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By Bleah B. Patterson
Incumbent James Rindfuss, is running for a fourth six-year term in District 9 and is excited about the newest student success initiatives, EDUC 1300, Learning Framework, and the instructional materials policy leading to standardized e-books.
EDUC 1300 was a change that was approved to take the place of a humanities core in the fall. The instructional materials policy is an attempt to standardize textbooks across the five colleges using e-books as the first step to eventually using free open-source materials.
Both initiatives have been put on the district back burner until the administration can better communicate with faculty and students on how to best implement the initiatives.
Rindfuss said student development and textbooks are two areas, “we as trustees recognized from various conferences we attended that students are deficient in.”
“Students need skills before they start,” he said.
In reference to instructional materials, Rindfuss said, “That’s one of my favorites.”
“We started thinking about that over 10 years ago. I discovered a school that offered free open-source materials and wanted our students to reap the same benefits.”
Rindfuss said he didn’t want to try to implement it cold turkey, cutting out faculty and heading straight for open source materials.
“So, instead we adopted policy to best include faculty, allowing faculty to choose a textbook because we aren’t in the habit of telling faculty they’re wrong. We left it open-ended. I can’t imagine any member not appreciating that. I would think our students would be elated.”
Rindfuss joined the board in 1996 and says he has a great deal of personal insight into the needs of students and faculty. His first wife was a math professor at this college.
His second wife, Marie, has been the president of two community college systems.
“Because of that, I think I have an insider grasp on what’s going on in the colleges,” he said.
Rindfuss also said he came from a poor background and didn’t have the grades to qualify for scholarships when he decided to go to college.
“We didn’t have the opportunities back then students do now,” he said in reference to Pell grants and other forms of financial aid. “I had to work part time during the semesters and work all summer to save up for the fall and spring semester.”
All of these things, Rindfuss said, make him aware of the struggles students face and what they need to succeed.
Rindfuss said he is proud to work with someone like Chancellor Bruce Leslie.
“I rate him as the best in the nation. I don’t think you’ll find another chancellor recognized as highly. He’s the best chancellor you could buy. Our greatest problem is people who don’t like change. But without change, we go out of business. He’s a man willing to change things.”