Board Report – March 2011
I want to thank everyone who joined us at the Downtown Campus groundbreaking last Friday. The room overflowed with people and excitement. Thanks to Board Chair Tony McCown for presenting, and to all the board members who attended. We also had former board members in the audience, including Paul Holman and Jay Bozievich. Thanks to ASLCC President Mario Parker Milligan for speaking, and to Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Peter Defazio, Mayor Kitty Piercy, and Governor's Education Advisor Nancy Golden. We had many of our facilities staff and vendors there, lots of media, and supporters from across the community. Thank you to John Watson for arranging the music, Paula Westgate for providing culinary services and catering, and Dick Clark for producing the event. Thanks to Tracy Simms for the Building It Together marketing campaign materials, and most of all, thanks to our event coordinator Brett Rowlett. It was a great event and a wonderful moment in the college's and the community's history.
The evening prior to the groundbreaking we held a neighborhood meeting for people to talk with representatives from Lease Crutcher Lewis about the anticipated impacts of construction.
Let me review for a minute the status of our existing Downtown Center on Willamette Street. We will continue to need those classrooms through at least the 2011-2012 academic year. We are far from reaching final decisions about the use and future of the current facility once the new campus is completed, but we will be building that plan as we go.
The budget process continues in Salem. The Ways and Means Education Committee held public hearings this week on the Student Assistance Commission. Community colleges will be up March 16, 17 and 21. Commissioner Preus is asking permission for her testimony to be divided up on March 16 and 21 so public and student testimony would occur on March 17, and not during spring break. The Oregon Community College Association (OCCA) has adopted an official ask of $425 million for the Community College Support Fund, but we continue to talk to legislators about what additional revenue would allow us to do.
The OCCA Legislative Summit was held February 23 at the Oregon Convention Center in Salem. Susie Johnston, Pat Albright, and Brett Rowlett attended on behalf of the college.
At the federal level, Congress passed a continuing resolution last week to allow itself an additional two weeks to reach a budget compromise. House Republicans have proposed over $60 billion in cuts to discretionary spending for the current fiscal year, which would mean significant cuts on budgets from the Pell Grant, workforce training programs, Senior Companion program, KLCC, and more. President Obama has threatened to veto the proposal, and Senate continues to seek a compromise somewhere in the middle.
The AACC-ACCT National Legislative Summit was February 14-16 in Washington, DC. Tony McCown, Pat Albright, Brett Rowlett, and I attended. We were part of an Oregon delegation of community college representatives, which was able to meet with all members of Oregon's Congressional delegation. The Republicans made their proposal for federal budget cuts just days before we arrived, so it was good timing for us to be on the Hill meeting with our representatives.
Yesterday we kicked off our Visiting Scholars in Islam lecture series with a national scholar and author Carl Ernst. He is a Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a specialist on Islam in West and South Asia. He has written and published more than eight scholarly books. The next lectures are April 7 with Stephen Shoemaker and May 19 with Kambiz GhaneaBassiri. Sonya may share more in her report later this evening.
Lane was selected for the Achieving the Dream project sponsored by the Lumina Foundation. We're one of 30 additional community colleges nationwide that will participate. This supports our efforts to improve student success, close achievement gaps, and increase student retention, persistence, and completion. You've heard me say before that we need to redouble our efforts to assure that students complete their academic and career goals. We expect to learn a lot as an institution as well as contribute to other colleges.
This week I was at the American Council for Education annual meeting in D.C.
Coming up, we're hosting our first intercollegiate track meet since 2005, on Saturday, March 12. Everyone's looking forward to this inauguration of our new track facilities. I hope you get a chance to see the track and to attend the meet. Next week is finals, then spring break March 21 to 25. Note that the AACC Convention will be April 8 to 12 in New Orleans.