Notes from the June 2014 Meeting of the Board of Trustees
The June 19, 2014 Board of Trustees meeting was held in Freehold. If you have not visited the Freehold campus lately I encourage you to do so – it has undergone a transformation. In fall 2014, over 1900 students took over 13K credits; new students will soon be able to complete their English, Psychology and Criminal Justice options there. There will be hybrid learning communities in ENG 122, PSYC 106, and SPCH 115 in spring 2015, and other innovative programs under consideration include post-bachelors certificates for students entering medical or law school. The parking lots have been upgraded; new windows are being installed (finally!); the Scroll and Pen Bookstore has a permanent location and is now selling Rutgers merchandise as well. There is a Paddock Café and new signs. The staffing continues to evolve under the able leadership of Dean Dave Stout, and it is thrilling to see that location realizing the promise of the fully functioning campus envisioned many years ago. Kudos to the many folks who help realize this dream and who work daily to continue to improve our student experience at ALL our locations.
The Board held an executive session prior to the Workshop meeting where we discussed the Administrative Association’s ratification of their contract and the anticipated Professional Staff Association’s ratification, the Police department’s reorganization, and a new lease for the second floor of the Neptune Higher Education Center. I briefed the Board on the Cabinet’s work over the past few weeks (a BOT version of my Thursday Transition Updates). With the revised FY15Budget on the agenda for approval, there was much discussion about the unknowns facing the college financially, and how we’re working to redesign our college to serve students efficiently and effectively. The Board reinforced their request to me to see preliminary plans for balancing our budget this September. Sorry, Cabinet members – this will NOT be a restful summer.
In the Workshop, Trustee Karcher asked the Board to respond to him asap on their thoughts on my evaluation; he also emphasized that all Board members should attend two special Board meetings scheduled on July 22 and August 11 to discuss the Board’s self-evaluation and goals for the next year. His comment, “The President and Cabinet are poised to take some giant steps for Brookdale; I want to make sure our Board is totally engaged which means we all have to move a little bit faster and more consistently in the same direction,” resonated with the Board members.
Trustee DiBella reviewed the Finance items on the agenda which included the monthly financial report, purchases, one change order (for more information kiosks at Lincroft – go VP Lawrence!) and several important FY15 Budgets, notably – Auxiliary Services and Event Management (this budget will be revised Fall14, anticipating a reorganization); the Associated Students of Brookdale Community College (ASBCC) (big shout out to the Student Life staff who assist the students in developing this budget), and the revised FY15 Operating and Capital Budget. Numerous changes have affected the FY15 budget since January 2014 – personnel retirements and resignations, increases to contractual obligations, and health benefit and pension costs. This budget will see a significant revision in October 2014, following the realignment and reorganization recommendations we’re currently drafting for college review in September. The Board also discussed shared services with the County of Monmouth, and unanimously expressed their support for the expansion of our lease in Neptune. I look forward to great things happening in Neptune.
Trustees Abby-White and Jones updated the Board on the Policy and Education Committee meeting held June 9, 2014. They spoke glowingly of the presentation by Professor Cathy Goode and Assistant Professor Marlena Frank on the counselors’ online advising program. They recommended the Board approve three Board Policies revised to ensure the college’s compliance with the Violence against Women Act, the SaVE provision; and the discontinuance of the Humanities AA Speech Communication Option and the Credit Certificates in Horticulture, Floral Design and Landscape Design. Student interest in these options is not what it used to be; however, a Communications Disorder option instituted in 2013 has proven popular, and Business and Community Development continue to offer courses in horticulture.
The Consent Agenda was reviewed and all items were then approved in the Public Meeting.
The Public Meeting was a bittersweet one; the presentation by Professors Kathleen Kennedy and Associate Professor Marie Maber, with student Rachelle Miller, on the 2014 Collage was a joyous celebration of the talents and enthusiasm of our students and faculty. The award-winning Collage is an excellent example of the powerful partnerships between our faculty and our students and has proven an excellent portfolio piece for everyone involved.
The Board unanimously approved the Administrative Association contract. Our collective experience in Interest Based Bargaining (IBB) has proven a success, with honest discourse leading all involved to a deeper understanding of just how complex our college and our relationships within it, are. I hope to announce similar news concerning the Professional Staff Association contract which is scheduled for a ratification vote by members on June 26, 2014; the Executive Committee of the Board has pledged to approve it when it is presented to them in July at a special meeting.
And last but not least, it was sad to bid a fond farewell to Dr. Webster Trammell, Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Community Relations, and Barbara Brennan, who has served three different Presidents in her role as Queen Bee and Keeper of the President’s Calendar, or whatever her title is! Both had very kind words to say about their time with Brookdale, and both will be very much missed.
Karyn Arnold enthusiastically acknowledged her colleagues in the Administrative Association and the great work they do, specifically Mary Ehret, Stephanie Fitzsimmons, Tim Zeiss, Laurie Salka, Kelly Parr, Janice Thomas, Richard Morales-Wright, Cheryl Cummings, Shannon Ventre, Shawn Noel, Bruce Marich, Carl Wiltsee, Katie Shea, Kristin Worthley, and Reve Anderko. Karyn also thanked us for providing the opportunity for Allison Fitzpatrick and herself to travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the 2014 Leaders Institute of the American Association of Women in Community Colleges, and announced that she was re-elected for a second two-year term as President of BCCAA. I couldn’t be more pleased.
Change is as much an opportunity as a disrupter, and we need to keep our focus. We are transforming our college to serve our students now and into the future. That is the reason. The occasion is our budget deficit. We have the best people, who have the talent to do the work, and we are at a defining moment in Brookdale’s history. All of us must continue to work in concert: the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and staff.
Enjoy these summer days.