Board Report – July 2011
Welcome to the first board meeting of the new school year.
Congratulations to all of our newly elected board members. It is a blessing for the college that we have such engaged, committed board members who bring stability to the board. I'd also like to welcome Rosie into our college family. I'm very excited to have you on the board, and I'm looking forward to working with you. Your experience, expertise and civic spirit will benefit the entire college.
Congratulations to Susie Johnston and to Bob Ackerman for your election as chair and vice chair. I look forward to working with you over the next year.
I would like to thank Tony McCown for being the chair last year. His knowledge of the college and students' needs and his connections to the external community have benefitted the college.
I'd like to welcome our new Chief Information Officer, Bill Schuetz.
I was sad to note the passing of Cliff Matson, charter Board of Education member, who died recently at age 92. He served on Lane's first board in the Zone 2 position from October 1964 through June 1971. He also was a strong advocate for establishing the dental assisting and dental hygiene programs here. A family remembrance was published in the July 3 Register-Guard. We also have information on our college Archives web pages. We will remember him at a future meeting when his family can be here.
The legislature finally adjourned. The Community College Support Fund (CCSF) received $395.5 million plus $14.5 million held back for release in the February 2012 session, provided the economy does not go into another recession. If the remaining funding is released, it will bring the second year of the biennium back up to the $410 million mark for the CCSF. If we go into recession again and state revenue falls, the held-back funds will become an automatic allotment reduction. The CCSF also received an additional $15 million for the 2009-11 biennium as part of the "maintenance of effort" requirement for federal dollars received from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
On the policy side, both SB 242 and SB 909 passed in the final weeks of the session. SB 242 creates the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, moves the Oregon Student Assistance Commission under the new commission, and restructures the Oregon University System. SB 909 places the Education Investment Board in statute and tasks them with developing recommendations for the 2012 legislature to consider. I attended the ceremonial signing of SB 909 in the Governor's office. I continue to work with the Governor as part of the Core Steering Team to develop strategy for implementation of SB 909. Sonya will be participating in strategy sessions during the month of August. They are bringing together some of the best thinkers in education from around the state in August, and of course, Sonya is one of them. Congratulations.
In Washington, most of the attention during the past month has been focused on negotiations over increasing the debt ceiling and reducing the federal budget. Many popular government programs, such as the Pell Grant, are being closely examined by Congress for ways to reduce spending. AACC and ACCT have launched an advocacy campaign to protect the current maximum Pell Grant award; Tony will have more on this later in tonight's meeting.
AACC has established the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges to realign the community college mission with national needs and economic realities. This is only the third such effort in the 110-year history of community colleges, following the Truman Commission in 1947 and the AACC Futures Commission in 1988. I am one of the 36 appointees on the commission and the only one from Oregon. The members represent education, business, and policy. We will meet mostly electronically over the next 10 months.
A national study released this month by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education illustrates how state legislators are making it harder for people to earn degrees at the most affordable colleges while demand increases. How true that is for Oregon. Community colleges provide the least expensive path to either a two-year or four-year degree, but cuts in state funding have pushed tuition up sharply even as average family income has remained stagnant or fallen. I commented on the study for The Register-Guard.
I interviewed with Community College Times last week for another story on the importance of students who are learning a trade to also have some education in the humanities.
As you see from your board packet we are pleased that the college reached a tentative agreement with LCCEF, and that was ratified on June 29. We also reached agreement with the management group. These are before you tonight for approval. We have reached a tentative agreement with LCCEA around economics and hope to have that finalized before Jim leaves for sabbatical with faculty ratification in the fall. I'm certain we have another brisk year ahead of us advocating for public funding so it is good news for everyone to have our bargaining work completed. I'd like to extend my gratitude to LCCEA and LCCEF bargaining teams and our own college teams who represent you, the board, at the table. These are not easy times and it involves very challenging conversations. However, I believe that we should celebrate the fact that in the face of all the economic challenges that the college has faced that we were able to bring money to the table when we see all around us that is not the case. I want to give credit to the board for your fiscal prudence that helped give us the ability to complete these negotiations.
Bus ridership was very heavy in the mornings out to main campus at the start of the term, and we are glad that LTD added an extra bus between 7:30 and 9 a.m. It was very frustrating for students, faculty and staff to watch full buses pass them by. Anything people can do to take an earlier bus, carpool, or use alternative transportation also really helps.
Bears were sighted at our Florence campus last week, a not all that uncommon occurrence. We issued a Lane Alert advisory to help people be aware.
The Foundation has awarded scholarships to more than 400 students for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. Congratulations to all of our scholarship recipients and thank you to the 60 volunteers who reviewed and scored the more than 700 scholarship applications. Special thanks to our donors who make it possible for our students to truly transform their lives through learning.
The Foundation and others also have collaborated on a large mural to be completed by students on the east side of Building 5, facing Bristow Square. Facilities has begun pressure-washing and other work to prepare the site. The mural will have a multicultural theme. This is an Art on Campus committee project. Funding is being provided by the Committee, the Foundation, student fees, donations, and my office. Thanks to Tom Madison, Satoko Motouji, Rick Williams, Tamara Pinkas, Dave Willis, and Janet Anderson and others for working together on this exciting student art project.
Kudos to our finance staff for once more earning a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. This is the seventh consecutive time we have won this certificate. It is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting. Congratulations to Stan Barker and his team.
I just got back from the AACC President's Academy. This is a professional development opportunity for presidents. I last attended at the end of my first year, so I thought after ten years on the job it would be important to go back. It was very instructive with several interesting presentations. Hearing from other presidents always reminds me of how fortunate I am to be at Lane. Things can pretty crazy around here, but it's nothing compared to some of the stories from other colleges.
On Monday, I look forward to going up to Salem with Rosie for her OCCA new board member training.
I plan to visit Scotland and take vacation beginning next month. The board is not scheduled to meet in August, so I hope that gives each of you some time for rest and relaxation. I also want to wish Jim a wonderful and safe time over the next six months as he sets out on his sabbatical.