Introduced by Glenn Hansen with brief bio. 30 years experience in many aspects of higher education administration.
Kavalier introduced herself and added more comments on her background. Emphasized her love of research and experience as a researcher, as well as her continuing connection to teaching. Started as classified staff. Has associates degree from Mountain View CC. Asked for show of hands for faculty, classified, admin, community. Effusively thanks everyone for coming.
Vision for college – hopes and dreams for the future. Like the North Star, to know where you’re headed – purpose, hope, and excitement for the journey ahead. But you have to know where you’ve been.
Has done research on us, identifies one of our major challenges as funding / state budget. Also lawsuits and investigations – this is normal for cc’s. Issues in leadership and governance. Creates uncertainty, lack of trust, anxiety. Greatest challenge and greatest risk is probation.
We can overcome all those challenges because this is a great place, a great institution. Remember years ago, used to hear about COD, hear presentations about the great work of our faculty.
“My vision is that COD will be #1 college in the country for fulfilling the hopes and dreams of our students” – reach high, dream big.
At Navarro College, focused on retention and student success because faculty said that was their first priority. Wanted Navarro to be
Need to create structure, have key strategies and outcomes to get where we want to go. Be best at raising funds, so not dependent on state for funding.
Business and industry will seek us out.
Develop meaningful relationships and partnerships. It’s all about leadership, relationships, and collaboration. If I am so fortunate to be selected, my job will be to reach out to all of you. Bring back hope and anticipation. Bring community to college and engage them, but also to go out into the community.
Fight for COD. Be the person standing in front, defending and protecting you. Remind everyone how great this institution is. Share stories of your success.
Cultivate an environment of trust, respect, hope, and kindness. Anything is possible in that environment.
Academics one of greatest strengths – how will you support and enhance?
Make academics one of the top priorities of the college. Allocate resources. Advance, improve. Strong professional development. Faculty attend conferences, new learning. Culture of accountability, demonstrate success of students. Celebrate our successes, tell our story.
Describe educational philosophy, why suited to COD?
Was low income, first generation student. Passionate about cc mission and all it can do to transform a life. Rooted in my experiences. Everyone should have access to education and everyone is capable of learning, growing, reaching full potential.
Of items in HLC report, what could college have done differently? Examples from your experience?
Component 2.8 (?) integrity of the institution. 5b admin and governance oversight. Both are very broad, really relate to the whole college. Have to reevaluate and assess all aspects of criteria. What do we do? I have had the opportunity to help another college get removed from probation, San Jose City College. Range of citations, had a year and a half to correct. The kind of citations we have reflect the culture. Not just writing a report to show compliance. At SJCC, said this is really about culture, we have to have a courageous conversation. Brought all employees together at round tables in the gym to have a conversation about culture. Asked each table to write a fairy story about how SJCC is now. Difficult, sad, people cried. Came back in afternoon and wrote a new story about hopes and dreams, where they see SJCC next year, two years. Passion for college and serving students came out. Ready to go to work, thinking about the future. Have to get organized. Took the due date for the report and built timeline with key milestones. Built teams that addressed different issues. I have experience with evaluation teams, I know what you have to write and how to prove compliance. We were all in this together. We tried to make it fun, and we tried to celebrate along the way. At the end we had a huge celebration. This approach could be successful here.
At COD many 2+2 and 3+1 and Honors program. Brought American Honors into Navarro. Would you do this here?
Would have to hear from you. Would introduce you to the concept. What fits into the college environment here? Would make that decision together.
How would you establish clear and high expectations for students? What is president’s role?
First of all, I agree. Students will rise to the expectations. It has to do with culture. I have to meet with students on a regular basis. Work with faculty, hear their voices about standards. Reflects on her early conversations with faculty at Navarro who expressed that they wanted to increase student success.
We have a diverse set of students and pathways to success. How do you create policies to measure how students succeed and keep them on track?
As Dean at Dallas County CC District in Institutional Research, worked with faculty to define outcomes. On technical side, easier to establish because of factors like licensure. Lots of data to demonstrate success. Had one professor who did not see benefit of outcomes-based assessment. Story of how they worked together.
What prompted you to make a move?
Story of working at large, urban, multi-college districts, was happy at SJCC but left for Navarro because of father’s illness, he lived nearby. Accomplished her mission at Navarro to get them thru accreditation, every 10 years in that region. Navarro had a lot of work to do to prepare. Planned, built a team, now ready to get to a job that is more aligned with her experience.
What is the difference between running a college like a business and running a college in financially responsible manner?
Have to keep eye on business side. Make sure everybody gets paid, the budget is balanced. Fine line. Student Services background – knew early on that to be a successful president, have to understand finance and business. Did internship for PhD on business side. Understand and manage a budget like a business. Shouldn’t just delegate to VP finance.
Have you ever had to terminate a faculty member or senior administrator, and what standards should be applied?
These are the hardest decisions but you do encounter them. When I started as president at SJCC, state budget cuts really hurt college budget. Previous president had identified classified staff who had to be laid off. Union environment, following contract. Does not make easier. In current position, one particular faculty member had history of negative evals and did not respond to performance plan. Rec from Dean and VP not to renew contract. Was hurting growth in an important area. Was not protected by union because Texas. Come back to what is best for students and the institution. Be centered and grounded in helping students succeed.
What does diversity mean to you; how should be incorporated into institution; what has been your most significant global experience; comment on differences among students in different states where you have worked.
Fortunate to have worked as VP Student Services, always engaged with all kinds of different students. Have to sit down and have conversation about policies and procedures – they define how we interact with students. Does a policy help students or hurt them? Is it a barrier? Example late registration – hurts students, they don’t succeed.
Make sure robust offering of activities, clubs, programs that engage students so they feel sense of connection outside of the classroom, make them feel they belong. Implemented African-American – Latino Male Summit, reach out to these vulnerable young men as HS seniors, introduced them to college, finances, mentoring from community member. Safe Zones at Tacoma and SJCC, provided outreach to LGBT, intensive training for faculty and staff to increase awareness of students who might feel bullied or unsafe. Institution has to think about all practices including hiring. Are you inviting people into the institution who can best serve the students? Strong international program is very important.
First-hand experiences helping student veterans adjust to civilian life and return to classroom. Really impacted me. Had grant opportunity allowed college to apply for funds to help them. Created new certificate program in psychology for veterans to learn how to help veterans. Amazing experience will always remember and cherish.
What is the greatest impact a community college can have on its district?
Building relationships. Takes all of us working together to get things done. Build trust and respect, transparency, reward and encourage collaboration. Build relationships between faculty and classified, president and board, college and community.
Can you provide exs of developing innovative programs adopted by others?
AA-Latino Male Summit and Safe Zone programs were adopted at more than one college. American Honors Program – first college in TX to be invited to join. Company works with faculty to develop honors curriculum that guarantees students admission to top tier Ivy League schools.
What are your views of strategic planning, shared governance, and getting input from all stakeholders?
Can’t achieve vision without strategic plan. Also must be in compliance. Has done much work on strategic planning, provided leadership at SJCC and Navarro in both cases for compliance. As research, has done a lot of work on strategic planning. Key to planning is measurable goals. Must have short-range plans, be adaptive and responsive to changes in society. Strategic planning committee with reps from all constituencies. In California, shared governance is mandated by law. Good thing, good to consult with faculty. Everyone must have a voice, but particularly faculty in curriculum, grades, professional development. Love working with faculty. Have all the expertise sitting around the table, why wouldn’t you want that? All my accomplishments have been related to working in a team. Very supportive of shared governance.
Budget crisis in Illinois, what have you done to improve revenue, what would work here?
Could talk about this all night long. A lot of my work has been on institutional entrepreneurship. Studied best colleges in the country, applied many lessons learned. Example, came into institution and discovered structural deficits in budget. Certain faculty salaries and some other expenses were being covered by fund balance. How to address? How can better leverage resources? Create cost center for renting out underused space on evenings and weekends. Looking for efficiencies – instead of just cutting the budget, look long-term, such as restructuring contract for electric rates. Generate new revenue streams – such as increasing enrollment of international students. Set up MOU with local 4-year college that was very attractive for international. At Navarro, college had opportunity to start a new concept in college bookstore as a new revenue stream. Have to cultivate responsible risk-taking – empower faculty and staff to come up with new ideas, when something is successful, recognize and reward.
We have five unions. What is your view of collective bargaining and interactions with unions in the past?
First worked with unions at Tacoma CC as VP Student Services, also at Mesa, had faculty w/in student services, counselors. SJCC union, worked very closely with union president, smart reasonable gentleman. Texas does not have unions.
Provide your views of counseling/advising, students services, meet the needs of students to be successful.
Published an article ten years ago, “where have all the counselors gone?” Colleges replacing academic counselors with advisers. Anecdote she heard about starting new colleges in Dallas and counselors being the first people hired, because they know the whole college. Mental health issues and challenges that students face. Big advocate of student services. Job is very hard. Worked 7 years on front line of testing center as classified staff on evening and weekend shifts. If you want to know what’s happening with students, go talk to the advisors, the financial aid people. Passionate about the work of students services. Removed student services from the shadows at Navarro, getting resources allocated.
Fast forward 3 years, you are president, we win a major award. What award did we win?
Aspen Award for community colleges. Looks at everything – at-risk students, diverse students. When we win the Aspen Award, we can say we’re the #1 community college in the nation.
Public comment and questions:
Paul LeFort: Could you give us example when you got into a situation as complex as the one we have here, what techniques worked best?
Helping transition SJCC off probation. Some recommendations had to do with board governance – ethics, policies, similar to some of the recommendations here. Had to work closely with Chancellor and Trustees. Had split board, meetings going until midnight, public comments that went on for an hour or two hours. Similar to our situation. First thing was working with trustees to adopt self-evaluation – this is a norm now, but was not easy and was worth while. Great documentation. Evaluation of district governance – decision-making levels, show separation between management and oversight. Did survey and used results to document. Had to be patient and persistent with board, would take several meetings to get decisions. Adopted Carver Model of board governance, took a year to complete arduous process to complete the model. Recently talked to a trustee who said things are much better now. There was a change and there is hope. Leveraging the fact that we were on probation. Having integrity and authenticity in my previous experience, knowing the extensive impact of losing accreditation, knew what that really meant.
Maryann Zlotow: quoted comments from the article in local paper that were negative, asked why the challenges weren’t enough.
Hard to comment, lack of information, don’t know the person. Proud of her work there and connections to former colleagues.
Closing comments, very upbeat, can overcome challenges, would love to provide leadership here. My education and experience align with your challenges. I can be of service.