August 31, 2020 Message
Uncertainty, challenging, unprecedented . . . these have to be some of the most overused words to describe our present-day reality. That being the case, I will try to avoid using them in my message to you this morning. More than anything, I just want to convey my heartfelt thanks for being there for our students and one another right now, under such challenging adverse conditions and what seems like a perpetual cloud of uncertainty ambiguity.
As I mentioned during convocation, I am so humbled by the sheer grit and tenacity of our students. Their determination to pursue their education, in the face of this pandemic, centers me; it shines a bright light on the promise we made to put students first. Now more than ever, our students need us, and need more from us. Again, thank you for being there for them.
Another consequence of this pandemic is that unlike the past, for many of us, the summer months provided little respite from the frenetic pace. Folks have been extremely busy supporting our continued transition to fully online operations and the virtual delivery of our classes. I want you to know that I recognize and so appreciate this incredible effort.
In an attempt to keep folks up-to-date on much of the work that took place these last couple of months, we created this blog of some of our more recent communications. As part of this, I also shared some of my thinking on the potential long-term impacts associated with this forced experiment of fully online operations. Feel free to check the information below, if interested.
Lastly, I want to remind you that I am holding regular “Talk with Thomas” drop-in sessions this fall on Zoom. If you have time, please stop by and check-in.
Thank you again for all of your amazing efforts in support of our students. I remain honored to serve alongside each you.
Have a great fall and academic year!
July 21, 2020 Message
As you know we are contending with many challenges resulting from the current budget situation and associated district-wide hiring freeze. To maintain the best possible administrative support and leadership during these times requires us to make some important changes to the college’s existing administrative reporting structures. That being the case, I wanted to share with you a high-level overview of the changes that we will be instituting this month.
1. Distance Education: With the retirement of the Dean of Distance Education (Marsha Reske), an unfilled vacancy will exist in this position at a critical time. As such, the roles and responsibilities of the Dean of Distance Education will be assigned to the Associate Vice-President of Instruction (Kale Braden).
2. Institutional Professional Development: The Associate Vice-President of Instruction (Kale Braden) has previously assumed responsibility for institutional professional development. Due to the assignment of Distance Education to this position, in tandem with strong linkages between our equity and professional development efforts as outlined in our Professional Development Project Team recommendations, the responsibilities/reporting for institutional professional development has been assigned to the Office of Equity and Inclusion under the leadership of Nick Daily.
3. Library & Learning Resources: The Associate Vice-President of Instruction (Kale Braden) has also previously provided oversight and supervision to the Library. Due to the assignment of Distance Education to this position, in tandem with the non-renewal of the Interim Dean of Learning Resources position (Gary Hartley) due to the budget situation, both the Library and Learning Resource Center reporting structure will move from the instructional to student services division. Joshua Moon Johnson will assume the role and responsibilities of the Dean of Library and Learning Resources. The role/responsibilities associated with Joshua’s previous position of Dean of Student Services, Equity and Educational Pathways will be reassigned to other student services deans. More information will be forthcoming soon about the associated changes taking place within Student Services.
4. Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation: The Office of Planning, Research, and Technology will be renamed the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation. The title of the associated manager will reflect this change. The Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Innovation, Adam Karp, in addition to maintaining responsibility for institutional planning, governance, research, accreditation, etc. will assume various project-based responsibilities at the direction of the College President. The oversight and supervision of the IT Department will move to the Interim Vice-President of Administrative Services, Koue Vang.
These administrative reporting changes will take place over the course of the next two weeks and will be in full effect by the end of July. Should you have any questions or require any further information, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to me or to the appropriate vice-president.
July 6, 2020 Message
I have spoken with many of you over the last few weeks about the potential long-term implications associated with our having moved to remote operations. And while it is very hard to predict exactly what the future holds, it is unlikely that ARC will ever return to its pre-pandemic self. Our adaptations in response to this involuntary experiment have challenged many of our longstanding assumptions and permanently altered how we approach our work. Recognizing that our future will continue to be wrought with uncertainty, how do we collaboratively design a more agile organization that has the elasticity to thrive in this new, more ambiguous environment in order to fulfill our shared vision, mission and commitment to social justice and equity?
I’ve been giving some thought to this question and have put a few concepts down on paper. If interested, take a look at this PDF document and join me at one of my upcoming Talk with Thomas events to share your thoughts and ideas.
Here are the remaining dates for Summer 2020:
- Jul 9, 8:00 AM
- Jul 16, 9:00 AM
- Jul 23, 8:00 AM
- Jul 30, 3:00 PM
- Aug 6, 8:00 AM
- Aug 13, 3:00 PM
Please stay safe and enjoy the remainder of the summer months.
Dr. Thomas Greene
began his service as American River College President on August 4, 2014, becoming the seventh President in the college's history. Prior to joining ARC, Thomas served as the Vice President, Academic Affairs & Student Services at Lake Tahoe Community College. In that role, he served as chief learning and student services officer, providing overall strategic leadership to instructional, continuing education, and student and academic support service operations. He also led institutional accreditation efforts and district-faculty collective bargaining, oversaw multiple federal grant programs, led staff and managed operational budgets in excess of $8M. Thomas was also responsible for fostering key partnerships with K-12 and university counterparts, while serving as a member and chair of several boards as part of community engagement efforts.
Part of those community efforts included serving as board chair of the Tahoe Prosperity Center. In this role, Thomas provided leadership to an innovative non-profit collaborative comprised of leaders from business, government, education, and non-profit organizations designed to promote regional sustainability through economic vitality, environmental stewardship, and healthy communities in and around the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Prior to his service at Lake Tahoe Community College, Thomas served as Associate Vice President, Student Services at Sacramento City College. Here he provided leadership to a wide variety of student services operations. He also led various enrollment management initiatives and other improvement efforts as the president of the college's senior leadership team. He recruited, supervised, evaluated, and supported the ongoing development of deans, directors, supervisors, faculty and staff in a variety of assigned instructional and student services areas. Thomas was responsible for operational budgets in excess of $10M and also directed grant initiatives encompassing instructional and student service operations.
Over the last several years, Thomas has also served as an Associate and Facilitator with The Center for the Study of Community College Student Engagement in Austin, Texas. In his work, he assisted community colleges throughout the nation in utilizing their student engagement and other data to inform improvement efforts. He facilitated the building of leadership capacity and collaborative approaches to decision-making.
Prior to relocating to Sacramento, Thomas served as the Special Assistant to the President at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida working collaboratively on the senior leadership team to promote learning and student success, providing leadership to a wide variety of initiatives, including the development of the college's future-campus deployment strategy and system-level enrollment modeling. He also supported educational policy development and advocacy efforts at the state level.
Thomas holds a Ph.D. in educational administration and community college leadership from the University of Texas, Austin -where he received the national dissertation of the year award for his examination of the relationship between student engagement and academic outcomes for community college students in the ethnic minority. He also holds a B.S degree in finance and a M.S. degree in counseling from Northern Illinois University, and has published a number of scholarly articles in the areas of student engagement and developmental education.
Prior to his tenure as a college administrator, Thomas served on the counseling faculty, and was the program coordinator of the EOP&S and CARE Programs at Lake Tahoe Community College. And prior to his career in higher education, he spent a number of years working in field and experiential learning as a coordinator and instructor for the Voyager Outward Bound School.