Saturday, November 01, 2008

My response to 10 questions posted by Nebraska's Voters Information Packet

Voters Information Packet

Summary goes here!

1. What has motivated you to seek this office? What do you hope to accomplish?

Having grown up with my kid and taught at community colleges, I am in the opinion that we can do much better with our education if we emphasize responsibility and, therefore, the accountability. Personally, I have nothing against Southeast community college. But I do believe I can provide different voice and ideas that foster the responsibility and, hopefully, those ideas will spread.

2. What do you see as your most valuable credential for this position? Please include biographical information you consider important for voters to know.

In general, I considered higher education an integrated part of the society. It connects the K12 system, the 4-year institutions and the workforce. I went through my graduate study at UNL and I taught electronics at community colleges. I wrote programs with hundreds of programmers and I then worked with civic engineers at Nebraska DOR. I later worked for the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education.
In summary, I understand the differences between a 4-year college and a 2-year college and I understand what it means to be a life long learner. I also understand the structure of the Nebraska Higher Education.

3. What would be your budget priorities? How would spend the money for the college more efficiently?

My highest priority will always be students’ learning. My goal is to see the institution to spend only on necessities but not luxuries. A fast Internet for learning is acceptable while an unlimited bandwidth to watch video is excessive. If we can’t manage services at a lower cost than commercial entities, we will use the services provided by commercial entities.

As long as the learning of students is not affected, I am open to any idea that can lower the operation cost. The idea can be the sharing of resources with other institutions. It can be the adoption of technologies. It can also be the structure changes of the institution. Personally, I believe there are doubts about structure changes, but I believe we can change it for the better.

4. What plans can you suggest to develop monetary support from sources other than taxes?

In addition to seek grant money, personally, I believe that you make money by providing services.

In an accountable system, appropriate resources should be allocated for each task assigned. Today, a lot of community colleges take up tasks that may or may not be covered by the state funding formula. It is therefore, only reasonable for community colleges to seek separate funding for these tasks. Communities can have says on what tasks is to be funded through taxes; for any other tasks, community colleges should have the freedom to pursue other funding initiatives or to charge for its services.

5. Describe your vision for the college, what is its niche? And therefore, what do you think are the biggest priorities for the college at this time?

In the state of Nebraska, the funding formula favors vocational education for community colleges. However, we do see more Nebraska students choosing community colleges as their step-stone for 4 year-colleges. The major reason is likely to be the low price of attending community colleges.
The increase of these students suggests what a responsible institution should do – lower the price by spending public’s money responsibly. By holding to the frugal spending standard, the community college will set a high standard for other institutions.

To continue attracting these students, we also need to improve the quality of our graduates. At this economic down turn, this is of particular importance since only the best-qualified graduates can compete in the tough market.

As I pointed out earlier, my goal is more than an institution. I would like to see Southeast Community College stand out as a model institution to inspire Nebraska’s higher education society. An institution along is not going to move the Nebraska forward and we need the whole Nebraska to secure our good life.

6. Each year, how would you assess your effectiveness as a governing board?

I do the best I can and let voter be the judge. As a board member, I will disclose everything I do concerning my board duty within the restriction of the law. I will defend my action. But voter will be the final judge. I will establish web access to keep contact with the society.

7. What policies would you support concerning keeping faculty (especially adjunct faculty) accountable?

This is a very good question and as I mentioned earlier that I am all about responsibility. On the surface level, I will support any policy that will hold faculty accountable. I, however, do like to give faculty chances to defend himself and, if necessary, bring the case to the board.

While at the topic, I do like to remind readers that it is very difficult to link students’ performance to faculty’s performance. In addition, I would like to point out that the most important factor that affects a student’s performance is the student.

That said, I do value a balanced student feedback and I will support an improved internal version of the

With the acceptance that students play the major role in their performance, I would also like to encourage faculty to embrace the openness with confidence believing that no one will do better given a specific student.

8. Do you oppose or support requiring sensitivity training for faculty and/or staff?

I support the requiring of sensitivity training for faculty and staff.

I believe that, in general, people grow up in their own particular environment and that shapes their way of conduct. There will be people that grow up in fortunate environment and end up viewing the world in an ideological way. The person may be just fine if given chances to see other side of the world. We are all adults and we learn.

9. Do you oppose or support, for employee benefit purposes, the recognition of domestic partnerships for college employees (whether heterosexual or homosexual couples)?

One principle I believe is that if you treat your employee right, they will treat you right.

In the case of marriage, since couple are legally one and they share ups and downs not just personally but also legally. It is reasonable for institutions to treat them accordingly.

The principle of responsibility can be applied here too. If partnerships share the same deep bond of a marriage, personally and legally, I will support to treat them just like marriage. If the bond is anything less, institutions should simply take the fair share of it.

10. Do you or your employer have any business relationships serving the college? Please describe.

Personally, I don’t. My employer does but my employer is a public entity. We had sought opinion from the Accountability and Disclosure Commission and the opinion is positive. Personally, I understand the need of the law. On the other hand, my position does help me to gain knowledge that I feel is necessary for my candidacy.

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