Friday Letter, 9-25-15

Hello All –

As you might guess, I write the Friday Letter about 24 hours in advance so that I can post first thing Friday morning. The letter (which starts a few paragraphs down) was written yesterday with that upbeat tone I try to maintain. However, I decided I needed to add a few paragraphs this morning in light of yesterday afternoon’s events.

Yesterday at North Seattle College, our colleagues experienced the situation that none of us ever hope to face. Cascadia’s Dean of International Programs, Mari Acob-Nash, left immediately upon hearing the news of the bus crash. She came to us from North and still has many connections there among the students and employees. I have not heard back from Mari, but I hope she was able to help them through this time and I know that she will be personally affected by this event.

For all of us, it is a reminder about how random and tragic life can be. This could just as easily have been a Cascadia bus. Our condolences go out to our colleagues at North and, it is very possible, that some of our Japanese and Chinese students may have had friends impacted by this tragedy. In the days to come, I want to remind folks of our Employee Assistance Program as well as student counseling services available through our agreement with UWB. Students can find more information about how to access their services via this link. Employees can check in with Human Resources for more info.

The loss of life and serious injury to others serve to remind me that we must not only be prepared for these types of events, but we must appreciate each day we have to serve our students. The true meaning of our work is about helping our students reach a greater goal. We never know when a tragedy will become our reality and the course of our lives will change.

** Original Letter Follows **

Thanks for a great potluck this week as well as outstanding attendance at Convocation. I hope this week’s preparation for classes on Monday has gone well for you. Remember that parking will be nuts, so we encourage you to think about arriving earlier than normal to avoid any delays. We hope to be opening a new surface lot behind UW4 (Discovery Hall) in November, so that should help alleviate the pressure after that time.

We omitted an important introduction at Convocation. We introduced full-time employees and acknowledged part-time faculty, but our part-time staff who attended needed a little shout out too (which I forgot). Welcome to those folks and please take a moment to refer to the list distributed at Convocation to know who are new folks are in all the various departments.

Congratulations to the Student Success, Student Life, and College Relations staff for organizing the biggest Jumpstart Orientation we’ve ever had. Over 400 students were here yesterday getting oriented. I was completely impressed by the signage, the check-in staff, the student leaders, and the skill displayed at getting 400 students in and out of Mobius effectively. Nice work.

There are some facilities-related issues that have happened recently or are happening this month that I want to share:

  • The UWB administrative offices moved to Beardslee Village this last month. 75 of their administrators now reside there opening spaces for academic purposes here on campus.
  • UWB has begun design for a new building and we will be submitting our request for CC4 in December. We are in a competition with 10 community colleges for 3 possible funded projects.
  • UWB is submitting a request for residence halls to their Regents in October. Their idea is to build them in the back construction lot where the collaboratory is currently being built.
  • The Activities and Recreation Center officially opens next Monday. Check it out!

With regards to our school district partners, we had a meeting yesterday and are pursuing these things over the next few months:

  • We have developed a presentation for parents that the president of Lake Washington Tech (Dr. Amy Goings) and I will be delivering over the year.
  • We have designed opportunities for our advising and counseling staffs to have annual meetings at the school districts (if they are college staff) or at the college campuses (if they are school staff).
  • We now have data we’re looking at each year to see if we can better influence community college attendance through various campaigns.
  • We are setting up a date for our college staff to review how each school district helps students choose post-college options. This will be important for our Running Start population.
  • And Lake Washington School District now has hired a new employee for each High School campus whose sole responsibility is to be a “college counselor”. We will be helping to train those individuals.

Have patience next week!

2 thoughts on “Friday Letter, 9-25-15

  1. And, for some of us, Warren Brown, now president of North Seattle College, was our Dean at Cascadia. It was his voice I heard on the radio this morning making a statement on behalf of the college about this horrific incident affecting his students and staff.

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