The Board of Trustees held its May 2nd board meeting on the Del Norte campus. I want to thank all the Del Norte faculty and staff for hosting the Trustees and the Eureka based administrators. I felt that the meeting was productive, engaging, and encouraging. Here are a few highlights.
Several of our students and staff provided public comment about the profound impact Renee Saucedo has had on their academic and personal lives. As I said in a previous communications, I am extremely proud of our students for standing up for student equity and success and calling on the college to do more to change the culture of the institution.
Consolidation of Elections During Even-Numbered Years
The Board approved a resolution to petition the Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity Boards of Supervisors to change the Board of Trustees election cycle to comply with SB 415. SB 415 prohibits local public entities from holding any future elections in odd-numbered years if holding an election in an odd-numbered year results in a “significant decrease in voter turnout” compared to the turnout in an even-numbered year. We fell below the 25% threshold set by SB 415. Based on district analysis conducted by the Clerk and Registrar of Voters of Humboldt County, our participation percentage was 21.13% and therefore requires us to move to even-numbered year elections.
Trustees Dorn, Emad, Mullery, and Biggin whose terms currently run on a 2019-2023-2027 election cycle will, after the petition is approved, each gain one additional year before they would run in 2020 and thereafter in 2024, 2028, etc.
Welcome and Congratulations to new Colleagues
The Board approved four new fulltime faculty for fall 2017: William Gill, Mathematics - Del Norte; Ralph Hafar, Construction Technology - Eureka; Anthony Luehrs, Mathematics (STEM) - Eureka; and Jonathan Pace, Mathematics (Statistics) - Eureka.
The Trustees also approved the employment of several associate faculty: Colette Beaupre, Biological Sciences – Eureka; David Broome Jr., Coaching - Eureka; Marky Murray, Nursing - Eureka; Bret Smith, Administration of Justice - Eureka; and Andrew Unsinger, Administration of Justice - Eureka.
Support for our CSEA Colleagues
President of the Board Sally Biggin read Resolution #711, “Classified School Employee Week” recognizing the tremendous work of our classified staff colleagues. The Board, by unanimous vote, adopted the resolution declaring the week of May 21-27, 2017, as Classified School Employee Week.
Pelican Bay Prison Education Program Update
Assistant Professor Bernadette Johnson provided a very inspirational and moving presentation of the Pelican Bay State Prison educational program. Bernadette pointed out that the program has grown from 25 students in fall 2015 to nearly 100 students taking college level courses at Pelican Bay this semester. Can you believe that there’s a waiting list of people wanting into CR’s program? This is truly a wonderful program. What prevents us from expanding the program? We need more faculty willing to teach in the prison.
The Trustees voiced strong support for the program and wanted to know what support is needed to expand the program. Trustee Ross suggested that the administration include support for prison education to the list of advocacy items to discuss with the legislators and the Chancellor’s Office.
Trustee Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
The Board had an amazing discussion relative to diversity and inclusion at all campuses and site. The Trustees called for an expanded and more vigorous commitment to diversity and inclusion at College of the Redwoods with efforts not only to implement existing initiatives but to take additional actions to imbed the diversity in the institutional culture. In the end, the Board recognized that our goals relative to diversity, inclusion, and equity are fundamental to CR achieving its mission.
One Trustee asked me how we train our staff and faculty on issues related to diversity and underrepresented students. My response to the question was, while in the midst of the discussion I believe, incomplete. I followed-up with the Board yesterday (Wednesday) and provided more specific information relative to this question. My follow-up included language saying that over the last two years, the Professional Development Committee has offered several professional development sessions related to diversity and supporting underrepresented students. Forty-four percent of all professional development sessions offered for faculty, staff, and managers over the course of the last two years have been targeted towards understanding issues of diversity and underrepresented students. These sessions were presented not just by esteemed guest presenters, but many of our colleagues volunteered their time to prepare and facilitate presentations for their peers as well.
Here are a just a few of the sessions that the District offered:
· Engaging Male Students of Color
· Teaching Men of Color (multiple sessions)
· Understanding Stereotype Threat (multiple sessions)
· Retention, Persistence, Completion and Increasing Equity in the Community Colleges
· How to Feel (More) Comfortable Talking About Race (multiple sessions)
· Improving Access and Completion Among Underrepresented Students
· Commitment to Community & Indigenous Education
· Micro-aggressions and Unconscious Bias
· Klamath-Trinity: A Model of Native American Student Success
· How to Be a Good Ally
· Foster Students & Students of Color: How can we adapt to better address student needs
The Trustees had a chance to tour the new Del Norte science lab with Professor Callahan after the meeting adjourned for day. The Trustees were very impressed with the new facilities and the opportunities the new lab will provide to our current and future students.