Is Clark College on the right track? Clark is so consequential here that we hope all is well at our community college. Yet it appears that stress levels are high for Clark trustees and administration. The recent acrimonious departure of former President Bob Knight is troubling for those who know his contributions at Clark. The trustees must find a balanced approach to calm the waters.
The stakes are high. Few if any institutions here can match Clark College for helping the less privileged climb the economic ladder. Clark offers students the means to increase their earning power by leaps and bounds, in the nursing school, the culinary school, as a machinist or other skilled labor, or in the many new STEM programs.
Clark has long been inclusive, going the extra mile to accommodate minority studies, those with health and behavioral challenges, students with young children needing Clark Day Care Center, mature students, and high achievers in high schools through the Running Start program.
Knight, president for 12 years, responding to a request for this column, considers his three most important contributions to be “adding two campuses, East Vancouver and the planned Advance Manufacturing Facility in Ridgefield; supporting social equity efforts by creating the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and obtaining six Accreditation Evaluation Commendations in October 2018 including for equity and inclusion and for veterans.”
For decades, Clark has maintained strong endowment support through the Clark College Foundation, including for the state-of-the art STEM building that opened in 2016, gaining national plaudits. Foundation donors have always had full confidence in Clark’s direction and leadership.