Friday Letter,12-7-18

I was inspired this week after following the news about the death of former President Bush. My inspiration comes from the documented friendship developed between the Bush, Clinton and Obama families. Both the Clintons and the Obamas formed a bond with the senior and junior Bushes despite their differences on issues and in approaches to governance. They formed channels of communications post-presidency that led to dignity and friendship. If only…

If only in all of our differences, we could learn to respect the stories and perspectives of others.

If only we could use that respect and understanding to help others prosper.

If only we could use that prosperity to create access and opportunity available to all.

I think Cascadia works to model those principles. This week the search committee for the Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion narrowed the pool down to 3 finalists. Next week they will come to campus to interview with the executive team and me. They will also lead a presentation and have a drop-in Q&A time for all employees to stop by. We will be recording the presentations for those who are not able to be there in person. I hope you’ll engage with this process and provide feedback to me as I make a decision.

I am also in the process of interviewing candidates for our new Trustee positions. We will have two vacancies next fall and I have 5 excellent candidates. The chair of the Board (Dr. Julie Miller) and I have been vetting these candidates and will send a list of their strengths to the Governor for his consideration. He will make a final decision next spring. Each of these candidates mirrors the enthusiasm and service-orientation of our current Trustees.

Thanks to Stephan Classen for helping the Foundation recently. Stephan noticed around campus the “giving flyers” for the Foundation to help students attend college. He worked with Mark Collins to get the foundation set up with Amazon Smile, so that if you make purchases on Amazon, AND you sign in to smile.amazon.com instead of the normal Amazon, Amazon makes a donation to the Foundation based on a percentage of your purchase. Super easy…just go to smile.amazon.com. It will walk you through how to sign up. It’s a great and easy way to do normal purchasing and still give to the Foundation, especially if you’re unable to donate directly.

Speaking of helping support our students….There are just a few more weeks of the Cascadia Employee Giving Campaign. The Foundation has set a very modest goal for its campaign and is just over halfway there. Check out the homepage of go.cascadia for information and to hear what our employees have to say about why they give.

Another shout out goes to Larissa. This comes from 3 students:

Student #1: Cascadia students were able to attend the “Queer I Am” conference back in October thanks to Larissa and the Center. The conference was very useful, and we just wanted to thank Larissa for her hard work organizing everything and taking care of the logistics.

Student #2: Thank you, Larissa, for organizing everything so that a group and I could go to the Queer I Am Conference. As a gay man, it is not often that I get to be surrounded by people who are not only accepting me for who I am, but are celebrating me for it. I learned so much new information about the people I share a community with and was able to connect and hear other’s stories. None of it would have been possible without you providing us with the opportunity to go to this conference!

Student #3: Thank you for organizing the queer I am conference, it was a worthwhile experience and I learned a lot.  I enjoyed learning more about current issues that are affecting both the queer and community college students. The conference gave me many new ideas on how to help students be successful and feel supported on campus.   Thank you again for making this possible.

As a way to spread holiday cheer and say Thank You to all of our employees, please stop by the President’s Kaffeehaus next Tuesday, 10:00-11:30, CC2-261. There will be coffee (and flavorings), tea and hot cocoa along with some pastries. (I did not make them this time. Sorry!)

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 11-30-18

The end of fall quarter brings out the best in our campus. Propelled by a moment of thanksgiving, we turn our minds to the needs of those who are not as fortunate as we are or who struggle to access our services at Cascadia. I see evidence of this all over campus and am glad that we have sustained a caring community. These efforts come in many forms.

  1. Winter Wishes is a program led by the classified staff. For three years now they have launched some type of program to help students in need. This year the goal is to support the Kodiak Cave in a project that reaches across multiple campus divisions to offer support. Referenced here is the email from Marah explaining the program.
  2. Cynthia Anchondo is our newest Vet Navigator. The Veterans of Cascadia Club & the LGBTQ+ Club recently sponsored a Friendsgiving to help connect campus vets with services and clubs. Thanks to Cynthia and the clubs for working together on this. Another example of reaching across silos to help others.
  3. This week, Tracy Phutikanit and I attended a conference at UW Seattle on Reengaging Adult Learners. Others from across the campus attended a second day about support services for students. Tracy and I heard stories from former students who reengaged higher education later in life, we heard about programs to support these students, and we discussed the challenges these students face. Child care, transportation, evening class schedules…these were issues that created barriers. We will be calling together those from Cascadia who attended these seminars to discuss ways we might incorporate a better focus on adult learners as we start forming our new strategic plan next year.
  4. Kerry Levett and I are engaged in a process of building better relationships with the school districts in our service area. We met this week with Riverview officials, we meet next week with the new Superintendent of Lake Washington School District, and we are in the process of setting up a meeting with the four Assistant Superintendents of the Northshore School District. These efforts and our renewed commitment is a way for us to determine how to better support the students in these districts. As an example, 33% of Riverview’s students don’t go on to some sort of higher education. How do we change that? What can we do to engage these students?
  5. The Foundation’s employee giving campaign…I Give Because I Care is a great way for you to do something this season to help others in need. $15 per pay period would make the difference in the lives of two students who need a little extra support to complete their work with us at the college. Visit the homepage of go.Cascadia for more information. .

All of the efforts above are examples of our caring community. We work here because we want to support others. I appreciate all of your efforts to make this happen.

Finally today, I must report that the Cascadia Bowling League has ended. After 10 weeks, hard fought battles, and more French fries than we could stand, the league has come to an end.  We have two more team pictures to share: The Rolling Tomes, consisting of our librarians from left to right Chelsea Nesvig, Cora Thomas, Nicole Gustavsen, Laura Dimmit.  And Livin’ on a Spare, consisting of Katie Russo, Erik Tingelstad, Erika Miller, and Tyson Kemper.

There was a battle for 1st and 2nd place and a battle for 3rd and 4th place. The final results are in, but won’t be shared until the January 12th End of League Party. Thanks to the 32 registered bowlers and the many substitutes during the season. We won’t easily forget Gordon’s Happy Dance or Cham’s psychological gaming. We admire Marah’s super consistent form and Mark’s spin ball. Shawn’s donkey kick, Katie’s bowling vest, the Student Life Team’s wigs…they were all a part of a special moment. Thanks to our UW Colleagues who participated…safety & security, grounds, the library staff, and Food for Thought folks. May you have dreams of strikes and spares this holiday season.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 11-16-18

There are certainly a number of things going on at the college. My desk is filled with project reports on buildings (CC4), parking lots, sculpture placements, emergency preparedness, enrollment issues, trustee vetting, school district work, equity & inclusion decisions, biotech proposals, chamber and city meetings, and on and on. (…yes…I said “sculpture placements”…more on that at a different time)

Like everyone at the college, we keep the wheels spinning in our own ways. I am thankful for the kind of work we do and know that each person, in their own way, helps to make our students and our institution successful. As is typical this time of year, I get a wave of appreciation for my colleagues and our work. Instead of diving into the details of that list above, I’ll leave you with this shout out provided by Deann in Student Financial Services.

From Deann…

I’d like to share a story of a student who visited our office many quarters ago, and a more recent visit he had this past week. The story goes like this:

A first generation college student and son of an immigrant father came to financial aid and met with Paul.  The student then started school and a few weeks into the quarter met with Paul again, this time without his father.  The student disclosed that he was planning to drop out of Cascadia and pursue a trade instead.

Paul could have told him his withdrawal options and sent him on his way.  But what Paul chose to do instead, was encourage this student on his educational path and with a dream.  Paul shared his personal story of being a son to immigrant parents.  He shared what he felt his parents sacrificed to come here and what they gave up for him and his siblings.  Paul’s intent to share this wasn’t to deter the student away from the trades, but to give the student another perspective and the encouragement to continue with his schooling.  The student did.

Last week the student met again with Paul.  He is finishing his degree at Cascadia this year, shared his excitement and plans of attending a 4 year institution and talked about not stopping there.  He discussed pursuing a master’s degree and his dreams to give back to his parents.

In between the difficult and hard days, sometimes we get these kind of wins.  Those victories are what make it all worth it!!

End of story.

Thank you Paul. Thank you Deann. Each of our stories is important and from this interaction we can see how important Paul’s background was in helping this student persist. That’s why it is so incredibly important that we foster this environment of equity and inclusion. And, when we take those extra moments to share with our students and get to know them better, we become the very inspiration they need to succeed.

Have a great holiday.

Friday Letter, 11-9-18

I hope that everyone will take a moment to appreciate our holiday on Monday. Veteran’s Day is a time to honor all of the individuals who have served in the U.S. armed forces. It traces its roots back to 1919 when President Wilson began writing about the meaning of Armistice Day, the day that German troops laid down their weapons after WWI. In 1938, the day became a recognized holiday. President Wilson wrote: “To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride…because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.” Armed conflict has not subsided since 1919 and certainly continues today. I believe the opportunity to show sympathy with peace and justice still exists, but it must take our collective will to make that happen. Thanks to all of our employees and students who are veterans, and to those of you who help support them and our campus’s desire for peace.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday this week at WACTC in SeaTac. The two days were focused mostly on legislative efforts. While the economy is booming, the state government appears to be stagnant, according to the OFM Director. Washington ranks #34 in the nation for the amount of money it uses to support state agencies. Because of our taxation system (based on sales tax), the cost of government continues to exceed its revenue. He painted a bleak picture for financial support for the CTC system given that he already estimates a $2 Billion shortfall and that the mental health system, like K-12, needs to be fixed. At Cascadia, we are seeing the signs of a good economy with softer than usual enrollment. While we will continue to focus on recruitment and retention, program development, and other ways to make ends meet, I encourage ultra-conservative spending of your budgets this year. Perhaps one day we will also be seen as the greatest need in the eyes of our legislators.

This week’s bowling highlight goes to Team “We’re on Strike”. Pictured are (from Left to Right) Tanner Locke (Safety), Jenny Park (Food for Thought), Kari McGie (Admin Services), and Cham Kao (Safety).

Thanks to Lyn Eisenhour for this shout out: I want to acknowledge the hard work of all of the Basic Education for Adults (BEdA) staff and faculty who made Tuesday’s Program Review visit from the State Board a smashing success. The program received ZERO findings/corrective actions, and a number of commendations. Preparation for the visit took a couple of months and required hard work on the part of the entire team of faculty and staff. Part of the visit included a student focus group in which students raved about the faculty and staff in the program, leaving a very positive impression on the State Board staff. A big shout out to everyone involved for making this a successful program review.

Future shout outs and program awareness can be forwarded to FLShoutout@cascadia.edu.

What a great note to end on. Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 11-2-18

This is the Friday before the mid-term elections on Tuesday, November 6. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to vote. Please encourage your colleagues and students as well. Rock the vote! Here’s how you can return your ballot: (http://www.ci.bothell.wa.us/1273/How-to-return-your-ballot)

The vote is already in for Cascadia alumna Jenni Martinez-Lorenzo.

Congratulations to Jenni Martinez-Lorenzo who won third place in the Pacific-Western Division of the national Community College Humanities Association Literary Magazine Competition for her short story “Plan B,” which was published in the 2017 edition of Yours Truly.

Jenni is an indigenous Afro-Mexicana and a cancer survivor. Creatively, she identifies as a writer. Her writing, largely made up of poetry and prose, is informed by her experiences as a black and brown woman navigating a white world, her struggles with her physical and mental health, and her determination to thrive in the midst of her circumstances. Jenni believes it’s important to stay true to herself when it comes to her writing process. She believes that that if it hurts: write it. If it’s confusing: write it. If it just flows out of you: write it. If it feels like pulling teeth: write it. If it feels good: write it. She trusts that you can never go wrong with honesty—even if it’s messy.

Jenni graduated from Cascadia in June 2018 with an Associates in Integrated Studies with an intent on pursuing social work. Currently she’s working on transfer applications and taking a year to participate in AmeriCorps. (Thanks to Courtney Putnam for helping us to learn more about Jenni.)

Remember to vote!

Speaking of Tuesday, November 6…

The Campus Library Community Reads team is gearing up to welcome you to their fall event on November 6, from 12 – 1:3 0pm, in room LB1 – 205, where they will be discussing topics found in When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele.  Everyone on campus is invited to read the book and attend!

Patrisse Cullors visited campus on September 27th and gave a terrific speech about her work with the Black Lives Matter movement. She said, “It became a new iteration of black people fighting, resisting and choosing our lives and choosing our destiny. Black Lives Matter has become this moment in history where we can have an honest and transparent conversation about anti-black racism.” Read more about Patrisse’s visit to our campus here! (Thanks to Sarah Leadley for being an outstanding partner and keeping the UW Library at the forefront of Cascadia’s work.)

Future shout outs and program awareness can be forwarded to FLShoutout@cascadia.edu.

Remember to vote!

The Pluralism Committee from last year met this week to talk about its evolution to the Equity & Inclusion Council. It is expected that the new E&I Council will serve the campus by being a sounding board to the new Executive Director for Equity & Inclusion (EDEI). The Council’s work will involve listening to the information collected by the EDEI, thinking about how that information can be turned into an actionable plan, and helping to prioritize the numerous activities with the EDEI. As well, the Council will help us to proactively think about communications when we have events nationally and locally, and will help guide the awareness on our campus of how we strive to be equitable and inclusive.

We are currently determining the membership structure of the Council and will have that developed and shared by the end of the quarter. We will be looking for members of our campus community to serve on the Council and for their work to begin in late January.

Remember to vote!

Finally, a request. Each year I engage in a process to find candidates to serve on our Board of Trustees. As their terms come to an end, I must start 8 months before in vetting new trustees and making recommendations to the governor. Employees and students cannot serve on the Board, but I would welcome your input on members of the community who might be good additions. I take potential candidates to lunch to discuss what the opportunity looks like. If you have a recommendation of someone in your community, please let me know. The only caveat is that Trustees must live in the service district. Thanks.

Oh, and…

Remember to vote!

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 10-26-18

Today’s Friday letter is one part soapbox and one part shout out. Let me pull out the bullhorn.

The soapbox…

In a little more than a week, we will exercise our democratic right to vote. We will (hopefully) think about the impact of the various candidates and ballot measures, and will make decisions based on how we believe they’ll affect our country, our communities, our families, and us as individuals.

As the election process unfolds, I want first to recognize that people often experience real and overpowering emotions when results do not align with how they voted. I want to encourage us to remember that, while we may disagree that certain outcomes are “for the best,” the value of a democracy is to allow for a multiplicity of views. It is my hope that we will live our Cascadia values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and engage one another in productive exchanges of ideas and beliefs.  Despite the outcomes next week, our collective efforts to educate, inform, and discuss remain the foundation of our community.

Election 2018 provides us with an opportunity to talk about the challenges in our country as well as the different methods available to us to resolve them. It also gives us an opportunity to model the civility so needed in the rest of the country.  I hope we can be that example for others.

Stepping off the soapbox and focusing the spotlight on…

…The United Way Benefits Hub. It is now up and running in the ARC. United Way representatives provide services regarding financial coaching, housing navigation, access to food & utilities assistance, and so much more. They are engaging UW and Cascadia faculty & staff to assist with the coaching. Thanks to those who are participating. I encourage you to send students there who might need services and to stop by yourself to check it out. I did yesterday. I hope it catches on.

…Our folks in Financial Aid. “In our ever-growing efforts to provide a seamless admissions process for students, I want to give a huge shout out to the Student Financial Services team. Deann has been open to partnering with Outreach & Admissions efforts in offering FAFSA/WASFA support for events on campus, and off. Most recently, she allowed time in Brett & Martin’s schedules to attend three high school financial aid events – presentations, individual support, and Spanish language translation (gracias, Martin!). Also, a shout out to Tracy & Shawn for opening up time, and to Fidely for also supporting Spanish language efforts. Really, it sends a strong message to our local area high schools that we are here to serve the students and provide accurate and attainable information. Huge thank you to sharing time and efforts!” (- from Sara)

…Our Disability Support Services. October is Disability Awareness Month and to celebrate, Disability Support Services (DSS) and The Center for Culture, Inclusion, and Diversity presented a student panel yesterday that examined current issues of accessibility and allowed reflection upon participants’ experiences. It was a great opportunity to promote independence, integration, and inclusion for all individuals with disabilities. Thanks to Brian and Larissa for your leadership.

…International visitors. This week International Programs hosted a group of Japanese High School students.  They were 38 students and 4 chaperones from Seisho High School in Nara prefecture. They engaged in a variety of science-oriented activities on- and off-campus throughout the week.  The program was made possible by Peggy Harbol (Chemistry) and Pat Malek (IS) who connected me with Japanese scientists in Seattle a year ago, and also by Midori Sakura (Earth and Environmental Sciences) who kindly agreed to provide the wetlands tour to the group.  Without their help, Cascadia wouldn’t have been chosen as their program destination and it is truly our grassroots effort that brought this high school to Cascadia.  Thank you, Peggy, Pat and Midori!

…The Cascadia Foundation. Thank you for such outstanding participation in its first survey. Now for part two. On Monday, the Foundation will be inviting you to participate in a shorter follow-up survey. You will be able to find it on the homepage of go.cascadia, along with a summary of results from the first survey. Or you can access it through this link. If completed by 5:00 pm Friday, November 2nd, you will be entered in a drawing to win a $25.00 gift card from Stopwatch Espresso.

… Bowling. This week’s highlight goes out to Team Nevermore. At the top of the picture, Sharon Saxton (and moving clockwise), Charles Sapien, Marah Selves, (frequent substitutes) Zeke and Ely Levett, and Chris Byrne.

Shout outs and program awareness can be forwarded to FLShoutout@cascadia.edu.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 10-19-18

I was able to meet with Madeleine Gorges’s Organizational Behavior class this week. Although only a short visit, it was nice to be back in the classroom for a bit. We discussed the history and current plans for equity and inclusion on campus. The students were thoughtful and inquisitive. Madeleine reports that the students said “…they like that it feels very proactive. They also said they already like the inclusive climate at Cascadia.” Thanks for the invitation Madeleine!

A student stopped by my office this week. We’ve gotten to know each other this quarter. He said to me, “President Murray, can I just share how great the learning community is with Erin Richards and Tasha Walston?” Haha…I said “sure.” He continued to talk about how Erin and Tasha help him to think critically and support his learning. He has fallen in love with the topic of the learning community and the class. I love these moments.

Thanks also to Tyson Kemper for sharing this article on the Food Forest that was published online last week in Swanson’s Nurseries Garden Blog.

I appreciate the efforts of our grounds team to support the Food Forest, the pollinator gardens, the learning lab gardens, the eco-turf and all of the other landscape we hold dear at Cascadia. Their dedication to our sustainability efforts and their expertise in botany is to be commended. I am also thankful that they embrace the co-location of UWB and Cascadia.

Congrats to Sharon Saxton who was confirmed as the new Faculty Union leader this week. She follows on the heels of long-time leader David Shapiro. She also throws a mean bowling ball. Speaking of bowling, check out Team Incredibowls. Top left is Kerry Levett, and then clockwise, Raquel Ruedas, Mark Collins, and Gordon Dutrisac.

The Board of Trustees met this week and passed several measures, including one that authorizes continued funding for our ctcLink implementation. We are getting closer and closer to our “go live” date and I appreciate the continued diligence on the part of those employees who are supporting the transition.

Next week on Tuesday is our DIA, a multi-faceted emergency response training that will help each person understand their individual role during a crisis. Last year we exposed you to an over-arching view of how the Emergency Operations Center runs. This year we’ll talk about specifics of who is trained for what activity and how we execute our individual roles during a crisis. It’s important attend. We’ll see you there at 1:15.

Finally, the Foundation will be inviting the college community to participate in a second, shorter survey this coming Monday as a follow up to its first survey from a couple weeks ago. Why a second survey? The second survey is a compilation of the input provided through the first survey. Providing input in this next round further helps the Foundation focus on what is most important to our community – it is feedback that will support the Foundation’s upcoming strategic planning activities.

If you didn’t receive the invitation for survey #2, check your junk e-mail folder. Or you can access the survey through this link. You did not have to complete the first survey to participate in this survey – or be eligible for this second drawing. Surveys completed by 5:00PM Friday – November 2nd will also be entered in a drawing to win a $25.00 gift card from Stopwatch Espresso. A summary of the results of survey #1 is available on go.Cascadia’s landing page. If you didn’t get a chance to respond to the first survey, you are invited do so here.

On behalf of the Foundation Board of Directors, thank you in advance for participating!

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 10-12-18

There are a lot of good things happening around campus.

I’m excited that we were recently mentioned in the annual report of Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Check out the report and turn to page 37. We were #1 in Sustainable Grounds out of a nationwide survey. That’s due to multiple efforts, including our grounds department, facilities department, and the multiple faculty and staff who invest in helping make the landscape a learning lab. Nice Job. Other shout-outs each week can be reported to FLShoutouts@cascadia.edu.

We were also recently mentioned in the Alaska Air magazine. This snapshot came from one of our employees who was traveling. I think the section was a highlight on Bothell and we got a nice mention.

Last week, Kerry, Erin and I attended a workshop on Bias Incident Response Team. This workshop helped us identify work we still need to do on our campus, but also affirmed that we are headed in the right direction with the resources we’re developing. This 2-pager gives the scope and membership of our BIRT.

This workshop and other recent national and local events also reminded me that we need to affirm our campus pledge to equity and inclusion. I wanted to point people to our pledge at the beginning of every academic year, to remind us that we indeed believe in the principles of equity and inclusion.  Many of us have printed the Pledge and posted it on our doors or in our offices. I encourage you to do so and, if you have interaction with students, to reiterate the pledge in whatever opportunity you have where it seems appropriate.  As we interact with each other, in private or in public, orally or in writing, note that I absolutely believe our campus must take every effort, every time to uphold the standards of this pledge.

A final shoutout to Chris Gildow, David Ortiz, College Relations, and International Programs for a stellar opening to the Native Spirits exhibition. The native singers, the art itself, and the reception made for a meaningful moment on campus as things got underway this last Tuesday. The exhibit is with us through November. I encourage you to see it.

Bowling Week 3. Check out Team Blue Wave.  Pictured are (top left) Chari Davenport, David Stout (top right), Anna Stefano (bottom right), and Brett Eyer (bottom left).  David is Anna’s husband and Brett is Chari’s son-in-law.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 9-28-18

I hope the first week of classes went smoothly for everyone. I didn’t see too many lines anywhere, and even parking was a tad bit better than I’ve seen in years past. Twice this week I parked on the bottom floor where we now have Employee Parking rather than first floor Reserved Parking: once on Wednesday at 2:45pm and once on Thursday at 9:10am.

On Wednesday it took me an extra 35 seconds to walk down from the old reserved parking area to the new employee area and one extra minute to exit (no traffic, total extra time 1:35). On Thursday, it took me 2:36 to get down to the bottom, plus 40 seconds to walk up to the old reserved area (light traffic, total extra time 3:16).

I readjusted my attitude about the “convenience factor” and became more positive. A few extra steps and a couple extra minutes to enjoy the walk were not bad things. I’ll keep monitoring!

Next week will not only be another busy week with high student attendance, but we will also host the President’s group (WACTC) and the Presidents’ Assistant’s group (PACTC). In order to minimize traffic, we have decided to hold the meetings for both groups at McMenamin’s on Thursday. Both groups will be on campus on Friday with WACTC in CC3 and PACTC at the Northcreek Center. Thanks to Vicki for doing a tremendous amount of organization and to Kari for assisting. Both Vicki and I will be unavailable next Thursday and Friday as we host and attend those meetings.

Bowling got off to a grand start last week. Our 8 teams and 32 participants had a ball! Each week I’ll share a picture of one of the teams. This week’s picture is of my own team which includes (left to right) Deann Holliday, Erin Blakeney, myself, and Shawn Miller. We are team Space Balls, with a subtle nod to our Planet ctcLink campaign.

I wanted to congratulate the Yours Truly team. They had an impressive 3rd place finish this year for Overall Best Literary Magazine for Small Community Colleges, U.S. Western Division. This award is given by the Community College Humanities Association (CCHA). In their announcement, they stated, “Your students along with Faculty Advisor Courtney Putnam have really done an outstanding job, beating out dozens of competitors in your region. As a former magazine and journal editor, I know you deserve a lot of credit, putting together a publication of that magnitude is no easy task. Thank you for supporting Yours Truly.”   Nice Job!

Finally today, our Foundation is offering the college community an opportunity to share your thoughts about the Foundation’s mission, programs, and performance. Your invitation to participate in a brief survey went out by email Monday from Survey Monkey. If you didn’t receive the invitation, check you junk e-mail folder. Or you can access the survey through this link. The survey takes about five minutes – and will remain open through Friday, October 5th. By completing the survey, your feedback will inform the Foundation’s strategic planning activities over the coming months. Please complete the survey by 5:00PM Friday – October 5th and by so doing you will be entered into a drawing to win a $25.00 gift card from Stopwatch Espresso. Mark Collins will share the results of this survey in the coming weeks and offer a second opportunity to help the Foundation focus on what’s most important to us, our students, and our community. Thank you in advance for participating – and helping the Foundation chart its course for the next few years.

Have a great weekend.

Friday Letter, 9-14-18

Bunny Tales

Setting. Five people sitting around a conference table. Last Friday was an all-day retreat for the executive team. We were supposed to be off-campus, but unforeseen circumstances led us to steel away into a dark corner of CC3. The day was productive. We talked about four main topics:

  1. Risk Management: We have a registry of all events that could pose a risk to the college, from earthquakes to data failure to lack of enrollment to poor management. Terence manages the registry and we have to report back to him how we intend to mitigate risks in our areas. This is required by the State.
  2. International Programs: The current trends and future possibilities of our international student recruiting is on our minds. Students are tending to head towards Canada rather than the US so keeping up our market share is an important topic for us and Meagan’s area.
  3. Accreditation: The time has come to evaluate our work over the last 6+ years. Kerry is right on top of organizing our process. This will be a time for an all-points assessment of our progress on the Core Themes and Strategic Plan. You’ll hear more about that soon.
  4. Equity & Inclusion: Marty and I have been putting the finishing touches on a job description and process for hiring a new Executive Director of Equity and Inclusion. You’ll hear more about this at Convocation on Monday.

Cut to 10 people sitting around a glass coffee table. In addition to the Executive Team Retreat, the Board of Trustees also had a retreat this week. The Executive Team joined the Board at Trustee Roy Captain’s house in Redmond. They attended for the morning session to update the Board on enrollment, finances, capital projects, and equity and inclusion work. After lunch, I rushed the e-team out of the house because I was excited to have my “alone time” with the board in the afternoon.

Cut to five people sitting around a dining room table. The trustees and I do some planning about topics for up-coming meetings, they review their self-evaluation, and we plan for our interactions with the state.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, a text conversation is taking place among the executive team. It goes something like this:

#1: I can’t believe he kicked us out before the bunny cakes!

#2: Travesty!

#3: Bitmoji of individual on knees yelling NO!!!

#4: Emoji of distraught person.

#5. I mean “bundt” cake. Darn autocorrect.

In wanting to move to the next agenda items so quickly, I forgot a very important moment. Vicki and Kari had gone out of their way to provide the bundt (aka bunny) cakes as a treat for the entire team after lunch at the retreat. The leader goofed by forgetting there were enough for the e-team as well. Vicki bailed me out by buying more bundt cakes later in the week so that I could share them with the executive team.

So what’s the moral of the story? We accomplish big things at Cascadia and we work hard. But little things are important too. A nice word to our students, going out of the way to help a colleague, spending a few minutes building relationships, and (sometimes) a little tiny cake to let people know they matter. Thanks to everyone for their summer work. I’m excited to see you at Convocation on Monday morning and at the President’s Pub at 4:30.

Have a great weekend.