WCC budget cuts leave broken hearts
Deans, division heads describe them as ‘a shock’
From April 25 until May 2, Washtenaw Community College President Larry Whitworth delivered hour after hour of bad news.
“The short meetings were an hour, hour and a half. The longer ones were three or four hours,” said Whitworth. These meetings of doom were the budget hearings, and Whitworth had one with every single department to go over how things would change.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget left community colleges alone, meaning that they would receive the same amount of state funding as usual. Of course, if property taxes in the area go down, as they have for the past few years in Washtenaw County, then it doesn’t matter if Snyder’s budget decreases funding for community colleges or not. No matter what, WCC is going to get less money.
WCC’s millage is 3.58. This multiplied by the property tax of properties within WCC’s district determine how much the state revenue will be.
In addition, Snyder’s budget has not been approved yet, and most of the trustees think that it will be changed. After all, most other areas of education are supposed to endure deep cuts if Snyder’s budget goes through.
“It’s unlikely that we won’t see some kind of cutback,” said Board of Trustees Chair Pam Horiszny during a March 22 board meeting. “We have a little target on our back.”
This year, Vice President of Administration and Finance Steven Hardy predicts that the state revenue will go down by 3-5 percent.
“We’re usually pretty conservative on the revenue side,” said WCC President Larry Whitworth. “If things are different, we’ll make an adjustment.”
Whitworth noted that these budget hearings aren’t exactly fun. He’s had to remove a lot of part-time employment opportunities, consolidate off-campus programs and go through each separate budget, line by line, to determine what is least critical.
While Whitworth makes the final decision, he tries to talk through the process with department heads and deans to figure out the best way to go about it.
“I’ve got a number I’ve got to hit to get the budget balanced,” he said. “So basically, I’m telling deans and division heads, ‘You’ve got to help me find the balance here.’”
Student Activities Events Coordinator Rachel Barsch recently went in for her budget hearing. She knew the news wouldn’t be good, but she didn’t expect it to be all that bad.
“I didn’t think my budget would be cut as much as it was,” she said. “That was kind of a shock.”
Barsch added that, as much as she hates to admit it, she expected the budget to be cut earlier.
Now, she thinks the cuts could be a few years behind.
To cope with the cuts, Barsch said that her department will have to get very, very creative. They’re hoping that they can create a lot of volunteer opportunities, which would have the added benefit of giving students material to add to their resumes.
She also hopes that she can create a student advisory board for Student Activities. The board would be similar to student government, but less formal, and would have a great deal to do with service learning and volunteer work.
“I did think that we would be cut. That wasn’t a shock,” said Barsch. “But I don’t think other departments realize how much it takes for us to put on events for them that they ask us to do. So I’ll admit that that was a little upsetting.”
Both Barsch and Whitworth think that these adjusted budgets will help WCC in the long run. However, like most everyone else they’re both happy to have the budget hearings behind them.
Three new finalists named for president
The search to find the next president of Washtenaw Community College has yielded three new candidates, including one who holds the presidency at another state community college.
The college’s Presidential Search Advisory Committee announced late Wednesday night the next batch of finalists. Each will once again participate in public forums in the Towsley Auditorium inside the Morris Lawrence building.
The forums will take place on May 4, 5 and 9. Times will be announced shortly.
Dr. Thomas Baynum
Dr. Baynum has served as the president of Coastal Bend College in south Texas since 2007. Prior to holding the position, Baynum was the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Palo Alto College in San Antonio. Baynum earned his bachelor’s degree in English and French from and a master’s in English education from Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb. Baynum also earned a doctorate in higher education administration from The University of Baylor in Waco, Texas.
Dr. Jean Goodnow
Dr. Goodnow is the current president of Delta College located in University Center, near Saginaw. She has held the position since 2005. She previously served as the president of Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Ill. Goodnow has Ph.D in higher education administration, a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Iowa. She finished her post-graduate study at Harvard University.
Dr. Ann Valentine
Dr. Valentine serves as the president of Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls, Minn. Valentine has held that position since 2005. She served as the Vice President/Provost for Gateway Technical College’s Kenosha, Wis., campus prior to her current position. Valentine has an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Kirkwood Community College and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She also holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in higher education leadership and policy studies from Iowa State University.
Club sports springs into new season
With the winter season coming to a close, Washtenaw Community College club sports has begun making the transition to the spring sports season.
Despite indoor volleyball and basketball seasons ending, WCC has decided to extend the programs into the Spring semester. While not exactly in the most competitive format, club sports will host Tuesday and Thursday evening sand volleyball pickup games at the WCC athletic fields, just outside of the Health and Fitness Center.
Also new this year for spring sports is the addition of three vs. three or four vs. four pickup basketball games, located at the outdoor basketball courts, across the street from the college. Club sports expect a good showing at these events, which will take place on Friday evenings, beginning in late April.
Each spring sport will have its night to come out and meet the coaching staff and play with players from the teams. Soccer will be hosted on Wednesdays, and softball and baseball will have its time on Thursday evenings — all at the WCC athletic fields.
“Right now we have the fields and it’s a great thing,” said WCC soccer coach Dave Pieske. “We want to continue to grow and keep numbers growing … (the pickup) is a good way to come out and test the waters and see our fields.”
“Each sport, we’re going to have a night where students can pickup and come play,” he said. “The coaches will be running those, so you’ll get a chance to meet the coaches and play with the team.
From there, the next step would be actually be being a part of a team for that given sport.”
While basketball and volleyball will be in a pickup format, WCC baseball has officially begun its tryout process. The tryouts started on April 5, but students are welcome to come out at anytime during the process. Two more tryouts will be hosted on April 11 and April 14. All tryouts will begin at the baseball diamond at 6 p.m.
“They don’t have to sign up,” said Tiffany Stoddard, a club sports employee. “They can just show up and play if they want. The signup is really just to help plan for numbers.”
Students are also invited to join other club sports teams, including golf and cross country.
For more information, visit the club sports office in SC 118, or call (734) 973-3720.
WCC spends $400,000 on new water pump
EAST LANSING – A lack of water pressure on Washtenaw Community College’s campus has led to the school spending $400,000 on a new pump house to be built on campus.
The Board of Trustees approved the expenditure at its annual working retreat on March 5.
The pump is needed so that the water pressure around the campus meets state regulations for buildings, officials said. While renovating the Occupational Education building, WCC found that its system was not up to current standards for water pressure.
When the building was originally built, it met standards for that time. However, now that it has been remodeled and the sprinkler system was replaced, the pressure must meet new standards.
“We can’t do anything about the past,” said Damon Flowers, associate vice president of Facilities Development and Operations.
It is mandated by the state that the school do something to fix the pressure problem, and a pump house was the best option, he said.
The pump house will be above ground close to the Clark Road entrance and will store pumps, tanks and other products necessary to keep the pressure stable. The design selection process for the pump is under way.
Three vie to replace Whitworth as Washtenaw President: DR. VICKI MARTIN
THE WASHTENAW VOICE
DR. VICKI MARTIN
Dr. Vicki Martin serves as the executive vice president and provost of Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). Martin has also served as the vice president of MATC’s Oak Creek Campus and was director of strategic planning for three years.
During her time at MATC, Martin played a pivotal role in the development of the Energy Conservation and Advanced Manufacturing Center, which led to further advancements of MATC as a whole.
Working with MATC over the span of two decades, Martin served as the college’s student services director, where she was required to oversee registration, admissions assessment, financial aid, orientation, advising, counseling and scheduling. Martin initiated the implementation of admissions and advising services for Hispanic and Hmong students.
MATC is a two-year, vocational-technical college that serves more than 60,000 students on four campuses.
In her time as provost of MATC, Martin has: increased high school articulation agreements with the program by 70 percent; established new interdisciplinary areas of study, including environmental studies, creative technologies and entrepreneurial studies; created “innovation grants” for faculty and staff totaling more than $300,000; and expanded the college’s partnership with Discovery World, a museum located in Milwaukee. that focuses on innovation and technology with the Great Lakes.
Martin began her professional career as a counselor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Nursing in 1979. Soon after, she received a job at Milwaukee’s Carroll College/Columbia as a school counselor, where she was promoted to dean of students in 1984.
She received her start at MATC in 1988, and in just eight years, she was promoted to regional campus team leader for the college’s Oak Creek Campus, which was the college’s largest regional campus, serving more than 7,500 students.
During her tenure with this position, Martin made it a point to expand the school’s relationships with external constituents and enhance high school articulation agreements with the area’s school districts.
A native of Milwaukee, Martin received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UW-Milwaukee, her master’s degrees from the University of North Dakota (counseling and guidance) and Cardinal Stritch University (business management) and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis from UW-Madison.
Some highlights from Martin’s public forum on March 11.
On how she works with colleagues and how she will act as president:
“I’m a collaborator; I like to bring people together . . . I believe that everything is built upon trust.”
Martin described herself as someone who likes to get input from many different sources.
On her vision for distance learning:
“We need to make sure they are quality courses.”
Martin understands that student schedules, gas, children and parking all factor into students’ success and distance learning.
The role community colleges play for students:
“We at community college, really and truly change people lives.”
“I think my family can attest to this: I spend too much time at work; I don’t balance that like I should.”
How to support success with declining revenue:
Martin has been under a budget crisis at MATC. To help support the school, Martin feels the college needs to increase enrollment and look for grants to help support programs on campus.
Greatest passion in teaching:
On part-time faculty roles:
“It’s difficult to get them involved.”
Martin feels that sometimes it’s hard to make part-time faculty feel involved because they are not always on campus when events take place that would get them involved. But, she wants PT faculty to know they are not afterthoughts.
What are the elements of good teaching?
“What does faculty need to do to grow in the classroom?”
She said instructors need to be supported for their own growth.
On faculty review and evaluation:
“When I was evaluated as a faculty member, I tried to look at it from the student’s perspective.”
Martin does not use a faculty review system in which teachers can lose their jobs. The system is used strictly to give feedback to instructors.
Enrollment drops for the first time since the recession
For the past few years, enrollment at Washtenaw Community College has gone up and up and up and…
Winter 2011 is the first Winter semester since 2008 that enrollment has fallen, and fallen it has; from Winter 2010 to Winter 2011, WCC has 1,582 fewer students. That’s more than any of the jumps WCC experienced during its steady and record growth over the last few years.
So what’s with the sudden change?
“I’ve heard that things are better in terms of people being able to get jobs, so we do see students taking less classes,” said Linda Blakey, associate vice president of student services. “The worse the economy is, the better our enrollment is. That’s a trend for all community colleges.”
WCC President Larry Whitworth, on the other hand, just thinks enrollment is getting back to normal. He’s cautious to say that the economy is improving.
“I don’t think (the recession) is over,” he said. “The fact that the banks are making money and that car companies are doing reasonably well, if you compare them to where they were before the bubble burst, they’re not there yet.”
A few students think the drop has to do with other elements, like the way WCC goes about things. The enrollment process itself and parking were common complaints.
“There’s a lot of steps in enrollment, and some are quite confusing,” said Terry Brewer, 42, a culinary arts and communications major from Ypsilanti. “Parking is absolutely horrendous, even if the enrollment has gone down.”
Originally, Brewer predicted that enrollment had stayed level instead of dropping. Blakey thinks that most students probably believe the same thing.
“If you hadn’t mentioned it, they probably wouldn’t have been able to tell. We still have a lot of students on campus, and the little dip that we’re having, you can’t tell by walking around,” said Blakey. “We still have parking lots full.”
Neither of them believe that the drop will affect employment. However, Blakey added that if money doesn’t come in from other places, the college may have to cut jobs.
Neither Blakey nor Whitworth see the drop in enrollment as an effect on the parking structure construction, either. As it is, Whitworth sees enrollment continuing to rise in the future to about 15,000 within the next three-to-five years, and Blakey cited the fact that the board already chose a contractor.
“People say, ‘Well, just keep busing people from Rynearson,” said Whitworth. “Yeah, that’s working in the short run, but it’s very expensive, number one. Number two, we can’t do it 24 hours a day.”
Until the parking structure goes up, students will continue to fight for parking spots — even if the fight has 1,582 fewer students.
McLean cleans up
New Board of Trustees treasurer wants affordability, experiential learning
ROBERT CONRADI THE WASHTENAW VOICE
Patrick McLean at the Jan. 11 board meeting.
Every day, Patrick McLean drives from his home in Ypsilanti to Toledo, Ohio. Every night, he drives the 50 miles back.
And now, once a month, he’ll drive a few extra miles on his way back to go to the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees meeting. He is, after all, the new treasurer.
“There’s 271,000 miles on my car, the last time I looked,” laughed McLean.
While he’s in Toledo, McLean is the financial director for the city. This position is one of the reasons that the WCC board thought McLean would be such a good fit as David Rutledge’s replacement. Rutledge was the board’s treasurer and his election into the Michigan House of Representatives left quite a hole to fill.
“It was nice for us to be able to continue that representation,” said Chair Pamela Horiszny. “We still have a treasurer from Ypsilanti.”
After Rutledge resigned, the board had 30 days to fill his spot. This was a bit more difficult than usual due to the fact that most of the proceedings had to happen during a time when most candidates would be busy with their families: The holidays.
Horiszny, Secretary Mark Freeman and Trustee Anne Williams made up the Trustee Appointee Committee. They met over those holidays to ensure that they would be able to announce a new trustee by Jan. 11, their next board meeting. There were 11 applicants, two of whom withdrew their names; the TAC interviewed four candidates the week before the meeting, with McLean as one of the interviewees.
“It doesn’t mean that we weren’t interested in the other ones, but we felt that we knew enough about the other people that we didn’t need to interview them,” said Horiszny.
She added that McLean’s financial knowledge was important, with Rutledge gone, but the TAC was also impressed by the variety in his expertise.
As it stands, McLean has experience as a professor at both the community college (Monroe County Community College) and four-year college (New York University and Wilmington College) levels, served on the Ypsilanti Housing Commission for four years, has done local nonprofit work with the Washtenaw Area Council for Children and the Ecology Center and was the associate vice chancellor for efficiency and affordability in Ohio, for the Board of Regents.
That last position gave him the responsibility to oversee the entire university system of Ohio, ranging from four-year universities to vocational schools. Michigan has no such thing.
“As far as I know, I may have been the only person in the country to have that title, but it was important to send the message that affordability is vital,” said McLean.
Horiszny noted that McLean has strong opinions about what he’d like to see happen while he’s on the board, and he wasn’t shy about sharing them.
“I want to make sure that the students at WCC are able to afford school, and that includes textbooks,” said McLean. “If you look at textbook prices at a lot of schools, you could easily add on 40 or 50 percent to the price of a class.
“If we could find a way to ask faculty to use lower-cost options, that would be best.”
McLean sited creative commons books and rental companies as options. He also said that he’s passionate about putting experiential learning into WCC.
Experiential learning has been around since teaching began, but it’s usually lost in today’s forms of pedagogy. The idea is to teach students through experience in real-world situations instead of through hypothetical problems worked out in the classroom only.
“We could help faculty members integrate work in the classroom with work in the work force,” he said. “If it’s done well, students benefit, businesses benefit and colleges benefit.”
Horiszny said the TAC was impressed with the way McLean expressed his ideas. Much like some of the trustees have said about Rutledge, he shared them “in a peaceful way.”
“You can have great ideas, but if you aren’t smart in the ways you implement them, they aren’t such great ideas,” she laughed.
Board’s decision great, process not so much
On Nov. 2, voters determined that the two Washtenaw Community College trustees who were up for reelection could keep their jobs.
With that vote of support and the kind of stability that the college values, the board in quick succession lost a trustee, gained another and changed every single leadership position.
Let us explain: Trustee David Rutledge was also up for election. Only this time, it was to be Michigan’s 54th District State Representative. He won, the board appointed a new trustee — Patrick McLean — to take his place and they all swapped internal positions for chair, vice chair, treasurer and secretary, just like they did two years before, after a board vote.
Change is good. This time, it’s really good.
A “post-recession” era is a rather bad time to lose your treasurer. WCC is right in the middle of a lot of construction projects, so it was critical that the board find a suitable replacement for the position or appoint one of the current trustees.
That’s why the board’s appointment of McLean was such a relief.
McLean is the finance director of the city of Toledo. Could you ask for a better finance background?
Did we mention that he’s taught at a community college before? And that he was the vice chancellor for affordability and efficiency with the Ohio Board of Regents and the University System of Ohio? Because he was (See McLean cleans up, front page).
Efficiency is an especially important word. With all of these attempts to be more “green,” the campus can forget the simpler ways to save energy and money. Our hopes are that McLean will bring that to the board and push it in a more financially and environmentally progressive direction.
However, even though we approve of our new trustee, who was easily placed as the new treasurer upon induction, the selection process could have run a little differently.
In Trustees to fill Rutledge’s position ASAP (Jan. 10 issue), it was apparent that at least one candidate for the trustee position did not feel as though the process was transparent enough. William Campbell was never interviewed for the position, and was under the impression, as we were, that all of the candidates would be interviewed.
We didn’t find out until this week that this was not the case. Shame on The Washtenaw Voice for getting our information wrong. But as for Campbell and the rest of the public, this information should be readily available. So in reality, this shouldn’t have been something we had to “dig for” as a newspaper at all.
The board likes to make its affairs as transparent as possible. At the last meeting, the trustees debated the over wording of the description of their monthly meetings; should they include “and dinner at approximately 6:00 p.m.?” What if they didn’t eat dinner together that night?
What if they couldn’t eat until 6:15 p.m.?
Compared to the details of their appointee process, this was rather minor. Still, it garnered discussion.
In the future, perhaps the trustees will explain the important processes in more detail. We’re sure McClean could help the board do it in an efficient manner, too.
Trustees to fill Rutledge’s position ASAP
It’s official: Former Washtenaw Community College Trustee David Rutledge has left the building.
Rutledge began his tenure as 54th District State Representative in Lansing on Jan. 1. While many from the WCC community are happy to see him take on the position, they also know that this means the Board of Trustees needs to find a replacement, and fast.
As it stands, the board has 30 days to appoint a new trustee, with the search starting on Dec. 31. Though Rutledge officially resigned at the Dec. 14 Board of Trustees meeting, it wasn’t effective until the end of the year.
“I can’t hold two public offices at one time, although I think I could,” joked Rutledge.
It was announced at the same meeting that Vice Chair Pamela Horiszny would chair the committee for the search of a new trustee. Trustees Diana McKnight-Morton and Mark Freeman are the other two committee members.
The committee said it would interview all 11 of the individuals that threw their name in the trustee hat and announce the appointee at the Jan. 11 board meeting.
“I haven’t heard a sound from them. You’re the first one that’s contacted me,” said William Campbell, a trustee candidate in the 2010 election, as well as a current candidate, a part-time faculty member at WCC and a former student of the college. Campbell lost in the 2010 race against Horiszny and Board of Trustees Chair Stephen Gill.
Campbell said he found it odd that Horiszny, his opponent just two months ago, would chair the committee that would determine his fate in the appointment.
“That’s come up with every single person I’ve talked with about it, unsolicited. It’s a conflict of interest, definitely,” he said.
Horiszny said that she understands his concern, but doesn’t agree with his suspicions. As it is, many of the other trustees, like Gill, are tied up with the Presidential Search Committee.
“This is a role that needs to be taken on, so it just makes sense that (the Presidential Search Committee and the Trustee Appointee Committee) would be led by the chair and vice chair of the board,” she said. “The reality is that we’re a seven-member board.”
Regardless of the disagreement, Horiszny said that the list of applicants was so strong that she hopes many of them run in the next board election, even if they aren’t chosen this time around. After all, whoever the board appoints now will have to run for reelection in 2012.
Horiszny said that she wants the board to end up with someone who has had experience on at least one other board, and preferably in a leadership position.
“When there are only seven (trustees), everyone needs to be a leader,” she said.
Though Campbell doesn’t have experience on a board, he does believe he could bring leadership to his position. He said he wants the board to focus on academic quality more instead of just money issues.
“Where is the mapping between what’s supposed to be taught and what’s actually taught?” he asked. “Is the syllabus even covered? You would hope so, but how would you know?”
Meanwhile, the board is still grappling with the idea that Rutledge, known for his outspoken manner and ability to form consensus, has left.
“You’ve been a champion for Washtenaw Community College,” said trustee Anne Williams to Rutledge, “but I think you’ll play a much bigger role.”
Rutledge & Whitworth
Two peas in a pod
THE WASHTENAW VOICE
David Rutledge speaks at a WCC Board of Trustees meeting.
When David Rutledge first became a Washtenaw Community College trustee, tuition was only $52 a credit hour for in-district students as opposed to the $80 that it is now.
There was no Health and Fitness Center.
Nor a Gunder Myran Building. Nor a Great Lakes Regional Training Center, an Industrial Technology Building or even a parking lot five.
As a matter of fact, was the exact same when President Larry Whitworth took over.
Coincidence? Hardly. Whitworth took his position a mere six months after David Rutledge took his in 1998. And this year, they’re both leaving the college after spending about the same amount of time here.
“It’s funny how our time here mirrors each other. We come together, we leave together,” said Rutledge at a Dec. 14 Board of Trustees meeting.
Thirteen years ago, Rutledge took office as a young trustee. The first thing he remembers about Whitworth’s term involves a certain expensive deal.
THE WASHTENAW VOICE
President Larry Whitworth makes a point at a WCC Board of Trustees meeting.
The Board of Trustees had just decided to pour millions of dollars into a project that would revamp the school’s computer system. Whitworth came to the board and did a fairly unpopular thing — suggest that they scrap it.
“Because we were up front and transparent in explaining it, it didn’t turn out to be a hugely negative piece that it could have been,” said Rutledge. “That then set the tone for his presidency.”
Of course, when people disagree, especially people in decision-making positions, things can get ugly. And Whitworth and Rutledge have certainly disagreed throughout their matching WCC careers.
“It’s kind of an adversarial situation,” said Rutledge. “You’ve got the president and administration on one side and then you have the board on the other side.”
For years, in fact, Rutledge and Whitworth disagreed on one topic in particular: parking.
Rutledge started pushing for a parking structure years before the board actually voted to begin construction on it. Whitworth, on the other hand, thought they could find some other solution before the school grew too much.
Now that the structure is being built, Whitworth admits that Rutledge had foresight.
“I thought the school would grow this much, but not in this amount of time,” said Whitworth. “We tried everything. Eventually, we had to come to agree that he was right.”
Most power struggles are thwarted with awkwardness; in public, disagreeing sides have to be polite, even if they make each others’ lives miserable. Whitworth and Rutledge’s relationship, oddly, is quite the opposite. In fact, the pair actually chooses to spend time together, often hitting the golf course — where Rutledge usually wins.
“None of this is personal for David. So you can disagree with him, and it’s not a problem,” said Whitworth. “He’s an incredible consensus builder.”
The entire board of trustees agreed with this statement on Dec. 14, Rutledge’s last meeting with them. Of course, Vice Chair Pamela Horiszny couldn’t help but joke about Whitworth and Rutledge’s working relationship when they presented Rutledge with a gift.
“It’s a picture of Larry!” she laughed. And so did everyone else.