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New president Kathleen Hart eyes key projects for Delta College’s future

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Kathleen Hart

Posted: Saturday, September 22, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:34 am, Sat Sep 22, 2012.

Kathleen Hart is the new president/superintendent of San Joaquin Delta College.

She completed her doctorate in higher education at University of Michigan in 1994. She was first hired at Delta College in 1994 as Assistant Division Chair for Communication Skills, and she was promoted in 2000 to Division Chair of Communication Skills. She took on the president/superintendent position earlier this year when Jeff Marsee resigned. Hart is the first female president/superintedent of Delta.

Q: Why did you apply for the permanent position?

A: The board asked me to do it on an acting basis earlier in the year when Marsee left, and I agreed then because I felt the college needed the stability of someone who had been here and had the confidence to move forward.

I applied for the position because I still feel that way. The last thing we want to do right now is to disrupt things. We can go forward, and make progress, but with things how they are, a new face and new ideas would be very disruptive to the college right now.

Q: What challenges are you anticipating?

A: Obviously the budget is the most looming problem, and that's not going to get any better over the next few years. I'm excited about the future; I just wish we had a lot of money to spend.

Over next few months we want to try to identify our core services, what we need to continue doing, and what we need to stop doing in order to preserve most important parts of our educational programs and services.

We always have obligations to our creditors. There is an important report due in the spring. Our comprehensive self-study is due in the spring of 2014, and that's not that far away, either.

Q: What are the key projects to tackle?

A: Our biggest project is to reestablish our foundation, and to prepare for the Passport to College students coming to the college in 2014. It's coming up on us very quickly, and we need to do a variety of things to raise money and prepare operations for that group of students.

Of course, we're trying to deal with budget situation with reduction in our capital funding. It's challenging because we don't have the seats for students anymore and that's difficult for the students and us both. We'd like to serve everyone around here, and we simply can't do it.

We've already determined there will be no summer courses next summer, we want to preserve those seats for the fall and spring semesters.

But I have a good relationship with the board, and I want to continue to maintain that. I also have good relationships with the internal constituency groups.

Over my career, and more intensely over the last six months, I have developed good relations with the external group. I want to continue those and expand them.

Q: What about the possibility of a Lodi campus?

A: We are still involved in that lawsuit over the previous property, so I can't talk about it or comment on anything else about it. I don't want to jeopardize our position in that suit.

Note: The lawsuit in question was issued in Dec. 09. The developer, under Lodi Victor Ventures LLC, sued in San Joaquin County Superior Court for more than $1 million they say they are owed for planning work on a Lodi campus idea which was later abandoned.

Q: What about the ownership of the Delta Flea Market?

A: We made an agreement some time ago that we were not going to give it back. The students are subsidizing out of the flea market, but it is not theirs to manage. I don't believe students should have control of that.

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com. For more information about local education issues, read our Education Café blog.

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