Overview of Issue 24

Article By: 

Ed Shenk, Editor  
With close to 40 years in educational administration and graduate education, Dr. Ed Shenk, the iJournal editor,  has been a highly visible leader within California Student Services for many years. Dr. Shenk joined the faculty of the Shirley M. Hufstedler School of Education for Alliant International University in 2005-06 as an Associate professor and program Director. Teaching in the Doctoral program for Educational Leadership and Management, Dr. Shenk focuses on leadership, finance and student personnel administration.  The program will be launching a three year program of mixed on line and on ground courses in 2010-11. As a Program Director for the San Francisco Bay Campus, professionals interested in applying for this expedited doctorate in higher education with a professional practice approach may contact him at eshenk@alliant.edu

     Dr. Shenk served as Vice President of Student Services at Napa Valley College for 30 years and retired in 2005.  He was on the executive board of California Community College Chief Student Services Administrators Association for fourteen years and president in 1991-92. Having a special interest in leadership and professional development, Dr. Shenk was instrumental in initiating the Student Services Training Institute in 1991, in which hundreds of California student services professionals have participated. An active member in NASPA since 1994, he was recognized as the Outstanding Dean in NASPA’s Region 6 in 2002.   He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Napa County Hispanic Network in 2002 and was the Network President for 2006-08. 
     Dr. Shenk received a B.A. in History and an M.P.A. in Public Administration from San Diego State University.  He earned his Ed.D. in Higher Education from the University of Oregon. His dissertation focused on the Impacts of Proposition 13 on the Missions of the California Community Colleges.  He is a frequent facilitator, consultant,  trainer, and speaker at local colleges and for statewide and national organizations. He can be reached at editor@ijournal.us


      With the severe impact of budget cuts this year and plans for more cuts in 2010-11, our writers in this Winter Edition propose approaches tha will:  stretch the budget dollar through new ideas to ponder; improve one's approach to online education through high touch; bring our awareness to a special  group of students; and, help us utilize online resources to provide training on Basic Skills Education. Additionally, there is book review on meaningful work and an End Note remembering Jack Bessire. The Staff Develpoment section has been updated with upcoming Community College events of interest.

      Thus, our writers in this edition initiate some pushback on the budget impacts and provide some hope for the future. We are pleased to have the Follett Higher Education Group as our sponsor for the 24th Edition of the iJournal who also has products and services to reduce textbooks costs for our students. Check it out!


            As April showers bring the hope of May flowers, we look for a light at the end of the tunnel in today’s devastating budget crisis.  The severe budget reductions that the public sector, particularly the educational sector, is struggling through in 2009-10 threaten to be just as severe for 2010-11. Yet, as our writers will show, there is some pushback to the claims that the end is near.
            Colleges throughout the country are redesigning the way programs and services are offered.  While budgets identify fiscal plans to sustain the institution, colleges are struggling to find a balanced budget, where declining revenues and expenses are equalized.  This effort is further challenged by an ever-increasing demand for higher education at all levels.  Colleges are using fewer staff to serve more students.  Reform pundits say you must play within the budget boundaries, but with the hue and cry for no new taxes and more efficiencies, one wonders how this can occur as demand goes up.  
            If this were a business model, we would either increase the price of the product or services or hire more staff based on the growing revenues resulting from the increased demand.  However, in public sector financing, that is not how it works. This is the short-term approach by the CSU and UC, who are increasing tuition to meet costs, hoping to reduce demand, while not impacting faculty or administrative salaries.  (They do intend to increase financial aid as the diversity numbers decrease and staff salaries are adjusted).  One wonders how these fee increases are not labeled a tax increase on students, especially poor students. While we consider license fees on cars as a tax, the political naysayers do not label the tuition fees as a tax. You wonder who loses more in this fee debate—highway maintenance or society.
            Yet, one role of education is to provide our society with a civilized citizenry that will take on the new jobs, develop the new I-pads, alter our environmental direction, conquer global warming, and develop into future enlightened political leaders.  The challenge to achieve this goal goes beyond simple efficiencies and tuition increases. We all benefit from an educated society.  We have a societal choice to seek better-funded social security and Medicare and an engaged citizenry who can transform today into a better tomorrow. It will take political will, enlightened leaders, and a sacrifice from our current taxpayers to make this change. This is a tall order in a time of great partisan division and a lack of civility by some news people, disaffected citizens, and political hacks.
         At this point, I would like to thank our sponor, Follett Higher Education Group, who agreed to sponsor the 24th Edition of the iJournal.  Follett released at the ACCA Conference in San Francisco in April, 2010, a textbook rental program, detailed in the “Follett Text Rental Kit” packet. This is very timely as our college communities are looking for relief from the high prices that students are being asked to pay for texts. This becomes another way to push back on the budget impact so contact Follett for more information.
         While the system may not make the changes over night, our writers in this issue provide several insights that may help college leaders move forward by pushing back on the budget impacts and making them work for us instead.  In our first article, Survive and Thrive in the Budget Cuts – a few ideas for kicks!, Jing Luan argues that, despite the historical fiscal crisis faced by California community colleges, college leaders should maintain a positive attitude and deploy strategies designed not only to survive the crisis but also to thrive in it. In our next article, Ghosts You Can See - The Impact of the California Budget Crisis on AB 540 Students, readers are asked by David McCabe to address some of those hardships to our California Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) students and offers recommendations that community colleges can implement to provide assistance. The next article asks college leaders to shift the approach to online education, as detailed by Kristen Betts and William Lynch.  In Online Education:  Meeting Educational and Workforce Needs through Flexible and Quality Degree Programs, college leaders will learn that online education provides higher education institutions with innovative opportunities to increase student access to flexible and quality degree programs.  Betts and Lynch acknowledge that educational attainment is linked to employment, career advancement, and increased earnings. Thus, it is critical that higher education institutions develop online degree program options to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population and the current and future needs of the workforce.
         In order to continue the superb effort colleges are making to improve Basic Skills Education (BSI), the Statewide Academic Senate has introduced an online resource. In Kathy Molloy’s article onIntroducing the Senate’s Online Resource List, she details how this list (informally known as “Workshops-To-Go”) uses the past successful presentations from BSI regional workshops. This service will allow colleges to create their own cost-effective workshops and tailor them to their individual needs. 
            In our book review section, Mark Meadows explains why Mindfulness and Meaningful Work:  Explorations in Right Livelihood can remind us that work can be a locale for self-development and growth.  The irony of reading these essays is that the more you look into the nature of work and our encounters with it, the more you come away with uncertainty about your current conceptions of work.
            In our End Note, we pay tribute to, Dr. Jack Bessire—A Life of Service to Students, a leader in community colleges and students services from the 1970s and 1980s before leading an agency to find future leaders for colleges in the state, in a remembrance penned by Grace Mitchell.
            Click on the Staff Develpoment and check out the upcoming events for community college leaders focusing on the Student Senate, Basic Skill Training and key NASPA conferences for next year.
            As always, the iJournal’s editorial board will consider articles focused on student services, collaboration with academic services, or other issues impacting community college education in California and throughout the nation. Book reviews are always welcome, as are any staff development activities after July 15.
             If you desire to submit an article, the article should be 500-2000 words in Word/HTML format using Times New Roman, 12pt font. The submission should also include an abstract, short bio and a picture of the author in .jpg format that is preferably no larger than 100 KB.  We cannot accept pictures larger than 200 KBs. Articles can be submitted to editor@ijournal.us or eshenk@alliant.edu . The submission deadline for the summer edition is June. 25, 2010.
             Comments and observations on the articles and theme are always welcome. Thank you for interest and support of the ijournal.

Ed Shenk, Editor