Theme: Innovation and Creativity in Tough Budgetary Times

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iJournal Author Ed Shenk

In Innovation and Creativity in Tough Budgetary Times, our editor outlines the articles that help to illuminate efforts to respond creatively in these tight economic times. In our main section, the writers provide a variety of approaches to be considered in providing service to our students. In our general interest section we examine the struggle with foster youth, the provision of drive-through clinics to combat bioterrorism and a new institute to study transfer. Listed are a number of key staff development dates, including the CIO CSSO annual conference in April. We close with a conversation that brings us back to budgeting in tough times. We are pleased to be sponsored by Keenan & Associates, who also weighs in on products to address the best use of dwindling resources. The fiscal challenges are great, but our writers provide hope and new approaches to serve our students and help them succeed. These ideas can be replicated and may help you to better meet your students’ needs, despite the gloomy economic news.


With the passage of the California state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10, community colleges were at last able to identify the actions needed to address tighter budgets and ever-expanding enrollments. Not since the passage of Prop 13 have colleges been under such a great strain. The last time the system experienced such a drastic budgetary impact, the missions were adjusted. As a result, tuition was imposed, the types of course offerings were reduced, and control of the revenue stream was taken from local boards and given to the state. Now with the current economic crisis, we wonder what big changes will emerge as districts and leaders address the impact of declining resources and the increased demand on educational programs and services.

Responding to Crisis

LightbulbIn this edition, several writers and our sponsor, Keenan & Associates, look at new and innovative ways to respond to this crisis. Change will obviously happen, but it can be innovative and long lasting to improve the colleges’ sustainability and services to students. If you find an approach that resonates with you, let us know. If we missed out on some other creative and innovative practices, please share them with the editor for future editions. While the crisis is straining the system and its personnel, as in the aftermath of Prop 13, the past has shown us that the positive will emerge and the community college will be stronger as a result. These writers are showing how collaboration, planning and caring make a difference and shine a light on the path to recovery.

In “Risk Management and Employee Benefits Administration Technology: Solutions for a Time of Budget Pressure,” Tim Keenan of Keenan & Associates, and sponsor of this edition, introduces two potential solutions for community colleges that provide technology that can streamline administration, communication, and compliance for benefits and property, liability and casualty programs. Tim has been a regular contributor and Kennan & Associates have been continuing sponsors of the iJournal.

Innovation in Tight Budgetary Times

In our Main Section, which addresses the theme of innovation and creativity in tight budgetary times, Erin Curtis shares the insights from a panel of CEOs and CBOs in “Budget Crisis! A Team Approach on How NOT to Become a Casualty.” The comments from Eddie Hernandez, Doug Garrison and Joe Bissell focus on keeping the budget issues visible via regular reports to the board and the campus community. This article first appeared in the ACCCA reports, January 2009 edition and was graciously allowed to be shared in the edition of the iJournal ( Dr. Jose Michel in “Promising Practices in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs Collaboration” declares that in this time of economic crisis and an accompanying surge of enrollments in California’s community colleges, educators are faced with the difficult prospects of reducing or eliminating services to the neediest of our student populations. Yet, he claims we have the resources in our model instructional and student service programs to meet the challenge and provides a plan to meet this challenge. In “Access and Integration: Meeting the Technological Needs of Our Students,“ Quincy Martin III and Deborah Baness King discuss the challenges of student access to technology and provide a collaborative program that helps students with limited financial resources capitalize on the benefits of technology.

Former Foster Youth, Public Health Response, & Transfer Students

There are several very interesting articles in our General Interest section. Elisa Rassen speaks to the “Challenges Faced by Former Foster Youth in California” in her article. As she notes, approximately 4,000 foster youth will age out of the foster care system every year in California. This article examines the challenges, as well as discussing the strengths and weaknesses of community college responses to those challenges. She recommends best practices for future implementation. Changing focus, “POD Drive-Through Flu Clinics at College of the Canyons” by Beverly Kemmerling details how community colleges are in a good position to be part of the public health response to protect the community from bioterrorism and pandemic influenza threats by participating in a Point of Dispensing or POD exercise. Our final entry in the general interest section talks about the formation of “The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students and the Formation of a National Association on Transfer.” The author, Bonita C. Jacobs, Ph.D. provides information on the new association and institute, which will serve as a clearinghouse on transfer research and study.

Staff Development & End Note

In the Staff Development section, key dates for the spring of the 2008-09 academic year include CSSO meeting dates, plus NASPA and ACCCA annual conferences. The Second A2mend conference, the joint CIO/CSSO Annual Conference set for April 1-3, 2009 in Sacramento and a Tobacco Free conference in June are also listed. There is also advance notice on several fall 2009 conferences.

Finally, in our End Note, we return to the theme for this issue, innovation in tough budgetary times. This unique article is actually a conversation between two colleagues in the Los Rios Community College District. “Exploring Opportunities during Difficult Budgetary Times: A Conversation,” Celia Esposito-Noy, and Denise Noldon, discuss the challenges in budgeting and student service adjustments and the opportunity for innovation in these tight economic times.

Next Edition

Our next edition will be coming out in late May or early June. The deadline will be April 30, 2009. Please consider a submission on your reflections on the changing times, the budget impacts of 2009 and how this economic crisis is resulting in new practices to serve students, and better ways to communicate on your campus. As always, please share your insights and comments with the Editor at

California Spring WildflowersAs the dreary winter months come to an end, we will be reborn in the spring with new ideas and approaches so we can not only serve our student but also ensure a steady stream of workers to help bring the nation out of the doldrums. Community colleges have led and will continue to lead the way to a better and stronger America.


About the Author

Edward J. Shenk, Ed.D.
Associate Professor/Program Director
Graduate Program in Education/Leadership Management
Alliant International University, San Francisco, California

Vice President of Student Services, Retired
Napa Valley College, Napa, California

With close to 36 years in educational administration, Dr. Ed Shenk has been a highly visible leader within California Student Services for many years. Dr. Shenk joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Education for Alliant International University in July, 2005 and began a full time assignment in 2006. He served on the executive board of CCCCSSAA (California Community College Chief Student Services Administrators Association) for fourteen years and was president of the organization in 1991-92. He represented the field by serving on many statewide committees and special task forces. He became an active member in NASPA in 1994. He served as the national chair for the NASPA Knowledge Community, Community & 2 year Colleges (2004-06) and the community college representative on the Northern Executive Council for NASPA. He is also a Board member on the California ACT Advisory Council.

Having a special interest in student discipline, leadership, quality service and professional development, Dr. Shenk was instrumental in initiating the Student Services Training Institute in 1991. Hundreds of California student services professionals have participated. He is a frequent facilitator, trainer, and speaker at local colleges and for statewide and national organizations. Most recently, he was a presenter at the NASPA National Conference in Tampa, Florida. He was recognized as the Outstanding Dean in NASPA’s Region 6 in 2002.

He began is administrative career in community colleges as a clerk-typist in 1970 and later as the first EOPS director at Grossmont College. Ed then moved to Napa Valley College where he was an administrator from 1975–2005. At NVC, he served as the Chief Student Service Officer on campus beginning in 1981 and held the position of Vice President, Student Services since 1987 to his retirement in December, 2005. His administrative assignment included responsibility as the Affirmative Action Officer and membership on the District-Faculty negotiations team. He worked with all aspects of the college and was a key advisor for three presidents at the college.

Throughout this time he continues to be active in the community as a Napa Chamber of Commerce board member/ committee chair, Ambassador and past president, Napa City-County Library Foundation board member, Napa County Hispanic Network board member, and Youth Soccer Coach. In 2002, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Napa County Hispanic Network and was tapped to serve on the Napa County's Airport Advisory Commission. He was selected to be the Napa County Hispanic Network President for 2006-08.

Dr. Shenk received a B.A. in History and an M.P.A. in Public Administration from San Diego State University. He earned his Ed.D. in Higher Education from the University of Oregon. His dissertation focused on the Impacts of Proposition 13 on the Missions of the California Community Colleges. His wife, SueDee, is the Executive Director of Napa Valley Community Housing, a builder and manager of affordable housing in the Napa Valley. They have two grown sons. Living in the Napa Valley for over 30 years, Dr. Shenk enjoys wine, travel and bocce ball. He does attempt to play golf.

Dr. Shenk can be reached by email at