President’s Friday Letter, 1-30-16

It is Superbowl Weekend…a national holiday. I hope you have your chips, dips, and beverages ready for a super Sunday. I will be heading to Coeur d’Alene tonight to spend the weekend with friends and family.

While I will spend the next two nights away, it comes on the heels of spending the last three nights and four days in Olympia. We’ve been doing lots of things here, including legislative receptions, trustee orientation, a trustee retreat for our board, and my president’s meeting.

I want to spend this letter highlighting our Board of Trustees. It occurred to me over the last few days that I have never really introduced them to you. That introduction includes a description of their role. Some of you have been around a while and already understand these things and, through the Friday Letter, others may have also gleaned their responsibilities. But, in the 4 ½ years I’ve been President, I’ve really never given them their stage. So that’s what we’re doing today, especially for those of you new to campus.

Alphabetical Order….

Nancee Hofmeister: Kirkland resident, newest Trustee and VP of Nursing at Evergreen Health. She is still earning her wings, but you can already tell her perspective on education, community well-being, and the role of the college in the community fits perfectly with our values.

Mike Kelly: Woodinville resident, head of a family-owned metal processing plant and aerospace supplier in Seattle, and former King of the Boy Scouts in our region. He has such a keen eye for the importance of 2-year education and is a Skagit Valley College grad.

Janet McDaniel: Bothell resident, Chair of the Board, has worked for Pemco forever. I’m not sure how I stumbled on her, but she is an extremely intelligent leader who understands business and customer perspective better than anyone I know.

Louis Mendoza: Woodinville resident, works for United Way of King County and is extremely community conscious. He pushes me to think of my own potential and how important topics in our day fit with the college mission.

Dr. Julie Miller: Woodinville resident, self-made business woman who writes books and speaks around the country. She reminds me that current writing practice only requires one space after a period, not two as we learned in ninth grade. She is the longest standing Trustee in her second term and brings that needed perspective to the board.

These five individuals are sought out by the President. I have been able to recruit four of them, with Dr. Miller coming in under Bill Christopher’s presidency. After some vetting and multiple interviews, their names are forwarded to the Governor. All of them, having been nominated by us, have been approved by the Governor’s office, which is not necessarily the norm. It speaks to their quality.

They have three main jobs: hire/evaluate/terminate the President, approve tenure, and approve the budget.

To do those things successfully, they have to be aware of how the college operates, our priorities, the projects we’re working on, and where we’re headed. In my words, they guide the mission and assure its fulfillment.

We sit down every August and January to go over my work plan to make sure I am fulfilling the goals we’ve outlined. And, in August they get a huge data dump about student success. In between, they are making budget and tenure decisions, learning as much as they can about our programs, and being kept up to speed on changes, news, and happenings that affect Cascadia.

Their role is vital because they ultimately have responsibility for our success. I think we all own a piece of that success, but their job is to anchor our rope. At our training this week we were reminded that the Board does not delve into operations. However, in my view, they must be well-informed of operations to make confident decisions about the budget and tenure. So I share with them most everything and they always provide good counsel.

Click to read their full profiles.

I appreciate the Board and while I am their main contact to campus, I hope you’ll take the chance to talk to them before or after a Board meeting, at a social event, or during graduation to get to know them better and share your work on the campus.

As I have let the executive team do maybe I’ll suggest to the Trustees that they each write a Friday Letter so you can get to know more about them and their role.

Have a great weekend.

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