1. Why are you a candidate for the LCCC Board of Trustees and what qualifications make you the best choice for this office?
I chose to run for a position on the board when I graduated from LCCC in May. I am running for office to serve my community and bring diversity to those who hold office. I am a Registered Nurse, and it is crucial for the future of our state and our nation that we have all walks of life involved in the political/legislative process. I am running for a LCCC trustee position because I am both excited and concerned about the state of the college that I graduated from. During my time as a student and tutor at the school I saw many new buildings and projects take shape that have changed the look and feel of the school in a very positive way. At the same time, my conversations with many faculty and students, and research into their concerns shows that the college has made some fatal errors in the way it treats these two groups. My mission in running for this office is to ensure that as the college continue to grow, it remembers that the core of the school is the students and the faculty that come in every day. As a trustee, I will work to make certain these groups are once again treated with the respect they deserve. This means fair and consistent advising and enrollment for the students; and appropriate compensation and workload for the faculty.
2. What are the top three issues the LCCC Board of Trustees faces and how do you propose to address each?
The decrease in enrollment that began in 2012 and has continued since.
Increase recruitment at the area schools and spend more time and energy educating the graduating high school students and those interested in advancing their education about the opportunities that LCCC offers them. We also need to clarify and simplify the process for enrollment, as we lose many potential students when they become frustrated with the current system. I have spoken with many past and current students who are and have been hampered by the current barriers to enrolling in classes and several have even left the school over it. We also need to ensure that all students have the information they need to apply for scholarships, which will help our students remain in school and encourage them to return.
The climate at the college in which the faculty are overworked and taken for granted, leading to high turnover and burnout.
The new board must recognize and take action regarding the way the faculty are being taken for granted by the current administration. Making all positions “at-will” and claiming that there are no funds available for faculty raises when administrators are receiving raises and the college is starting new building projects are just two examples. I was speaking with 15 members of the faculty and they told me that not only are their wages remaining flat, but that they are being asked to complete additional tasks that have nothing to do with teaching, and the cost of their benefits are going up. If the college does not take swift, clear action to correct these problems, the college will become a bright, shinny campus of beautiful empty buildings. If we take a new direction, we can keep the hard working, dedicated faculty that we have, and recruit more to come and help us build a stronger college where we only refer to burnout when talking about the lightbulbs in the classroom.
The upcoming budget constraints that will reduce revenue by $2.5 million this year and $4.5 million next year.
The college has two committees meeting to address budget concerns, one to address efficiency and the other to look for additional revenue. This balanced approach is essential for the future of the school. I am looking forward to seeing what the two committees have to say, but more importantly, how many members of each committee are faculty members. One aspect I hope gets a good deal of attention is increased enrollment which will increase revenue for the school. I am also want the board to spend some time and effort engaging with the legislature to argue against current cuts in funding for the school, and persuade them to reconsider plans for future reductions. We may need to pursue more additional revenue than find areas where we can improve efficiency, this is because many areas have already been working on this for the last three years and I applaud them for doing so.