Q&A with Delta College President Jean Goodnow

Delta College President Jean GoodnowDelta College President Jean Goodnow, who has served in this position since 2005, is active in local, region, and national organizations including the League for Innovation in the Community College; Steering Committee of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment; the Michigan Community College Association; Bay Area Chamber of Commerce; and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Board of Directors.

Delta College is based in University Center. It also offers classes at the Delta College Planetarium in Downtown Bay City. A new Downtown Saginaw Center opened in June. And the college is constructing Delta College Downtown Midland now.

Goodnow answered these questions in writing. Route Bay City also has met with Central Michigan University President Robert Davies and Saginaw Valley State University President Donald Bachand in recent months.

Q: What is your vision for Delta College in the next 10 or so years.

A: To remain a community college which is nationally known for innovation and educating its community. Delta College was one of twelve charter members of the League for Innovation in the Community College, which was founded back in 1968. Today, Presidents from 20 of the most influential, resourceful and dynamic community colleges and districts in the world (including Delta College) comprise the League’s board of directors and provide strategic direction for its ongoing activities. (Initiatives include) diversity, equity and inclusion; information technology; leadership development; learning and student success; research and practice; and workforce development.

Q:  We know you've had a big focus on sustainability the last few years. Will that continue?

A: Delta College ranked number 6 in the community college category in the Top Colleges for Sustainability 2019 Sustainable Campus Index. (See Route Bay City story from Oct. 17, 2019) The index recognizes top-performing colleges in 17 distinct aspects of sustainability and overall. Delta received higher than national average for all institutions in both the Campus Engagement and Buildings categories. Delta has sustainability in our strategic planning and everyone at the college, from students to the Board of Trustees, collaborates on these initiatives.

From residential construction to agriculture technology and environmental technology, Delta makes sure that these practices are included in our curriculum.

Q: Are you introducing new programs? Bolstering existing programs?

A: Cyber Security is a growing field and Delta College has a great program that’s also expanding. This past year, Delta was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education. Delta is one of only 11 colleges in Michigan, and the only one in the Great Lakes Bay Region, to have earned the CAE-CDE designation.

Clinical Medical Assistant was a new Advanced Certificate program added in 2019. It’s a one-year program that addresses the growing need by local health institutions. The program was created with input of local employers, ensuring graduates will have the skills employers want at a reasonable cost. There are more than 100 annual openings for positions in the Great Lakes Bay Region for this field, created by industry growth and worker transition.

Q: Is enrollment rising or shrinking and what does that mean for Delta?

A: Like many community colleges, Delta has seen enrollment declines from the highs of a decade ago. Given the declining high school population, and the overall declining regional population, we are pleased to have surpassed our projected enrollments for both the Fall 2019 and Winter 2020 semesters. The positive enrollment numbers can, in part, be attributed to Delta’s aggressive outreach strategies, including the new Downtown Saginaw Center which opened in June.


Q: Please talk about Delta’s budget. Are you on track for meeting expenses this school year? What kinds of stretches do you expect you might have to make?

A: Delta College’s Trustees have always operated under the philosophy that Delta College shouldn’t obligate the taxpayers to a debt, which is why Delta holds no bonding and is debt free. Delta has a strong operating fund balance. By strategically planning and reviewing our annual budgets, Delta is able to project enrollments, then develop spending plans to match those figures.

 

Q: Tell us about the status of the Downtown Midland campus?

 

A: Delta College secured $9.15 million in private sector donations to support the $13 million cost of construction for a new 30,000-square-foot building. The installation will continue through February and some of the first recognizable areas to be built will be the two stairway towers and the elevator shaft.

 

If the warm weather holds, the concrete decks for each floor will be poured by about March, with the roofing occurring on the same timeline. The exterior envelope should be completed by July. Interior work will occur from April through September, followed by the detail work of technology installations, classroom setups, and furniture installations. The plan is to be substantially completed by November. Staff will move in prior to the end of the year, with the first classes to occur in Winter 2021.

 

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