Chemeketa Courier

Sense and sustainability


By Gage Jordan

The buzzwords at Chemeketa these days are sustainability, student success, and quality.

Administrators, staff, and faculty alike all recognize that Chemeketa has identified these three goals as a guide to determine how the college maintains its trust with the community it serves.

Maureen McGlynn, Chemeketa’s dean of curriculum and instruction, is among those people at the college who are doing their part to ensure that students get to Chemeketa successfully and remain committed to obtaining a quality education.

“We maximize the present and build a legacy for the future,” McGlynn said.

“When we make promises to our community and our students about academic transitions, college preparation, transfer studies, and workforce development, we intersect those with student success, quality, and sustainability,” she said.

McGlynn said that student success includes successful enrollment for each student, involvement in and satisfaction with the learning experience, and the ability to reach educational goals.

Continuous improvement aids the goal of a high-quality experience at Chemeketa, according to McGlynn, who defined what quality means to the staff.

“Quality involves continually improving through developing high quality effective systems and strong leaders in faculty and staff,” she said.

Cheryl Roberts, Chemeketa’s president, affirms that no matter what a student’s goal may be, instructors and faculty are focused on creating an engaged learning environment appropriate for one’s best efforts.

“Many of our instructional programs are recognized across the state and around the nation for their quality,” she said.

Overshadowing these changes is the act of sustainability, which has three parts.

McGlynn said: “It’s called the triple bottom line and includes economic opportunity – allocating our resources wisely; social justice – ensuring access and equity for all the college community; and ecological opportunity – applying sound principles to our environment and the curriculum.”

Quoting the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations for a definition of sustainability in such a way that the average person could understand, she said, “’Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’”

Wynn Cudmore, a life science instructor, said: “It’s not just us. We have some responsibility to the future generations. … In order to be truly sustainable, there is an element of time involved here.”

The idea of sustainability is designed to provide resources that are in use today for future generations.

“Native Americans have been at this for a long time,” Cudmore said. “’What we do today should not [negatively] impact the seventh generation,’” he said.

David Hallett, the college’s executive dean of general education and transfer studies, speaks of sustainability as if everyone in the community shares an equal duty to make a better future.

“I think we all have that responsibility of making sure that we are behaving in ways and living a lifestyle such that not only the current generation is able to benefit from it, but future generations as well,” he said.

President of Chemeketa, Cheryl Roberts said, “The college has taken a broad view of sustainability. We have always been a good steward of the public resources whether it’s environmental practices, prudent financial management or creating a good place for our employees to work and our students to learn. We take these tenets of sustainability to heart at Chemeketa!”