11 Oct 2017 Board Report by Trustee Leslie Beggs
(Not quite verbatim, but close enough)



Since the September Board meeting, I attended:



1. The Harvest Luncheon @ The Ace Pavillion on West Campus

2. The Meet & Greet for Chancellor Yong in the PMAC Lobby on Sept. 21st.

3. The North Valley Convening (organized by The Opportunity Institute) on Sept. 22nd in the Mary Stuart Rogers Center. This was a gathering of law enforcement officers and representatives from college districts who came together to discuss ways to facilitate college success for formerly incarcerated students. Three such students sat on a panel and shared their stories: what got them into trouble and what was significant in changing the negative trajectory of their lives. One of the goals was to forge concrete contacts between colleges and parole/probation officers. It was a promising start and I look forward to hearing about further developments. That was the morning.

4. That afternoon from 2-3, the 2nd Meet & Greet for Chancellor Yong, at Central Services.

5. The Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) Annual Fall School Boards Dinner on Sept. 28th. (Informative presentation on cyberbullying.)

6. The accreditors’ interviews of trustees on Oct. 2nd. Chair DeMartini & I were interviewed by three waves of accreditation team members — I think we met nearly all of them.

7. Both Open Forums on the the 3rd and 4th, plus the Full Accreditation Team’s Exit Interview on October 5th.

8. The funeral service for Dr. Kimberly Kennard on October 6th, whom I had known for many years. It was a great tribute — many people, including several MJC students, spoke about the huge positive impact she had on their lives.

9. Also on the 6th, I attended the crowning event of Diversity Week in Stanislaus County. As the Chair of the Stanislaus County Equal Rights Commission, I welcomed everyone to the Annual Dale Butler Equal Rights Award presentation. It’s always an honor for the commissioners to choose the winners from among the great candidates nominated every year, and it’s also an honor to serve on that commission with two other people affiliated with YCCD: Judy Martinez and Trustee Jon Rodriguez.

10. My first MJC Foundation meeting. It was nice to see an old friend there and some familiar faces too, and learn about the great work the Foundation is doing for MJC students.

12. My monthly trustee confab at Camp 4. (I mentioned that we saw two administrators out on the Camp 4 patio and invited them to join us next time.)

13. A couple of meetings with Chancellor Yong, too.



All in all, a very full month.
...

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11 Oct 2017 Board Report by Trustee Leslie Beggs — not verbatim, but close enough.



Since the September Board meeting, I attended:



1. The Harvest Luncheon @ The Ace Pavillion on West Campus

2. The Meet & Greet for Chancellor Yong in the PMAC Lobby on Sept. 21st.

3. The North Valley Convening on Sept. 22nd in the Mary Stuart Rogers Center. This was a gathering of area law enforcement officers and representatives from college districts who came together to discuss ways to facilitate college success for formerly incarcerated students. Three such students sat on a panel and shared their stories: what got them into trouble and what was significant in changing the negative trajectory of their lives. One of the goals was to forge concrete contacts between colleges and parole/probation officers. It was a promising start and I look forward to hearing about further developments. That was the morning.

4. That afternoon from 2-3, the 2nd Meet & Greet for Chancellor Yong, at Central Services.

5. The Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE) Annual Fall School Boards Dinner on Sept. 28th. (Informative presentation on cyber bullying.)

6. The accreditors’ interviews of trustees on Oct. 2nd. Chair DeMartini & I were interviewed by three waves of accreditation team members — I think we met nearly all of them.

7. Both Open Forums on the the 3rd and 4th, plus the Full Accreditation Team’s Exit Interview on October 5th.

8. The funeral service for Dr. Kimberly Kennard on October 6th, whom I had known for many years. It was a great tribute — many people, and many MJC students, spoke about the huge positive impact she had on their lives.

9. Also on the 6th, I attended the crowning event of Diversity Week in Stanislaus County. As the Chair of the Stanislaus County Equal Rights Commission, I welcomed everyone to the Annual Dale Butler Equal Rights Award presentation. It’s always an honor for the commissioners to choose the winners from among the great candidates nominated every year, and it’s also an honor to serve on that commission with two other people affiliated with YCCD: Judy Martinez and Trustee Jon Rodriguez.

10. My first MJC Foundation meeting. It was nice to see an old friend there and some familiar faces too, and learn about the great work the Foundation is doing for MJC students.

12. My monthly trustee confab at Camp 4. (I mentioned that we saw two MJC administrators out on the Camp 4 patio and invited them to join us next time.)

13. A couple of meetings with Chancellor Yong, too.



All in all, a very full month.
...

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Dear YCCD community:

As a trustee candidate in Area 6, I promised that I would hold frequent "office hours" (see below for my responses to questions from former Bee reporter Nan Austin). My next confab will be Monday, October 9, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., at a NEW location: Camp 4, located at 1508 10th Street (@ 10th & Needham). I’ve reserved some tables in The Annex, Camp 4’s back room. Former trustee Paul Neumann held frequent "office hours," and I’m honored to continue his tradition of providing an avenue for casual and open conversation. Please consider this an open invitation to ALL employees, students, and community members.

In making decisions, I am not only data-driven, but people-driven as well. I want to hear what students, staff, and faculty (full-time and adjunct), think about where we are and where we’re going, so that my votes on issues before us are as informed as possible. At the same time, as one trustee among seven, I cannot make any promise beyond that I will LISTEN and take any ideas or viewpoints back to the chancellor and board for possible further discussion.

I hope that if you’re free Monday afternoon between 4 and 6, you’ll stop by and visit. And if you can't make it -- or even if you can -- please always feel free to email me at lesliebeggs@att.net

Cheers,

~Leslie Beggs
Trustee, Area 6
Yosemite Community College District

Excerpted from The Modesto Bee's questions to prospective YCCD trustees:

1) What do you see as the top issue of this race?
. . . A community college encompasses students, staff, faculty, and the larger community: Trustees should listen to all those constituency groups firsthand, rather than allow these voices to be filtered through the chancellor or other executives. It's too easy for top administrators to control and shape the flow of information to the board, resulting in a clear disconnect between the board and other stakeholders . . .

2) What qualities do you feel you would bring to the board?
I will work to bring transparency to the decision-making process, and to create an institutional culture which genuinely values the free and open exchange of ideas for everyone: students, employees, and our community. If I am elected I will hold frequent "office hours," open to anyone, to hear firsthand the views of those affected by board decisions. I will insist that critics be treated with respect, not retaliated against, whether I personally agree or disagree with their views. I'll research issues carefully, provide even-handed analysis, and do my best to be fair and thorough. I am passionate about creating a college environment in which faculty and staff feel appreciated and respected, and where student achievement is our foremost goal. I will provide an independent voice on the board -- a voice for transparent, ethical stewardship.
...

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Cyberbullying presentation at the Annual Fall School Boards Dinner, Stanislaus County Office of Education. ...

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YCCD Board Report by Trustee Leslie Beggs
13 September 2017

Since the last board meeting on 09 August 2017, I have attended:

1. A welcome reception for Chancellor Yong and his family hosted by Trustee Anne DeMartini on August 14th.

2. The MJC Scholarship Awards Ceremony on August 17th at the Mary Stuart Rogers building. (Over 750,000$ or so was distributed, thanks to our MJC Foundation and its generous donors!)

3. The Classified Staff Appreciation Breakfast, held out in the agriculture quad area, with omelets cooked to order by administrators. Another great kick-off event for the year.

4. The “Great American Eclipse Event” on Monday, August 21st at the Science Community Center on the MJC West Campus. There were long lines for the two telescopes — wonderful turnout.

5. The Adjunct Faculty Orientation and Pizza Dinner on Thursday, August 24th, in the Library Basement. It was well-done and I suspect, very helpful to both new and returning adjuncts.

6. Institute Day on Friday, August 25th, in the Performing Arts Auditorium.

7. The Board Study Session on August 28th, from 10 a.m. – 12 noon in which we chose our Board Special Priorities.

8. The Policy & Procedures Standing Committee Meeting on Sept 11th, from 12:30 – 2ish.

9. My own Donuts & Dialogue confab on Sept 11th. As always, had a great time chatting with everyone who dropped in.
...

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Yosemite Community College District survey

Leslie answers Nan Austin's questions for all prospective trustees

1. What do you see as the top issue of this race?  
 
I think most of the current board have lost sight of their duty to conduct oversight, and instead have become cheerleaders for the top executives.   A community college encompasses students, staff, faculty, and the larger community: Trustees should listen to all those constituency groups firsthand, rather than allow these voices to be filtered through the chancellor or other executives. It's too easy for top administrators to control and shape the flow of information to the board, resulting in a clear disconnect between the board and other stakeholders.  While lip service is given to “participatory governance," there is often a sense that decisions are made before the board meetings open, and also that board members have been pre-conditioned to discount certain speakers or groups before they even present their views.
 
2. What qualities do you feel you would bring to the board?
 
I will work to bring transparency to the decision-making process, and to create an institutional culture which genuinely values the free and open exchange of ideas for everyone: students, employees, and our community.  If I am elected I will hold frequent "office hours," open to anyone, to hear firsthand the views of those affected by board decisions. I will insist that critics be treated with respect, not retaliated against, whether I personally agree or disagree with their views.  I'll research issues carefully, provide even-handed analysis, and do my best to be fair and thorough.  I am passionate about creating a college environment in which faculty and staff feel appreciated and respected, and where student achievement is our foremost goal. I will provide an independent voice on the board -- a voice for transparent, ethical stewardship.
 
3. If you work for the YCCD, what moved you to run and what is your occupational plan if elected?  
 
There are several reasons I was motivated to run, but I suppose the primary mover was my dismay when I opened Facebook one day and saw a viral video of an MJC student being prevented from passing out Constitutions on Constitution Day.  The rationale for this restriction was that the student had not properly petitioned in advance to use a tiny designated "free speech" area.  I opposed that affront to the First Amendment, wrote a column in the Bee against it, and continued to play a role in the effort that ultimately got the policy overturned.  However, the micromanaging mindset which clung to the original policy as long as possible is clearly still operative here.
 
As for my occupational plan if elected, I will continue my private piano studio, and hopefully get back to some of my favorite hobbies: gardening, dance, and writing.
 
4. The district has invested in Student Success initiatives. What is your view of these efforts and are there any changes you would like to see explored?  
 
I am not teaching this semester, so although I attended a few meetings early in the roll-out of the success initiative, I would have to study the documents much more thoroughly than I have time for now in order to make a judgement.  In general, however, initiatives from the state usually come with lots of money, so they tend to garner great enthusiasm.  What's not clear is if they work -- and considering all the initiatives that have come before this one, the odds are not good.  The percentage of students who enter our college and place into below-college-level math and English classes is huge -- and the percentage of students in those remedial classes who go on to transfer to a four-year college is terribly small.  
 
If a student arrives here after twelve years of education reading at, say,  a fourth-grade level, we should question if we are choosing the best possible life path for that student by encouraging him or her to aim for a four-year degree.  For too many, it is an endless treadmill to a nowhere destination.    We needlessly demoralize some of our students who take courses over and over again but still have trouble completing the core requirements.  Our goal should be to help each student reach his or her own highest potential, whatever that may be, and develop the skills needed for transfer or meaningful employment.  If this particular initiative works, however, and increases student success in vocational and/or academic programs -- without grade inflation -- I'm all for it.
 
 
5. What needs in your geographic district will you advocate for if elected?  
 
Because unemployment is high in our area, I would advocate for forging partnerships with local businesses who are having trouble finding qualified employees, developing programs that meet their needs. Internships in those businesses would also give our students valuable real-world experience in the fields they are interested in, not to mention deepen their ties to our own community.
 
I think the students from my area might also benefit if we worked more closely with high school teachers in the core areas of math and English to better prepare students to be successful at college, while they're still in high school.  As university costs rise and graduates leave with an ever-larger debt burden, we need to make the case for our colleges as a terrific way to get an excellent, yet affordable, education.