A People's History of Spokane Community College

Doris Pichon Givens
SCC President
Doris Pichon Givens

The 2000s

California educator Doris Pichon Givens became SCC's new president - and the college's first woman president - in July 2000. In announcing her appointment, Chancellor/CEO Taylor noted, "Dr. Pichon brings a wide range of experience to SCC, in both liberal arts and technical fields. In addition, she has demonstrated an outstanding ability to lead and listen, which makes her an important asset to any team."

She arrived just as CCS - and SCC - were entering an era of innovative, community- and technology-based initiatives like INTEC (Inland Northwest Technology Education Center), an organization designed to identify and cultivate the development of technology industries in the Inland Northwest, and the SCC/Spokane Public Schools' collaborative two-year project, Information Technology Academy, offering Internet, Web design and multi-media courses to high school Running Start students. In 2002, partnering with INTEC and several Spokane-based biotechnology businesses, SCC would apply for and receive a $573,000 U.S. Department of Education grant to establish a biotechnology academy for area high school juniors and seniors.

Computers - 2000s

As the technology blitz continued, the Internet networking giant Cisco Systems announced creation of a regional Cisco Academy at SCC in September 2000, serving 14 high schools and seven school districts in Spokane. The academy would train and certify up to 35 high school teachers as Cisco Network instructors. "This is a real win-win situation for Spokane. We keep hearing the community doesn't have employees trained in cutting-edge technologies like Cisco. We are about to change that through this partnership with SCC and educators at the K-12 schools," said Roberto Gutierrez, SCC dean of business, hospitality and information technologies division.

There would be division and department name changes as well. The college's division of business and hospitality careers would change its name to business, hospitality and information technologies and SCC's office technology department would become "administrative office systems."

In other partnerships, SCC collaborated with the City of Spokane's fire and police departments and the county sheriff's office, leasing five acres to the consortium for construction of a Combined Public Safety Training Facility east of campus. As part of the agreement, SCC's fire science and law enforcement programs would have access to six classrooms in the building as well as much-coveted parking spaces.

The U.S. Navy also reached out to SCC. In May 2002, SCC became the first community college in Washington State to provide electronics training to new U.S. Navy recruits through an articulation agreement creating a one-year certificate program, Electronics Engineering Technician-Maritime Specialist Option. SCC Dean for Technical Education, Bob Branch, said, "It's a huge accomplishment for SCC. The Navy educators who looked at our electronics curriculum, facilities and equipment were impressed with the comprehensive nature of SCC's first-year program. It met or exceeded all their needs." Anchors aweigh!

Third College? What Third College?

In early 2000, the CCS Board of Trustees once again revisited the idea of establishing the IEL as a third college in District 17 with the potential to receive a full share of state support for capital projects, student services, and other needs. A districtwide task force was created, and in spring 2001, it recommended moving forward with a proposal to the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. "We are not creating an institution that doesn't exist. The IEL has a long history. And it looks very much like a college," David Habura, the IEL's interim executive vice president, told trustees.

Calling the new institution Ten Rivers Community College, trustees gave the task force the "OK" to submit the proposal to the State Board in May 2001. The proposal was placed on hold in the fall, following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and ultimately dropped.

In April 2000, degree options for students expanded as trustees approved the addition of an associate of science direct transfer degree at SCC and SFCC. Two types of degrees would be offered - one covering the biological sciences, environmental/earth sciences, chemistry, and geology, and the other covering engineering, computer science, physics, and atmospheric sciences. At SCC, the college introduced new legal, nursing, and fire command administrator options (1999-2001), a chiropractic technician program (2002), and a two-quarter advanced cabinetry certificate program (2003).

Learning Resources Center - 2000s

And foreshadowing the Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities at SCC, CCS Foundation representatives and SCC President Doris Pichon Givens announced creation of a $1 million library/learning resources endowment campaign to expand and enhance the library/learning resources collection at SCC. The $900,000 raised during the campaign would pair with a $300,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Still reeling from the magnitude of the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks, CCS employees learned October 11 that District Chancellor/CEO Charles Taylor had been fired by the Board of Trustees. David Habura, just coming off his interim "gig" with the IEL, was named interim chancellor/CEO October 16. And on June 18, 2002, former Superintendent of Spokane Public Schools, Gary Livingston, arrived at CCS as the district's sixth chancellor. Pichon Givens would stay another year, resigning her position in the summer of 2003.

Steven Hanson
SCC President
Steven Hanson

Steven Hanson, SCC's 13th president, arrived on campus Oct. 13, 2003. His first day coincided with the college's accreditation visit. An auspicious start, to say the least.

SCC had just welcomed its first class of Moody Bible Institute aviation maintenance students and was gearing up for an exciting $1 million CCS Foundation endowment campaign to fund a new humanities center located on the second floor of the Learning Resources Center. Its goal? To develop programs and projects incorporating the humanities across curriculum - be it business, arts and sciences, or career-technical.

Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities

Bolstered by a generous gift from retired Spokane physician Cornelius Hagan, the Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities was dedicated Sept. 26, 2005. Its inaugural quarter-long study project, "Culinary Culture," brought the campus together in fall quarter 2005 to study the social, physical, and symbolic meanings of food in society. Future topics would include World War I, sustainability, and heroes.

The Center went on to win an Association of College and Research Libraries EBSCO Community College Learning Resources Program Achievement Award in 2007.

Hagan Foundation Center for the Humanities - Scott Simon

Hanson further supported SCC's commitment to a developing robust liberal arts community by establishing the student-funded SCC President's Speakers Series, bringing nationally regarded experts in the sciences, arts, journalism, and social activism to SCC for free community-wide lectures at least twice a year. Past presenters have included National Public Radio's Scott Simon, author Linda Lawrence Hunt, and neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky.

Over the next five years, many SCC programs would also become involved in complex partnerships, serving the community colleges' rural education centers and, in one unique case, two community colleges on the west side of the state.

The IEL Colville's first licensed practical nurse class graduated in March 2006, marking the successful conclusion of a joint IEL-SCC collaboration with the community and local Workforce Development Council that ultimately earned one of Gov. Chris Gregoire's annual Best Practices Awards.

Using videoconferencing links provided through a partnership with Inland Northwest Health Services, Northwest TeleHealth, and the Virtual Possibilities Network, SCC's surgical technology faculty taught Perioperative Nursing and several other continuing education offerings to students in Omak and Colville, Washington.

And in partnership with Tacoma's MultiCare Health System and Puyallup's Good Samaritan Community Healthcare, SCC's cardiovascular technology program offered classes via videoconferencing to students at Tacoma Community College and Pierce College with the two health care systems providing local classroom and cardiovascular lab space. The collaboration was conceived to help offset a shortage of cardiovascular technicians in the region.

Existing SCC programs blossomed: That faint odor of fresh cooked French fries emanating from the Automotive Building meant students were retrofitting a 1997 Ford F-250 pick-up with a vegetable oil fuel tank and learning about alternative fuel sources at the same time.... SCC horticulture students wowed the community with new types of poinsettias they cultivated for distributors Paul Ecke Ranch and Fischer USA...and unique classes like Hospitality Math were developed to help students in specific career-technical programs such as culinary arts see how traditional math processes like percentages, fractions, and metric conversion fit into their chosen career fields.

Hanson took college finances very seriously. Honoring a 2004 CCS Board of Trustees mandate for each unit of the district to set aside a reserve account containing a minimum 5 percent of the college's annual revenue, he worked closely with his executive staff and the campus community to bring about the desired results. The college reserve remains intact to this day.

All work and no play? Forget about it.
Hanson and his team liked to have a little fun now and then with an assortment of employee appreciation events which included a Mid-Winter Blues Bash, designed to shake off the winter doldrums with dessert (sugar!), beverages (sugar!), door prizes, music, games and - the high point - when aspiring campus comedians took over the mic and told goofy jokes.
SCC faculty and staff also scored big with their Adopt-an-Athlete program, matching CCS basketball players with staff volunteers who attend History2000s games and schedule meals and regular "hanging-out time" with their athletic adoptees.

During Hanson's tenure, several new programs and services popped up as well: SCC's Transfer Advising Center celebrated its grand opening in September 2005, as did a Wireless Café in the Lair-Student Center. In 2005, SCC also assumed administration of Sacred Heart Medical Center's School of Radiologic Technology, allowing the college to offer a two-year associate in applied science degree in radiology technology. Diagnostic sonography was added in 2006.

A new Student Health Center opened on campus one year later. The two-year degree program, massage therapy, started Summer Quarter 2007, and the Center for Entrepreneurship at SCC opened its doors Fall Quarter 2007, offering a one-year certificate in integrated business and entrepreneurship.

In 2006, SCC also became one of the first community colleges in Washington to sponsor a Summer Academy for Native American students in 8th, 9th or 10th grades. The program focused on students' cultural history, literature, folklore, and traditions and emphasized continuing education on through college.

Also beginning in 2006, the IEL and SCC partnered once again to deliver I-BEST (Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) to adult education students who required English as a Second Lanaguage and/or GED instruction as well as career-technical training. In its first quarter, launched in spring 2006, students tackled core competencies in manufacturing trades, moving to select a specific career field in CNC machining, welding, or hydraulic/pneumatic automation. Sixteen adult education students, including eight non-native English speakers, began the program in spring 2006.

Go wash your hands!

Like any large institution, SCC, SFCC, and the IEL were caught up in any and all public health calls to action: Bird flu, MRSA, swine flu. You name it, we prepared for it. "Stop Germs in Their Tracks" posters went up everywhere, we all learned about "respiratory etiquette" and "social distancing." And hand sanitizer became our new BFF.

Trust us. It's nothing to sneeze at.

Buildings, buildings everywhere. In 2005, as the CCS Board of Trustees crafted one of its most ambitious capital project requests based on new campus master plans at SCC and SFCC. SCC's Science/Math Building neared completion. It was dedicated Sept. 13, 2006.

The trustees' proposal, totaling almost $100 million, included $10 million for renovation of SCC's old Science Building to accommodate the college's Student Health Center, Computer Services, physical education/athletics offices, and instructional labs for its biomedical equipment and radiology tech programs; and another $24 million to replace the aging west wing of Old Main. The State Legislature would approve these two projects during its 2006 session. Construction on both buildings started in 2009, but left a proposal for a $17.6 million consolidated Student Services Center on the cutting-room floor.

But back to that campus master plan. Approved at the trustees' November 2005 meeting, the SCC plan proposed:

  • A new campus entrance on Mission Avenue;
  • Shifting the campus "center of gravity" to the east (part of the reason the new SCC Technical Education Building feels like it's being built in the Spokane Valley);
  • Add green spaces, establishing landscape design themes, taking better advantage of the Spokane River and changing the campus color palette to soften the stark appearance of existing buildings and parking lots;
  • Improving pedestrian walkways, parking, and traffic circulation; and
  • Developing the campus interior as a plaza and outdoor meeting place.

What?!!? Our existing flying saucer landing pad north of the Lair doesn't count as an outdoor meeting place? DOH!

Joe Dunlap
SCC President
Joe Dunlap

Steven Hanson announced his retirement and intention to return to the west side of the state in the spring of 2007. Joe Dunlap, SCC vice president of learning, would serve as acting president during a national search for Hanson's replacement. Dunlap was permanently appointed as SCC's 14th president in March 2008.

When Dunlap began his term, the college was in the best financial shape it had been in for nearly a decade. The budget was balanced, SCC had a 5 percent reserve account, and 2008-09 had the potential to be THE year of institutional growth and development.

That is until the worst economic recession in global history hit. We hate it when that happens.

In September 2008, Gov. Chris Gregoire and the State Legislature began to cut state agency budgets. The State Board was required to reduce allocations to all community and technical colleges. Every CCS unit "shared the pain" and continued to do so. Since 2008-09, SCC's budget reductions have averaged 7 percent a year.

Like herding cats.

SCC, and the state's other 33 community and technical colleges, adopted Common Course Numbering (CCN) in 2007. It was, to say the least, an epic student-centered breakthrough on all fronts.

Prior to CCN, each college was able to number its own courses. For example, English 102 at Highline Community College covered the same topics and similar learning objectives as English 201 at SCC. For students and college advisers trying to figure out course equivalencies and transferability, it was, for lack of better term, "a cluster."

Enter Common Course Numbering. Today, classes with common content carry the same prefix, number, course title and credits. English 102 is English 102 at SCC, Highline and all other Washington community and technical colleges.

Genius. And it only took 44 years.

Many efficiencies of scale were implemented to continue serving a record number of students at the college. They included employee furloughs in the summer of 2009, a faculty vote to take one unpaid work day in November 2009, cutting goods and services expenditures, leaving vacant positions unfilled, and obtaining a variety of grants to fund special programs and services.

Only two programs were suspended - auto machinist and massage therapy.

And let's not forget the flip side of the recession coin. As funding shriveled up, retirements evaporated, and people lost jobs, SCC - and community colleges across the U.S. - stepped up to provide workforce education to get the unemployed back to work. By fall quarter 2009, for example, enrollments at SCC were up 8.5 percent over the previous school year. And the student-to-faculty ratio at SCC went from 19:1 to 23:1 without additions to the college faculty. Ouch!

Despite the volatile times, good things have continued to happen at SCC. Working with District Administration, SFCC, and the IEL, SCC implemented a new Emergency Management Plan, which was successfully deployed during several highly critical incidents on campus including the death of a beloved faculty member, a gas leak, and an arson attempt.


Emergency communications also came in mighty handy when the snow fell...and fell...AND FELL the winters of 2008 (92 inches!) and 2009 (96 inches!). Classes were cancelled, parking was a pain-in-the-berm, and the National Guard was called out to help clear the snow load off the roofs of many area schools. Thanks to the almost-round-the-clock efforts of campus facilities staff, SCC dug out and prevailed. But, man, spring couldn't come soon enough.

Creation of a Campus Safety Office was a welcome addition at SCC, providing swift, level-headed response to emergencies and other potentially disruptive incidents. And, in 2008, SCC partnered with the Spokane Police Department and Washington Department of Corrections, to add a C.O.P.S. (Community-oriented Policing Services) Shop on campus. It's believed to be the first ever located on a U.S. college campus. Staffed by volunteers and serving the Chief Garry and Minnehaha neighborhoods, the shop provides crime prevention and community services for area residents, including bicycle registration, Block Watch and graffiti reporting.

SCC's online courses grew in popularity, more than doubling in five years. In 2004-05, students enrolled in 1,174 online courses; in 2009-10, online enrollments peaked at 2,808.

The college's Student Technology Fee reached an all-time high of $900,000 in 2009-10, enabling many programs to purchase necessary student computer/printer replacements and cutting-edge classroom enhancements like a test kitchen for culinary arts students, diagnostic medical sonography equipment, and a regulation obstacle course for law enforcement students.

And a new expanded dental auxiliary program was established in 2008-09, enabling working dental assistants to acquire new skills to share at their clinics and dental offices, and students' clinical experiences were heightened as they worked side by side with area dentists on campus providing basic dental care to low-income students and their families.

On the horizon? The Spokane Aerospace Technology Center project! As SCC's 40-year lease at Felts Field expired in 2008-09, it was time to find a new History2000s for the college's aviation maintenance program. For 40 years, CCS paid a mere $1,200 per month for the program's hangars and classroom facilities, but Fair (?) Market Value of the property increased, raising the rent to $94,000 per year. Gulp.

At Dunlap's request, representatives from Spokane International Airport and SCC's technical education division met and came up with a plan to move the program to property at Geiger Field, adjacent to the Spokane International Airport and at a site where several aerospace industries were already established. In 2010, the Washington State Legislature directed the Military Department to give CCS/SCC the land at Geiger Field plus $400,000 for construction. With help from the CCS Foundation, additional federal, state and local funding is being sought to complete the project.

The dream of shared governance at SCC became a reality. When Dunlap came on board, there were more councils, committees, and task forces than Jim Williams could have imagined. All met monthly, kept minutes of their meetings and had bylaws, but no one seemed to communicate with each other or with the president and his Cabinet. As interim president, Dunlap brought together the Finance Council and College Council to discuss and develop a stronger shared governance model to focus on college-wide issues and strategic planning.

The College Alliance was born. Made up of faculty, administrators, and classified staff, the College Alliance took SCC's Strategic Plan firmly in hand and is charged with handling a wide range of college-wide issues - from the budget crisis to clear and fair building improvement request procedures. Task forces on campus-wide communications, distance learning, enrollment management, and course/program duplication also were established to provide a new, clear direction for SCC's managed growth and development.

Dunlap identified employee appreciation and respect as additional institutional priorities. Regular staff appreciation events and employee years of service awards have taken on a new importance as SCC celebrates a staff that is multigenerational, multicultural, and multifaceted.

With renovation of Building 7 (SCC's old Science Building) and construction of a new Technical Education Building (Bldg. 28) nearing completion in 2010-11, the SCC Facilities Council looked to the college's past and proposed naming these buildings, plus one other, after past presidents and district leaders in honor of their strong commitment to the mission of Spokane Community College.

Following the CCS Board of Trustees' approval in July 2010, Building 7 would be named the Jenkins Wellness Center after Hobart Jenkins, SCC's second president. Building 28 would become the Stannard Technical Education Building, named after the college's third president, Lloyd Stannard, and the current Math/Science Building (Bldg. 27) would be renamed the Livingston Math and Science Building for CCS Chancellor Gary Livingston, who retired in August 2010.