Home > News

News

Superintendent/President Nish's 30-Day Update

7 February 2012

Dear Colleagues:

Dr. Melinda Nish speaks at Opening Day for Spring 2012.Dr. Melinda Nish speaks to staff and faculty at Opening Day for Spring 2012.

The month of January seems to have passed in a flash and we are now well into the month of February.   Before more time passes, I would like to report to the campus my impressions of the first thirty days as your new Superintendent/President.  To begin, thank you to everyone for making me truly feel at home here at Southwestern.  Opening day was a wonderful event and I have been so impressed by the warm welcome that everyone I have met has extended.  If I have not met you yet, I look forward to doing so.

As promised during Opening Day, listening forums are being conducted.  The listening forums are my opportunity to hear directly from as many college colleagues as possible.  Specifically, this is your time to tell me about what Southwestern’s strengths are, what are our challenges, and how you see us working to address these challenges.  Nine forums have been held with twelve more scheduled (please see the schedule at the end of this message).  Also, an online version is being launched soon.   I will be taking the input from the forums and distilling it into a specific set of personal goals and objectives that will guide me as your president over the next year and half.

There has been a strong and continuing thread through all of these meetings. That has been the extreme degree of dedication to students at Southwestern by faculty, staff and administrators. Comments on how we can better serve students have been a constant in every forum that has been held. This has been extremely reassuring to me. The Chula Vista campus and each of the four centers are filled with very dedicated employees and I am proud to be part of this team.  There are many additional themes emerging from the listening forums which I will report to you in March.

I have been deeply impressed by the collegial consultation here at Southwestern.  We have a dynamic Academic Senate, Shared Consultation Council (SCC) as well as many other active committees that participate in prioritization and other types of decision making. I pledge to you that I will actively involve these groups in the decision making processes at the college. We need to continue to build a foundation of trust based on respect of all opinions – particularly those that diverge from our own.  I have seen to varying degrees this type of trust building.  We have many opportunities in this area.

I have also been impressed with our Governing Board members.  Be assured that every one of our trustees is committed to you – students, faculty, staff, and administrators.  Our trustees take their service to the district seriously and have an unwavering goal to support public higher education.

We are working together to address our budgetary issues, which in the few weeks I have been here have become more acute.  The Budget Committee has reported to SCC and will be reporting to our Governing Board at tomorrow night’s meeting the recommendation to reduce $5 million from on-going expenses in our 2012 – 2013 budget. 

It will take everyone at Southwestern to create and implement the budget plan that will carry us through the next three years.  What I have seen in just four weeks is that this college has the resilience to make it through these rough waters. Based on the dedication I have observed I know we can do this together while preserving our core values.

Finally, I would like to comment on the issues that have thrust Southwestern into the headlines.

As I mentioned on Opening Day, the challenges we are facing as a campus community are opportunities for Southwestern to become an even better institution.  The challenges of Prop R are difficult but our goal is to develop better decision-making processes, demonstrate to the community that we have resolved any errors of the past, and exercise absolute integrity in our use of the public funds they have granted us.  To this end, the governing board has voted to commence processes to cancel the contracts we have with Seville and BCA. While this will directly impact the Corner Lot project, please be assured that other Proposition R work is continuing.

As we turn the page on these events, we are focusing on transparency in all we do. All of us are stewards of the public trust and we must measure up to those expectations. While I do expect more headlines as this situation runs its course, we are working very hard to examine our procedures so that this lesson is not forgotten.

Nothing that has occurred in the past can take away from the commitment and dedication to students that I have seen from the Southwestern employees I have met. Thank you for such a warm welcome. I am looking forward to many semesters of work and rewards with you all. 

Melinda

BC: All Staff and Governing Board

 

Superintendent/President's Listening Forums Schedule

Date

Time

Location

Group

1.19.12 (THU)

11am -11:50am

CV Campus
Rm. 302

Faculty Hot Topic Thursday

1.20.12 (FRI)

11 am – 12pm

CCAC
Rm. 110

CCAC

1.23.12 (MON)

3pm – 4pm

CV Campus
LRC, Rm. L246

Deans’ Council

1.25.12 (WED)

11am – 12pm

CV Campus
Board Rm. 214

Classified

1.25.12 (WED)

3:30pm – 4:30pm

CV Campus
Board Rm. 214

Classified

2.2.12 (THU)

11am – 12pm

CV Campus
Conf. G 1631/2

HR, Benefits, Staff Development

2.2.12 (THU)

2pm – 3pm

CV Campus
Conf. A

Confidentials

2.3.12 (FRI)

11:30am -12:30pm

CV Campus
L238N&S

SCEA/CSEA/AS 
Exec Boards

2.3.12 (FRI)

2pm – 3pm

HEC, NC
Rm. 7215

HEC, NC

2.9.12 (THU)

5pm – 6pm

CV Campus
L238N&S

Faculty - Evening

2.13.12 (MON)

10am – 11am

CV Campus
One-Stop Ctr. Rm. S209

Student Services Council

2.13.12 (MON)

1pm – 2pm

HEC, OM
Rm. 4119

HEC, OM

2.14.12 (TUE)

1pm -2pm

CV Campus
Conf. Rm. 100A

SCCDAA Exec. Bd.

2.16.12 (THU)

11am – 12pm

CV Campus
Board Rm. 214

Faculty

2.16.12

12:30pm – 1:30pm

CV Campus
ASO Conf. Rm

ASO/Students

2.16.12 (THU)

2pm – 3pm

CV Campus
Board Rm. 214

Faculty

2.27.12 (MON)

11am – 12pm

CV Campus
L238N&S

Administrators/ Managers

TBD

TBD

HEC, SY
Conf. Rm. 5100A

HEC, SY

TBD

TBD

CV Campus

IT

TBD

TBD

CV Campus

BFA Administrators

TBD

TBD

CV Campus

BFA Staff