Fall 2017 In-service Speech

President Margaret Hamilton
In-service 2017
"Promoting the Student Success Agenda"

Thank you, Rosie for that warm welcome and introduction.

I am thrilled to finally be at my first in-service at Lane. It is my great pleasure to welcome everyone back from what I hope was a restful, restorative summer. I don’t know where the summer went. It certainly flew by for me, and what a summer it was. As I arrived, the world seemed to go topsy-turvy. Oregon was in the path of a total eclipse. North Korea fired missiles at its neighbors. DACA was threatened. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate agreement. Gunmen shot at Congressmen at a softball game. Violence erupted in Charlottesville. Hurricane Harvey hit Houston; Irma hit Florid, and our beautiful state of Oregon was on fire.

Fall is finally upon us. The rain came, the smoke cleared and students arrived on campus. It feels good to begin the rhythm of a new academic year here at Lane. David Jenkins’ book on Guided Pathways reminds us to “Start with the end in mind.” I would also like to start this academic year with that very same notion. That is why the theme of “student success” for this year may appear familiar but is more focused on “goal attainment.”

We need to define success for ourselves and our students with student goal attainment in mind. Through the collaborative development of an equity lens, our goal is to help more students persist, more students graduate, more students acquire work skills, transfer, get jobs and be personally enriched as a result of coming to Lane. You have told me in your emails and your meetings with me that you are ready to join me in helping our students walk the walk—and finish what they start.

But before we look forward to this year, let’s remind ourselves of everything we accomplished last year and turn our attention to the year in review. (Video of highlights). Congratulations on a remarkable year!

I would like to start out the year with gratitude and appreciation. First, to the Board of Education at Lane Community College and the hiring committee for bringing me here to follow a long-standing president at one of the most highly regarded community colleges in the nation. I know the work involved first hand in hiring a new president, and I want to thank you for your commitment to the process. I would also like to thank all of you who sent me emails, cards and notes to welcome me. You opened your hearts and shared your favorite restaurants, doctors, parks, and shops. My husband and I sincerely thank you for the warm welcome wagon. Finally, I wish to thank the entire in-service team who helped put the fall in-service together--in particular, Jessica Braun, a Lane graduate, who put together the graphics for today’s presentation.

Each year, colleges across the country honor teachers who make a difference in the lives of students. It is my pleasure to announce the winners of the 2016-17 Faculty Recognition Awards. Please rise when I say your name and remain standing so that you can be recognized.

Charlotte Behm, Mathematics
Damian McDonald, Media Arts
Tracy Henninger, ESL
Beth Landy, Career Center
Kelly Mathers, Advanced Technology
Adrienne Mitchell, Academic Learning Skills
Caroline Lundquist, Social Science 

Please join me in giving them a round of applause.

You will often hear me borrow the phrase, “It takes a village” to run a college. Our classified staff make up all the working parts of a college that help support instruction, and they are often the unsung heroes at a college. Please join me in recognizing our 2016-17 Employee Recognition Award winners. Please stand as I say your name.

Wendy Milbrat, Conference and Culinary Services
Shelby Anderson, Foundation
Pam McClelland, High School Connections
Ron Bielawski, Printing and Graphics
Tammi Burbee, Health Professions
Georgia Bartlett, Specialized Support Services
Holli Turpin, Cottage Grove
Colleen Vehafric, Specialized Support Services
Edward Glazier, Advanced Technology
Heather Lee, Foundation
Jennifer Pearson, Extended Learning
Beth Habian, Florence Center

Please join me in another round of applause. Each year, Lane recognizes the one individual who best personifies the mission of Lane through their commitment to students and the college. It is my great pleasure to name the 2017 Classified Employee of the Year- Ed Glazier. Ed, please join me at the podium to receive this award. Ed is a tireless advocate of career and technical programs at Lane. His calm and reassuring demeanor has helped numerous students complete their programs and become successful members of the community.

Ed is an excellent role model, and he is a person who genuinely cares about helping people improve themselves through education. Ed personifies “Transforming Lives through Learning.” Please join me in honoring Edward Glazier as the 2017 Classified Employee of the Year.

When you work at a college, you become a family- a sort of an extended family.
Like many of your families, the Lane family lost some members last year.
Please join me in a moment of silence as we remember the lives of our colleagues and friends.

Julie Baker, retired
Jim Ellison, retired
Ralph Cook, retired
Valerie Wothe, retired
Shirl Meads, retired
Dale Parnell, lane’s founding president
Bob Pickering, lane’s third president
Michael Canning, retired
Charlene Curry, former board member
Phoebe Anderson, retired

Now it’s time to get acquainted--A little about me, a little about you, and a little about our students. These are my three brothers- an actor, a professor, and a hospital administrator. We are a close family. You have heard me say that I am a native New Yorker. I have lived at the northern most part of the state, in a borough of the southern-most part of the state and a few places in between. My favorite falls has been Niagara Falls. I love a good Broadway show, and my New York relatives are Mets and Giants fans.

But like many of you, I followed a career path and settled elsewhere. For me, it was South Jersey. Contrary to what you may think, NJ is a farm state. We love our Jersey tomatoes, Jersey corn, cranberries and blueberries. In South Jersey, we relate to Philadelphia so we eat Philly pretzels, and we root for the Phillies and the Eagles. Our summers revolve around the Jersey shore, and we would cross the Ben Franklin Bridge just to get a good cheese steak. Some of you asked about my family. I am married, almost 40 years, with two adult children. My son is married and lives in NJ. My daughter just finished graduate school in social work and will be moving to Oregon. We are very close, and we will always find ways to stay connected.

My academic passion is rooted in health care, integrative medicine and science, particularly neuro-science and how it applies to memory, teaching and learning.

But enough about me. Let’s talk a little about you. Over 1,200 of you work here at Lane as part-time hourly employees and full-time contracted employees. Some of you are from Oregon, but many of you are from all over these United States. Some of you are natives, but more of you are like me, following your career paths to one of the most beautiful states in the country.

And what about our traditional students? Let’s refer to them as the class of 2020. They were born in 1999- give or take a year. If you want to reach them, you tweet them, or you text them. This is a generation of students that has always used Google, or Siri or even Alexa. This class has grown up at a time of violence abroad. They may have parents and family who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan. Our young veterans have visible and invisible scars from the war. The Class of 2020 has seen atrocities on TV and the Internet, in places like Somali, Libya and Pakistan. They were toddlers when 911 happened, but the war on ISIL still remains their threat. And if that wasn’t enough, they have experienced more school violence than any other generation. They watched violence at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, University of Seattle, Charleston SC, Umpqua, and Charlottesville. These students are hurting, and they need us.

83% of our students live below the poverty line. Over 7,000 Lane students are on financial aid.
74% of our PELL recipients have a 0$ EFC. They need us. Our students are housing insecure, food insecure and life insecure. A growing number of them are the first in their families to attend college.

How can we make a difference? By being true to our mission; by working with K-12, colleges and universities, business and industry and the community to provide a seamless education and training programs that will help transform their lives. What we do here will only make a difference if it is delivered through an equity lens. Treating everyone the same is not effective. History has proven that. We are a society of people as different as there are numbers of people. We need to celebrate those differences and give students the individual supports they need. We need to meet students where they are and deliver an education with wrap around support services that bring all students up to the standards needed to be successful in life.

What are the challenges for the class of 2020? Let’s look at some of the priorities at the national, state and local level. In 2009, the Obama administration charged higher education with doubling the number of graduates by 2020. Well, 2020 is right around the corner and I ask you, “Have we doubled our graduates since then? Washington has prioritized reducing financial barriers to borrowing by moving forward initiatives to provide income driven payment plans for school loans. Across this country, we need to adapt to changes in the nations demographics. More than half of the nation’s Latino high school students will attend community colleges. Washington must act on the legalization of DACA – childhood arrival of immigrants. And finally, there remains a focus on student outcomes in national accreditation. We must be ready with the data to provide evidence that our students are successful.

Let’s look at the priorities for community colleges in Oregon. The Oregon President’s Council has prioritized improving student success in Oregon through a continued focus on delivery of an education system through an equity lens; developing a common data set to define student success; support of redesigns of curricula that follow the Guided Pathways model and redesigns to developmental education; improving transfer rates; promotion of the 40-40-20 initiative for new high school graduates with the goal that 40% of all high school graduates will attain an associate degree, 40% will attain a baccalaureate degree and the remaining 20% will obtain their high school diploma. At the state level, we all want to improve affordability of a college education through sustaining the Oregon Promise, building online educational resources and reducing financial barriers to completion. We want to improve adult goal attainment- through career and technical training, support leadership development and succession planning and create a data base that will track students from high school through college completion.

What about our priorities here at Lane? We are very fortunate to have a Board of Education that believes in putting students first through the delivery of an educational program through an equity lens that is focused on three priorities:

  1. Student Success through goal attainment measured by degree and certificate completion rates, transfer rates, skill attainment, persistence, employability, personal enrichment.
  2. Affordability and Accessibility with a focus on access, equity and inclusion; removing barriers to success; and creation of a premier online education program.
  3. Establish Lane Community College as a Regional Economic Force by working with business and industry, K-12 and colleges and universities to develop seamless education and training programs that prepare graduates for careers in high wage, hide demand fields.

So how will we define student success? We will track completion of our first time, full time graduates not only after 3 years, but at 6 years, since so many of our students need to take longer because of work and personal life challenges. We will also measure the completion of our students taking skills courses and career certificates. We want to measure and improve our success in transferring students to four year colleges and universities, and we will work with our local universities to strengthen those partnerships to encourage seamless transitions. We will measure success for every student by their own standard of personal enrichment goals. Most important, we will define success by our ability to meet our accreditation standards and celebrate the quality of our academic program.

So what are the priorities that will drive my work plan this year? My overarching priority will be to support the college community as it rallies to measure, benchmark, and report its outcomes while delivering a quality education through an equity lens. In order to help our students be successful in transfer, I plan to prioritize developing and updating transfer agreements with Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and regional colleges and universities. I plan to prioritize completion and inspire students to finish what they start! I plan to work with the college community to prioritize career awareness, job placement and employment; and focus on reducing barriers to admission, registration and retention- across the college. Together, we will focus on college readiness by working with superintendents from K-12 to bring more courses to the high schools, offer summer academies and accelerate students through developmental education. I am most enthusiastic to support our faculty in enhancing our online offerings to create a Center for Excellence in Online Education at Lane.

To improve access and affordability, we will work together to increase the number of online courses and programs offered at Lane, to continue to provide reliable childcare, transportation, food service; and improve access for special populations – particularly our veterans, who deserve our attention in providing an accessible and affordable education. We will work with our high schools to expand courses offered at the high school and credits earned for prior learning. On campus, we need to examine what we offer and when we offer it so that we are accessible to the working adult. We need to maintain the lowest tuition and fees that we can and continue to raise funds for scholarships, emergency funds and support programs.

In order to establish our reputation as a Regional Economic Force, I plan to work with local Chambers of Commerce, business and industry to identify what high wage jobs are in demand now and in the future. We want to improve our responsiveness to the business and industry community by partnering with manufacturing, timber, health care and incoming industries to develop grants that will support workforce training. These companies will need us to offer a robust online education program that will be accessible to the working adult, and we will need them to sit on our advisory committees to ensure our offerings are cutting edge and meeting the needs of the employer.

I have shared with you what I feel are the national priorities, state priorities and the priorities of our Board. I have provided you what my goals/work plan are based on these priorities. So now, I ask you, what are your priorities?

If you are in the classroom, you can make a difference. Will you prioritize getting to know your students? Letting them get to know you? Will you prioritize helping students use resources on campus? What will be you priority on your first day? Most educators will agree that students’ first impression of you will be one of the most influential factors in their success in your class.

If you work in Student Affairs, what will you prioritize? You are the bridge between the classroom and success for these students. Sometimes you will be their lifeline. Will you prioritize putting students first in every decision made in your unit? Will you be a role model in your department for putting student completion as your top priority?

If you work in College Operations, what will you prioritize? Will you prioritize access and affordability? Will you continue to prioritize the safety of our students and the employees? Will you do everything possible to make this campus a warm, welcoming place? Will you ensure that the first impression every student forms here will be one that makes them want to come back?

For everyone else at Lane—every position is vital in supporting students and the community. I similarly challenge you to put students first in your decision making.

I asked our Board this summer, “What do we want to be known for at Lane?”
Everyone agreed that they want Lane to be known as the college that prioritizes student success. All of us agree that we want to be the college that puts student success first. We want to be the college that removes barriers to completion, provides a safe, welcoming place for students to explore their identity in the world, that is courageous enough to use outcomes data as evidence that we are doing what we say we are doing and that demonstrates that students are learning. We want to be the college that fosters collaboration and teamwork to come to decisions; and we want to be that school where students finish what they start. So I ask you, where do you fit into this puzzle called LCC? How will your puzzle piece make a difference and what piece of the puzzle will you fill in to transform lives at Lane?

I would like to thank you for your time and attention this morning, and I would like to close with an inspirational video of a graduation speech given by Denzel Washington last May. He challenges us to put life in perspective and to be the force that helps students. Please enjoy this clip.

Thank you for sharing your time with me this morning. My challenge to you today is to be the force. Be the person that turns a life around this year. Be that person that makes a difference in removing barriers to completion and be the person that helps create a campus where students want to return, to complete and be successful.