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* Quake drill at 10:18 a.m. on 10/18/12
At 10:18 a.m., on Thursday, Oct. 18 (10/18), Shoreline Community College will join much of the state and nation in what is being called the largest earthquake drill ever.

Sponsored by state and federal emergency management agencies, The Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are designed to help people in homes, schools, and organizations improve preparedness and practice how to be safe during earthquakes. In Washington, officials are hoping for 1 million participants in this year’s drill.

Shoreline will use a limited-impact drill, focusing just on the 2900 building, said Edwin Lucero, acting director of safety and security.  At 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, a fire alarm will sound in the 2900 building which houses a number of science-related classrooms. Everyone in the 2900 building will be asked to evacuate, Lucero said.

As soon as everyone is out of the building, they will be allowed to return with the entire drill anticipated to take less than 10 minutes. Lucero said the goal is to minimize the disruption while still having a valuable exercise for students and college staff. After the drill, security personnel will review the experience and emergency plans.

Lucero noted that the fire alarm on Thursday will likely be audible from those in nearby buildings, but that the drill is intended for only the 2900 building. The college emergency management plan, developed in January, 2012, is available here.

SCC/Jim Hills
* New State Board head visits Shoreline
Shoreline Community College geology instructor Emma Agosta (right) uses an iPad to take SBCTC Executive Director Marty Brown on a tour of her online classroom. More photos

Marty Brown, recently appointed executive director of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, kicked off a statewide tour of colleges on Oct. 11, 2012 at Shoreline Community College.

Brown was Director of the Office of Financial Management for Gov. Chris Gregoire before coming to the college system. "I love the college system," Brown said during the tour. "I love the mission."

Brown met with President Lee Lambert and Trustee Shoubee Liaw, then was introduced to the Shoreline Virtual College effort and director Ann-Garnsey Harter who showed the college online app. Then, geology instructor Emma Agosta, took Brown on a tour of her online classroom which includes a lab component.

From there, Brown walked the campus led by Facilities Director Bob Roehl, who spoke about building needs and strategies to improve the campus infrastructure. During the walk, Brown heard about innovative efforts by math faculty, Learning Center North and the Core to Curriculum grant with the Shoreline School District.   

Dean of Science Susan Hoyne and GST instructor Mark Hankins hosted Brown and others at the Professional Automotive Training Center.The group then move to the CNC Machining program and met instructor Keith Smith and career navigator Michelene Felker.

The tour finished up in front of the Clean Energy Technology Center. 
* Trustees put college on solid foundation

A set of budget reserve policies recently adopted by the Shoreline Community College Board of Trustees will help ensure the college maintains its hard-won fiscal health.

“Despite the years of state budget cuts, Shoreline Community College is now healthier financially than it has been in many years,” President Lee Lambert said at the September Board of Trustees meeting. Lambert said that prudent practices and sacrifices across the campus put the college is in a position to establish a set of targeted reserve accounts and policies.

General Policy Statement

Adequate fund balance and reserve levels are necessary components of the college's overall financial management strategy and key factors in assessing the college's financial strength and fiduciary integrity. Maintenance of a fund balance assures adequate resources for cash flow and mitigation of short-term revenue shortages, and enables multi-year planning for self-support program improvements.  Expenditures drawn from reserve accounts shall require prior approval from the president or the board (per policy governance), unless previously authorized for expenditure within the college's annual budget.  Notice of such action will be presented to the Board of Trustees at their monthly meetings.

Trustee Chair Phil Barrett said that putting the college in a strong financial position is the board’s primary duty. “We can’t do any of the great things that happen at this college if we don’t take care of the financial side,” he said.

Barrett noted the potential loss of accreditation at City College of San Francisco, due in large part to fiscal inattention, as evidence of the importance of a strong financial foundation. “I lay San Francisco’s problem directly at the feet of their trustees,” Barrett said. “That is not happening here.”

Indeed, the adopted reserve policies were called for commendation in a recent accreditation report. The preliminary verbal report given during the Oct. 3-5, 2012 by evaluators for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities gave high marks for the fiduciary responsibility of college officials.

The policies adopted Sept. 26, 2012 by the unanimous vote of the Trustees call for specific amounts or percentages to be set aside for specific purposes. The budget reserve areas and amounts include:

General Fund Balance Reserve

This reserve is intended to provide adequate cash flow, emergencies, budget contingencies, multi-year planning, revenue shortfalls, unplanned but necessary expenditures or operating changes that occur outside of the planned annual budget.  The account includes 10-12 percent of the previous year’s operating expenditures, unless a different level is necessary to sustain operations. This year, that means $4.1 million in the reserve.

Capital Reserve

This maintains local capital reserves to manage facilities needs that are not funded or are underfunded by the state. The board designated $1.5 million to this fund, with future designations made by the president or president’s designee.

Tuition Contingency Reserve

This account holds in reserve 10 percent of the previous year’s tuition collections to provide financial cover in the event of unforeseen fluctuations in enrollment. This year, that equals $1.59 million.

Innovation and Opportunities Reserve

The college will establish and maintain a fund to facilitate college investment in new business initiatives that can bring a return on that investment. The board has initially designated $2 million, with future amounts dependent upon the college’s overall financial performance and made by the president or president’s designee. The Board of Trustees will receive semi-annual reports on expenditures made from this fund.

Designated Program Reserves

This fund provides for adequate cash flow, multi-year planning, and operating contingencies for designated programs such as auxiliary services and self-support programs. The specific programs covered by this reserve are designated by the president or president’s designee and cover at least 15 percent of each fund’s operating expenditures, unless a different level is necessary to sustain operations.

Restricted Reserves

As required by law, regulations and/or agreement, the college will maintain funds that are restricted by use, complying with federal, state and grantor rules. The amount in this account fluctuates depending on the programs and regulations.

Board of Trustees Reserve

This establishes and maintains a reserve in the event of an unbudgeted emergency and is available at the discretion of the Board of Trustees.  At the start of each fiscal year, from 5-8 percent of the previous fiscal year’s operating budget surplus goes into this fund. Available this year for this fund is $159,207.

President’s Reserve

The College President will begin each year with a minimum of $200,000 in a contingency account to cover unanticipated expenses during that fiscal period.

* Justice Gonzalez speaks at Shoreline
State Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez speaks at Oct. 8, 2012 at Shoreline Community College. More photos

Washington Supreme Court Justice Steven Gonzalez spoke Oct. 8, 2012 on "Liberty vs. Security in the Age of Terrorism," part of the "American and the World" series presented by the Global Affairs Center. 

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Gonzalez was a member of the team that successfully prosecuted the international terrorism case, U.S. v. Ressam, in 2002. Ahmed Ressam, the so-called "Millennium Bomber," was arrested while trying to cross into the United States from Canada at Port Angeles.

During his presentation, Gonzalez went over the details of the case and prosecution and the implications for  freedom and security.

A king County Superior Court Judge for 10 years, Gonzalez was appointed to the state Supreme Court in January, 2012 and elected to the post in August, 2012.

For more details about the "America and the World" series, go to:

SCC/Jim Hills
* Accreditation visit a success, says Lambert
accred 100512.jpg
Trustee Phil Barrett (left) and evaluation team leader Ryan Thomas of Weber State University share a laugh during the welcome event for the Oct. 3-5, 2012, accreditation evaluation visit. More photos

Shoreline Community College does a terrific job in many areas and has opportunities for improvement in others, according to an initial verbal report from a team of accreditation evaluators.

“Today Shoreline Community College concluded a full-scale accreditation visit from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and I am very pleased that the visit was a success,” Shoreline President Lee Lambert said on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. “Although the final verdict from today's visit will not be official until the early part of the new year, I am confident the college demonstrated a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning and a willingness to continue improving its efforts toward mission fulfillment.”

The evaluators were impressed at how well the college stayed focused on students despite severe reductions in state funding over recent years. The strong spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship by the workforce programs, generally referred to as professional-technical programs, was also called out as a strength that led to significant community engagement and economic development. The evaluators lauded the physical campus, its upkeep and the environment it presents for learning.

The overall financial health and stewardship of the college was also commended. Shoreline recently adopted a set of reserve policies designed help sustain the college despite uncertain economic conditions. The Board of Trustees’ focus on planning for the future was notable, the evaluators said. And, Shoreline was commended for the actual report submitted the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and reviewed by the evaluators.

“The evaluators also saw areas where we can improve,” Lambert said. “That’s OK; we are always working hard to get better and we welcome their perspective.”

Among those areas was better alignment of budget planning with the college’s foundational values called core themes. In the same vein, they saw that assessments of student performance could have a stronger tie to planning. The evaluators also saw the impacts that state budget cuts have had to some areas such as student services. And, while the evaluators said they liked the comprehensive report prepared by the college, they also suggested a review of the indicators used in the report.

“The level of preparation and involvement across campus from our faculty, staff, administrators, students, partners and Board of Trustees was unparalleled,” Lambert said. “I am so very proud to be the President of Shoreline Community College, an institution where individuals care deeply about one another. This was never more evident than in the past three days.”

 The Oct. 3-5 visit was led Ryan Thomas, Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Weber State University. Thomas and eight other educators from across the Northwest spread out across the campus to conduct 52 separate meetings with a variety of groups and individuals.

At the Friday morning exit meeting, Thomas delivered a verbal report only and said a written version would be coming in a week to 10 days.

“This team has done a lot of work and we would like to make sure this initial report is as we intended it,” Thomas told a large group of Shoreline employees gathered in the Quiet Dining room to hear the results. Thomas said the college would then have time to review the document and offer corrections to anything that could be considered a factual change. After that, the document is sent to the NWCCU for review. President Lambert will have an opportunity to speak with the Commissioners during January and the final announcement on accreditation would likely come before the end of February, 2013, Thomas said.

Other members of the visiting evaluation team were:

Kristen A. Jones, Vice President of Instruction and Student Services at Flathead Valley Community College; Janice Alexander, Faculty Senate Vice President, Flathead Valley Community College; Karin Hilgersom, Vice President for Instruction, Central Oregon Community College; Elizabeth Hogeland, Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs and Workforce Development, Linn-Benton Community College; Jim Eustrom, Executive Dean, Student Development and Learning Resources, Chemeketa Community College; Laura Wight, Director of eLearning & Library Services, Montana State University, Randy R. Griffin, Dean of Administrative Services, Treasure Valley Community College; Pamela Goad, Vice President, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

“We started the three-day visit ready and it showed,” President Lambert said. At the exit meeting, Lambert lauded the efforts of many across the campus and noted the leadership provided by Humanities Dean Norma Goldstein, who headed up the Accreditation Coordinating Team. “From the moment the nine-member accreditation team set foot on campus to the concluding comments in this morning's exit meeting, the campus demonstrated its commitment to teaching and learning.”

SCC/Jim Hills