Now that summer is in full swing, things are quieter on some fronts and busy as ever on others.
Last week we had an exciting visit from the secretary of state for Scotland -- a "first" for us!
I was honored to welcome the Right Honorable David Mundell, who serves as the Scotland Secretary of State. Karen Bell, consul general from Houston, accompanied the Secretary, along with other staff members from Scotland and the United Kingdom.
Secretary Mundell visited the LeCroy Center and Richland College as part of his efforts to forge new links between our colleges in Dallas and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Richland College currently has a transfer agreement with RGU for students who are interested in earning a bachelor's degree in international business after they earn an associate degree from DCCCD.
I told the Secretary how proud we are of Richland's partnership with Robert Gordon University. I also told him, when our other colleges are ready, that we will reach across the globe and establish more partnerships, including a program in information technology.
As you know, we want to help our graduates who, in turn, will help businesses and our communities become successful. In a global economy, this type of cooperation and collaboration is critical to economic growth and workforce development. One of our goals is to meet those needs.
We enjoyed hosting our guests from "across the pond," and they enjoyed visiting the Motion Capture Lab at Richland after we talked to RGU officials by Skype at the LeCroy Center.
I want to thank all of the administrators, faculty, students and staff members at Richland, LeCroy and the District Office who made Secretary Mundell's visit both valuable and memorable.
Providing well-trained employees for the workforce also was a message we shared with our DCCCD board of trustees on Tuesday during this month's work session. DCCCD, through our workforce development division, continues with plans to launch the Minority Small Business Innovation Cultivator at the Bill J. Priest Institute.
Making this new center successful also involves a unique partnership with the Dallas Black Chamber, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber, and the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber.
DCCCD has the business and workforce resources that these chambers need. The three chambers, in turn, have more than 4,000 members. As partners, we can reach several thousand Dallas-area small businesses. This collaborative effort, through DCCCD's new Minority Small Business Innovation Cultivator, can contribute significantly to the economic success of small business.
On Tuesday, before the afternoon work session, our new trustee for District 2, Phil Ritter, was sworn in by our Board Chair, Charlotte Compton.
We welcome Trustee Ritter to the board. He is passionate about DCCCD, higher education and workforce development.
As you know, a run-off election for seats in Districts 3 and 4 will be held on Saturday, June 18th. That's just a week from tomorrow. Early voting started this week.
In District 3, voters will choose between Dorothy Zimmermann and Tommy Reed. Voters also will cast ballots that day to choose between District 4 candidates Monica Lira Bravo and Martha Jo Talbot.
Although we all have gone to the polls for numerous elections this spring, it's important for you to return to the ballot booth on June 18th and vote in the run-off.
Initial reports show that early voting numbers are extremely low.
You've heard me say this already: your vote is important. Please encourage your neighbors and friends to vote, too. Every vote counts.
I also want to thank Trustees Jerry Prater and Bill Metzger for their years of service and dedication to our students as they prepare to leave the board.
Speaking of farewells...we learned last week that Dr. Fernando Figueroa, our vice chancellor for educational policy, has been selected president of Gateway Community and Technical College in northern Kentucky.
I want to congratulate Dr. Figueroa on his appointment, and we all wish him the best as he takes a new path in his career. We know the students and employees at Gateway will welcome his leadership and experience.
As you know, a change in leadership is under way at Cedar Valley College, too. The presidential search process is moving forward quickly.
With assistance from our search firm, we were pleased to consider more than 50 applications from individuals who are dynamic, diverse, and excited to work toward a strong future for the college.
Members of the executive team and I have interviewed 11 of those candidates. Rigorous background checks and references have been completed, and four individuals have now been confirmed as finalists. They are:
Dr. Sharon Davis – vice president of business services at Mountain View College;
Dr. Thomas Newsom – president of Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari, New Mexico;
Dr. Robert Riza – president of Clarendon College in Clarendon, Texas; and
Dr. Joseph Seabrooks Jr. – president of Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley in Kansas City, Missouri.
Each of these outstanding candidates will be engaging in campus and community forums at Cedar Valley next week.
I hope to be able to make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees at our June 29 board meeting.
Thank you for the contributions you make at so many levels for the success of our district and our students. Have a great weekend, and we'll talk again soon.