President’s Friday Letter, 3-6-15

It’s always good to know that Cascadia is being well represented in our state.  Start by taking a look at the mug shot below.  I think Erin Richards has the biggest smile out of the entire group as she stands on the senate floor with her students and Senator Rosemary McAuliffe.  Erin takes her students to Olympia every year for a hands-on experience in how our government works.

Sen. McAuliffe with guests

As I work my way through faculty sabbatical requests, I have read many great plans including one by Erin that articulates how engaging students in civic affairs is her biggest challenge.  Her suggested sabbatical will tackle how to better incorporate a community learning experience into her classes.  I appreciate that she (like many others) takes this extra effort to make learning applicable.

Also representing us well has been the story of Megan Luce. Her escapades in the world of math and the Northshore School district have been chronicled in this blog before, but it warrants further mention as she has received the 2015 Anna Sue McNeill Assessment, Teaching & Learning Award.  This honor is bestowed by the State Board upon individuals who make outstanding contributions to teaching.  Past recipients include Gene & Tori (2008) and Catherine (2009).  Congrats to Megan.

On Tuesday of this week I spent the day at Green River College at the third annual Diversity & Equity Conference. I attended the early sessions while David Ortiz took the later sessions.  I was happy that we were able to experience the efforts of GRC.  It was mainly a student-focused conference on race/ethnicity issues.  GRC is much more diverse in this area than Cascadia and it was interesting to see how they responded to those needs.  It has given David and myself an opportunity to explore how Cascadia engages these issues on our own campus.

As you know, this topic is becoming more and more important for me and our campus as we develop our Diversity & Inclusion Plan. Faculty Assembly and the Navigators have given it a tentative thumbs up and I’m on my way to Exempt and Classified Assemblies soon.

Finally, Washington Monthly magazine has published a book on the best values and opportunities in higher ed.  They have gone beyond their regular magazine publication and published something more “permanent”.  Cascadia is ranked #22 nationally and is the second highest ranked community college in Washington behind Gray’s Harbor (#15).  This mirrors the ranking in their magazine from last year.  However, the Settle Times gave the book a plug on the front page and we get listed.  Yeah for us!

Other than that, I think we’re all busy wrapping up the spring quarter.  Hang in there.

Have a great weekend.

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