By the end of her term as president of Lane in June of 2017, Mary Spilde hopes to achieve, or initiate, goals she promised back in February during her retirement speech.These goals include stabilizing enrollment with 11,500 students, making Lane carbon neutral by 2050, and securing further donations.
“Moving our fundraising above our major gifts campaign, and getting that further along by the time I leave,” Spilde said. “Fundraising is something that we do all the time.”
Ensuring donations to the school is a major aspect of a president’s job. Securing funding for future endeavors is a primary goal Spilde hopes to accomplish before the end of her tenure. Furthermore, Spilde outlined the importance of other aspects she has spoken about.
“I talked about enrollment and stabilizing the budget,” Spilde said. “Then, living out our value of sustainability through our climate action plan. So, I would say that all our work is moving forward.”
Last year, the Board of Education approved the creation of a new Strategic Enrollment Plan for Lane. The initial purpose of this new plan is to streamline enrollment for students and to provide more resources. The plans are still being finalized by the board — with input from the community — but increased funding for more advisors has been approved. In addition, Spilde outlined her hopes to see more students enter higher education and pursue degrees.
“The fact that Oregon is 46th in the country for higher education is criminal,” Spilde said. “Making the case for why community colleges need more state investment — and the impact that we have to the poorest, first generation, most underrepresented populations — is a huge task we need to continue advocating for.”
The goal for the Strategic Enrollment Plan is to stabilize enrollment to between 11,000 and 11,500 full-time and part-time students.
Climate change has been a key issue for Lane administrators to tackle. Students advocated for and successfully got the school to invest in the Climate Action Plan. This plan was designed to help make Lane a carbon neutral school and to complete comprehensive greenhouse gas inventories in order to find ways to reduce emissions.
“Our biggest challenge with climate action and carbon is transportation,” Spilde said. “We encourage people to take the bus or bike, but that is no small task. We’re exploring all kinds of ways to deal with that.”
Expanding LTD services or adding an Emx line to Lane are on the list of potential solutions, but Spilde stressed these are long term strategies without finalization.
Spilde spoke about how far along these initiatives have come over the years, but she highlighted that these would not be finished during her time as president. Instead, she reflected on these initiatives advancing beyond just her and the presidency.
“Will I get everything done, before I leave, that I want to get done? Probably not,” Spilde said. “That’s not the nature of these big goals.”
Spilde is hopeful that with the passing of the Oregon Promise, the state initiative that provides recent high school graduates funding for some or all of their community college tuition, more people will have access to higher education. The Oregon Promise will help 4,000 to 6,000 students attend community college, according to The Campaign for Free College Tuition.
Spilde was hopeful that in the next year the administration would further advance the initiatives outlined. To accomplish these goals, help from the students would have a major impact in seeing the goals come to completion.
“We can’t totally get the job done by ourselves. The goal is to get as much done and to get everything moving in a forward fashion,” Spilde said. “I see students as really having the ability to be a driver in a lot of the things we have to deal with on campus.”