This page serves as an archive of email notes to employees from the Chancellor's Office.
Seattle Colleges colleagues,
After consultation with Financial Aid experts, review of student feedback, research on possible improvement options, and discussion with several stakeholder groups, I’ve decided to move forward the work of consolidating select functions of Financial Aid processing at our three colleges, to preserve and strengthen student-facing Financial Aid service at North, Central and South. This aligns with our Strategic Bridge Plan and is intended to lead to better student and staff experiences.
Through consistent feedback over time from students and colleagues, we know that the way we administer Financial Aid needs improvement to strengthen access and persistence for our prospective and continuing students. The first step in this work has been to align our policies and procedures across the three Seattle Colleges.
Since Winter 2022, the Financial Aid Directors and Assistant Directors across the district, under the leadership of Dr. Chemene Crawford (until her departure from North last month), have been working together to unify the financial aid policies and procedures for students of the three Seattle Colleges. As their work draws to completion and in preparation for implementation of these new policies and procedures, our financial aid teams have been undergoing standardized training, with the support and guidance of Blue Icon Advisors, a service of the National Association of School Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).
Let me take this moment to thank our Financial Aid colleagues at North, Central and at South for their work together through these last 18 months, including the late Dolores Taylor. I am also grateful to Dr. Chemene Crawford, a former Financial Aid professional herself, for the expertise she brought to this effort while she was also serving as president at North.
Our “Why” & Rationale for Change
We know that Financial Aid is a key access point for students hoping to begin or to continue at Seattle Colleges. Accomplishing process improvement efforts in this area has been of interest to many of you, our leadership team and even the Board of Trustees.
Student success and improving the student experience has been and will continue to be our guiding principle as we look at implementing shifts and changes in our processes. As we wrap up the policy and procedures work with Blue Icon Advisors, we will utilize their recommendations as the foundation for phase two of the financial aid alignment effort.
The next phase of this work will be developing a structure to support an aligned financial aid experience across our three-college system. The college presidents and I have tasked South’s Vice President of Student Services, Joe Barrientos to lead this work. Brianne Sanchez (South’s Dean of Student Achievement and Registration), Melody McMillan (Senior Executive Director, Seattle Promise), and Josh Ernst (North’s HR Director) are providing primary support for this next phase.
They will be reaching out to campus stakeholders and leaders, Vice President and Executive Dean of Student Services, Deans and Financial Aid Directors and staff at each campus to share timeline and information as well as gathering input and feedback that will shape the decisions which need to be made to create a financial aid structure that supports an enhanced student experience. The leading intention for this change is to strengthen the student experience and ensure adequate capacity for high quality service and support at the colleges.
I also share this update with you to acknowledge that the Financial Aid alignment and intentional consolidation of certain functions is not new but rather a part of the district strategic goal identified three years ago and more recently identified in our Strategic Bridge Plan. I believe working toward the alignment and intentional consolidation of certain functions will provide both a consistent and improved student financial aid experience across the district.
As more substantive and concrete decisions are made with input from stakeholders regarding our financial aid structures, we will provide updates as appropriate.
Thank you for your attention to this email, and for your concern for our colleges’ work. These changes in Financial Aid are truly focused on students first, and I am very hopeful for the important ways these changes will improve student experiences and success outcomes.
Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap
Chancellor, Seattle Colleges
Earlier today the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap as the 11th chancellor of Seattle Colleges after a competitive national search.
“Dr. Rimando-Chareunsap has led Seattle Colleges over the past year – first as acting and then as interim chancellor – with courage, skill, and profound passion for students, faculty, staff and our Seattle community,” said Board Chair Louise Chernin. “Our organization was honored to have three stellar candidates for the permanent role, and it is our great fortune to be able to benefit from Dr. Rimando-Chareunsap’s unifying leadership and big-picture perspective going forward.”
“The Trustees all offer heartfelt thanks to the Chancellor Search Committee and the hundreds of others who attended the candidate forums,” said incoming Board Chair Rosa Peralta. “Their care, commitment, and thoughtfulness have set us up for long-term stability. In a rapidly evolving region, responsible stewards of the colleges’ people and resources are more important than ever.”
More information, including a full news release, will be posted to the Chancellor’s website as it becomes available.
Good afternoon Seattle Colleges colleagues,
I bring you important operational and organizational changes that will better position the Seattle Colleges for the context we are in today and the future we want to create together for our students.
A Leadership Transition: Opportunity to focus on Enrollment
Dr. Kurt Buttleman had served for well over 20 years in the Seattle Colleges, most recently as the Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Success (VCASS) since 2017. He has recently left the organization and we wish him the best and also recognize the many years of leadership he has provided the Seattle Colleges. This vacancy creates an opportunity to reflect on what our needs are across the district.
The college presidents (Dr. Chemene Crawford, Dr. Bradley Lane, Dr. Jean Hernandez) and I have decided to reconfigure the VCASS position to focus on strategic enrollment management and planning.
We know that strengthening our enrollment will be critical as we continue to rebound from the pandemic, and as we face a rapidly changing demographic here in Seattle. It will also be critical to build enrollment plans that complement, support and further the anti-biased/anti-racist efforts we are developing as well. This reimagined role will add to the capacity that is in place at the colleges, in our Guided Pathways collective work, and in our EDIC team as well.
The new position is in development now, and I will share updates broadly on how this shift progresses.
Presidents as Executive Sponsors of Change
In reconfiguring the VCASS role, it also brings opportunity to better connect the strengths and insight of our three college presidents in guiding change efforts district-wide. I am returning--in part--to a previous structure that existed prior to 2017.
As some may remember, the college presidents have long had additional assignments as Vice Chancellors. These assignments are determined by the chancellor. Over the next few months, I will be tasking our college presidents to take on Vice Chancellor roles to more directly guide district-wide change efforts and convene the college VPs and leaders whose areas are impacted by these evolutions.
Dr. Bradley Lane, Interim President at Central, will immediately assume the role of Vice Chancellor of Institutional Effectiveness, working closely with college IE/IR colleagues in leading our Strategic Planning efforts.
Dr. Jean Hernandez will step in as Vice Chancellor of Instruction for the time being, and I will be designating a president as Vice Chancellor of Student Services in the near future as well. My many thanks go to our college VPIs and executive Student Services leaders for their collaborative work now, and throughout this transitional period.
Strategic Planning – A Bridge to a New Plan
Our current Strategic Plan was developed in 2016-2017 and covered the span of 2017-2023. In 2022, considering the substantial transitions our colleges had been experiencing throughout the pandemic, the Board of Trustees voted to extend our existing Strategic Plan for one more year.
In February, our Board of Trustees unanimously approved a Bridge Plan—an extension of the existing Strategic Plan—that is aimed at focusing our time and resources on providing equitable experiences for students in key student-facing areas through Summer 2024 in anticipation of finalization of a new Strategic Plan in Fall 2024.
The strategies in the Bridge Plan are not new, but the structure of the Bridge Plan will keep us focused on these high-priority items as we search for a permanent Chancellor and gain more clarity about working as a system.
While working on the Bridge Plan for the next year and half, we will, simultaneously, develop a new, comprehensive Strategic Plan for Seattle Colleges. This will start in earnest later this year. Some of that work will include securing faculty, staff, student and community representation on committees, establishment of a project plan, and engaging with the Board of Trustees and the permanent Chancellor.
It is also important to note that in the February 2023 Board of Trustees meeting where a Bridge Plan was approved, the trustees also voted unanimously to pause the exploration and discussion of "Single Accreditation" until a permanent chancellor is identified and can make further recommendation about whether to resume the exploration.
With so much change and transition occurring at once, I hope this email provides some needed clarity on where our organization is heading. I expect to bring more updates as these and other transitions take place. Thank you so much!
Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, Ed.D.
Interim Chancellor, Seattle Colleges
Dear Seattle Colleges colleagues:
In November I shared a three-pronged Interim Path Towards Financial Stability:
- Stabilize Budget & Finance Workforce
- Transparency Around Our Numbers
- Budget Support for Managers
In a key step forward in the finance workforce stabilization, I am pleased to announce that Julienne DeGeyter has been selected for the position of Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations for the Seattle Colleges.
Julienne brings over 18 years of public education finance and operations leadership experience to the role of CFO for our colleges. For the last five months she has stepped in as interim Vice Chancellor of Finance and Operations, where she has been focused on filling critical vacancies and assessing the infrastructure needs of our colleges and districtwide finance functions. Prior to this, she had been serving since 2019 as the Vice President of Finance and Administration for South Seattle College.
Julienne's background in finance and operations have spanned the education sector: from a role as controller up to chief business officer for K12 schools, to multiple progressively responsible finance and facilities/capital leadership roles in the University of California system. Since coming to Washington, she has been deeply involved in system-level statewide committees, and has grasped the complexities of our state budget allocation process and the ctcLink challenges and opportunities. Her experience in complex budget environments and strained resources will continue to be an asset as the Seattle Colleges remains focused on stabilizing our finances moving forward.
My many thanks to the search committee, led by Dr. Bradley Lane: Zahra Alavi, Lynn Christiansen, Dennis Denman, Davina Fogg, Tona Khau, Terri Plishke, Cindy Riche with HR support from Scott Rixon. And many thanks to those of you who participated in the open forums and provided feedback as well.
Please join me in welcoming Julienne to the permanent role of Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration.
Dr. Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap
Interim Chancellor, Seattle Colleges