Spring 2021 Meeting Summary

Laverne Hays - Blackhawk Technical College

Laverne Hays

Vernon Jung began by thanking those Trustees and Presidents who have retired or moved on for their service. Recall our host at NTC – Lori Weyers – along with Susan May of FVTC, Kaylen Betzig of WCTC, Bruce Barker from CVTC, and Richard Nelson from Nicolet will also retire. Vernon said when stepping down we should ask ourselves, “Is the College a better place?” Ongoing training and feedback are vital to achieve this.

Lori Weyers noted the passing of Bob Beaver of Mid-State and said he was certainly an example of that because of the time he spent on their Board.

Referring to our In-Service theme, Dr Weyers informed us that NTC has added ‘Accessibility’ to DEI [Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility] in an effort to provide more educational opportunities to under-resourced students. The make-up at NTC includes 70% of students who work and are part-time.

Our keynote speaker, Dr Damon Williams, presenting a very dynamic and stimulating presentation – From Awareness to Action to Innovation. He emphasized that 80% of outcomes are derived from 20% of change efforts. He suggested the book by Leslie C. Aguilar as a resource for sharpening our awareness on stereotyping and demeaning communication -

Ouch! That Stereotype Hurts book

His talk centered on Educational and business cases for diversity, political and legal threats, and the rising tide of hate. He suggests we Activate and get ready by pre-developing statements in anticipation of issues.

Following Damon’s presentation Steve Tenpas, acting as moderator, interacted with Madison Colleges’ Dr Jack Daniels and Gateway’s Dr Bryan Albrecht in discussing challenges our Colleges have and avenues to make them more welcoming to students of diversity.

Dr Daniels noted that 30% of students at his College are of color. While developing their South Campus, they hosted ‘Days of Understanding’, talking with students (more listening than talking) and decorated the building with artifacts representing their community. His Board acknowledges the difficulty in hiring diversified staff.

Dr. Daniels suggested having DEI data workshops and an equity scorecard – use data to analyze goals. Developing an equity lens - get involved with who impacts and who is impacted. Every College campus can be an economic catalyst. Madison College’s effort led to a STEM academy that resulted in 95% of participants acquiring 54 College credits. How to maintain growth and sustain efforts – be proactive- and have dialog among ourselves and express our views.

Dr Albrecht noted that 36% of Gateway students are of color and that they have a minority majority in several their K12 districts. He stressed that addressing issues starts with leadership and suggests making DEI part of our Mission statement. He thanked WTCS President Morna Foy for her role in making diversity a standing topic of discussion. Sharing best practices at the Presidential level is working well.

His Gateway Board used a three-step process to review the Trustee application process, sought internal and external input, and had crucial conversations with their community about College support to them. Partnerships between the College and the community benefits everyone. Dr. Albrecht suggested a few strategies:

  • Covid-19 taught us that you can never over-communicate
  • Seek engagement – don’t wait for them to come to you.
  • Offer DEI workshops for Business community and align with their needs - develop apprenticeships – an example -working with D.O.C and creating partnerships
  • Board members need to have a strong will and encourage conversation.

The WTCS has created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee: Dr. Tammy Summers laid out their statement and purpose along with their advocacy and action plan while Collen Larsen and Brenda Powles gave information about Interviewer bias training that many Colleges have used. Nick Brayton also helped them emphasize how intent can be different than impact, and when saying “Ouch!” can be simple and effective way to pause in a stereotype conversation.

For more information and to see their system-wide equity report from 2018 see their website:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We were then automatically divided into three breakout ‘rooms’ where we were able to discuss situations in small groups about interrupting and redirecting conversations.

During the DBA Board meeting, Officers (Executive Team) elected were Betty Bruski Mallek (Mid-State) as President, Chuck Bolstad (Southwest) Vice-President, and Bill Duncan (Gateway) as Secretary/Treasurer.

Layla gave the Presidents Association report of behalf of Dr. Shelly Mondeik (Mid-State). There have been over 125 letters of support from around the State for our Colleges to award AA/AS degrees and for increased funding. Advocacy letters are available and will be sent to Board Chairs to share and forward.

Layla noted also that she and her counterparts from across the nation are meeting bi-weekly to discuss the $170 million CARES Act and CRRSSA funding and their use to offset lost revenue due to Covid.

The 2021-22 Budget was approved, and the Executive committee reported they have completed Layla’s evaluation, noting that her salary is below the median for her peers. The By-Laws committee is reviewing Sect 2.05 of the manual addressing Technical College Capital Financing authority to possibly increasing the amount from 1.5 to 3 million dollars and possible including an escalation clause for the future. There were 41 Trustees, 13 Presidents, 2 State Board members, and 11 staff attending virtually.

The DBA Summer meeting at Mid-State, July 15th – July 17th will be a hybrid format allowing in-person and virtual participation.

View all past summaries by Laverne Hays