Friday Letter, 12-11-15

Friday Letter, 12-11-15

As December rolls in with wet and soggy weather, we are one week closer to the end of the quarter. I hope you’ll take a few minutes on Monday to join the Holiday Hoopla at one of the stations throughout the day.  Our hope is to bring you some cheer, a warm cup of happiness, and treats that will make the last few days more tolerable.

Before I move on to some updates, I’d like to encourage us to be thinking about a certain topic that has garnered national attention. Recently, there has been much rhetoric in the political arena over those citizens of and visitors to our country who identify as Muslim.  Their religion has come under scrutiny, the intentions of their behavior have been questioned, and national attention has caused fear among many.  As we continue to pursue our own efforts with regard to Pluralism, I want to ask the campus community to be extremely mindful of how this attention affects our students.  We want to be supportive and we want to provide a safe environment for our students of all faiths.  I can only imagine the marginalization our Muslim community feels at the moment.  If you witness subtle or overt acts of discrimination or marginalization, I would hope that you would address such behavior or talk to an administrator about what you’ve witnessed.  We are a caring community committed to diversity and cultural richness.  We affirm those values often and I hope you’ll help me convey that to those who grace  our campus.

On to other things.

I have been at Lake Washington Tech since yesterday at the monthly presidents’ meeting. We had Rep. Hans Dunshee as a speaker at last night’s dinner (actually, it was earlier this evening as I am posting this on Thursday at 11am).  He is the new head of the House Operating Budget Committee.  He reports that not much will happen during this legislative session with regard to budget.

Sen. Andy Hill will be speaking with us during our business meeting. He is the head of Ways and Means in the Senate.  Amy Goings (President of LWIT) and I spoke with Sen. Hill earlier this week over coffee to prep him for this morning.  It was nice to have some one-on-one time with one of the most influential budget writers we have in our state government.  He was unaware of some of our budget issues because even the legislature can be overwhelmed with details and not see some of the ripple effects of their actions.  We are not hopeful for any added money in this year’s supplemental budget, but I think we’ll at least be status quo until the next biennium.

Here are a few updates on upcoming issues:

Tent City – The task force around Tent City is preparing their feasibility study for the Trustees. This study has a number of components, but it ultimately will say whether or not we can logistically host this organization.  As a reminder, Cascadia is not pursuing this as a means to “help the homeless”, but rather as an integrated education opportunity.  That part of the plan…making this an educational opportunity…is something being discussed by faculty as part of the study.  Ultimately, the Trustees will make the decision as to whether we proceed based on feasibility, assumed mission fulfillment, public stewardship and other factors.  We expect the report to go to them in January or February.

Foundation – The Trustees will be making a final decision on whether to fund the Foundation at their January meeting. We still accept gifts, encourage employee giving, distribute scholarships and have some income from auxiliary enterprises, but the operation has been running in a maintenance mode.  Thanks to Mark Collins for organizing this department and keeping it together during this time.  If the Trustees opt NOT to fund it through reserves, it will continue in this maintenance mode.  If they opt TO fund it, you will see some activity around the hiring of staff and new fundraising efforts.

DIAs and Cavolines – We keep soliciting and receiving feedback. Thank you.  Whether you find yourself engaged by this process or not, we know that many meaningful conversations have happened because of it that may not have otherwise occurred.  I appreciate your participation and patience as we determine the best methodology for learning about these important topics.

Finally, a small excerpt from an email written to Meagan Walker and me by Jessica Ketchum and John Van Leer after their recent excursion using the collaboratory with their learning community.

I want to thank you both for jumping in and taking a risk by supporting–particularly Meagan–this project. We can’t wait to teach it again, and next time, we’ll be able to integrate the trailer even more (using the storage/writing surfaces/etc).

The pictures provide a few snapshots of our students engaging in embodied writing prompts, rooted in sensory observation. We spent about 1/3 of our time truly focusing on the place and the natural materials around us…thinking through the relationship between perspective and space and the weight and temperature and texture of an object/creature. Students had guides from John to identify the flora and fauna of the beach as well. Then we spent about 1/3 of our time writing from our observations, focusing on metaphors, advocacy, and fragmented language. Our last 1/3 was the oceanography lab that required students to collect water samples and take temperatures.

 Also, while we were in the trailer, we got tons of stares and several questions–the general public in Edmonds were quite interested! Good PR in the future 😉

Thanks to the Navigators and Pluralism & Social Justice Committee for your continued guidance on these issues and other important campus activities.

Have a great weekend.

Eric

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