Governing Board Address 10/24/23

Uachtarán an bhoird, membres du conseil d’administration, Chancelier (shawncelliea), colleagues du CEC, honored students, and guests. “Jambo”! And a welcome back Madam president, you have saved me from brushing up on my college Latin!

Spooky season is upon us! Rooted in the ancient Celtic and Aztec traditions of ancestor veneration, we are a week away from Samhain, Halloween, all Saint’s Day, and Dia de los Muertos. Regardless of its name or origin, a common thread runs through these traditions. Much like tendrils of smoke curling lazily through the air, the veil between this world and the next becomes sheer as gossamer and spirits can travel back and forth.

As much as I would like, this is not a lecture on comparative religion but rather a framework to reflect upon and reaffirm our commitment to the principle of transparency. When I speak of transparency, I speak of openness, honesty, and clarity in communication and decision making. I speak of a principle that is integral in the establishment and endurance of trust.

And as we face both legislative and fiscal challenges in the near future, these are two things we must ensure do not fall to the wayside.

Community colleges serve as critical pillars of education, providing accessible pathways to success for a diverse range of students. To ensure the effective functioning and equitable delivery of education, transparency is paramount. It fosters trust, demonstrates accountability, encourages stakeholder engagement, and above all drives student success.

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful educational institution. Open communication regarding our collective actions and decisions will reassure our students, faculty, staff, and the broader community that their interests are considered and protected. In this context then, transparency is a pledge to share information, policies, and decisions openly.

Transparent processes and decision-making mechanisms enable us to hold each other accountable. When individuals are aware of how decisions are made, they are better positioned to question, challenge, or support them as necessary.

Transparency promotes inclusivity and diversity and empowers us to participate in informed decision-making processes. Whether it’s a new academic program, a policy change, or resource allocation, involving stakeholders in the decision-making process ensures that the District’s actions align with the needs and expectations of its community.

Ultimately, the primary mission of the community college is to foster student success. Transparency plays a pivotal role in this endeavor. When students and families have access to clear information about programs, financial aid, and support services, they can make well-informed decisions about their educational journeys.

We have made incredible strides down this path. Examples that come to mind are the work both ongoing and accomplished among Governing Board members, staff, administration and faculty on our District Wide strategic plan, benefits options, and compensation package. Granted, transparency can be tedious and time-consuming (we’ve all thought at least once “couldn’t this have been an email?”) but we want to thank you for the work you have done and continue to do to reaffirm our collective commitment to this principle.

A haiku on transparency:
Clear truth shines within
Transparency’s radiant light,
Honesty prevails