Friday (Thursday) Letter, 8-17-17

The smoke is gone. We all can see clearly now.  The future is known to us.  So what does the future tell us?

First, it tells us that we have a new Trustee. Our (previously) newest Trustee, Dr. Sabine Thomas, had to relocate out of the area.  We appreciate her efforts during her year with us and we are fortunate to have had a secondary list of candidates at the ready.  After additional vetting, the Trustees and I recommended Mr. Roy Captain to the Governor.  The Governor accepted the nomination and appointed Trustee Captain last month.

Mr. Captain is a respected local leader and real estate agent. He works in communities such as Sammamish, Redmond, Bellevue and Kirkland.  Born in Mumbai, India, he has lived in Oregon, Michigan, Illinois and Virginia, and now calls Redmond his home.  Over the past 25 years, he has been a leader in running global aviation companies in Illinois, helicopter logging in Oregon, real estate investing in Virginia, and extensively volunteering in the Lake Washington School District.  He has served multiple terms as President of the Audubon Elementary School Parent Teacher Student Association and was the Kirkland area Vice President in the Lake Washington School District PTSA.  He is currently the Vice Chair of Redmond’s Planning Commission.

This is the first time we’ve had a Trustee from Redmond, and I appreciate now having a Trustee from every major city in our district.

The future also tells us that the dust has settled on our parking situation. Yes, we have a direction!!  After discussion with the unions, we will implement the Reserved Parking change-over as designed.  You can remind yourself of the details by looking here.  Unfortunately, those discussions took longer than anticipated, so we will implement NEXT SUMMER (Summer 2018).  We do not have the physical capacity to make the change before fall quarter and I do not want to take the garage off-line during the academic year.  So we will have one more year of differential parking rates and reserved parking.

Speaking of rates, those have also been negotiated with the unions. Members of WPEA and CCCFT should speak with their local leadership or Human Resources for your pricing structure.  Exempt staff can refer to the email sent by Tony Guerrero yesterday.  Thanks for your patience as we navigated those issues over the last year.

Finally, the future tells us that we are in a pretty good place with regard to emergency preparedness. Since Tuesday of this week, about a dozen Cascadia staff and a dozen UWB staff have been participating in a region-wide FEMA training.  Today is our actual exercise to practice all we’ve learned.  The exercise will allow us to practice setting up our Emergency Operations Center and how we handle a major event.  Thanks to all the participants from Cascadia: Jodie, Erik, Todd, Erika, Yukari, Meagan, Paul, Noah, Marty, Deann and Raquel.

Have a great weekend.

Special Tuesday Letter, 8-15-17

Dear Campus,

The presidents of the 5-Star Consortium (Cascadia, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Washington, and Shoreline Colleges) had breakfast this morning with the president of WSU. As many of you may have read, one of his students was involved in the incidents that took place over the weekend in Charlottesville.  The WSU community continues to struggle with the idea that one of their own was involved in such hatred.  As well, Ana Mari Cauce (president of UW) published in her blog yesterday a summary of how I am sure we all must feel in our state.  You can read her letter here:

The joint campus of Cascadia and UW Bothell published last year our pledge to respect every individual in our community. You can find that pledge here:

We do not waiver from that pledge. It is unfortunate that we live in a world where threats to pluralism, diversity, equity, and social justice exist.  It seems that every week there is a new challenge to our community and its safety.  Yet, I find it fortunate that we work in a campus community that will always strive for inclusion.  We strive to intentionally learn how to facilitate healthy discussion, how to incorporate the backgrounds of all students, and how to be role models for acceptance and inclusion.

Any campus, at any time, can be a target of violence and hate. It is my hope that we are prepared to find a path through such incidents if they occur here.  It is also my hope that we continue to keep our campus pledge foremost in our minds.  This fall we will ask you to again participate in a Cavoline, the third year of our all-campus learning program on Pluralism.  This fall we will again publish the annual Diversity and Equity Summary so you can see the multiple efforts underway at Cascadia to further our commitment to Pluralism.  This year we will continue to work with UW Bothell, as One Campus, to assure that all of our voices are heard and respected.

I hope you will be a part of this movement at Cascadia. And I hope you will share with our students that Cascadia and UW Bothell stand for a set of values that are unshakeable.

Friday (Thursday) Letter, 8-10-17

Hello everyone. Thanks for the many greetings upon the return from my vacation.  As you might guess, this Friday Letter is inspired by my vacation in Italy with Dede.

We indeed had a great time. As with any vacation, we needed to find our rhythm as a group of 5 traveling together, especially in the heat of August Italy.  We endured 106 degree days in Rome.  Air conditioning and iced drinks were a premium.  As new and experienced travelers we found our way through.

Highlights for Dede included the general audience with Pope Francis, visits to the home towns of her grandparents, wine and pasta, and (of course) our cooking class. Challenges of the trip included lots of walking, heat, and an apartment in Florence that was 4 flights up with no elevator.  And the most intriguing (dangerous?) part of the trip…we ate dinner next to the head of Anti-Mafia efforts for Italy and his security detail of 6.  They happened to walk into the same restaurant we did.  We made it out alive.

But most importantly, I wanted to focus on the cooking class we took. I ended up taking away some thoughts from our chef that inspired me.

There were 6 in our class plus the chef (making 7 total). We started the day visiting a local market in Florence and learning about our ingredients.  We spent 7 euros to feed 7 people.  That didn’t include the eggs and flour we used.  As we cloaked ourselves in aprons, the Chef said that his philosophy of cooking was to keep his ingredients simple.  Simple and fresh ingredients will make a meal just as good as complicated all-day masterpieces.  He didn’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.  He wanted to have an inspired meal, but wanted to be able to go out and enjoy life.  To do this, he did the “best with less”.

So how did that translate to our meal?

We made pasta: 2 ingredients. It’s really not that hard.

With half the pasta we made ravioli and filled it with ricotta.

The other half was made into noodles and we made a meat sauce with vegetables. 5 ingredients.

Our third dish was Tiramisu: 5 ingredients.

We also ate battered zucchini flowers and crostini with pesto.

But how was I inspired by this?

“Keep our ingredients simple.” In our work at the college we sometimes think that big, grand, and complex is better.  I learned that the simplest of ingredients (quality teaching; good service) made for the best meal we had in Italy.

“Enjoy life.” This translated into one of my core values…always be balanced. In work, with family, and in this great place we live.  Give your best in the kitchen (have an inspired meal), don’t be a slave to it (don’t get too complicated), bring wine, and help others enjoy the journey.

“The best with less.” By necessity, this is our community college world.  But because we have less, this does not mean we have to jeopardize quality.  We offer a quality experience and I think we serve one of the best meals.  Especially since we only have 7 Euros to spend.  This comes from having a lot of quality chefs at Cascadia.

Thank you to all who made this trip for Dede possible. And thank you for allowing me to share it with you.

Have a great weekend.

Friday (Thursday) Letter, 7-13-17

Friday Letter, 7-13-17

Here’s what I know….

The budget.

While the operating budget was passed by the legislature…which is leading to salary increases for everyone…we still don’t know the total impact on the college’s budget. We don’t think it will be the worst case scenario…but we are still crunching numbers.

The capital budget is a different story however. This has not been passed by the legislature.  I give it a 50-50 chance.  If it is not passed, then we don’t get our loan to build parking this year and all of the community college building projects come to a halt.  It delays the eventual construction of CC4 as well.  This is the first time (ever) that the legislature has failed to pass a capital budget on time.

The big white tent on the Mobius steps.

It was supposed to be a finished project on June 30. As you can see, they are not done.  That’s all I know.

Derby Days.

Many of us helped out last Saturday at the Cascadia booth at Redmond’s Derby Days. Thank you to those who signed up.  My biggest smiles came from watching Kody on the rowing machine at the booth next door and interacting with the kids.

Chamber Open House

About 400 people and 45 vendors showed up for the Bothell Chamber of Commerce’s Open House on campus last week. I got an email from the organizer expressing gratitude “for the incredible service we have received working with Paula for our Open House at Mobius Hall.  She worked hard to ensure that every details was taken care of for our event, and it showed!”  Nice Paula!

Master Teachers.

Congrats to Soraya. She was selected to participate in UW Seattle’s Community College Master Teacher Institute happening today and tomorrow. This year’s institute focuses on Global Human Security.

Changes to Reserved Parking.

This is still being bargained with the WPEA. Until such time as a resolution is reached, we will be staying with the status quo parking arrangement.


I will be in Italy with Dede (and our families) during the next three Thursdays so there will be no Friday Letters. I promise that we will toast you all and send pictures of us in our cooking class.

Have three great weekends.

Cascadia students and faculty attend Climate Reality training with former Vice President Al Gore!

At the end of June, five students in Cascadia’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainable Practices program, along with sustainability professor Abigail Lynam, PhD., attended Climate Reality training featuring former Vice President Al Gore.

The Climate Reality Project was founded by Gore in 2011, and seeks to train leaders who can take information and advocacy back to their communities all over the world.

The Climate Reality Project aligns with the interests and abilities of many of our BAS in Sustainable Practices students who are developing skills to plan and implement sustainable approaches to how we live and work.  For example, Andre Turner (far left), is planning to complete his senior capstone project  reducing plastics on campus in a way that doesn’t negatively impact revenues for our food and beverage vendors.

The next BAS in Sustainable Practices cohort starts this fall.  Apply Today!


Friday (Thursday) Letter, 7-6-17

I hope everyone had a safe 4th of July holiday.  It seems like such a short week given that we will close tomorrow and that many of us took last Monday off as well.

I have some shout outs for the day. “Shout outs” are fun for me because I get to not only thank people for their work, but it helps keep everyone informed of what’s going on.

First, thanks to Sara and her continued leadership in College Relations. She once again orchestrated a successful entry into the Bothell 4th of July parade.  She did NOT run over any children with the trailer either.  =)

The parade apparently went well with lots of folks giving love to Cascadia along the way. And our beautiful trailer was a hit.  Thanks to everyone who turned out to march.

Second, thanks to Kim. I’m not sure if you’ve walked the halls, but ALOTTA renovation was done these past few months.  The spaces for Continuing Ed and Trajal (our Japan program) look great.  There are new nooks and crannies everywhere, including the Learning Center, President’s Office, and Kodiak Korner.  Maybe we should have a treasure hunt through the new spaces.  Kim’s work to organize this was tremendous and time-consuming.  Thanks to her for her work.

Third, thanks to the Kodiak Korner staff. Summer session is on its way.  Despite holidays and shortened weeks, they helped students get enrolled with ease (or so I’ve heard).  Summer session started yesterday and the halls are once again bustling.

Fourth, thanks and congrats to Jesus and Sara. THANKS, because they both showed interest in attending the Social Justice and Leadership Institute.  The SJLI is a year-long program hosted by Bellevue College and has competitive entry.  CONGRATS because both of our Cascadia applicants were accepted.  We look forward to the things they will learn which can be applied to Cascadia both in our recruitment program as well as in the classroom.

Next week will be my last letter for a bit…I will be heading on vacation for three weeks. If you have a shout out you would like to see mentioned, please let me know early next week.  While I’m gone, the rest of the executive team will take their turn at writing a Guest Friday Letter.

Lastly, the budget. The operating budget was approved by the legislature.  We ‘think’ we are in a good position, but we still have to sift through all of the implications.  As soon as the SBCTC and our local finance office have reconciled what we think it all means, we will announce the impacts on salaries, benefits, and the college budget.  Thanks for your patience.

Have a great weekend.

Friday (Thursday) Letter, 6-29-17

Good morning. I hope this last day of the week leads to an exciting weekend.  Many of you will surely take off Monday, July 3 so as to make this a 5-day weekend.  Best wishes and be careful if you are traveling or enjoying the sunshine.

I have three pieces of news today. The first two pieces make me do my happy dance.  I’m off campus today, but come by the office next week if you need to see the dance in person.

First, CONGRATULATIONS to Fidely.  Read more below:

Dear Fidley,

Congratulations! You have been awarded the Alan Spence Employee Scholarship. This scholarship is intended to provide financial assistance for eligible employees to pursue a   degree and who have interest in a career as a Washington community or technical college administrator. 

We received several applications for this scholarship, each with their own impressive attributes. You have been selected because your application shows notable personal growth and dedication towards your education. Your colleagues at Cascadia College commend your accomplishments and commitment towards completing your degree.

Again, congratulations! Good luck in your journey in obtaining your degree and I look forward to seeing you at the Summer Conference in August.


Dr. Stephanie Delaney

The CTC Leadership Development Association Scholarship Committee Chair

Fidely was our campus nomination for this scholarship. She competed against other college’s nominees and received one of four state-wide scholarships available!  Well done!

Second, from our staff to our faculty, CONGRATULATIONS to Gail Alexander!  Read more below…

Dear Gail:

I am writing in regard to Cascadia College’s proposal submission to the American Association of Community College’s MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education (ATE) program.  Thank you very much for submitting the proposal and for your college’s commitment to STEM education.  For your information, AACC has completed the MentorLinks review process and your grant proposal, “From Classroom to Workplace: Illuminating and Supporting Career Opportunities in Environmental Technologies and Sustainable Practices” scored high with our review panel; and we would like to issue your college with an award for the 2017-2019 cohort.    […other details not necessary for the Friday Letter…]

Ellen M. Hause

Program Director, Academic and Student Affairs American Association of Community Colleges

Excellent work by Gail and the entire grant team. We are thrilled by this development and application to the ETSP program.

And third (not totally bad, but doesn’t make me dance either), there have been some governmental updates.  On the travel ban issued by the current presidential administration, the Supreme Court announced the following this week:

The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration’s travel ban can go into effect unless the visitors have a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

So what, exactly, is a “bona fide” relationship? In its decision, the Supreme Court gave the following examples.

“A foreign national who wishes to enter the United States to live with or visit a family member … clearly has such a relationship … As for entities, the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in the ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading [the executive order]. The students from the designated countries who have been admitted to the University of Hawaii have such a relationship with an American entity. So too would a worker who accepted an offer of employment from an American company or a lecturer invited to address an American audience.”

This ruling means that there should be no adverse effects on our students.

More locally, the Washington State Legislature has until tomorrow to issue a state budget for the next biennium. Should they fail to do so, the government will technically “shut down”.  However, that does not mean you should stay home next week.  We will operate and pay salaries from reserves during the time of a shut down…if one happens.   Right now they say they are close to finishing.  We will interpret that budget next week to see what it means for us.

So let’s do our happy dance next week together. We’ll all get paid.  And congrats to Fidely and Gail.

Have a great weekend.

Launch of the CCUWBee Research Initiative!

We love our pollinators.

Bees, butterflies, moths, bats, birds, beetles, flies, ants and wasps assist almost all flowing plants in their reproduction, helping them to develop the seeds, foliage, nuts, and fruits that make up the bulk of our diets (

Alarmingly, many of our pollinator populations are declining, including our native bees such as the western bumble bee (Bombus occidentalis).







Bumble bees, mason bees and other native bee species are particularly important because they start pollinating earlier in the spring than honey bees and they stay active when the weather is too cool and cloudy for honey bees.  We need to make sure we’re providing the habitat and resources they need to support resilient populations.

Our campus is Certified Salmon Safe and full of native flowering plants which is ideal for our native pollinator friends.  We want to ensure our campus is a stronghold for our native pollinators and so this summer we’re launching an initiative to track the bee populations on our campus over time.  We’ll be using the protocols established in the Maritime Northwest Citizen Science Monitoring Guide for Native Bees and Butterflies.  We’ve established permanent monitoring transects on campus and plan to visit them weekly during the spring and summer (when bees are most active) on an annual basis.  The data will be shared with all interested students, faculty and staff as well as The Xerces Society.

Let Jodie Galvan, Assistant Director of Sustainable Practices at Cascadia College, or Cassie Lubenow, Sustainability Coordinator for UW Bothell, know if you’d like to participate in the monitoring or receive the data.  Thank you for supporting our beloved bees!

Friday (Thursday) Letter, 6-15-17

Welcome to summer!

We now begin our 4-10 work week tradition that will carry us through the summer months.  My calendar says I’ve already filled every free Friday with an adventure.  I’m not sure how that happened.  However, I hope YOU have a summer filled with adventure, relaxation and (hopefully) sunshine.

I want to add my name to those who have extended gratitude for the hard work that is required to pull off graduation.  The Student Recognition Committee with support from all sorts of staff and faculty did a great job at making sure we had another successful commencement.  We had more graduates walk than ever before, we had a bigger crowd than ever before, and we used more cups than ever before.  =)  Thanks for the hard work of everyone who played a role in last Friday’s ceremony.

Congratulations are now officially in order for Dr. Catherine Crain who becomes our fourth faculty member to reach Emeritus status.  The Trustees voted unanimously last night to award Catherine the status of emeritus faculty.  We are happy for Catherine’s new status, for all of her retirement adventures she has planned, and for the fact that she will stay close to Cascadia and continue teaching for us on occasion.

No good deed goes unpunished.  Yes, I’ve said that multiple times this week.  One instance involves the 15 Year Service Wall.  Since its unveiling, we’ve found three misspelled names (how does that happen after a review by three different people, including myself ??) and at least one person who hasn’t served 15 years.  That does beg some explanation, however.  Part-time and full-time status were not considered in the determination of “15 years”.  If your start date began over 15 years ago, and you’ve worked continuously for Cascadia in any capacity since then, your name should be on the wall.  Vicki is coordinating the corrections; talk to her directly if you feel there is an error.

I am entering Summer with optimism.  Our budget is looking better; I hope the legislature doesn’t change that.  We have multiple summer work groups starting; I look forward to seeing the product of their work at the end of the summer. And I get to start Coffees for Three with the staff; bring a hat…we’ll sit outside whenever possible.

Have a great weekend.


Friday Letter, 6-9-17

For those of us on the east side of CC2, we’ve had our blinds shut for most of the week.  There have been multiple tents erected outside in preparation for today’s Commencement Ceremony and the glare from the sun off the tilted canvas is somewhat blinding.  Let’s talk about the tents.

Tent #1:  Was erected to protect us from having to see the on-going construction project happening on the Mobius Stairs.  It looks much like an archaeological dig, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our science faculty have secretly been exploring the catacombs underneath the patio after hours.  During the daylight hours, construction crews are fixing a pesky water leak that is, of course, under 10 tons of concrete.  Please don’t sit in Tent #1 today.

Tent #2: Is an off-set, smaller structure on top of the Mobius Patio.  This is the tent for the stage party at today’s ceremony.  As you’ll see, it doesn’t align well with Tent #3.  It’s off-set due to Tent #1 and we had to install a new set of stairs to allow folks to get up and down from Stage Left.  If you are coming up to Tent #2 today, please use caution.  And for those of us blessed/cursed with a need for symmetry, this is not the year to breathe easy.

Tent #3: Is the Party Tent.  It is where the students, employees, and families will sit this afternoon and is ready for 1000 people.  It is expected to rain today at 4:00 (50% chance).  It has never rained once in the time I’ve been President; this is my 7th Commencement at Cascadia.  While there is always a first time for everything, I’m hoping that the entity that controls the rain has not been upset by the archaeological dig taking place under Tent #1.

With that said, please huddle under dry spaces, still please attend, and please help keep everyone in the joyous spirit that should pervade today.  Umbrellas may be common; let’s work around them.  Attitudes may get a little wet; help us dry them with humor and good will.  Today is about our students, the product of all of our hard work.  Thank you for helping escort them on this journey and while we have a few challenges today, we have taught them how to adapt, learn, and be successful. We, as their teachers & role models, also know how to adapt, learn and be successful…so I’m looking forward to putting that to good use.

Thank you for a good year.