Board members and the chancellor describe ideal trustee.
By Zachary-Taylor Wright
The board of trustees approved an order to solicit applications for the District 9 trustee position at the board meeting Sept. 19 at Killen Center.
Board Chair Yvonne Katz, District 7 trustee, said the board will advertise in the San Antonio Express-News, La Prensa newspaper and the Northeast Herald and mail-out advertisements.
The trustee position was left vacant after Jim Rindfuss died Aug. 15. The board will appoint a new trustee by vote after reviewing all applications.
In an interview with The Ranger after the board meeting, Chancellor Bruce Leslie said the appointed interim trustee will hold the position until May, when the next board election is scheduled.
Leslie said the trustee elected in May would have to run for the position again in May 2020, when Rindfuss’ term was scheduled to end, to complete the six-year cycle of Rindfuss’ term.
He said board members serve six-year terms, but the elections are staggered every two years.
He said Rindfuss’ term would have run two more years after the May 2018 election, but an appointed trustee cannot finish his term.
Leslie said the board charged him with advertising for the position.
He said the trustee position isn’t one that has a specific job description, but there are expectations outlined in the policy manual.
“Essentially, it’s (the expectation) someone of high ethical value, an individual who has a stewardship orientation, that they’re here serving on behalf of the community and the students as opposed to serving their own self-interest, an individual who has a commitment to higher education … ,” Leslie said.
According to District Policy B.5.1, which covers board responsibilities, board members are expected to perform 12 tasks, including “approve courses and curricula for inclusion in educational programs of the colleges;” “consider communications and requests from citizens and organizations on matters of policy, administration, and other items of public concern affecting the College District;” and “consider and act upon administrative recommendations concerning appointment, retention, or dismissal of other administrators, and of non-tenured, tenured and tenure-track faculty.”
Leslie said a trustee should be dedicated to helping this institution grow and improve. He used the board’s discussions on student success, access into the system, graduation and completion, and employment opportunities as examples.
In an interview Sept. 21, District 1 trustee Joe Alderete said he wants a trustee with policy-making experience because the trustees are policy makers and not administrators.
Alderete said a trustee should have a grasp on academics and understand the role community colleges play in the district, saying students are the primary reason the Alamo Colleges exists. He said a trustee must be student-oriented.
In an interview after the meeting, Kingsbery said he would like to see a trustee concerned with “real” student success rather than the state’s definition of student success, which he said is focused on graduation numbers and metrics.
Kingsbery defined “real” student success as the ability to apply Alamo Colleges’ certificate, degrees and credit hours to a career or a transfer university for a bachelor’s degree.
“All the time you hear them on the board talking about ‘student success, student success,’ and, of course, I’m the chair of the Student Success Committee so I talk about student success,” Kingsbery said with a chuckle. “It just kind of goes to show how dedicated they are to it. It’s not just empty words that they’re just saying. They truly believe it.”
Kingsbery said having a new trustee who is willing to “work with the consensus” would be nice. He said the ideal candidate would be able to listen to the board, understand where the board is coming from and support the board’s efforts.
Kingsbery said, although he would prefer a candidate who was supportive of the board, he doesn’t want to see a trustee that “rubberstamps” and approves every recommendation without consideration.
“The discourse is important,” Kingsbery said. “That’s what creates the better decisions.”
Kingsbery said a trustee should be willing to offer opposing opinions that will add value to the discussion but be capable of compromise.