Minutes of Special Meeting


September 8, 2007




The special meeting of the Cabrillo College Governing Board was held at the Aptos Chamber of Commerce Museum Meeting Room, 7605-B Old Dominion Court, Aptos, California on Saturday, September 8, 2007.  Chair Rachael Spencer opened the meeting in Open Session at 8:00 am.  Roll was taken; present were Chair Rachael Spencer and Trustees Rebecca Garcia, Gary Reece, John Leopold, Al Smith, Katy Stonebloom, and Claudine Wildman.  Also present were facilitator Cindra Smith from the Community College League of California and Cabrillo College President Brian King.  The agenda was adopted and Chair Spencer asked for Public Comments on the agenda item.  There were no public comments.






Item 1. Board Roles and Responsibilities, and Enhancing Board Effectiveness

Ground Rules for Discussion

The board identified “ground rules” for the meeting to ensure that it was positive and productive.

·          Take turns talking

·          Foster and recognize positive intent

·          Equal time

·          Stay on topic

·          Have fun


Introductions and “Dreams”

Board members were asked to reflect on their past and current dreams, desires, or visions for the college and their service on the board. Comments included:

·          Assure access and opportunity for all students

·          Assure student success

·          Ensure that under-prepared and low-income students are served

·          Ensure service to Scotts Valley and the “fringe” areas of the district

·          Ensure that the college responds to changing demographics, including Latino population

·          Foster links to K-12, including academic support for student athletes

·          Support the mission of the college to transform lives

·          Be of service and give back to the community through service on the board

·          Fulfill the mission and value of public education

·          Close the gap between “haves” and “have nots;” contribute to having a strong middle class

·          Assure fiscal soundness for the district


Effective and Productive Board Meetings

Discussion affirmed the following effective current practices or intentions:

·          Length of board meetings is one – three hours

·          Starting the public session on time, even if need to reconvene in closed session later

·          Trustees call the CEO with questions prior to the board meeting

·          Self-discipline for succinct board member reports is practiced

·          Public comments are at the beginning, with a three minute limit

·          Careful evaluation of the number of items on an agenda to ensure adequate time for discussion, and that the items address key strategic priorities of the board


Discussion identified areas for tweaking or minor changes:

·          Consider stating the amount of time for a topic on the agenda (e.g. 15 minutes), instead of a target time to start the discussion.

·          Consider adding items to consent agenda as permitted by law, recognizing that the public and board members can request to remove items.

·          Ensure that staff reports address board policy issues and priorities, and that presentations are mindful of time.

·          Keep and report a record of board requests and related follow-up.


Consensus was to explore having study sessions as part of shorter board meetings or as a second meeting in some months. The need for these would be identified by board members and determined by the board chair and CEO. A calendar for the year may be developed. Study sessions would be held on topics that relate to major college initiatives and/or change the direction of the college and may include:

·          When there may be/are many questions,

·          Major board policy issues,

·          Review of decision-making processes, and

·          Check on “rumor mill”


Board Role in Master Planning

The board’s role is threefold:

·          Define policy parameters or principles for the planning process

·          Contribute to mission, vision, and the “end” goals of the college

·          Monitor planning and implementation


Discussion of policy parameters and principles included that the planning process and plan should be:

·          Vibrant process; nimble plan

·          Focused on a relatively limited number of priorities

·          Inclusive; all constituents have an opportunity to contribute

·          Completed in a timely manner

·          Linked to budgeting

·          The board has input into the goals early in the process


Discussion of mission and goals included that the board identify the benefits the colleges produces for the students and community, and the populations the college serves.  Trustees do so from their perspective of elected representatives of the community. Discussion included the information and data needed to inform trustee contributions, including:

·          Demographic trends, including ethnicity, educational levels, and the different populations in the district

·          Career and technical education needs in the community and the current status of Cabrillo’s workforce development programs

·          Insights from participating in discussions with the planning council

·          How the community is changing and impact on the curriculum


President King noted that the Fact Book and Craig Hayward’s presentation includes much of the data needed, and will ensure the board receives the information requested.


Discussion of the board’s monitoring role led to consensus that a more systematic approach to monitoring should be developed.  Initial discussion included the desire to develop and adhere to a schedule of reports, and identify/set benchmarks. The board will monitor itself regarding requested reports and information in order to not overburden the staff. Criteria for board requests for reports and information includes identifying why a report is needed and how it relates to board responsibilities.


Tentative Planning Calendar:

Board roles include: participate in a joint session with the planning council in October, monitor progress on plan development, assure that budget reflects priorities when adopting the preliminary and final budgets, and adopt the plan. 


September:                    Vision Café and Special Session

October 1:                      Board/Planning Council joint session to draft overarching goals

October 8:                      Accreditation Site Visit (recommendations will inform planning process)

Mid-November:               Three to five overarching goals adopted

November – Spring:        Plan developed

Spring:                          The plan’s goals and strategies are used to refine budget priorities

June 30:                         Plan and tentative budget adopted by Board


Communication Protocols

The facilitator distributed a list of common discussion topics related to setting protocols regarding board, CEO, and college constituent communication. It was noted that the board and CEO have systems in place to prevent surprises and assure that all trustees receive equal information, and that trustees have and take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions.


Discussion on responding to contacts from campus constituents included that the board recognizes and supports internal processes that provide for input into decision-making, addressing problems, and grievances. They support delegation of authority to the CEO for administering the college and hiring staff. Protocols include upholding these processes and respectfully referring constituents to internal procedures, which reinforces the board’s respect for the CEO and their own policies.


Effective Board/CEO Partnership Principles

The consultant noted the handouts on board/CEO partnership and board/CEO support for each other’s roles.


Evaluation and Closing Thoughts

Positive comments about the retreat include:

·          The discussion reflects the nimbleness of the board and the willingness to lead

·          Trustees work together well, and listen to each other

·          The retreat resulted in specific outcomes and tasks

·          Trustees made time to do this and committed to the time

·          Opportunity to discuss our dreams for the college

·          Open discussion, focused on policy roles

·          We were able to identify issues prior to the retreat for discussion

·          Discussion of the monitoring role



·          Have an annual retreat

·          Have fewer items on the agenda

·          Ensure we follow up on strengthening a systematic monitoring role.









The special meeting of the Cabrillo College Governing Board was adjourned at 12:00 pm.





                                                                                    Respectfully submitted,