Taj Khan of Lodi, named San Joaquin Delta College board or trustees president on Tuesday, says campus construction projects, labor negotiations and long-term planning to create a Lodi-based education center are his top priorities. Khan is optimistic that the college will continue to provide quality instruction, pointing out that Delta ranks in the top 10 percent of community colleges in California, according to the Aspen Institute.
Khan has served the past five years as a trustee representing Area 4, which includes Lodi.
An engineer by trade, Khan is also interested and involved in construction projects such as the new math and science building, which replaces the old Cunningham building at the Stockton campus.
He believes the building, with its new state-of-the-art science labs and classroom space, will be a valuable resource for the campus community.
Recently, the project was delayed due to litigation from Taisei, the contracting company responsible for constructing the new building and tearing down the Cunningham building. However, the construction has since finished and the building is set to open for students in the spring semester.
“It’s a discovery process,” Khan said. “It will shake down and we will figure out if we owe them money so we can pay them back, or if they owe us money.”
One major challenge for Khan will be opening negotiations with labor unions like the California State Employees Association, the California Teachers Association and the Police Officers Association. The union contracts have expired, but the unions have accepted short-term contracts while negotiations take place.
Khan says he considers Delta’s employees to be the college’s biggest asset, and he hopes that these talks will create a stronger relationship with these unions.
With the campus in good financial condition and remaining Measure L funds — the 2004 bond measure that raised $250 million for Delta — it’s no surprise that expansion is on the agenda.
With trustee support, the college remains committed to opening an education center in Lodi, and Khan says that the center is still an important goal.
“I think the year 2014 is a really important year, and I’m looking forward to staying a part of the decision-making process,” said Khan. “Delta College is a jewel in San Joaquin County. I believe it’s going to be better in the future. I think 2014 is going to be very positive.”