SMC Board of Trustees Chair Nancy Greenstein (left) presents a certificate of appreciation to Santa Monica attorneys Sonya and Bruce Sultan for arranging an $807,500 gift to the SMC Foundation from the Estate of Peggy Bergmann. (Photo courtesy SMC)

Nancy Greenstein is running for Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. The following answers were submitted in response to questions from the Daily Press.

Name: Nancy Greenstein

Occupation: Director of Police Community Services, UCLA

Neighborhood of residence: Sunset Park

Own/Rent: own

Marital status: single

Kids: many mentees

Political affiliation: Democrat

Schooling: Mineola High, Boston University, UCLA (2 degrees)

Highest degree attained: Doctorate of Education

Hobbies: community service and leadership roles in organizations

Reading list: Simple Justice, Richard Kluger; A Fighting Chance, Elizabeth Warren; Wooden;

Last concert attended: Judy Collins a fundraiser for OPCC held at the Broad Stage, SMC

How do you get to and from work? Car and occasionally the Blue Bus

What is your connection to SMC?

I am a trustee, a neighbor and an educator; I care about students, faculty, staff, administrators and community. The students connect me to the college after all they are the reason we are here. I am connected to an early major achievement – negotiating for funding for the first LEED building and proud of how far we have come. I am connected to the difficult times, budget cuts, protests and June 7, 2013. I am connected to the amazing experience of seeing my vision of a Public Policy Institute (the first in the state and maybe the nation) at a community college become a reality with three graduating classes and over 100 graduates. My connections are many and they are deep.

Describe the role of the SMC Board in less than 50 words.

The Board ensures that the college has value for our students and community by determining educational programs; overseeing the budget; monitoring performance; hiring the president; and making district regulations. Shared governance, a process relying on the involvement of the faculty, staff, administrators and students, and community input informs our decisions.

Do you think there is a corporatization of education at SMC?

This word has many meanings but after reviewing varied definitions in business publications and dictionaries, my answer is no.

Does SMC need additional physical facilities? If so, where should they be built?

There are a number of capital programs at SMC; they are not “additional” facilities. We are still replacing buildings that were rendered unsafe due to the earthquake. We have completed a number of adaptive reuses (Bundy and the library are great examples). We continue to replace temporary buildings and those beyond their usefulness. We will be redoing the frontage of Dresher Hall to be more neighborhood focused. We insured that Emeritus has a home and KCRW is finally moving out of the basement that they colorfully describe during the membership drives. We worked hard to create the Quad, a beautiful green space on campus. We appreciate the support of the community. While additional physical facilities are not an agenda of mine, there are times when a proposed project can be critical to the educational mission of the college. One example is the Malibu Center currently under development. I have been working on this as the original member of the Malibu Santa Monica Joint Powers Authority (JPA) for some time – Malibu deserves a unique location to better serve its community.

Is the balance of local/non-local students correct on campus?

The balance will change daily. Students choose to go to SMC. It is important to have programs that promote pathways for local students and we have a number of successful programs: Duel Enrollment, Young Collegians – a partnership with the SMMSUD; and the Pico Promise Transfer Academy (PPTA) – a partnership between SMC and the City of Santa Monica. We want to develop more programs for local students. SMC benefits from the diversity of students, who attend from throughout our region and world and they benefit from attending SMC. In thinking about what balance means, I came across About Education and comments on asymmetrical balance in art, “where balance occurs when elements are placed unevenly in a piece but work together to produce harmony overall.” This is our challenge.

Has SMC done enough to prepare students for the current job market?

This question should be has public education done enough to prepare students for the job market. The answer would be no. Students come to SMC levels below basic college Math and English. Our job is to work with the Unified(s) to better prepare students, and insure that college students requiring basics skills classes have the programs and support required allowing them to continue into transfer and career education programs. We must also keep up with the job market so students’ skills will lead to employment. A community college would not be doing its job if it has “done enough.”

What are the benefits or pitfalls of offering 4-year degrees?

Compared to the (approximate) $52,000 price tag at UC, $22,000 at CSU, the $10,000 for a four year degree at a community college will enable students to quickly find jobs, received commensurate compensation with less or no debt and likely complete their education more expediently then in a traditional programs. It has become more challenging to be admitted to CSU and UCs – these institutions can no longer meet the demands of California’s 21st century economy. SB 850, which was just signed by the governor, authorizes pilot programs for four-year degrees for technical fields not offered at public universities, such as health information management, radiological, auto and veterinary technology. According to a study by Rand, community colleges have the most success when they supplement efforts, not compete against the four-year schools. A pitfall would be if community colleges appropriated the roles of UC and CSU; community colleges should provide additional opportunities for student education and success.

What would you like to see change at SMC?

More state financial support for students would be nice. Realistically, I think about the areas where we need to enhance or evolve or improve. I am interested in what others think. I think about what I can do to help the process and what others might do. Being an effective leader (and I count myself as one) and being a trustee on a seven member board requires understanding that one’s opinion (even a good one) alone has not authority.

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