Things to Know – Monday, March 20, 2017

I sincerely hope you had a good weekend. Three Governing Board Trustees and I attended the Wildlands Fire Academy (Academy) Graduation ceremony Saturday afternoon. It was inspiring to meet the 41 graduates and listen to four of their stories about what the Academy has meant to them. I envy those of you who spend most of your days with students, because when I meet and interact with our students, I know there is hope for our future. Congratulations to our Academy leadership, faculty, and staff for providing students with relevant training and experiences to achieve their goals. 

Please welcome the Follow-up Report accreditation visiting team to our college today. The following link takes you to the Accreditation website where the Southwestern College Follow-Up Report and other resources are available. Reaffirmed accreditation and sustaining that status is our number one priority. We have some problems as we are not a college that has strong systematic processes. We have work to do in ensuring the systems we have recently been put in place, are assessed and improved.

There have been so many important discussions in our nation, region, and college the last few weeks based on our national political situation. Something Dr. Davis noted last week in her talk was, we need to “become comfortable being uncomfortable.” These days, I think a lot about being uncomfortable, and how this concept translates to community colleges and the experience of we give our students. How do we honor First Amendment Rights, academic freedom, and provide a supportive environment where all views are heard? Speaking of uncomfortable, one of the most uncomfortable conversations we seem to have difficulty having is the race conversation…

So, on my reading list for June is a new book coming out “Race Matters in College” by Dr. Shaun Harper. I have become a fan of Dr. Harper’s work on race and higher education.

I hope you have time to read the above article and view the You Tube video. What is an “accidental racist?” How does this happen? How does this translate to brown-black relations? White-black-brown relations? We have a lot to talk about as a college community.

Sorry, if I left you with more questions than answers, the conversation will continue. I hope I gave you some things to consider this week and for future conversations so that we can help Southwestern College realize its potential to become an outstanding institution of higher education.