According to a report entitled, “Investment, Innovation, Impact,” prepared by SBCTC, “taxpayers see a real money return of seven percent on their investment in Washington community and technical colleges.” Excellent reason to keep the higher education dollars rolling in, yet with the state in a financial crisis, it’s crucial to keep legislators informed of the benefits that colleges provide to our local and state economies.
Last fall the state board asked college trustees, presidents and faculty to join them at looking at how well our community college system is serving the people across the state in academic transfer, basic skills and workforce education. The Mission Study Task Force is comprised of four State Board members, three community college Trustees, four college presidents, two State Board staff and four college faculty members, one of whom is SCC’s Karen Toreson, computer information systems and business technology instructor and president of the SCC Federation of Teachers.
Toreson has taught at high schools, other community colleges and technical colleges in Washington state as well as in Oregon. She also serves as AFT Washington Treasurer. She is hopeful that all this experience will help her on this committee.
The trustees come from Whatcom, Everett and Wenatchee community colleges; the presidents from Bellevue, Bellingham, Tacoma and Spokane Community College District. They will meet monthly.
“I’m looking forward to contributing a faculty perspective to this important task force,” said Toreson, who will attend her first meeting in March.
The task force is charged with looking at the future needs and strategic challenges based on demographic, economic, financial and cultural trends over the next 20 years; indentifying emerging, effective means of delivering education to adults from our own experiences and from the successes of others; and lastly, making policy recommendations to the State Board about the future size and shape of the college system, including principles about future investment of resources.
Discussions will include millennial students, the impact of technology on student learning and education delivery at the March meeting. In April, they will discuss transportation and location analysis and financial issues, and in May, they will discuss policies and strategies used to meet evolving and increasing needs for higher education. Committee members will discuss overall findings and conclusions and draft recommendations at the June meeting before sending their recommendations to the state board in July.
The Mission Study Task Force will coordinate efforts with the Higher Education Coordinating Board, Council of Presidents and Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
SBCTC has asked the task force to provide their report by this July.