New president shares new ideas to avoid the burn of state budget cuts

College President Timothy Stokes speaks for the first time to open forum meeting attendees in efforts to clarify some college changes that are going to take place in the following year. Photo by Mollie McLellan

New college President Timothy Stokes and the president’s staff discussed South Puget Sound Community College’s technology, revenue, and development of the Rowesix property at the winter quarter All Campus Meeting and Open Forum in mid February. It was the first All Campus Meeting that the new college president attended.

Stokes said he plans to advance SPSCC’s technology, as well as to expand the learning support services offered to maintain and gain enrollment. He said diversifying SPSCC’s revenue sources is also crucial because the state reduced its operating budget, which reduces SPSCC’s budget.

“We have to find additional sources of revenue to sustain general operations and to serve students better with technology, better salaries for faculty & staff, and new programs,” said Stokes.

Stokes said that keeping enrollment in the college is important, when SPSCC becomes less dependent on state funding, tuition money funds more of SPSCC operations. Stokes said if enrollment rates lower, there is less revenue to fund programs and student services.

He wants to look into hiring a professional grant writer to help diversify the revenue SPSCC has. The writer would secure grant money by developing proposals and applying for grants.

Vice President for Administrative Services Nancy McKinney said development of the Rowesix property in Lacey should be complete in 2015. SPSCC purchased the property to develop as another campus. According to McKinney, there are five buildings and 292 parking stalls. The largest building is 48,589 square feet.

During the open forum, Professor David Hyde asked Stokes about the governance model Stokes planned to use as the college president. Stokes said he wants to have a more inclusive and structured model to have staff and faculty involvement.

“A college is a diffused power structure, and we’re all a team. We have to work together to get things done,” said Stokes, “We have a lot of work to do. Higher education is changing, and it will take all of us to shape the future of the college.”

Professor Kathryn Clancy, Faculty Senate president, said she is very encouraged and excited about Stokes. She said Stokes had great ideas for the meeting during the planning process with faculty and staff, and they implemented them. Clancy said Stokes shortened the agenda, which allowed more time for questions during the open forum portion of the meeting.

“I think the increase in open forum time makes communication more open and easier,” said Clancy.

Stokes said he felt the meeting went well, and that everyone was very welcoming.