Why Thomas Norman for LACCD Trustee?
Breaking Barriers, Building Futures.
We must address the costs of remediation for such a high percentage of new students, while also working to streamline transfers to 4-year degree programs. I have a decade of experience working at the most diverse 4-year university helping first generation, students of color overcome some educational deficits to achieve great things after graduation. I have spent many hours volunteering time to find better ways to improve the transition from a community college to a Cal State campus. My curricular experience will help me guide LACCD in better execution of existing transfer agreements and imagining new ones to reduce the time to degree and increase the productivity our region’s human capital.
Maintain the Public Trust
I will work to ensure the responsible use of financial resources raised from taxes, fees and bonds to modernize the campuses, curriculum and career services.
Too many students and staff at our colleges face food and housing insecurity. We need to think back to California’s Master Plan for Education and the goals of free higher education for our best students. I will work with the City of Los Angeles and State of California to provide one tuition-free AA degree to all residents of the LACCD. Furthermore, I will expand the use of Open Educational Resources to increase the affordability of textbook for LACCD students.
Why Am I Running?
After teaching for 10 years at Cal State Dominguez Hills I have worked with hundreds of graduates from LA Community Colleges and believe that my background, knowledge and experience will be useful in moving the LACCD system towards a better future. The system has great promise as the largest in our country, but I note that a majority of my management students entered my class lacking prerequisite knowledge in algebra and microeconomics. In my classes I spend several class periods addressing these critical skill gaps. I know there is an opportunity to increase the quality of the education received by the typical LACCD student. The solutions will require heavy involvement of faculty and current efforts to turn towards technology to improve effectiveness must be carefully overseen. My own experience has shown me how well intentioned efforts to save money with online instruction undercut the quality of education while offering limited improvements in efficiency.
Several years ago, I began volunteering my time to support efforts of several of the LA Community Colleges to help modernize their curriculum, receive grant money and conduct business plan competitions. This experience introduced me to several leaders working to support the economic development of our region through their roles within LACCD. Their work inspired me to seek an opportunity to help the LACCD system continue improving with the goal of becoming the crown jewel of affordable, public education in America.
My experience in higher education qualifies me to serve as a trustee. I have spent the past decade helping my students manage the transition from community college to a four-year, public university. I have been a member of CFA, the faculty union during my entire time at CSU Dominguez Hills and spent several years working on the Faculty Rights committee. I also helped plan our one-day strike held on the Dominguez Hills and East Bay campuses. I have had good relationships with our local and state union leaders.
My Academic record includes one year as an interim Associate Dean, two years as Department Chair and six years on my Academic Senate. At CSU Dominguez Hills I was the Chair of the Faculty Policy Committee and currently as the Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee for the 23 campus California State University system. I have served on search committees for full-time and part-time faculty, the Vice Chancellor of Human Resources for the CSU system, Dean of the College of Business Administration and Public Policy, and AVP of Human Resources for CSUDH.
I earned a Masters and a PhD in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota which is one of the top programs in the country for HR and Labor Relations. The knowledge I gained will be very important in overseeing the negotiation and budgeting of faculty and staff contracts for the LACCD.