College president gets first report card

Story by Laura Canida

Tim Cook’s first year on the job as president was “excellent,” according to the college board of education’s evaluation of his first year at the helm of Clackamas Community College.

The CCC Board of Directors is required under college policy to perform an annual evaluation of the president’s job performance.

The board contracted with the Oregon School Boards Association to conduct the evaluation from September to October 2019.

The signature accomplishments in his first year has been the focus on Guided Pathways and on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, according to the report. “They are works in progress, but progress is being made which will lead to increased student success,” said the board’s evaluation.

The report said Cook could improve in two areas.

“More can still be done to grow our non-state resources,” a draft of the evaluation stated. “For example, a continued and strengthened focus on building better partnerships and connections to our community’s employers will help the college’s financial sustainability and students’ college and career readiness.”

The report also said the Cook could do more to improve shared governance at the college. Shared governance is a key element of the culture of CCC. The college said it will benefit from a reaffirmation of the process and a broadly-shared understanding of how it works.

“There’s a process here about how, when we are making decisions, how do we make sure that everyone impacted has a chance to weigh in?” said Cook. “I see that it’s a real problem and a real thing that needs to be fixed. I want to make sure that we have a clear process for the work that we do so that people say, ‘Oh, I had a chance. I maybe didn’t like the outcome, but I had a chance to weigh in on it, I knew about it.’”

“If shared governance were really working, I don’t think anyone would have to really worry about what it is. That’s kind of another way to think about it. In my mind, students should be able to come here to take their classes and not have to worry about things like that. But, there are decisions that are made that impact students and if we haven’t done a good job of getting student feedback in there, and making sure that student voices are heard, then that’s a failure of shared governance in my mind. But in an ideal state, we wouldn’t even have to worry about it, we would just do it.”

Cook, who was hired last year at $200,000 a year plus benefits that include a $1,000 monthly car allowance, a $400 monthly expense account, and received a 2.7% contractual raise to put his annual salary at $205,400.

“I was really happy with the first year,” Cook said. “I felt I accomplished what I wanted to do as far as connecting with people and getting out and building relationships. It was a busy year; I felt like I worked hard. My  goal was to get out to as many events and different things as I possibly could. And I think I did a pretty good job of that.”

The report did not mention outstanding issues at the college, like bargaining between the college and hundreds of employees in three different unions who are working without contracts that expired on June 30.

“My goal and hope had been that they would all get resolved before the holiday break, and I’m not so sure that will happen,” Cook said. “It could still, we still have a few more sessions left before we break, but I don’t know. I’ve done bargaining a lot, I’ve done that before and sometimes it just takes a while to get to get to that point.”

The board utilized a 360-degree evaluation survey consisting of 50 questions in seven categories that range from management to finance.

Thirty individuals were sent the survey and 97% of those surveys were completed. Participants included members of the Board of Education, the President’s Council, the Foundation Board, and Cook, who took the survey as a self-evaluation.

The board read the evaluation at the last board meeting on Nov 13. The Board concluded that President Tim Cook’s performance over the course of the last year is excellent and he exceeded the board’s expectations in all areas of responsibility.

Board president Dave Hunt did not return an email for comment.

The board, who serves as his boss, said Cook is “well-liked,” respected and very good at getting out into the community and building goodwill.

“We commend Dr. Cook for his work on implementing the bond projects in a timely and cost effective manner. As new buildings are built and planned, he keeps the future and changing needs of the workforce in mind to ensure students are educated in functional classrooms and trained on modern, relevant equipment in a facility that is welcoming and accessible,” said Hunt in a public statement.

“Dr. Cook makes it very clear that he considers the student voice whenever and wherever possible, and encourages student participation and leadership at all levels,” the board said.

“The Board of Education recognizes and appreciates Dr. Cook’s dedication and leadership throughout his first year at Clackamas and we commend him for the progress toward his 2018-19 goals. He faced a huge challenge following a long-term, very popular predecessor, and has navigated it with grace, wit, and professionalism. We are fortunate to have a leader guiding us who is so committed to our college and students’ success,” Hunt wrote in the statement.