Safety & Security Director Robn Blacksmith models evacuation-monitor gear at the May 10, 2013 all-campus meeting. More photos
It was a crowded and informative agenda for the May 10, 2013 All Campus Meeting at Shoreline Community College.
Attendees, both in-person and on streaming video, saw and heard updates on the state and college budgets, division and department reorganization plans, accreditation, campus internationalization, the virtual college, campus safety and security efforts and college-level impacts from the state’s business-processes project called ctcLink.
President Lee Lambert began the meeting talking about his status as a candidate for the chancellor job at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz. “The things I care about are employees, faculty and students,” Lambert said. The opportunity to do that work on a larger scale at Pima, which has an operating budget that would be one-fifth of the entire Washington system, is one worth considering, he added.
As for the budget, Lambert said the state of Washington’s approach to funding higher education is hurting employees and students. “We are sorely underfunded,” he said. “Our focus has to be on Olympia because all we can do is respond to decisions made there.”
He noted that in 2009, the total community and technical colleges system of 34 colleges received about $988 million with $750 million of that coming from the state. “Today, we get just over $900 million, but only $586 million comes from the state,” he said. “The rest is on the backs of our students. We are overburdening our students. Something is wrong.”
Lambert briefly recapped competing budget scenarios from the state House and Senate, the main subjects of a special legislative session scheduled to open Monday, May 13. “While there are differences, at this point, we are planning on a flat, no new revenue budget from the state,” Lambert said. “Compared to recent years, that’s good news.”
James Jansen, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, said that a reorganization of the academic and student services areas that he oversees is on hold. “We had a lot of discussion across campus and I learned some things,” Jansen said. “Especially now with the potential for change with the president, we’ll put the reorg on hold until at least this fall and go forward with the current structure.”
Joe Duggan, newly appointed director of the also new Department of Institutional Assessment & Data Management, spoke about the next steps in the ongoing accreditation process. Duggan noted that he is looking for feedback on draft accreditation documents and has a June 14 deadline.
Campus internationalization was next up, with Dean of Social Sciences Bob Francis recounting his experience co-presenting on Shoreline’s efforts at the American Association of Community College (AACC) annual convention this past month in San Francisco. Other co-presenters at the convention were Diana Sampson and Mari Kosin from International Education office and Vice President Jansen.
Francis said that campus internationalization creates an environment that provides learning opportunities that attract and retain both domestic and international students. While students engage a rigorous academic program, community members also see the college as a vibrant place where they can learn more about the evolving world.
“I came away understanding just how far along we are,” Francis said, reciting a long list of on-campus internationalization successes and ongoing efforts. “We are head and shoulders above many larger institutions.”
Ann Garnsey-Harter, director of Shoreline’s Virtual College and eLearning, focused on the transition from Blackboard to the Canvas learning management system and other advances in her area. She noted that the process that began last fall has resulted in 197 classes now moved to Canvas.
“It has been hard work, but we’ve had lots of training and support, along with two retreats, and faculty should be commended,” she said.
Garnsey-Harter also noted that more faculty members are using and developing classes that use open course library (OCL) materials. The statewide project that started with a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is helping keep down the cost of textbooks and other class materials. She noted the efforts by math faculty member Shana Calaway, who has developed two classes and written an OCL text.
More articulation agreements with more universities are also opening up new pathways for students, Garnsey-Harter said. Shoreline recently aligned with a new online degree at the University of Washington and is expanding agreements with Grand Canyon University, Portland State University and the University of Phoenix, she said.
Director of Safety and Security Robin Blacksmith paraded in front of the crowd in hardhat, safety vest and a backpack full of emergency gear as her introduction to a new effort to identify and train a small army of “evacuation monitors.”
“I need 74 volunteers,” Blacksmith said. “We are a large campus with lots of buildings so I need one for every building and then backups.” The idea, she said, is that every building will have people with knowledge and equipment in the case of an emergency that requires evacuation.
Blacksmith also touched on an upgraded emergency messaging system called Connect 5, online and in-person safety training that is being developed, reviewing options for added door locks and then asking everyone to have a personal emergency preparedness kit at work.
“They used to say three-days, three-ways, that might not be good enough anymore, but anything can help,” she said.
Director of Financial Services Stuart Trippel introduced one new word, ctcLlink, and added some more that warmed the hearts of many longtime college and system employees: “The HP is going away.”
The state uses an antiquated computer system known as the “HP 3000” to keep track of most business and student services. Earlier this year, the state awarded a contract that will bring new technology and new processes to Shoreline and the rest of the state’s colleges.
“Don’t think of ctcLink as an IT project,” Trippel said. “This is a new process project. The biggest issue facing us will be managing the change.”
During the question-and-answer session that followed the presentations, Lambert was asked about the Pima job and whether he would take a raise if the Shoreline Board of Trustees made him a counter offer. Amy Kinsel, faculty union president, asked if he would turn down any offered raise as a sign of solidarity with other employee groups who haven’t had pay increases in recent years.
A group of students holding signs stood behind out-going Student Body Association President Kanpong Thaweesuk as he made a similar request. A student, Sean Prather, also asked Lambert if he would turn down such an offer if made.
“I did not ask the trustees for a raise,” Lambert said. “It is not my intent to seek such a raise. My intent is to stay focused on student success.”