Retreat series continues

Community meeting sheds light on LMC plan

The second strategic planning retreat went off without a hitch last Monday. The meeting, the second in a planned series of three, introduced Los Medanos College’s external community into the process of developing an insightful 5-year plan for the college.

As reported last week, LMC has been working on developing a plan for the future for some time now. With plans of accomplishing the goal by the end of this semester, the meetings are moving quickly.

In just a few short months, LMC hopes to have a final draft of the 5-year plan ratified through the three senates on campus, Faculty, Classified and Student.

While there were almost 300 invitations sent out to members of the community, there were only about 30-40 members from the community present. LMC President Bob Kratochvil lamented on the smaller number of participants, saying “we would have liked to fill the room with more community members.”

Nonetheless, the retreat went on, and to “fabulous” success, according to the Senior Dean of Research and Planning for LMC Kiran Kamath.

The purpose of this meeting was very similar to that of the previous retreat in late February, to figure out “where LMC wants to be 5 years from now,” according to Greg Stoup, Senior Dean of Research and Planning for the district.

What differentiated this meeting from the previous one was that it was community oriented and encouraged members of surrounding businesses, government bodies and residents to attend and speak their mind.

Goals of such a dynamic and diverse group included discussion about what makes LMC a good place to send their children. Also, there was encouragement for participants to be very candid. Honest opinion about how LMC is perceived are critical in helping to determine which areas need help to be rejuvenated for years to come.

There seemed to be consensus among the attendees that LMC is seen more as a vocational school and not necessarily focused on transferring students into a four-year setting. Perceptions such as these are what future planning is designed to repair.

Another perception brought up by the community members is that LMC may be viewed as an old campus. Although their have been structural and technological upgrades in past years, the previous students who now have children may be visualizing an obsolete campus and might think twice about sending their children here.

Overall, the input from the external community was positive. Kamath commented, “The community interest in the college and the sharing of opinions was excellent.”

She especially enjoyed the overwhelming passion and genuine interest from the attendees. The college was praised as being a good economical solution for students who cannot afford the more expensive schools.

The Brentwood campus was also highly praised, and was even referred to as the best kept secret for LMC.

Suggested areas of improvement for the campus include raising profiles of success stories and quash perceptions of an aging campus. “We need to toot our own horn,” said LMC Foundation Board Member Mike McGill.

This meeting will be followed next week by an electronic campus-wide survey that will deliver a conceptual version of the 5-year plan to those people that were unable to attend either meeting. The survey is intended as a way to keep the dialogue open for all members of the college.

The final meeting will be held March 28  to hammer out a first draft of the plan with members of the faculty. That draft is planned to be submitted to campus senates on April 7.