Thursday, October 27, 2011
* Gregoire proposes higher-ed cut of 15 percent
While Gov. Chris Gregoire added definition to what another $2 billion cut to the state budget could mean for higher education and the rest of the state services, Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert said the college must continue planning for a range of outcomes.
“With another $2 billion in the hole,” Gregoire said Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. “Our citizens will get a lot less.”
Gregoire laid out a laundry list of potential cuts totaling $4 billion and then put stars by the options she is proposing, totaling $2 billion. The state is facing a $1.4 billion shortfall and Gregoire has pegged the needed cut level at $2 billion to provide some cushion. The list she unveiled Thursday isn’t yet a budget; that will come after the Nov. 17 state revenue forecast and before the start of the Nov. 28 special legislative session, she said.
For higher education, Gregoire is proposing from the list of possible cuts a 15 percent reduction in state allocations for all of higher education, which would amount to $166 million. Under her plan, that cut would come in the second half of the biennium, taking effect on July 1, 2012. Gregoire would also suspend the Work Study Program, cutting $8 million in aid to 7,600 students at public and private colleges and universities beginning fall term 2012.
Also on her list, but not chosen, were cuts of 10 or 20 percent and a range of options to eliminate or reduce the State Need Grant. That program is the state’s largest financial aid program, providing grants to 70,000 low-income students.
The list also includes 10 furlough days, but this is not among the preferred alternatives. It also includes some potential changes to employee health benefits, but there is not enough information to determine how the preferred alternatives might impact employees.
At Shoreline, President Lambert said that while the Governor has presented one version of a cut, legislators in the special session could still make substantial changes.
“We will continue with our planning efforts,” Lambert said. “The Governor has presented one possible scenario. However, we just don’t know what will happen and we must be prepared for a range of possibilities.”
Lambert just named a working group of administrators, staff and faculty to develop budget reduction scenarios of 15, 20 and 25 percent. That group is due to deliver their recommendations to Lambert on Nov. 18.
Gregoire said Thursday that she will present a budget that relies on cuts, not adding more taxes, even though many legislators are talking about how to add revenue to the budget. “All four caucuses (Democrats and Republicans from both House and Senate) have come to me about revenue,” she said. “I have not done any thinking about that. That will come next.”
Gregoire said she would like legislators to focus on the budget reductions during the special session and focus on “putting Washington back to work” in the regular session starting in January.
“I don’t want anyone to think that I like these options,” Gregoire said. “These choices were made out of necessity due to a drop in consumer confidence brought on by actions on Wall Street, inaction by Congress and the European debt crisis. The list of options I’ve presented hurts. This is not what I signed up for when I started as a caseworker 40 years ago. But it’s what the world economy handed our state and our country.”
Sunday, October 23, 2011
* Group named to work on budget scenarios
With the timeline for state-level budget decisions growing shorter, Shoreline Community College is preparing for a range of potential outcomes.
“We don’t know what the Legislature will decide to do, but we do know that when they choose, we’ll have to react quickly,” Shoreline President Lee Lambert said. “There have been a range of reductions talked about in the news; from the governor’s announcement of a 23 percent average cut to others saying it could be more than 30 percent.
“Any cut of that magnitude is devastating, but that spread is huge and the details of the impacts, obviously, depend on the final decision that comes out of Olympia.”
Lambert said the college needs to prepare a range of responses and have them ready in very short order.
“I’ve asked for three reduction scenarios; 20, 25 and 30 percent,” Lambert said. “Also, this has to be done quickly. I want representation from across campus, but we just don’t have time for our normal processes in these extraordinary times.”
Working with his senior executive team, Lambert has named a Budget Reduction Scenario Team that will be charged with recommending the three reduction strategies. Those recommendations would go back to Lambert and the Senior Executive Team. And the deadline? Nov. 18.
“I realize that is a very short timeline, but if the Legislature calls for immediate reductions, we need to be prepared to act,” Lambert said.
Members of the Budget Reduction Scenario Team are: Daryl Campbell, John Backes, Holly Woodmansee, Gillian Lewis, Mary Bonar, Amy Kinsel, Karen Kreutzer, Molly Morse and Guy Hamilton. Campbell will act as team coordinator.
“It will require focused work, but I think we can meet President Lambert’s goal,” Campbell said, adding that meetings have already been scheduled. “Everyone named to the team understands the level of commitment and agreed to fully participate. I’m very grateful.”
Lambert noted that the scenarios are recommendations on what might be cut at the three reduction levels, not necessarily how those cuts might be achieved.
“We expect the cuts to be big, but we just don’t know yet how the Legislature or State Board will ask us and the other colleges to implement those cuts,” Lambert said. “Those details could make a very big difference on how we approach any reductions. Under those conditions, it just isn’t fair or efficient to ask this group to speculate on how to cut.”
Another variable is non-state revenue.
In September, Lambert told the campus that the college is moving ahead with three strategic initiatives: building out a virtual college, expanding International education and increasing partnerships.
“Those are still the strategies for offsetting the loss of state dollars,” Lambert said. “We’re making tremendous progress in all three areas, but the state cuts just keep coming, faster and deeper each time.“
Friday, October 21, 2011
* State Commerce and Workforce directors tour SCC
Rogers Weed, director of the state Department of Commerce, and Eleni Papadakis, executive director of the state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, Weed and Papadakis came to Shoreline Community College Oct, 21, 2011 to tour professional-technical programs. Participating in the meeting and tour were SCC Science Dean Susan Hoyne, VP Academic Affairs/Student Success John Backes, and SCC President Lee Lambert. Photo gallery
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
* Learning together through one theme
A year ago, English instructor and IDS Coordinator/Service Learning Coordinator Neal Vasishth invited two professors to SCC from Seattle Central Community College to come and give a presentation about their project that supported student learning and awareness of social responsibility via a shared theme across disciplines. More than 30 faculty and staff members attended the meeting which sparked interest and instigated the launching of a new model for student learning at Shoreline.
“The idea,” Vasishth says, “is to support learning and understanding on a deep level via a central theme across disciplines and this could be a way to connect programs at Shoreline.” Vasishth says that by using a common theme throughout students’ coursework and co-curricular projects and by seeing a common issue explored through various disciplinary lenses, students can understand real world applications of their knowledge and skills learned at SCC. “The ‘One Theme, One Campus” model not only supports learning and understanding but builds community engagement and gets our students more involved here on campus and in our communities.
Many SCC employees have spent many hours doing the planning. Judy Penn, Rachel David, Amber Skidmore, Larry Fuell, Gary Parks, Daina Smuidrins, Kira Wennstrom, Claire Murata, Rosalie Tepper, and Brooke Zimmers met with Vasishth over the last year and designed a plan to support cross-discipline learning by exploring food and hunger issues in number of disciplines. Many more instructors will be participating with the project: Donna Biscay, Tony Doupé, Tim Payne, Diana Knauf, Lauren Wilson, Steve Bogart. Each instructor has integrated “food” into their curricula in small or large ways that promotes food literacy such as knowing where our food comes from, learning about food issues in our communities and coming up with possible solutions.
Vasishth says that many programs have also jumped on board. The Center for Equity, Engagement and Service, Learning Center North, the Library/Technology Center, the Writing and Learning Studio and the Math Program have already supported the goals of the “One Theme, One Campus” theme. Claire Murata created a web site at which faculty can find libguides, resources such as books and films. Deanna Sukkar is creating a student lib-guide.
Food literacy and hunger issues seemed not only a worthy theme and one that could be looked at from many perspectives, but Shoreline has already introduced food issues over the past couple of years with several events and projects – both on- and off campus. Last year students in Education Coordinator Guru Dorje’s Learning Center North classes and Biology Professor Judy Penn’s new Sustainable Gardening class, Biology 126 collaborated on a community gardening project to help those in need. That same year, students, faculty and staff supported the Center for Service Learning’s and Veteran Center’s MLK Day Food Drive held at Central Market and other locations across Puget Sound. Donations were given to local food banks. And in 2009, the Center for Service Learning and the Global Development Project Club at Shoreline Community College coordinated a community Oxfam America Global Hunger Banquet, a unique dinner experience that highlighted the issues surrounding global hunger and its connections to our lives. Many of these events have been happening independent of each other, but, with the common food theme, Vasishth hopes that more collaboration can happen between various parts of the campus, and we can make even more of a difference in our students’ lives and our community.
The “One Theme, One Campus” model is kicking off the campus-wide effort with a showing of the film, “Food, Inc.” at 12:30 on Tuesday, October 11 in the Campus Theater. Faculty involved in the project will ask students to think about a specific topic as they watch the film and then discuss it following the film. The faculty questions could be directed to a specific discipline or issues connected to a specific class, but Vasishth says that he would mostly like the questions to be thought provoking. All students, faculty and staff and the Shoreline Community are invited to attend.