Policy will cut textbook costs

By Elizabeth Ballinger.

Textbook prices might not be as expensive for next year’s students.

A motion to adopt a course material cost saving policy was passed at BCC’s board of trustees meeting November 12. Following suggestions by the Textbook Advisory Committee in January, the board found action would be needed to control unaffordable textbook prices.

“Teachers select their materials,” said VP of Administrative Services, Laura Saunders. “This policy will allow us to work with them to find more cost-effective choices.”

College administrators will soon begin to develop ways to implement the new policy.

Part-time teachers at BCC are still not earning enough wages to support themselves, said Rosemary Richardson, a tenured faculty member. In her faculty constituent report to the board, she recommended the trustees appeal to the State Legislature to increase adjunct wages.

“We have faculty who need monthly food stamps to supplement their part-time teaching salary,” she said.

In addition to receiving pay disproportionate to their full-time colleagues, most of these instructors don’t have an on-site office or space to meet with students, and are not paid for helping students outside their 50-minute class periods. Students, said Richardson, still expect and deserve the same quality instruction and availability from faculty who receive far fewer benefits for the same degree of work.

“To us, these are tenured and adjunct employees,” she said. “But to the student, this is his teacher.”

An environmental sustainability fee may be added to tuition costs as soon as winter quarter. Amanda Alva, Associated Student Government President, updated the board on progress in developing the fee, which would help the college invest in energy efficient and waste-reducing initiatives.

Plans to research options for college-wide student health care was a new item on Alva’s agenda. The ASG is teaming up with student governments from Edmonds and Highline Community Colleges to consider what would be needed to adopt student health care within the community college.

“No one should have to choose between working full time to get medical care and getting an education,” said Alva.

Among the possibilities, the ASG presidents are looking into teaming up with four-year colleges, such as the University of Washington, to share a student health care system. Alva said the process would be interminably long. By laying the groundwork now, she said the goal is to make the project easy to pick up and bring into action for BCC’s next ASG officers.

New software, Strategic Planning On-Line (SPOL), is being adopted by the administration to organize college planning, primarily as it relates to progress toward 4-year accreditation and budgeting to accommodate state cuts.

Patricia James, Director of Institutional Research, demonstrated to the board the way the technology will organize campus projects. Managers of projects in equity and pluralism, workforce development, budget management, and several other focuses will be able to check in on progress of their constituent’s and their colleague’s assignments.

“It will create transparency, and allow access for all project participants to measure action against our objectives,” said James. The system, which costs $25,000 for 600 user licenses, is expected to consolidate administrative projects and communication, and integrate faculty involved in similar tasks.

The board approved four of 15 vacant faculty positions to be posted as open. Freezing empty positions was one of the first budget-cutting actions taken after college president, Jean Floten, announced BCC’s expected $838,000 state cut. The positions approved to be filled include two in the math department, one in Adult Basic Education, and a new position tacked on as a requirement of a Nursing Program grant.

An official commendation was awarded to Laura Saunders by Lee Kraft, board chair. Saunders was noted for her work in budget management and adoption of new technology.

Kraft presented two Team Exceptional awards to teachers nominated by faculty and students for outstanding performance.

Sue Fernalld, budget analyst, was awarded for developing an automated