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Candidate Q&A

SANTA FE, N.M. — 1. Why are you running for Santa Fe Community College’s governing board?

2. What do you see as the most important issue or issues facing SFCC today?

The election for two new members to six-year terms on the Santa Fe Community College governing board will be held Tuesday, March 5.


Jeffrey J. Case Ph.D.

Age: 66

Education: Ph.D. and M.A. in education, B.S. in social sciences, all from Michigan State University.

Occupation: Community volunteer

Previous political positions held or community service: Since 2007 treasurer of the SFCC Grow Foundation; member of the SFCC Presidential Search Committee; board of directors, Council on International Relations; chair of the Student/Faculty Committee; faculty member for 30 years at Lansing Community College; president of The Bookmart a retail textbook store, 14 years

1. I want to make SFCC available and affordable for all Santa Feans. I possess the depth, knowledge, and first-hand experience of community colleges and the larger community to bring an exceptional learning environment. I bring a solid academic and business background, experience in sound financial planning and budgets, and a focus on student retention and graduation to the board.

2. The most important issue is the HEC center. It will make four and six year undergraduate and graduate degree programs available and affordable to all Santa Feans. This is a new opportunity so I urge the community to remember that education is the best investment you can make and that now is the best time to invest in yourself.

Kathy (Kathleen) Keith

Age: 42

Education: B.A.s in journalism and political science, Texas Tech, Lubbock.

Occupation: Executive director, Regional Development Corporation (not-for-profit economic development organization)

Previous political positions held or community service: City of Santa Fe Business and Quality of Life Committee, immediate past president and current vice-president; Tesuque Elementary PTA director; New Mexico Economic and Community Development, board chair; New Mexico Job Training Incentive Program.

1. I believe the college is a tremendous asset that can play a strong role in growing Santa Fe’s economy. My professional background is in economic development. At a time when the President has challenged our country to rebuild our economy with community colleges playing a key role, I believe my background will add a diverse voice to the board.

2. Student success. Only 6 percent of students currently complete programs. How do we ensure that every student at the college completes a certificate, degree or gets the training they need to advance in their career? Economic Development. Let’s give students the foundation they need to pursue a good job or to start their own business in Santa Fe.

Francis (Frank) J. Renz, Ph.D.

Age: 67

Education: BA in psychology, St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia, Pa.; MS in psychology, Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.; Ph.D. in educational administration, The University of Texas in Austin, 1983.

Occupation: Retired community college professional and now on contract with a national community college initiative, Achieving the Dream, as a leadership coach for eight colleges in four states.

Previous political positions held or community service: As part of my work as the executive director of the NM Association of Community Colleges from 1991-2006, I lobbied for community college policy and funding priorities for the state’s community colleges. Also, served on Gov. Richardson’s task force on higher education reform; fundraising for KFSR public radio; volunteer work for Southwest Care Center; Big Brother Organization volunteer; volunteer for Animal Humane Society; Tax Help NM volunteer and campaign volunteer in the 2012 national and state elections.

1. I want to serve on the SFCC board because it has a critical role in establishing the future direction of the college. What I have to offer is my knowledge and expertise having worked over 30 years mostly in New Mexico in various community college professional positions at the local and state level and now nationally as a leadership coach.

2. I see several issues facing SFCC today and in the future. First and foremost is getting more students to complete their educational goals and credentials. Secondly is maintaining affordable access and expanding opportunities (to include through the new Higher Education Center) while supporting higher salaries and other critical operations in an uncertain funding environment and changing funding formula.

Thomas D. Whitson Ph.D.

Age: 69

Education: B.S., M.S and Ph.D.

Occupation: Retired university professor

Previous political positions or community service: Northwest College Agricultural Advisory Board, Park County Planning and Zoning Commission, volunteer docent at El Rancho de los Golondrinas, St. John’s UMC Food Pantry

1. My career was spent in academic endeavors promoting education/learning. My experience and interest in higher education will enable me to make a difference for SFCC by joining board colleagues, administrators, faculty, staff and students to continue the good work of the college by participating in the programming, public relations, budgeting, and academic decisions.

2. Student retention and graduation rates are a continuing concern for SFCC. Secondly, faculty salaries need to be addressed to retain the best possible teachers. We must continue to be advocates for the college to continue to promote relationships with the community, local businesses and high schools.

 

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