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* State budget inaction won't stop Shoreline

Juliet Lovejoy.jpg

Math faculty member Juliet Lovejoy laughs as she raises her hand to ask another question during the March 15, 2013 all-campus meeting at Shoreline Community College.More photos

When it comes to budgets, Shoreline Community College can’t wait for Olympia.

“We’re going to turn on our budget system and re-engage the whole campus in budget planning,” Daryl Campbell, Vice President for Administrative Services, said at an all-campus meeting on March 15, 2013. Campbell said the campus-wide process would start March 25, long before lawmakers are anticipated to have a state budget and any specific news for Shoreline.

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“Because we’ve been prudent, because we’ve sacrificed, we’re in a strong position to deal with whatever they throw at us,” Campbell said, adding that the focus would be on Shoreline’s strengths: Reserves, operating performance and growing non-state-allocated revenue. “We’re going to stop worrying about what they do and focus on what we do.”

For President Lee Lambert, that gives the college a good shot at his top priority: saving jobs

Lambert noted that the economic uncertainties at the federal and state levels – sequestration for the feds and a lack of any substantive news from Olympia – makes iron-clad assurances not possible, but that his hope and intention is to avoid layoffs for the coming year .

“I’m tired of meeting with employees to let them go,” Lambert said. “I’m just so tired of that.”

Lambert said the alternative path is toward revenue for the college that doesn’t come from the Legislature. That path has taken him across the world in support of two strategic initiatives launched two years ago: internationalization and the virtual college.

The success of those initiatives is creating an economic shield for the college and its employees, Lambert said. “Without those two efforts, I’d be up here talking about layoffs,” he said.

During his portion of the meeting, Campbell put some numbers to those successes. Enrollment in online classes through the virtual college is up 15 percent over the past year. Statewide, online enrollments are up only 1 percent, he said.

As for international education, the college has gone from running a deficit on international tuition three years ago to a positive margin of more than $1 million. “And, we expect that to continue to grow,” Campbell said.

Campbell also pointed out that Shoreline is bucking another statewide trend, this one regarding in-state enrollment. As the economy rebounds and various state and federal aid packages are reduced, in-state student numbers are declining across the state system. Shoreline is managing to attract and keep more in-state students that most of the other 34 community and technical colleges, he said.

James Jansen, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, gave an update on the ongoing reorganization of his areas. Jansen said he’d met with 11 departments and divisions so far with three more to go. He said he’s hopeful for a final decision later this spring and to begin implementation after July 1.

Jansen acknowledged all the work that has gone into transitioning from Blackboard to Canvas for learning management software. Every class at Shoreline - whether it is taught face-to-face, wholly online or a hybrid – has an online component that allows instructors and students to communicate. Every public college and university in Washington is transitioning to the Canvas system.

Vice President for Human Resources and Legal Affairs Stephen P. Smith spoke about how morale has suffered through the recent years of budget reductions, previous layoffs and other shifts in higher education. “Respect, civility, trust in each other and shared values are keys,” Smith said, adding that he would bring the subject of morale to the College Council meeting scheduled for March 19.

SCC/Jim Hills & Sean Duke


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