"In the News"
There are certainly many good reasons for an organization to try and stay out of the news. But here at LBCC, what’s newsworthy and in the news is all good, recognizing many of the individual projects and accomplishments that together represent the steps that our community college is taking to make student success a reality for ALL who come to us… and who will come to us in the future. So, for this month’s President’s Report I am using a number of newspaper articles to illustrate what we’re up to and how we’re progressing toward “an education that enables all of us!”
A college-wide effort, led by Bruce Clemetsen, to address college affordability is taking a more comprehensive look at the ways in which limited resources can threaten success in college, considering not just the traditionally-addressed variable of Tuition and Financial Aid, but all of the other variables of life that can make competing demands on their resources. Housing, food, transportation, childcare, and healthcare are often competing with education for our students’ limited resources and as Mike McInally’s editorial notes, in the absence of coordinated effort to mitigate these potential impediments to their success, “the grind of everyday life ends up pushing that degree or certification further and further away with each passing day. In some cases, those dreams get set aside permanently.” This is important and promising work, worthy of our focused attention and well-directed resources. As McInally ends, “Think of this effort as an investment: Not just in the lives of students who otherwise might be forced to leave school, but in a future workforce that got the training needed to thrive in a changing economy because its members, years ago, were able to stay in the classroom. The payoff — for all of us — could be huge.” See LBCC Focus on Affordability.
On another front, LBCC has been a leader in developing collaborative partnerships that make the work on student success a community – and even regional – endeavor. One of the more notable examples of this work was the focus of a recent article on a newly recognized STEM Hub in our area. As the article describes, “Linn-Benton Community College (LBCC) is leading the development of one of the state’s newest educational partnerships focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), [and] earlier this month, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recognized the partnership as the Mid-Valley Mid-Coast STEM-CTE Hub.” The goal of our STEM Hub is to create stronger, more coherent, and easier to navigate pathways in science, technology, engineering, math, and career-technical education and this fits well in our work as an AACC Pathways college. There are a lot of players in this effort but much of the real leadership has come from Andrew Feldman (who is now Vice President of Learning at Spokane Falls Community College), Nicole Ballinger, and David Becker. See New LBCC regional STEM Hub.
One of the ways in which we at LBCC are working to help students see themselves as belonging here with us is through our development and support of student groups, teams, and co-curricular clubs. Our goal is to have every student involved with at least one of these groups knowing that, as these students develop strong personal connections within our community college community, their probability of educational success increases exponentially. With this in mind, it has been encouraging to see a number of our student groups attract some very positive press.
- The LBCC Livestock Judging Team has been in the news, most recently for having won two contests in two different state competitions on the same day, thanks to some great students and the coaching/mentoring leadership of Rick Klampe and Clay Weber. See more at LBCC Livestock Judging Team
- We at LBCC serve a growing number of student veterans and the development of a stronger and more active Student Veteran’s Club has been a focus of ours in working to better support their educational success. Recently, our efforts were recognized and advanced by the awarding of a $92,000 grant to help us expand the services we are able to provide this important group of students. Here’s the story: LBCC Veterans Resources Grant.
We are continuing our efforts to attract and support a more diverse student population at LBCC, believing not only that this is necessary for us to serve the “all” in our mission, but also because we believe that the learning that takes place in a more diverse learning community better prepares our students for the world in which they will work. And so it was gratifying to see a couple of our efforts gain some positive attention in the newspaper.
- Our fastest growing demographic in Linn and Benton counties is our Latino community, and so we have been working hard to develop better ways to communicate with those from this community, wanting to make sure they know about and feel welcomed at LBCC. With this in mind, we have begun a bit of marketing on Univision, a Spanish-language television network in the United States that has the largest audience of Spanish language television viewers in the country and, more importantly, here in Oregon. See the article on LBCC and Univision at LBCC on Univision.
- We and our students cannot reap the full potential benefits of diversity if we avoid or are otherwise unable to speak, listen, and learn across the differences that our diversity represents. And so, with the leadership of Mark Urista and enthusiastic support from our students, we have formed our LBCC Civil Discourse Club, trying to change debating as a means of winning toward a new goal: debating as a means to understand. See LBCC Civil Discourse Club.
Not everything worthy of noting at LBCC makes in into the news (although we do get some great coverage!), and I could provide you with many examples of great work that is being done without the notoriety of a news article. But I want to call your attention to just one, and that is a Drawing Class that one of our Visual Arts faculty, Anne Magratten, is teaching to young women who are residents at the Oak Creek Correctional Facility just a mile or two from our main LBCC campus. Drawing is providing these students with new tools for expressing and understanding their own thoughts and emotions, and I along with Anne believe that this can help these young women make a more successful transition back into our communities when they are released. Their drawings are currently on display in the long foyer in front of the LBCC Executive Administrative Offices.
As we go into this new year, I invite all of us to be mindful of the noble purpose we serve, and the great work we are doing in that service. Thanks to all of you, our students and our communities have a brighter future!
Progress Report on Strategic Objectives for 2017-18
Continue to develop and/or modify existing policies and practices so that they represent intentional actions to build a culture that exhibits our Goals and Values.
- We continue to work on our policies and rules around Academic Freedom and our desire to use our differences as learning opportunities for us and for our students. We will have a policy proposal ready for Board consideration at the February meeting. We also see the formation on our Civil Discourse Club as a manifestation of this important work.
Establish an educational experience that is increasingly designed around the student and for the student’s success by fully implementing Guided Pathways.
- Our success in establishing a STEM Hub is evidence and recognition of our work in this area.
Establish facilities that support and enhance the teaching-learning experience by implementing and/or completing Bond Funded Projects.
- We are making considerable progress toward finding/developing a new location for Benton Center expansion tenant, First Student.
- We have had a very successful first term in the new Healthcare Occupations Center in Lebanon, and are moving forward with plans for program expansion in some of the programs housed there.
- Work continues in the CTE facilitates on the main Albany campus, creating larger nand state-of-the-art teaching facilities for Welding, Machine Tool, and Mechatronics.
Continue to improve our responsiveness to the changing needs of regional industries and other community employers.
- We continue the work of expanding Pipeline into eastern Linn County with the support of a Ford Family Foundation grant.
- Our newly recognized STEM Hub will help us strengthen regional partnerships that are dedicated to meeting these needs.
Establish greater Affordability for all students.
- As the newspaper article and editorial highlights, our work around Affordability shows great promise in helping to mitigate the financial impediments to student access and success.
Establish technology resources that support and compliment the classroom, creating new points of access and new levels of adaptation to student needs.
Establish a campus of true Equity and Inclusion.
- Are work on the Civil Discourse Club and Veterans Club are explicit examples of our work to be a truly inclusive campus community.