College Matters | Innovation, strategic planning a guide for the future of CR – Times-Standard
As reported in November 2021 a President’s Advisory Council has been formed, which consists of a coalition of local volunteer advisors with distinguished and diverse backgrounds from business, industry, city and county government, tribal government, and the Humboldt and Del Norte communities. While the council has no formal authority, this selective and influential group of strategic advisors were nominated and selected based on their reputation of achieving excellence in their industries, ability to offer counsel, generate big ideas and extend influence, connections, strategic thinking, resources, and passion to support College of the Redwoods.
The council is already providing thought-provoking ideas and advice on short- and long-range planning for our college. Their input will help CR strengthen its efforts to fulfill its mission and create innovative initiatives to provide excellent, seamless student transfer pathways to Cal Poly Humboldt and to align our academic and career technical programs with local workforce needs.
The inaugural meeting was held on Feb. 4 and I was delighted to be joined by almost 20 community leaders who are eager to share their expertise. Not afraid to face the challenges facing higher education in general, and CR specifically, the council focused on ways that College of the Redwoods can collaborate and capitalize on the expertise and strategic vision of our local industry, government, and tribal leaders.
Prior to the meeting, Council Co-Chairs Dan Philips and Laura Olsen interviewed council members about the education and training needs of our community, what CR is doing that is working well, and, more importantly, what CR could do to better to serve our community. Those interviews, combined with the recent meeting of the council, generated three critical ideas I plan to explore immediately.
1. Discover what skills and knowledge are needed in a wide variety of industries and use these to develop core curriculum for students.
2. Increase hands-on learning opportunities for students. The group was intrigued by the idea of forming an innovation facility or learning lab to bring industry and education together.
3. Capitalize on our community members’ innate curiosity and desire to learn by providing high-quality liberal arts and career education that encourages life-long learning.
The council discussed the shortage of skilled workers our community is experiencing, and they explored innovative ways we can close this gap through continued education.
College of the Redwoods is facing big challenges today – large-scale problems that will require a change in the way the organization thinks. It would be easy to sit back and let the challenges define who we are. However, CR is determined to control its future, and our success will require strategic thinking, bold action, and imagining several possible futures.
I am going to rely on the President’s Council to encourage CR to do things that are bigger than we thought possible.
I look forward to what will come from future meetings, and I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the time and earnest efforts the council is providing to help College of the Redwoods serve our communities.
Dr. Keith Flamer is the president of the College of the Redwoods.