Santa Monica College’s Board of Trustees had a change in leadership last month when Susan Aminoff became its chair and Rob Rader its vice chair. In interviews with the Mirror, Aminoff and Rader discussed their plan of action.
For Aminoff, a major goal for 2007 is to make sure the College is “serving and retaining students we enroll.” She noted that in some cases students, for a variety of reasons, “don’t reach their enrollment goals,” which could be receiving either a certificate or an Associate of Arts degree or transferring to a four-year school. She feels it should be the Board’s goal to help College President Chui Tsang create “a comprehensive strategy for student retainment” that will focus on basic skills and work/life issues.
Another of the chair’s goals is to have SMC get off the electric power grid in 10 years. This will help free up funds in the General Fund that normally would have been targeted for electricity usage. The College’s Environmental Studies department is forming a partnership with Santa Monica Solar, and she would like to “work with the Board members to develop an implementation plan.”
“Figuring out a long-term parking strategy” for SMC’s campuses is another of Aminoff’s objectives. To that end, she wants to make “sure this Board is thinking ahead and finding alternative ways for students to get to campus with as little impact on the City’s neighborhoods as possible.” She then mentioned that the “College is actively engaged in acquiring a property for the shuttle lot” that was lost when the City began building the Airport Park so shuttles aren’t driving across the City.
Aminoff would also like to “change the tone of the labor relations on campus” and is “committed to opening and closing the negotiations in a timely way.”
The chair concluded her interview by stating the College is “no longer the a functional problem child in the community. For the last two years the Board took a hard look at the issues and implemented solutions that will help resolve some of the stubborn problems. We’re implementing a vision for what the College should and could be like.”
Aminoff was elected to the Board in 2004 and served as its vice chair for 2006. She is a sociology professor at Pierce College in Woodland Hills and has been the chair of the Joint Labor-Management Benefits Committee of the Los Angeles Faculty Guild since 1999. She also is a member of the California Community Colleges’ Health Care Committee and the California Federation of Teachers Retirement Committee. She has a PhD. in Sociology from the University of Southern California.
Rob Rader, the new vice chair, is “really looking forward to working with Chair Aminoff on the College’s benefits and collective bargaining issues in general. She’s been a true leader in the Los Angeles Community District and I think her experience and wisdom will help us achieve our goals at SMC.”
Rader also “anticipates working more closely with the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu.” He pointed out that College President Dr. Tsang “has enabled us to move beyond the historical distrust on both sides. A classic mistake is to allow the past problems to overshadow future opportunities. We spent the last two years removing the brush so the path is clear. Our mission is to do what’s right for the students and the community.”
Vice chair Rader has been on the Board since 2004 and is an entertainment and new media attorney for Mitchell Silberberg and Knupp LLP. Previously, he was the vice president of business affairs for MGM Television Distribution. He currently is the secretary/treasurer of the City of Santa Monica’s Bayside District Corporation and is also on the Board of the Wilshire/Montana Neighborhood Coalition. Rader received his law degree from Harvard Law School.