Governing Board President
April 15 is the day circled on most people’s calendar. On our calendar, it was April 11.
That Monday, the team from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) visited our campus and met with our students, faculty, staff and administrators to make a decision about the College’s accreditation status. The team included Dr. Gari Browning, Superintendent/President of Ohlone Community College District and Michael Bowman, Dean of Research and Planning from Ohlone.
We do not expect to hear from the Commission until its June meeting. But after working so hard and accomplishing so much in so short a time we have much to be proud of:
- An improved campus climate, where all our constituencies have a voice and say in our decision-making.
- Clear links between Strategic Planning and Program Review, some of the critical data that drives our campus and guides decision-making
- A new Technology Plan and improved Staff Development Plan
The tremendous progress we have made in a short time is the result of many long hours and much hard work by participating faculty, staff and students. Everyone who has been part of this effort has much to be proud of. I really cannot fully express the gratitude owed by all of our community to the truly amazing effort put forth by so many here at Southwestern College in these last few months.
Budget News: Cuts and Fee Increases Coming
We are finally seeing some clarity surrounding the State and Federal budget – and it isn’t good news for higher education. We know, for example, community college funding across the state will be reduced between $400 – $800 million dollars this coming academic year, forcing a state-mandated fee increase to $36/unit in Fall 2011. We also know that Pell Grants, funded at the federal level, may no longer be available year-round. More information is available on the College's website.
To our friends in the community, we need your support: Tell prospective students that Southwestern College remains focused on what we do best – teaching the next generation of great thinkers and leaders. We are an accredited institution of higher learning and have been since 1964. Our students can:
- take classes for credit;
- complete vocational programs;
- transfer their credits to another college;
- earn degrees and certificates, and;
- obtain financial aid and other student services.
Many of you had your start at a community college. Help us give that same start to tens of thousands of new students. With the help of representatives of faculty, staff and students, were are working to put together a budget that will stretch the resources we have to best serve our students. If 2 percent more Californians had associate degrees and another 1 percent earned bachelor’s degrees, California's economy would grow by $20 billion, increasing state and local tax revenues by $1.2 billion a year and creating 174,000 new jobs.
America’s Economic Future
This month, at the suggestion of the Southwestern College Education Association, the Board of Trustees unanimously joined other educational districts and local governments in the region in adopting a resolution in support of collective bargaining rights. I hope it has been evident from this Board’s actions that we believe in management and organized labor working together to build a stronger institution.
We cannot ignore the question of what kind of economic opportunity our students will have when they leave Southwestern College, or what kind of economy the next generation of Americans will inherit. The history of the past century makes it clear America is strongest and opportunity greatest when the rights of working people are respected, leading to a strong middle class and the opportunity for anyone willing to work to achieve the “American dream.” I am proud of the stand the Board has taken in this regard.
Governing Board President