President’s Friday Letter, 1-16-15

Welcome to the Murray Files. The new format for the Friday Letter serves to bring attention to Cascadia’s campus-wide blog, called Integrate It!

I would encourage you, after reading the Friday Letter, to check out the site and scroll through the blogs. It is a unique perspective on our campus that doesn’t happen at larger places. You should feel much more informed about campus by spending five minutes with it each day. As well, there are opportunities to post, so check with Sara Gomez or Meagan Walker to take part.

If you would…please find the article on the Collaboratory within Integrate It!

This is a project so cool that I hope you’ll learn about it. It will affect us all and we all will have a chance to be a part of its development and implementation.

Thank you for helping make this a very positive week on campus. Our Human Rights Awareness Week was successfully implemented with a wide range of speakers and topics. Attendance varied at the events, but overall there were meaningful messages and opportunities. All of this work is capped by tomorrow’s Day of Service to honor MLK Jr and help our community. If you are interested in spending a few hours with Cascadia students tomorrow, please check out the info.

Another great link you should check out comes from an Op-Ed article in the New York Times this week by a former community college student named Tom Hanks. His article is worth the read and makes a great case, in only the way Tom Hanks can, for community colleges. Thanks Catherine for drawing my attention to the article.

<I’m pausing…there seems to be so much to share this week. I’ve already given you three assignments.>

So as part of our pause, let’s celebrate the fact that the Foundation, in its currently slim form, received $26,000 in checks last month to support students. One of those checks was from the new BECU branch in downtown Bothell. They also gave money to the Northshore Schools Foundation. Here’s the photo as proof. (No, I didn’t get to keep the cool big check.)

IMG_0293

Two more pieces of information for today’s Letter. First, we are changing things up a bit this year in the budget process to help make better use of our money and the timing of spending it. Please allow me to explain.

We have little money at our discretion. Much of it goes to salary and benefits. We do have three sources to work with however:

  1. A few expendable dollars usually come from anticipated excess in the coming year’s budget. It’s not likely that we’ll have much of that for 15-16 but, if we do, the Budget Council will prioritize that spending.
  2. We also sometimes decide to delete a program or resource and repurpose the money for a higher priority. The budget council has been and will continue to make those recommendations as well.
  3. Additionally, we spend money out of our Reserves. For the most part, those dollars align with repair and replacement plans we have in Facilities, Technology and Lab Equipment. When we wait to “approve” those dollars, the summer is half-way over and we aren’t able to make needed changes in time for our fall start date. An example of this was the wi-fi infrastructure and the e-podium replacement that happened last fall. Over the last four years, these expenditures have been routinely approved due to our healthy Reserves.

I have authorized Terence to institute yearly expenditures from Reserves earlier so long as they follow the established repair & replacement plans. Those plans are vetted and prioritized with campus input and we are always cautious about not depleting our Reserves too rapidly. He will look at the plans in February, develop a recommendation to the Trustees for spending, and (once approved by the Trustees) will spend money from the Reserves to get those projects going. In this manner, we should be able to get much more of the work completed during the summer, interrupting instruction minimally. Sources of money and spending explained in #1 and #2 will continue to follow the normal Budget Council process.

Just wanted to make you aware of that change.

And the last note to this long blog is that I wanted to make you aware of a change that will impact many of us. One of my direct reports, Susi Hamilton, will be taking another job at a new institution. Fortunately for us, we will hold onto her expertise in a part-time fashion until we finish our April accreditation visit and hire a replacement.  Data collection and analysis is important to our institution and she has done a fantastic job.  We wish you well Susi.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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