President/Superintendent's Blog

Summary of the August 3, 2021 Board of Trustees Meeting

Published on 8/2/2021.

Comments/Board Business

Land Acknowledgement:  President of the Board Danny Kelley read a formal statement that recognizes and respects the Indigenous Peoples as the original stewards of the land that College of the Redwoods occupies. 

We acknowledge that the land on which we are gathered today is unceded territory of the Wiyot people who continue to live and thrive on this land today. It is surrounded by the traditional, ancestral, and present homeland of several indigenous nations including the Hupa, Karuk, Mattole, Tolowa, Wailaki, and Yurok that make up Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.

Member Comments: President Kelley attended an open house for CR’s House #45. He commented that he is extremely proud of our faculty and students for the work they accomplished on the house.

Consent Calendar Action Items

Approve/Ratify Personnel Actions:  Several new colleagues have joined our college community: Sebastian Sisson and Jacob Young as Public Safety Officers, Darren Turpin as the Interim Assistant Director – Campus Life, and Jerry Goodrow as Professor of Welding Technology. Jerry is a one year replacement non-tenure track faculty.

We also have several new associate faculty joining our faculty ranks in fall 2021: Janet Calderon – Librarian, Naomi Hill – Librarian, Janessa Johnsrude – Drama, Stephen McCamman – Political Science, Jennifer Price – Anthropology, and Damaro Wheeler – Coach.

Lastly, the Board ratified my acceptance of the resignation of Santa Herrera Avendano, Student Services Specialist I and Chia Hinchliff, Student Development Advisor.

Action/Discussion Items

Monthly Financial Status Report:  Very little changed from our financial report at the July Board meeting except that we saw a slight change in our projected fund balance.

  • Overall, our revenues are less than at this point in time last year and our expenses are continuing to come in slightly under budget and lower than in the prior year.
  • Our planned transfers out remain:

  $90,000         Child Development Center

  $46,711         Shively Farm

$645,000         OPEB fund

$781,711         Total

  • Revenue contingent transfers out are comprised of the following:

$1,500,000      OPEB fund

   $500,000      Pension Contribution fund

$2,000,000      Total

  • Our report showed a projected 2020-21 ending fund balance of 11.8%, or $3,703,589.  As I have said in previous communications, community college budgeting is an art and a moving target.  Our actual revenues and expenses will continue to change as we close the books on the 2020-21 funding year. As we get ready to send a 2021-22 Final Budget to the Board for approval in a few weeks, we will not have a final ending fund balance for the 2020-21 year until the annual audit is complete in September or October.

Prequalification List for General Contractors: We prequalified five general contractors for the Creative Arts Building project: Broward Builders, Inc., Hilbers, Inc., Midstate Construction Corporation, S & B James, and Wahlund Construction, Inc.

Facilities Master Plan Update Request for Proposal Recommendation: The Board approved our recommendation to engage tBP/Architecture, Inc. as a consultant to help us revise the College’s facilities master plan. tBP/Architecture will make a great partner in the revision process. The primary focus of tBP/Architecture has been on educational facilities for schools, colleges and universities and has planned and designed every type of facility required on a California Community College campus and has collaborated with over 44 California Community College districts (78 campuses) on over 300 new construction projects, 450+ Renovations, and 75 Master Plans. 

Informational Reports

Program Review Committee Executive Summary: As is our practice, we present a Program Review Committee Executive Summary to the Board on an annual basis.  We recognize that the work of the Program Review Committee (PRC) is essential to building the foundation on which we develop, identify, and document quality improvement plans.  I want to thank George Potamianos and Stephanie Burres for co-chairing the PRC and the following faculty and staff for serving on the committee last year: Anibal Florez, Mike Peterson, Cindy Hooper, Katherine Schoenfield, Philip Mancus, Anthony Luehrs, Ashley Knowlton, Heidi Bareilles, Tami Engman, and Diqui LaPenta. The attached report summarizes the committee’s findings and highlights overarching themes and areas for improvement.

Administrative Reports

President/Superintendent's Report: My written report provided a capital projects update, noted new funding for our Nursing Department, and discussed our preparations for fall 2021 reopening.  

  • The construction plans for the new Creative Arts building have been approved by the Chancellor’s Office and Department of Finance. The schedule has the project going out to bid the second week of August with an October construction start date.
  • The $63,839,000 PE/Field House building project is entering into the final stages of working drawings with a DSA submission date of September 14. We expect to receive DSA approval by the end of the calendar year with a planned construction start date of late summer 2022.
  • Two of the seven UIR project phases have been completed and are working through the close out process. The switch over to the new 12KV system has been re-schedule for August 6. We expect to begin the demolition of the PS and LS buildings when PG&E de-energizes the old electrical system.
  • Thanks to the support of State Senator Mike McGuire and the advocacy of the Board of the Trustees, our Nursing Department will receive $500,000 to modernize/upgrade building projects or for equipment costs associated with our program. Kerry Mayer, Roberta Farrar and I have started discussing potential ways we can use the funds. My intent is to use the funds to expand the capacity of the Nursing Department and develop closer ties with HSU and our local healthcare providers.
  • I want to thank Dr. Ian Hoffman, County Health Director, and Megan Blanchard, Public Health Nursing Director Operation Section Chief-Department of Health and Human Services, for working with College of the Redwoods to make the SNAP Nursing mobile team available to provide a Pfizer/Moderna vaccination clinic on the Eureka Campus on August 5 from 11am to 2pm outside the gymnasium.

I am aware that there has been a lot of discussion around protocols for the return to campus this fall semester. From the beginning of the pandemic, we have been following the guidance of the CDC, California Department of Public Health and the Humboldt County Public Health Department.  I intend to continue to follow their guidance as we prepare for the fall.

According to federal, state and local health authorities, the highly infectious delta variant is responsible for the ongoing surge of COVID-19 and is considered to be as much as eight times more infectious than the original virus. To combat this variant, we joined with the Humboldt County Public Health Department and the CDC in recommending that all vaccinated employees resume wearing facial coverings and mandating that all unvaccinated employees wear facial coverings. We made all face-to-face classes off-limits to unvaccinated students who refuse to wear a face covering. In addition, we decided to continue to operate the residence halls at reduced capacity.

I know that all employees of the District share an interest in protecting the health and safety of CR’s internal and external community.

To curtail the spread of the virus, and protect the long-term health of staff, faculty, students and local community, I have decided, after consultation with local health authorities and my executive cabinet, to implement the same action that the Governor recently issued related to all California state workers and President Biden disseminated to all federal employees. Effective fall semester, all on campus and onsite faculty, staff, managers and administrators will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or submit to regular COVID-19 testing.  This action will include an exemption for medical necessity and sincerely held religious beliefs. I have asked Kerry Mayer and Angelina Hill to negotiate the impacts and effects of this action with CRFO and CSEA.

I realize that this action may not be popular with all of my faculty and staff colleagues or community members; however, to my mind, the benefits of safeguarding the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and local community from unvaccinated employees offsets the concerns of any one individual.

I have also asked Kerry Mayer to work closely with the deans to assess the fall course schedule.  I want to try to offer a sufficient mix of online and in-person classes to allow students maximal safe choices about how they want to learn while mitigating the spread of the virus.

Although we have the option to mandate vaccinations similar to the UC and CSU systems, I am reluctant to mandate vaccinations as a precondition for accessing campus and site services at this time. However, I see this as a logical next step if issuing such a directive would be in the best interest of our college and local community. A Board resolution has been prepared if taking this action proves necessary.

There has been a lot of media attention focused on the rhetoric promulgated by anti-vaccination community.  However, very little consideration has been given to the perspective of those who have chosen to be vaccinated. Attached to this administrative report is a recent New York Times article that discusses the feeling that some vaccinated people feel toward the unvaccinated in this politicized time. 

I verbally noted that we are going to send out a press release announcing the hiring of Megan Valente as the next head coach of our softball program.  Megan is a HSU graduate and served as an assistant softball coach for us from fall 2018 thru Spring 2020. She most recently has served as the head Assistant Coach at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado.

In addition to her two seasons coaching with at CR and one year at Adams State, she also served as the head softball coach at Mercy High School in Red Bluff in the spring of 2017 & 2018.

Megan will start meeting with all the student athletes in the program and new recruits over these next couple of weeks.

Vice President of Administrative Services Report: Julia’s written report summarized several COVID-19 related actions the District has taken.

  • As a result of the emerging increase of cases due to the COVID-19 variants, the District is recommending that vaccinated students and employees wear a face covering when indoors. 
  • The District is moving forward with implementing the Ready Education App to assist with COVID-19 health screenings and contact tracing for both students and employees.  Students and employees can use the App to perform their daily health screening prior to coming to campus.  Those who pass will receive a "pass" badge for the day, and can be shown to gain entrance to buildings.
  • On July 14, 2021, the Business Office launched a COVID-19 Debt Forgiveness Program.  The program is an effort to target specific students who have COVID-19 related debt, clear their COVID-19 related debt, and enable and encourage them to re-enroll.  Communication via text and email went out to students, giving them the opportunity to submit an interest form if their inability to pay their balance was COVID-19 related. 

Julia mentioned that the COVID-19 Debt Forgiveness Program has seen approximately $30,000 in collected debt.

Interim Vice President of Instruction Report: Kerry’s report spoke to the following:

  • As a follow-up to a recent visit to Pelican Bay State Prison, she and Rory Johnson met with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation staffers, Shannon Swain, Superintendent at the Office of Correctional Education and Brent Choate, Director of the Division of Rehabilitative Programs to talk about increasing CR’s degree and/or certificate offerings at Pelican Bay State Prison. They agreed to pilot test the addition of course offerings leading to the AS degree in General Business (with an emphasis in small business management) and the AS degree in Social Work Human Services (with an emphasis in Substance Abuse & Related Disorders). In support of these new program offerings, we approved two Strong Workforce-funded, full-time, non-tenure track faculty positions that will be advertised this fall with a targeted fall 2022 start date.   
  • Funded through Strong Workforce Projects in Common monies, the North Far North Regional Consortium has established a collaborative working group focused on Restorative Justice programs for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated students. CR is one of nine colleges to participate in this collaborative with Rory Johnson (Pelican Bay Scholars Program) and Prudence Ratliff (Workforce and Community Education offerings at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility) serving as members of the collaborative.

Kerry verbally congratulated the cross disciplinary faculty involved in the construction of House #45.

Vice President of Student Services: Clinton’s background was summarized in his inaugural administrative report.

  • He has nineteen years’ experience in student services areas including Matriculation, Enrollment Management, Student Equity, Student Conduct, Admissions and Records, Counseling, Financial Aid, Veterans Resource Center, Academic Assessment, Recruitment and Outreach, Orientation, School and College Relations, and  International Program areas. 
  • His leadership roles included President and Chief Negotiator of CSEA Chapter 511, President of the California Association of Community College Registrars and Admissions Officers (CACCRAO), Chair of the Academic Council, Chair of the Enrollment Management Committee, and Chair of SEAPAC.

Vice President of Human Resources Report: Angelina has been doing a great job leading our Human Resources function. Her report spoke to two initiatives she is taken in support of our collaboration with HSU and enhancing our professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.

  • She collaborated with HSU to submit a joint proposal to the Transformational Partnership Fund. Grants from the fund are to help Institutions of Higher Education explore partnerships that are potentially transformational for the students the institutions serve. The grant proposal focused on the leveraging of resources devoted to Title IX, including regulatory and enhanced trainings of staff and students. 
  • The Chancellor's Office provides the Vision Resource Center to all employees of the system. Although the Center is not open to the public, faculty and staff can access the Vision Resource Center through CR's single sign-on portal using their usual credentials. Once inside the Center, employees have access to system-wide communities, information and events.

Executive Director of Foundation Report: Marty noted that:

  • The Foundation initiated a social media campaign on July 6 in support of the relaunch of CR football. The campaign is gathering names of boosters and former players.
  • He is working with Linda Nellist, Lead Instructor/Trainer for the Humboldt CERT Coalition, to organize two trainings in January and February 2022. He is also working with Humboldt State University’s Director of Risk Management & Safety Services, Cris Koczera, and with the Office of Emergency Services manager, Ryan Derby, on a series of Active Shooter / Active Assailant meetings with first responders to ensure shared understanding and coordinated response.

Marty commented that he is working with the community organization to reinforce the need for masking and vaccinations. He also commented that a sign commemorating the fact that the CR Del Norte Campus is located on traditional Tolowa land is complete. We intend to install the sign in September or October.

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