Why are you running for San Joaquin Delta College board?
For many years Delta College was a leader in the community college movement throughout California that began in the 1960s. It was among the most highly regarded two-year colleges in the state. Its programs were noted for their excellence and its service to the community was significant in terms of contributing to the local economic growth. The post-2000 economic downturn took its toll on our region. Significant home foreclosures and the bankruptcy of the City of Stockton are just two of the examples of some of the challenges we faced. The economy of the region created challenges for the college as well.
While the community has turned the corner and is emerging from economic troubles of 10 years ago, the college has been slow to recover and continues to suffer from enrollment declines and continued funding shortfalls.
Delta College needs to flourish and grow in order to effectively serve our community and support a better life for all of those who call our region their home. As long as funding is determined by enrollment, the college must seek to develop growth through strong programs and sites that serve to build involvement throughout the region it serves. My long-term commitment to the college along with my experience as both an educator and administrator gives me the background to effectively serve the residents of the area so that Delta College will move to a position of leadership among its peers. I will work to refocus emphasis on programs that provide opportunity so that all residents can achieve their full potential and the personal growth they seek.
Why are you the best candidate for the seat?
I have had the privilege of working with students, parents and teachers throughout my nearly 40 years as an educator. While we have made improvements to local education, there is still much to do. As a former K-12 teacher, I understand the fundamental need to prepare our students for college. As a retired professor and college dean, I know Delta College’s strengths and weaknesses. The foundation of Delta College is strong yet there are many areas that need improvement. I will hold the Delta College Board accountable to ensure they are investing wisely in educational opportunities for all. It is imperative that we fulfill our promise to provide students with top-notch training for jobs that support a family, and transfer education so students will flourish and grow. As a trustee I will listen, encourage dialog, and collaborate with my Board colleagues to improve the college’s performance and effectiveness.
If elected, what do you hope to accomplish?
The most serious challenge facing the college today is enrollment. Reductions in enrollment have led to shrinking revenue and ability to support its programs Without growth, the college will not increase the revenue it needs to support the residents of the region and a developing economy. In order to support that growth, the college needs to deliver high quality programs throughout the region. In the early 2000s, the college promised local centers to provide improved access. It committed to construction of a South Campus in Mountain House and sought to identify a site for a North Campus in Lodi.
The college’s commitment wavered as our economy faltered. In order to support enrollment growth, the Board must reaffirm its commitment to a North Campus as well as pursue other initiatives to develop service centers in other areas of the district. Internally, the college must support programs that are of the highest quality among others in higher education. It is not enough just to offer individual courses. There must be a sufficient breadth of courses within programs so that students will develop completely within their chosen program of study
What role should a community college serve and how would you measure success?
Community colleges serve a wide range of roles. Traditionally they provide the first two years of a four-year degree as well as career and technical education in programs that include the trades, health sciences and public safety to name just a few. In addition they support English as a Second Language learners and remedial education for those who desire to pursue further academic study. Community colleges also provide enrichment opportunities for the residents of the areas they serve. It should stimulate the curiosity to learn and grow for all residents so that they can live full and vibrant lives. Measuring the success of these varied missions is difficult, but we must provide opportunities for students to develop the knowledge and skills that moves them to the next level in their educational journey. We must measure our ability to successfully move students to the next level of achievement.
How can Delta College better serve District 4?
In the past, the college offered courses, primarily in the evening, at sites throughout the college district in places the included local high schools. With the advent of the internet and online learning those opportunities began to disappear and with it the presence of the college in local areas. I believe that the establishment of local learning/service centers will increase awareness of the college and its programs and provide greater service to all. Further, these local centers can be designed to not only provide general services for students, but will be built to support unique programs.
Should community colleges be funded based on performance measures?
All taxpayer-supported institutions should be accountable to the public for their effectiveness and success. A new performance-based funding formula is being established by the California legislature that is intended to do just that. The key to the success of this initiative is the ability to identify appropriate metrics to quantify success and avoid unintended consequences.
Who’s a leader you admire and why?
When the world needed a leader during the dark days of the 1930s and ’40s, Franklin Roosevelt stood up and led a nation and the world through some very challenging times in human history. He overcame his own personal challenges of polio which did not deter him, he encouraged hope for the people of the United States when there was little hope during the Depression, and he collaborated with the leaders of the Allied powers to prevail through the worst conflict in human history. FDR motivated others to sacrifice, roll up their sleeves and get to work to make the world a better place. He consistently put the needs of the nation first. He defined the USA and its role in the world for the generations that followed.
Your thoughts on:
Maintaining safe schools is paramount to supporting a democratic society. Our growth as a society is dependent on free discourse of thoughts and ideas. Schools (at all levels) must strive to maintain their ability to support literacy through safe and secure environments.
Low enrollment numbers
In order for the college to serve the community in its educational mission as well as be an economic engine for the community, it must strive to serve as many as possible by developing high-caliber programs that attract and motivate participants to excel and succeed.
A well-educated workforce relies on intellectual as well as practical learning. Community colleges must develop and maintain a comprehensive program in the trades that supports workers and our society. The college must build, maintain and staff learning centers that include the latest technology and resources to train tomorrow’s workers and leaders.
Establishing local learning/service centers is vital to the college mission and its ability to serve the community and remain relevant. The college needs to make good on its promise to grow learning centers in order to return to the position of community leadership that it once held.
Remaining relevant in the community relies on developing partnerships with the business community. It is the business community that will one day employ graduates of the college and those graduates must posses skills and abilities that will allow our communities to grow and flourish.
Staffing (tenured vs. adjunct)
The core of the teaching faculty should be staffed by faculty who commit to the college professionally on a full-time basis. That is not to say that all classes should be taught exclusively by professional educators. Adjunct faculty contribute significantly to student learning by bringing practical day-to-day experience into the classroom. It is the combination of teaching offered by those of various backgrounds that provide students with a comprehensive set of skills that they can take with them as they move forward.
Community college students come from varied backgrounds and levels of preparation. All can benefit from instruction and courses at various levels are needed to serve our community. We must provide remedial education that moves students toward higher levels of learning
All public institutions must maintain fiscal accountability to the taxpayers who support them. Delta College exists to serve our community and as such must remain accountable to the public.