While there is still room for improvement with Nevada’s community colleges, it seems Chancellor Dan Klaich is making progress toward a more efficient and effective system. He recently announced the appointment of Frank Woodbeck to lead the Nevada Community College Collaborative. From what I understand, Woodbeck will focus his energies on enhancing the colleges’ roles in economic development and streamlining services that can be shared among the institutions. To me, seeking efficiencies through collaboration under one system makes more sense than creating four new ones as SB 391 is designed to advocate.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
It’s no secret I’ve had issues with the Board of Regents in the past. They are, however, in the best position to make sure the community colleges work in partnership with each other and Nevada State College, UNLV and UNR. At one point, Nevada students had problems getting their community college courses transferred to the university. The Board of Regents put an end to that because they were all in one governance system. Students can now seamlessly transfer between community colleges and our four-year institutions. What will happen when you have four local governing boards competing with one another? Certainly nothing that will benefit the students.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Does taking four community colleges from one governance system and putting them into four separate ones sound like an efficient move? It doesn’t to me. Creating four new governing boards, business centers, payroll systems and so forth doesn’t sound like a move that would be made by any competent business leader. SB 391 is a political solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Look at other states that have reformed higher education governance structures. It’s typically very controversial, takes a lot of political capital to accomplish, disrupts college operations, sets back progress and in the end produces no evidence of improved economic development, job placement or student success.
Friday, April 25, 2014
While the current governance model needs improvement, it does not need to be dismantled and started over by putting the community colleges under local government control. For starters, how would they pay for the buildings, faculty, staff and millions of dollars of associated expenses? Then there would also be new levels of bureaucracy and overhead added to local government to manage the community colleges. Who pays for this bright idea? You and I and the students. I would love to see local funding for community colleges in addition to state support, but in our environment the only way this could be accomplished is to add new taxes or raise tuition. Anyone with common sense can tell you this makes no sense for taxpayers or students.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
What is driving this move to put Nevada’s community colleges under local control? It’s the same old story. Power. There are certain elected officials and business leaders pushing this agenda, not to help students, but to help their political careers. Putting CSN under the control of the City of North Las Vegas is like letting your broke friend manage your bank accounts. It makes no sense and provides no benefit to students.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
When I was chancellor, I explored local funding as a way to provide additional support for the community colleges. Long story short, there was no appetite from local governments to take on the additional financial and management burdens. It doesn’t take an MBA from Harvard to figure out that putting community colleges under the control of financially challenged local governments is a bad idea.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
In the 2013 legislative session, legislators created the SB 391 committee to examine the governance structure of Nevada’s four community colleges which are part of an eight-institution system including two universities, one college and an environment research institute. The committee’s purported goal is to look at the feasibility of putting the community colleges in a new governance system where they would be taken away from the Board of Regents and put under local city and county control. Is it a sensible move? Or a power grab? How on earth does this benefit the students?
Monday, April 21, 2014
Community colleges play an important role in Nevada. They not only provide an affordable entryway to a college degree, they train the next generation of workers in critical healthcare, technology and vocational fields. Nevada’s four community colleges, the College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows College and Western Nevada College, currently serve more than 55,000 students. These colleges are in a centralized system governed by the Nevada Board of Regents to create efficiencies and ensure collaboration with Nevada State College, UNLV and UNR. So, why is there a move by the Legislature to tear the colleges apart?