taken toward addressing the vision for Shoreline Community College set forth this past August by President Lee Lambert.

 

The 64-page “Blueprint for a Virtual College: Report to the President’s Senior Executive Team” was presented Wednesday, March 9, 2011 to that executive team by the co-chairs of the group that developed the report, Ann Garnsey-Harter, director of eLearning, and Stuart Trippel, acting director of financial services.

 

According to the report, the college should take an “approach that will build upon the College’s existing strengths: offering high quality online instruction at an affordable price. … Using this incremental approach, the immediate recommended goal is to improve existing online instructional offerings and to package them comprehensively, and – equally if not more importantly – to address internal process barriers in the area of student services.”

 

Should the President’s Senior Executive Team (PSET) choose to move forward, the report says the next step would be to appoint an implementation team that would sort and work through the many potential action steps outlined in the report. “We think an implementation team should be formed by the end of the month to continue the energy that came from this process,” Garnsey-Harter said.

 

In their presentation, Garnsey-Harter and Trippel acknowledged that the report is not truly a blueprint, but more a recommendation of direction with some identified first steps. However, Trippel reinforced the recommendation and those steps.

 

“This is possible, not just some dream,” Trippel said. “Not easy, but possible. There is nothing the other institutions mentioned in the report have that we don’t have on this campus in terms of talent.”

 

Vice President for Student Success Tonya Drake noted that many of the report’s recommendations for student services are items that are also on her priority list. Indeed, while aimed at online learning, the report says is many of the student services-related recommendations would also benefit students who come to campus.

 

“This is one of the most important strategic documents I’ve seen since my arrival,” said Daryl Campbell, Vice President for Administrative Services. “This is a very important document for this college.”

 

The virtual college idea was launched by President Lambert in August, 2010, at a brown-bag lunch to discuss the vision for the college as it deals with continued state funding reductions.

 

At the lunch, Lambert said part of that vision is to embrace the available technology to continue to provide the quality education that is Shoreline’s reputation.

 

“Technology can provide the platform to build a college within a college,” Lambert said in August, comparing the idea to a store that has a physical location to serve some customers, but also an online, or virtual, store to serve many more. “What if we had a virtual store?”

 

While Shoreline already has a successful eLearning program, ranking in the top 10 of online education providers in the state, Lambert said the college can grow in that area. That day, Lambert set a goal of doubling enrollment to 20,000 students by 2020. Recently, Lambert said that while he believes that number is attainable, his intent was to set a broad goal of bringing high quality education to more people.

 

“We could get there, maybe even more, but that’s not the point,” Lambert said this week. “Movement toward the goal is the important thing.”

 

Lambert said he’s pleased with blueprint report.

 

“This isn’t about going all online and abandoning face-to-face instruction. We do both now and we’ll continue to do both, along with hybrid classes,” Lambert said. “The blueprint outlines an incremental and scalable way to move forward in a growing area of higher education.

 

“I want to thank the Virtual College Leadership Team and all of those who participated in the work groups. Now, I look forward to working with the Senior Executive Team on next steps.”

SCC/Jim Hills