Friday Letter, 8/30/18 (Guest Author – Marty Logan)

Friday Letter 8.30.18

Glad to be back for my second edition of the Friday letter. Some of you may recall, my first Friday letter was last December, and I was just 6 months into the job and still getting my feet wet. Now, I am over a year in (15 months on Saturday to be exact) and I think it is safe to say that I am entrenched. As I reflect back, a lot has occurred over this time. As far as the HR/Payroll team goes, we have completed two great new hires; our new HR Generalist Assistant is Karina Castro who was previously working in our office as an hourly employee, and a work-study prior to that! Our other recent hire is Elizabeth Englund, HR Generalist. Elizabeth came to us with a background in recruiting, and she is already coming up with some innovative approaches to improving our processes. If you have not met our two newest team members, please stop by CC2-280 and say hello.

One other staffing change that we have on the horizon is the retirement of our Payroll Manager in October. After 12 years with the College, Rod Cowley is hanging up his cap. Rod has been the staple of consistency on the HR/Payroll team during his time at Cascadia. He has helped guide the team through many up and downs and he will be missed. Don’t worry, we will make sure you all still get paid after he retires (our recruitment for a replacement is underway)!

All of this change has been occurring while we also prep for ctcLink; the HR team was right at the top of the list in completing all the common process maps. We continue to work hard to prep for our go-live date in January/February of 2020. I can definitely say we would not have been able to navigate through these rough waters without a strong backbone in place. Thanks to Gayle, Haley, Samantha, Carmen (our stellar work-study; good luck at Seattle U, we will miss you!), for continuing to keep the ship afloat through the many staffing transitions. And special shoutout to Raquel for always lending a hand!, We are very lucky to have such a talented and customer-friendly team here at Cascadia!

What else has happened over the past 15 months? Here are a few accomplishments that I have been proud to be a part of, both from a college and system-wide level:

  • Successfully bargained a new faculty contract through the interest based bargaining (IBB) process. It was great to get to know the faculty bargaining team Brian Bansenauer, Greg Campbell, Lisa Citron, and David Shapiro.
  • We hired a new VPSLS, Kerry Levett, who you got to know a bit in last week’s guest letter. Kudos to a great hiring committee (Erin Blakeney, Faye Houshyari, Gene Taylor, Glenn Colby, Marah Selves, Sarah Leadley, Tori Saneda, Tracy Phutikanit, and Yan Li w/HR support from Haley Green).
  • From the State Board level, I just completed my year as the Chair of the Human Resources Management Commission. Every time I participate in statewide meetings, I make sure all of my peers know that Cascadia is the best college in the system! 🙂
  • State Board Salary Study Steering Committee participant. This group has been tackling the issues we are facing around cost of living in the state and we have been brainstorming ways to ensure we can continue to retain and recruit great employees. These conversations are ongoing; if you have any great ideas, please let me know.
  • Lastly, one item I am particularly excited to see move forward is the hiring of an Equity and Inclusion Officer this fall. As a lifelong HR professional, I have always been passionate about doing my part to create an inclusive environment so that all of our employees can feel valued and thrive. For the last seven years, since working in the SBCTC system, I have continued my efforts towards inclusion. I’ve collaborated with multiple district wide equity and inclusion committees, worked towards an MOU in an effort to further expand the diversity of the Seattle Colleges faculty and remove barriers in the hiring process, partnered with the Director of Diversity at North Seattle College to create a Leadership Development program, and  provided support in assuring training materials were created with an intentional lens of equity and inclusion. I look forward to continue this work at Cascadia, and am more than excited to partner and grow with our newly hired Equity and Inclusion Officer in the very near future.

In summary, it has been a busy 15 months, but I have enjoyed every minute. I am very happy to be here and proud to be a Kodiak. Happy Blue Friday (tomorrow), have a great weekend. I also hope you all have a great fall quarter and GO HAWKS!

P.S. We will be resuming our regular (5 day, 8-hour) schedule next week, following the holiday.

Friday Letter, 8/23/18 (Guest Author – Kerry Levett)

Friday Letter 8.23.18

Dr. Murray continues to enjoy time away from work which provides me with the opportunity to introduce myself as well as share some thoughts about an exciting movement in community colleges.

I am enjoying meeting folks around campus.  I have found some kindred spirits in regards to sports and quilting.  I look forward to learning more about the Cascadia community over the next few months.  A few things you might want to know about me:

  • I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. It was a great place to grow up, and I have carried that “Burgh” identity with me as I have migrated around the country while developing my career.
  • I am a sports fan, still true to the Black and Gold (Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins), and open to becoming a Seattle fan especially since the teams here are in opposing conferences.
  • I have two sons, Eli (10) and Zeke (8), who I am sure you will see around campus on occasion. They have grown up in my colleges including attending graduations.  They are helpful in lining up people.
  • We love the outdoors and can’t wait to explore Washington.
  • I don’t drink coffee. I know that is an egregious impropriety here in the Pacific Northwest.  However, I am a huge fan of Starbucks hot chocolate, I hope that is acceptable.

A month or so ago I was mired in moving decisions after accepting the offer to join the Cascadia family.  My life was overwhelming with decisions: How do I wrap up my time at Lane?  How do I get my family moved?  How do I enter the Cascadia community effectively in the summer? How can I make sure my oldest son, Eli, has a great birthday party in the middle of all this?  Yes, I had lists, quasi charts, and dreamed and thought into the nights about everything I needed to organize.  I’ve done this before, including a few transcontinental moves, a move a few hours north should be no problem, right?

Any life transition brings with it numerous decisions.  If we are lucky, we have some mentors or guides who can help us make sense of and organize information needed to make solid decisions, especially if this is the first time experiencing a specific transition.  We get ourselves into messes when we don’t have those guides or we choose not to listen to them.   These types of experiences help me to understand the challenges community college students face as they try to navigate college, often for the first time, and as a first generation student.  The decisions can be paralyzing, from financial aid to course selection to applying for graduation or transfer: the process is complicated, no matter how hard we try to simplify it.

That is why I am excited about the Guided Pathways movement.  Guided Pathways (GP) invites us to stop and think purposefully about when and how we deliver our curriculum, co-curricular learning, and student success supports through two powerful lenses: student success and equity. The results are improved student outcomes such as increases in progression and completion across all demographics.  Guided Pathways takes what is complicated, re-organizes it, yielding a streamlined decision-making process for students and a clear path to goal completion.  And for us, the guides and mentors, we are better able to help students navigate those choices.

As I begin my tenure at Cascadia, I am striving to hold three lenses in view at all time: student success, equity, and simplicity.  Some days I will hit the mark and others, not so much.  Guided Pathways serves as an effective overarching approach to communicating our curriculum to students as it ticks off all three lenses.  We have dipped our toes into the GP movement, and I hope we keep moving the work forward over the next few years.  If you are not familiar with GP, I am sharing some helpful links that include a visit to Linn Benton Community College’s new program maps.  Take a few minutes to travel around the LBCC site to explore their programs and cruise through their program maps.   These maps are one of the major elements of GP, and give us a window into possibilities for our community.

Pathways in Action

Research and Design Principles of Guided Pathways

I am excited to be doing good work with all of you in serving our students and community.  Stop by, flag me down in the fall, and let me know if you ever want to escape to Starbucks.

Have a great weekend!


Friday Letter, 8/16/18 (Guest Author – Terence Hsiao)

Greetings from this week’s guest blogger, Terence Hsiao. President Murray is on a well-deserved vacation.

I’m just back from a sabbatical that gave me the opportunity to travel globally, and to nearby institutions similar to ours. These experiences reminded me of something we sometimes lose sight of in the press of daily tasks: the importance of our work here at Cascadia.

The campus has been enveloped in a smoky haze this week while in Europe, temperatures are the highest levels on record; climate change is no longer an ‘impending’ crisis. It’s right here. Within our borders the wealth gap continues to grow while the doors to opportunity narrow. Our nation is more divided than ever. If we fail to address these realities the consequences will be dire. The education Cascadia provides and the community it builds plays a small, but vital role in combating these ills.

We are not a place in which tweets take the place of discovery and dialog. In our classrooms, faculty engage with students from around the world and students engage with each other to reveal the complexities of history and cultures. Our students learn the science of climate change and develop an informed understanding of its consequences. More importantly, in our classrooms students are armed with the tools to communicate these stories and these truths. Further, they develop the creative and intellectual skills needed to become the collaborative problem solvers our increasingly complex, interdependent world requires. The care and commitment with which our faculty engage students is creating the informed and intelligent leaders of tomorrow.

But our students’ learning extends far beyond the walls of any classroom. At Cascadia students from all walks of life and parts of the world have the chance to engage with their peers beyond the hours they spend in class. Be it clubs, student government, or special events, our students are afforded the chance to engage with one another. Our staff ensures that Kodiaks have a place on campus to share experiences, practice their communication, and begin to apply their learning beyond the classroom walls. Our staff also help our students understand the opportunities they have and what they need to do to take advantage of those opportunities.

One of the greatest strengths of Cascadia’s community, as I see it, is the diversity of our student body. We don’t set admission standards that serve as defacto barriers excluding people from their opportunity to learn. We strive to make the promise of the “land of opportunity” real. We welcome those who didn’t finish high school as well as those in high school who are ready for college. We welcome the tech nerd and the artist. We welcome those with deep roots in our community as well as emigrants, immigrants and international students. We welcome students with differing abilities. We welcome those who know where they are going and those who don’t. We welcome those who are continuing on their educational path and those who are returning to school after working many years. We welcome all identities and all orientations. And we strive to serve them all equally, which is to say we treat them all as individuals with their own stories and needs, meeting them where they are.

Faculty and those of us who are fortunate enough to work directly with students are most visible in this work, but credit also belongs in equal measure to those employees who never meet a student, but who make the work of those who do work directly with students possible. Keep up the good work. It matters. A lot.


Friday Letter, 12-8-17 (guest author)

Dr. Murray is off this week and requested that I sub as a guest lecturer, so this week you get an exciting HR addition of the Friday letter!! As you all know, there is nothing more exciting than Human Resources…

It’s hard to believe that it has been 6 months since I joined the Cascadia team; it has been a blur. Thanks to all of you for being so welcoming and friendly. It didn’t take long for me to feel at home here. I have done my best to meet all of you and I apologize if we have not had time to chat, please feel free to stop by the HR offices anytime and say hello.

In this special HR addition, I wanted to accomplish two things:  tell you a bit about myself and provide a brief update on one area that has been at the top of my list since coming aboard, Title IX.

About me: Who is Martin “Marty” Philip Logan? (Side note: I had many people in high school who did not know my last name, it was always just “Marty”).

  • A native of the Pacific Northwest – I have lived here almost my entire life within about 5-15 miles of the College. No reason to leave because, so far, I have not found a better place in the country.
  • A huge Seattle Sport fan – any team, you name it. Big win last Sunday for the Hawks, hopefully you are sporting your blue Friday gear today. Looking forward to watching the Sounders rematch of last year’s MLS cup tomorrow.
  • A career HR professional – some past roles include: many years in customers service management, HR Consulting with Waldron (Seattle based firm), recruiting with the Seattle College District, and HR Director at North Seattle College.
  • A lifelong learner – I am always looking to expand my skills and knowledge. As far as my formal credentials go, I have an AA from Edmonds CC (also spent some time at Shoreline), a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from U-Dub, and a Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Seattle U. I also certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) a Career Transition Consultant.
  • Family focused – both my wife and I have most of our family in the area and we enjoy spending time with all of them whenever we can. We also have a rescue dog that has quite the personality. She is about 6.5 lbs and can run like the wind. Gold star for whoever can guess the breed. Hint: She is an unusual combination, with one breed associated with a bus line and the other with a Mexican fast food company.

About Title IX: What is it? Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in educational programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title IX has been a hot topic with the current administration. In September, Betsy DeVos, US Secretary of Education, announced she would be rescinding Obama’s Title IX sexual assault guidelines. The Department of Education will need to engage in a formal process to make any changes. This has not been done yet. For the time being, the College will maintain the Discrimination Complaint Procedure recently adopted by our Board of Trustees. This procedure outlines how Cascadia handles Title IX complaints. It is based on a model policy created by the Attorney General’s Office and has been vetted by our legal counsel. You can view all the information here:

Cascadia just sent seven employees to a Title IX training at Bates Technical College. We hope to use this additional expertise to further define our processes moving forward.

Thanks for your time and have a great weekend. GO HAWKS and Scarves UP!


Friday Letter, 2-3-17

I was asked yesterday in an interview how we communicate within the organization.  I mentioned that “important” topics get at least three touches from our various communications technologies, e.g., email, Newsletters, Friday Letters, etc.  As well, REALLY important topics get moved into All Campus Forums.  The DIA around budgeting, the on-going Parking Forums, the Master Plan forums, and the Town Hall about Safety are examples. One of our major goals from the executive team this year has been to think critically about how we communicate and to be intentional.

I want to thank the campus for participating in those opportunities for discussion.  We had a parking forum this week (the next one is February 13) and I led a TED talk on Wednesday with great attendance.  The TED talk is a part of our Cavoline and Pluralism learning series and Bryan Stevenson was our “speaker”.  I left the talk having learned something: to fight injustice, we need to resist hopelessness, get uncomfortable, get closer to the issues, and change the narrative by acknowledging our past.  Talking about these issues with our employees definitely made me hopeful.

To continue the discussion, let’s focus next week on Human Rights Awareness Week.  Our full program is listed here and I am encouraging ALL employees to attend at least one event.  Within the week is our Border Doors Reception and the official unveiling of the painted doors comes on Tuesday night, starting at 5.  Here is the invitation for that event.

On a lighter note…last night I watched a TV reality show that plays in Germany.  They follow a German millionaire on his adventures.  I am not sure anyone would want to follow ME on my weekly adventures.  I was in Olympia all day on Monday meeting with legislators.  That involves a lot of waiting.  I led the parking forum and TED talk…so no need for cameras since many of you attended those things.  And then I was in a whole bunch of meetings about campus operations.  Next week I’ll be in a whole bunch of meetings (again) and attending HRAW events (which should be great!).  I will also get to tour the new Bothell City Manager around campus next week.  Should we do a Video Friday Letter sometime?

I wish you a great weekend and thank you for staying focused thinking about the critical issues we face every day.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 11-18-16

Guest Writer – Rosemary Sutton

I’ve been thinking a lot about anger.

I spent 10 years studying teachers’ emotions – especially anger and frustration and the way teachers report managing or self-regulating their emotions.  The impetus for this research was personal.  A chapter I wrote in 2007 began:

A first year teacher with a class of 13- to 14-year old students sternly says, “Jessica, a reminder I want to see you after school.” Violet (Jessica’s best friend), then says, “Miss you shouldn’t punish Jessica, you both just lost your tempers.”

This incident from my first year teaching is still vivid and contains elements of a line of research it took me more than 20 years to begin. As a beginning teacher from a family that stressed the importance of managing intense negative emotions, I was embarrassed that a 14-year-old girl believed I had “lost my temper,” even though I had decided not to punish Jessica before hearing Violet’s advice.  For many years I believed my experiences with anger and frustration in the classroom were idiosyncratic and that other teachers did not experience them.[i]

However, after 20 years of talking to K-16 teachers and reading the research literature it became clear that the vast majority of American adults often experience anger and struggle with “managing” their emotions especially their anger.

I learned a lot from my research about anger.

For example, emotions, from a social psychology perspective are complex processes comprised of multiple components including judgements, subjective experience, physiological change, emotional expression, and action tendencies.

The judgements may be instantaneous and unconscious, and/or slower and conscious.  Anger typically includes a judgement that someone is to blame for a blocked goal, or an arrogant entitlement of unfairness.  I find it so much easier to understand the anger of people with goals similar to mine or those who view an “arrogant entitlement or unfairness” in the same way.  The recent election highlighted how hard it can be to understand the anger of others – especially others we have little contact with.  For example, I grew up on an isolated farm and, as a young adult lived in small towns in New Zealand and Missouri.  However, since then I have lived in college towns or urban areas so understanding the contemporary lives of rural Americans is difficult.  I’m trying to learn, and a helpful recent book is Strangers in Their Own Land, Anger and Mourning on the American Right, by sociologist Arlie Russell Hochshild. Read an excerpt here.

The subjective experience of anger refers to the private experience of an emotion. Anger does not feel like sadness, guilt or joy.  We often use metaphors to help us understand this private experience and in the Western World the metaphors for anger often involve heat, fire, or blowing off steam.  Anger can feel comfortable or uncomfortable – some people enjoy anger and seek to prolong it whereas others do not.  I sometimes think about prolonged intense anger (especially about some “arrogant entitlement”) as the center of a whirlpool – when I get to close it seems impossible not to get sucked down into the vortex.

Physiological changes associated with emotions involve body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.  Emotional expressions include changes in facial expressions and the angry face typically involves narrowed brow, thin lip and flared nostrils (examples of emotional faces). There is some evidence that the angry face is similar across various cultures even though the triggers and subjective experiences of anger, as well as the norms of the appropriateness of expressing anger vary among cultures.

Anger frequently invokes action tendencies that motivate a person to action – moving against the situation or person, hurting the target, or changing the situation.  This is in contrast to an emotion such as sadness which typically has an action tendency of withdrawal.  Anger can be a powerful motivator for efforts associated with social justice and is integral in my long efforts to fight various forms of sexism (see the photo below at a Take Back the Night March in 1980-1. It really is me).

Emotions also influence how we process information. When angry, we tend to blame and seek to punish other people, we are slower to associate positive traits to a member of the out group, we are less trusting of others, we take more risks, and we remember more of our own angry incidents.[ii]   According to reports in the media, some Democrats, especially those who actively worked in the Clinton campaign, are blaming others and taking risks going on the record with their complaints.  Clearly, they are angry.

A lot of Americans are angry now.  The teachers I studied reported using a lot of strategies to “manage” their anger in the classroom.  These included reframing the problem or incident that triggered the anger, working on preventing the incident or problem in the future, exercising, or doing something else enjoyable.  Some teachers found talking to each other about their anger or the incident helpful – others said that talking could intensify their anger unless it involved reframing the problem or a lot of humor.

I don’t have any special insight into what happens in the US in the future.  I am glad that I work at Cascadia where we try hard to live our values of caring and pluralism and our day to day work remains transforming lives.


Rosemary Sutton, circa [don’t ask] Click to enlarge photo.


[i] Sutton, R. (2007). Teachers’ anger, frustration, and self-regulation. In P. A. Schutz, & R. Pekrun (Eds.), Emotion in education (pp. 259-274). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.





Cascadia’s Cornucopia: Earth Week 2016

Have you been enjoying the edible food forest on campus? Ever thought, “Hey, how could I contribute and help keep this garden sustainable?” Well, today is your lucky day, because we have a whole week where you can find out how to give back to your planet, and more specifically to Cascadia’s Cornucopia!

First of all, Earth Week 2016 is going to be a week long celebration (April 18-22)  of information and activities that will grow your relationship with this planet we call home. With over a dozen events designed for Earth Week, you can find the best way for you to engage – film screenings, information fairs, becoming an activist, sustainability tours, tree plantings, and so much more. There will be literally something for everyone!

For a detailed schedule, please visit our Earth Week 2016 event page.

We’d like to highlight the Vegetable Planting in the Food Forest taking place on Thursday, April 21 from 12pm-3:30pm. Help our Organic Landcare gIMG_5426ardeners plant some new vegetables that will soon be available for your consumption!

We encourage you to participate in one, two or all of the activities taking place next week and help make an impact in your campus community!

Would you like some garlic with your garlic?

Although the Cascadia Cornucopia blog posts have been sparse, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t musings taking place in the edible food forest. Sure, it appears a bit barer than we remember it from last summer/early Fall. Have no fear; the berries, the kale, and the hazelnut will all reappear!

For now, Tyson is going to tell us about one plant that is working its magic underground and plans to join us in Summer 2016: The Garlic! The health benefits of this specimen are enormous, as are the sense of smell… uh, benefits.

Green Tip: Wait to pick the garlic until mid-summer.

Bonus Green Tip: Remember that to maintain a sustainable food forest, please do not use Cascadia’s Cornucopia as your grocery store. Save some for the masses, and pay attention to harvesting tips and techniques!

tyson and garlic

Cascadia Cornucopia: Why so bare?

Some of you may have passed by the edible food forest recently and wondered, “Why does it look so bare?” “What are those stalks standing in some of the piles of dirt?” or “How is that garden sustained during these colder months?” Yes, I’m sure these are the big questions on your mind right now.

Well, thanks to the help of our Cascadia/UW Bothell gardeners, we’re getting an inside look at why the cornucopia looks the way it does and how it is maintaining itself throughout the winter. Robby, a new face in the gardening staff, is going to share some fun facts about winter maintenance!

Robby and Winter Care

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… or in the Cornucopia!

We tend to hear about this edible nut during the holidays, but what do we really know about the chestnut? Did you know they were almost extinct in the U.S.? Thank goodness there was a campaign to help bring them back! These low in calorie, fiber-loaded, vitamin-C bearing nuts are a great afternoon snack to help keep you focused on your finals coming up. To learn more, watch Adrian share his chestnut knowledge below.

Green tip: to roast chestnuts, make sure to create small incisions over the dome-side to prevent them from busting!

adrian and chestnuts