President’s Friday Letter, 5-1-15

I feel celebratory (and tired) today.  So many good things have happened this week.  Let’s review:

Sherman Alexie

He visited, the room was packed, so much good learning happened.  It was summed up by one student this way…

    I just wanted to say that when I came to Cascadia this past fall, I would have never guessed that I would eventually have the privilege to hear Alexie speak nor would I have guessed that I would be able to share lunch with him amongst both my peers (Olivia) and professors in such an intimate setting. The discussion had me teeming with trains of thought and the time flew unfairly fast for me to interject as much as I would have liked. Does he charge extra for cake and coffee time????? Events like these (including Jonathan Rashaad’s visit) and professors like you, Jared, Jesús, and Dave, are the reasons why I am no longer embarrassed to tell friends of mine, who are on grand prestigious tracks, that I go to community college. Next time you need a student to stand in front of the board of directors or whomever asking for money for an event like this, just send me an email and I’ll be there.

We also received positive community comments as the event was open to the general public as well.  Over all…great job and a huge way to show our commitment to integrated education.

Chiwon Lee

Under the guidance of instructors Sarah Zale and David Ortiz, student Chiwon Lee successfully won a national essay competition and will be having the essay published in Yes! magazine.  The essay is beautifully written and makes a tremendous case for our work in Inter-cultural Competency.  Congratulations.  Read the essay here: [Final Edit] Yes! Essay

Debora Pontillo

If you have been following Debora’s blog, you’ll know that she is committed to celebrating life.  Thank you to all who signed cards for her well-being and participated in the photo after DIA yesterday.  Our wishes for her have been delivered.  I appreciate the mentoring she has done for all of us and hope that she felt the warmth yesterday as we committed to our work on Inter-cultural Competency…I know that she would hug us all if she could have witnessed our work yesterday.

Please check out the video greeting that was sent to Debora.


A Day of Inquiry and Assembly.  The day went well.  We anticipated some of the trepidation, but please know we are committed to making this the most positive effort possible.  Thank you all for coming.  Remember that the IDI is only a starting point.  The Cavolines next year are the focus and will facilitate our commitment to grow, develop, and influence Cascadia to become a safer and more inter-culturally competent place.

If you could, would you please complete this short survey about the day?


Our accreditation visit went well.  This review helped us realize that we have over-complicated matters.  Our planning processes around the Strategic Directions, Core Themes, and the Academic Plan keep people confused and the measuring system is similarly difficult.  With permission and guidance from our evaluators, we will land on a more streamlined, less confusing, and more predictive model of planning.  All the pieces will fit seamlessly and I’ve already started the process of vetting the proposed changes through campus leadership.

The outcome was definitely not an ‘A’ for organization, but certainly an ‘A’ for effort.  It won’t take long to get on track and that’s what the visit was all about.


While it may not seem celebratory to you, I am glad that we are once again upon that season of assessment.  The Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) will be working its way around in the next few weeks as will the survey we administer regarding employee satisfaction (CESS).  Please help us facilitate the implementation of these and encourage feedback.  It is the way we grow.

Give Big!

Finally, helping our students succeed is a huge part of what we do.  The Foundation, despite being scaled down this year, successfully helped dozens of students with financial assistance through our yearly scholarship process.  Next Tuesday is Give Big!  This day (May 5) is an opportunity for us to continue helping our students by giving to the Cascadia College Foundation.  A link will be sent again next Tuesday showing you a path to donate to the Foundation.  I hope you’ll think about your ability to support our students, even with a small gift.  We celebrate their success and one way of showing it is through a contribution.  I hope you’ll join me in giving next Tuesday.

Have a great weekend!

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