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The Southwestern Oregon Community College Board of Directors has four seats open, with one contested. Below is a profile of the candidates, in their own words.

Note: Ronn Johnson did not respond to email requests for response.

Seat Sought: SOCC Seat 7

Name: Maria Sudduth

Age: 67

Years in the area: 6

Occupation: Retired School Teacher/Retired Full-time Lecturer (CSU Chico)

Past political/civic experience: School Teacher (11 years); University Instructor (11 years); Academic Senator (6 years); Governance Council (3 years): West Coast Regional Director, National Urban Alliance for Effective Education (7 years)

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

•          Provide outreach to our tri-counties communities; improving communications and flow of information so that we all know about the 70+ programs, the support systems in place for success and SOCC’s vision for the future.

•          I want to listen to and develop partnerships within our communities to explore how we can further grow career pathways and increase enrollment for both or our campuses. 

Support the vision and mission statement of the campus:

•          Southwestern leads and inspires lifelong learning

•          Southwestern Oregon Community College fulfills the educational and cultural needs of our diverse communities by providing equitable access to exceptional teaching and learning in a collaborative, engaging sustainable environment, which supports innovation, lifelong enrichment, and contribution to global society.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

•          Lost enrollment from the pandemic

•          Communication between community members and SOCC.

•          Viable part-time faculty so that courses offered can be sustained and new courses can be explored.

How would you address those issues?

I think all three issues are related and at the crux of successful college communities.

Enrollment drives programs and budgets at community colleges. Through increasing enrollment, you increase opportunity. There are over 70+ programs offered at SOCC; I don’t think the community at large is aware of all that is offered. I would provide outreach to community partners to increase awareness and build relationships. I would seek ways to recruit and retain adjunct (part-time) faculty so that we can retain and build on our successful programs.

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I am invested in the community college experience. I became a lifelong educator because of that bridge offered through attending a local college. I had professors and counselors invested in my success and I want to pay that forward. I strongly believe in the power of community colleges to uplift lives to build for a better future. This was my own personal story and I want to see that story replicated across our counties. Should you choose to put your faith in me, I will serve you to the best of my capacity.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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