From the Boardroom
It is my pleasure to welcome Nora Vargas to the Southwestern College Governing Board.
Nora is a Southwestern College graduate who brings to the board a wealth of community advocacy and experience in bringing together strategic partnerships. She has spent the last several months attending Governing Board meetings to understand the complex issues facing Southwestern College. This will help her to hit the ground running as we finish this academic year.
I want to thank the many talented, passionate community members who applied for the Governing Board vacancy. Each had the opportunity to present their qualifications to the board and to the public during a special meeting on Thursday, April 25. My colleagues and I then narrowed the field from 12 to six finalists who answered questions meant to determine their knowledge of budgets, shared governance, establishing trust among staff and increasing student transfer rates to four-year universities.
Once again, our community continues to offer its strong support for the mission of Southwestern College. As Governing Board members, we work hard each day to make decisions in the best interests of our students.
Embarking on an Exciting Journey
Since 2010, the Governing Board has worked diligently to re-establish strict business protocols in day-to-day operations and Proposition R procurement. An independent review confirmed we had some work to do in those areas, and college staff has done an outstanding job in implementing the 20-point action plan to “right the ship.”
Part of our commitment to the community was to conduct new Educational and Facilities Master Plans so that our future construction projects would better reflect Southwestern College’s strengths and opportunities.
After nine months of meeting with stakeholders across the campus and community, the consultants presented their findings and proposals to the Governing Board on April 24. After much thoughtful discussion, the board unanimously accepted the Educational and Facilities Master Plan.
Now the detailed work begins. The college will continue improving its data systems to better help students meet their educational and career goals. Meetings will be held with faculty and deans to maximize course offerings that reflect career and university transfer trends. And designs for the first phase of major construction projects will be jumpstarted.
These are exciting times for our students, faculty, staff and community. Not since the founders of the college began construction on this acreage has there been as much potential before us.
Bold Statement Supporting Immigration Reform
Each day hundreds of students come to Southwestern College in search of an education that creates a better life for themselves and their families. Thanks to the Dream Act, many of them are now empowered to step out of the shadows to take their rightful place as students, without the fear of recrimination.
As a college, we support comprehensive immigration reform that will open doors to higher education to thousands of students by providing a legal process that supports learners and productive members of our community.
That dream of higher education was very eloquently explained to us at the April 10 Governing Board meeting. Guadalupe O., David R., Jairo G. and other students of the IDEAS club on campus told of their personal journeys to study here. They were compelling and heartfelt.
That is why the Governing Board did not hesitate to approve Resolution No. 1796—in support of a reasonable and humane approach to reforming the current immigration system.
We have forwarded our resolution to our federal legislators to add to their conversations on immigration reform.