Why are you running for San Joaquin Delta College board?

The Board needs continued transparency and response to the community. Outside factions attempt to micro-manage the board and its decisions. I am independent of mind and dedicated to the community I serve. I stand for the following: student success for a changing world; fiscal and social responsibility; ethical representation; equity and opportunity for all.

Why are you the best candidate for the seat?

I am honest! I am hardworking. I have no ties to special interests. I have no vendettas. I was a faculty member for 31 years. The last six years, I was the academic senate president representing faculty while working with administration and the Board of Trustees. As any leader who performs his/her job, I took on difficult tasks that needed to be addressed. These were tasks that required complying with contracts and professional responsibility. When people were reticent to do what was required, I worked with them to fulfill their obligation. Being a faculty leader provided opportunities to understand the importance of faculty voice in decision making. When a compromise can be reached all sides achieve sufficient satisfaction.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish?

I will work to provide a balance to the existing board. I won’t be influenced or directed by outside factions that have specialized agendas; I will be responsive to the entire community by soliciting their input. In addition, I will adhere to the mission and vision of the Board of Trustees.

What role should a community college serve and how would you measure success?

San Joaquin Delta College has a long history of respect from its community. Many generations have attended Delta for transfer, certificates, and/or life-long learning. These were the original goals when the community college system was established. Delta should be more than this when it responds to community needs. The college is more than the corridor between Highway 99 and Interstate 5. The college district encompasses communities from Ripon to Rio Vista, from West Point to Tracy. The college participates in self-scrutiny by program reviews and accreditation. This critical process of self-evaluations involves faculty, community members, students, administration and the Board of Trustees. These self-studies provide direction for improvement and measure changes from previous studies.

How can Delta College better serve District 4?

Our area has more vineyards than other major wine-producing areas; however, there are few programs, courses, certificates to address the needs of this industry. The Board of Trustees can encourage development of such programs for viticulture and hospitality. The college needs to continue to cooperate with advisory groups who are aware of the needs of their community.

Delta should continue to provide off-campus classes for outlying areas to meet the needs of those communities.

Should community colleges be funded based on performance measures?

Performance measures are not an accurate measure of a college’s success for many different reasons. The students in this area have diverse experiences that may inhibit their performance in college. This is supported by various research that shows they are behind state levels. So to place them in a community college that measures success only by test scores is a disservice to the students. We should not be compared to Sacramento, Orange County, or even Modesto; we are a unique district with its own needs and issues that a community college can address. A community college reflects and serves its district. Basing funding on performance scores penalizes a community and prevents a college district from serving its community.

Who’s a leader you admire and why?

I admire Oprah Winfrey. She is someone who was not a “Do Nothing.” She “Does Something.” Delta College needs that same “Do Something” attitude and not have “Do nothings” who become the puppets of outside influences.

Your thoughts on:

School safety/security

Delta College is a very safe site. Much of the crime that does exist is brought in from the surrounding areas that are not unlike other urban areas. Anyone can walk onto the campus.

The Delta College police force is an amazing group that immediately addresses crimes that occur on the campus and the police force complies with the Clery Act. In addition they keep the Delta community informed by automatic text messaging. They provide advice about reporting crimes and avoiding being a victim. In other words, they are instructing people in how to live in this current world setting. The college has a protocol for various dangerous incidents and all faculty and administrators are required to become proficient in that protocol. The statistics for crime occurring on campus compared with local communities are published for the entire community. The campus is safer than some other neighborhoods.

Low enrollment numbers

We need to be realistic about the current economy and social situation. Not all students can be full-time students; some students need extra study time and tutoring; some students have home obligations like taking care of children or an infirm relative. Some students do not have the finances to live and to go to school; these students take reduced loads. What happens is that the number of students attending the college may be at a high point, they are taking fewer classes. A full time equivalent student (FTES) is one who has 15 units. When a student takes only nine units, that student counts as 3/5 of a student. It takes another 2/5 of a person to make up for that one person. Because we have many students who need to take reduced loads, we have lower FTES. But we are not alone: there are 72 community college districts and 58 of them do not have growth in FTES. Scheduling also impacts low enrollment. Classes should be scheduled so that students can take a logical sequence. Offering two sections of the same class at the same time impacts the enrollment of both.

Trade skills

We need advisory groups to work with faculty to develop what is needed in their industries. Faculty is responsible for developing curriculum, and they need support to find out what industry needs.

Local campuses/classes

We definitely need to have local classes that can be taught in available sites. The scheduling needs to be responsive to the community population. Unfortunately, there have been low enrollments in these classes; the cause for this needs to be explored.

Community/business partnerships

This is a great idea when the right partnerships form. There needs to be leadership such as that seen in the past at Delta. It is possible and it can be successful for community and the college.

Staffing (tenured vs. adjunct)

A full-time, tenured track faculty member has obligations that exceed those of the adjunct who may be working part-time at several colleges. The cost for tenure-track faculty is costly but their value to the college and student is significant. Program review and curriculum development must be done by the tenured faculty with input from others within the discipline. If someone is teaching a full load and has those additional responsibilities, he/she is doing two jobs.

Remedial classes

Not all community college students enter college directly from high school. Sometimes delayed-entry students have had a time-gap since taking algebra or writing an essay, so they need some tutoring support. Then there are some students who have never mastered math or English skills; they will have a hard time in classes where reading and computation skills are required.

Remediation is one way to get the skills, but students are now being rushed through because of new requirements. This can be devastating to the student who fails because of a deficiency in pre-requisite skills but not in understanding the subject matter.The Chancellor’s Office requires each course has certain criteria to be met by students in order for courses to be equivalent to each other throughout the community college system. A community college cannot lower standards but must teach to the established criteria. Having the pre-requisite skills is important for students in order to be successful.

Taxpayer accountability

There are those who work the system by staying at the comfortable community college as their career; these are the publicized cases and are few and far between. But then, what is wrong with wanting to learn and know more! This is a community college and community needs should be respected. Accountability to the taxpayer is showing the progress of the individual toward some goal. Goals do change but goals need to be reached. Taxpayers want and should see a return on their dollar. Education is costly but ignorance is even more expensive. However, there is the issue of life-long learning which is one of the community college’s goals. Nevertheless, I doubt that the original mission of the community college was to become a career in itself; instead, the college’s courses were meant to enhance one’s life. There must be a balance between community college mission and economic responsibility to insure fiscal accountability to the taxpayers. With the recent economic downturn, community colleges were impacted, and in an effort to be fiscally responsible, many programs that addressed community needs were reduced or eliminated. When there wasn’t enrollment, there appeared to be no demands so classes were reduced or eliminated.

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