By Artur Agaronyan
ROCKVILLE – Are you trustee material? The Montgomery College Board of Trustees is seeking a new student member of the board, a yearly opportunity that gives an MC student a voice in the management, planning and running of the college.
The student trustee will be a full voting member of the board, said Dr. Stephen Cain, Chief of Staff and Chief Strategy Officer of the college.
The student trustee will have a chance to influence college policy and the hiring of key executives, such as the President of the college, as well as approve expenditure and budget, Cain said. Policy developed by the board is sent to the President of the college for procedure and execution, he said.
Terms run for one year from July 1 to June 30 and the student can be re-appointed, extending his or her term to two years, Cain said. Standard trustees are appointed for six years, said Cain. Academics are vital to membership, the student trustee is expected to maintain his or her grades in addition to being a board member, unlike standard members, he said. The board coordinates with the student to avoid conflicts, he explained. Applicants are required to have and maintain a 2.0 grade point average, Cain said.
All MC students are invited to apply, said Cain. There isn’t a preferred major or course of study, “I have not noticed a pattern [of majors in past student trustees]”, he said. Cain explained that previous trustees’ decisions to apply “[stemmed] from personal interest.” An ideal trustee is one that “wants to see [MC] be everything it can be” and would have a “deep passion for MC”, said Cain.
Employees of the college cannot be trustees, they cannot remain independent as required of a trustee, said Cain. In a followup email, Cain explained that employees whose pay is provided by alternative funds such as grants can hold their role while serving as a trustee. If the student is an officer in a student organization such as student government, the student must resign from the role or decline his or her appointment by the governor, he said. A student that leads a club can hold that role during his term as trustee, Cain said.
The deadline for applications is March 21 at 5 p.m., interviews will be conducted on an individual basis before April 5, Cain said.
The student nominee will be chosen by the nominating committee, an organization independent of the college and the board, said Cain. The committee consists of five people, two appointed by county executives, two by the county council and one by the alumni association governing board; each individual has a two year term, Cain said. The recommended student will then be appointed to the board by the governor of the state, he said.
The position’s advantages are a “two-way street”, Cain said. Attendance is emphasized at the three to four hour monthly meetings, he said. The position will require “200 hours in a year, give or take”, he explained.
The board benefits from a student voice, though Cain emphasized the student will be a voice of students, not “the voice of students”; all trustees must remain independent in order to fulfill their positions most efficiently, said Cain.
In return the student trustee will learn about leadership and skills useful in future endeavors “once they’ve completed their education”, said Cain.
The student trustee program has been part of the college for 38 years, said Cain. Montgomery College is one of three community colleges in Maryland with a similar program, a “forward and progressive” idea, Cain explained; the others being Anne Arundel Community College and Prince George’s Community College, he said.
An example of a policy developed by the board are the restrictions on tobacco smoking, enacted April 4, 2008. An index of board policies can be found on Montgomery College’s website.