David Wain Coon – Superintendent / President, College of Marin

I RECENTLY celebrated my first anniversary at the helm of College of Marin. Upon accepting the opportunity to serve as its new leader, I had both an appreciation of the college’s rich history and an understanding of its many challenges and opportunities.

About one month into my tenure, in January 2011, I received a letter from our accrediting commission indicating the good news that COM’s accreditation had been fully reaffirmed and also requiring the college to address a list of eight recommendations by Oct. 15, 2012.

The accrediting commission’s recent “Warning,” based on a follow-up report and an evaluation team visit in October, is a reminder that the deadline is approaching.

It is very important that our students and community understand that the college remains fully accredited while working toward meeting its objectives.

I am directly overseeing efforts to not only meet the expectations of our accrediting commission by October, but also to exceed those expectations.

The accrediting commission reported that the college has made substantial progress in the implementation of an integrated institutional planning and resource allocation process. We have in place a 10-year Educational Master Plan and a three-year Strategic Plan.

Our focus now must be on addressing the remaining recommendations, including completing facilities and technology master plans, creating a sustainable infrastructure to support our growing Distance Education Program, and providing more robust student support services at our Indian Valley Campus in Novato.

This will continue to be our No. 1 priority in the months ahead, and I am confident that we will be successful, especially in light of all that has been recently accomplished.

As I reflect on the past year, I believe the college is perfectly able to meet the challenges ahead. My optimism is based on a number of recent successes accomplished by our dedicated faculty, staff and Board of Trustees.

We have successfully settled differences with each of our three unions, bringing resolution to a history of acrimonious relations. We have successfully stabilized our construction and modernization program (Measure C) and continue to ensure responsible stewardship of local tax dollars.

Major building projects have been completed at both our Indian Valley and Kentfield campuses and others are nearing completion.

We have stabilized our operating budget, during an unprecedented economic downturn, and we have maintained our workforce while making only modest reductions to course offerings.

We have also successfully implemented a smoke-free environment at both campuses.

I continue to be impressed by the quality of the faculty and staff at COM. Their commitment and dedication to the success of our students is unsurpassed.

Some have been with the college for more than 40 years.

In a recent survey of employees, the majority expressed confidence in the leadership and direction of the college. COM now serves more than 11,000 students in credit, noncredit and community education programs each semester.

Our graduates continue to transfer to respected universities such as UC Berkeley and Dominican University, while others go directly into important careers such as nursing and other allied health fields.

In a recent survey of our students, an overwhelming majority of those responding rated their experience at COM as good to excellent with the vast majority indicating that they would recommend the college to others.

While we are proud of our recent accomplishments, we recognize that there is more work to be done.

On behalf of Diana Conti, board president, Sara McKinnon, Academic Senate president, Andrea Hunter, Classified Senate president and Scott Blood, Associated Students president, let me assure you: We are working hard together to ensure that COM’s best days are ahead.