A Few Minutes With … Robert Killen

Robert Killen, SBDC Director

Position: Director, Small Business Development Center

Life at Lane: Robert Killen will celebrate his two-year anniversary at Lane in May and has spent his career supporting the growth of small businesses as a banker, consultant, nonprofit executive, and most recently, as the membership development director at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Through his work at the Springfield Chamber,  he began working closely with LCC’s SBDC team and that collaboration prompted him to consider a role with the SBDC two years ago.

Life Before Lane: Robert spent the first decade of his professional life in art/design and branding, then made the shift to finance, which started him on a path to help small businesses grow.

Let’s Get Personal: Robert and his wife have three “mostly-grown boys.” He’s “very proud” of his wife, who is a 4J school administrator and the couple live in Coburg. Robert says while he doesn’t have much time for hobbies these days, he does enjoy playing music. He and his wife met through their mutual appreciation of music while students at the University of Oregon and at one time, they performed in a choir together. Music remains a major part of their lives, though, lately, the couple’s attention has been focused on helping our community in their respective roles during the pandemic. 

Q: What interested you in your current position?

A: When I found my way to the Chamber of Commerce, I actually thought I was going to retire with chambers because I love what chambers do, but the opportunity to focus my attention on education and training of business owners was too good to pass up. I was excited to take this position. I grew up in a household where my dad had his own business. Even though at the time, I didn’t realize how it impacted me, I gravitated toward positions and opportunities that would allow me to help small business owners. I was 10 years or more into my profession when I realized I wanted to help business owners. I became a business banker and from that point on, in any position I took, I’d try to help small businesses and/or nonprofits that really drive community. They are the heart of community. So for me, it’s exciting to help businesses succeed and help businesses launch new ideas. It’s an absolute joy.  

Q: Tell us about your role at the SBDC as director. 

A: My initial outreach was not specifically to prospective clients, but partner development and reaching out to entities that serve businesses, because we, the SBDC, should be the first phone call any business makes when they have a question. That doesn’t mean that we may have the answer, but we should know where to send them. Through my work at the chamber, I came to realize that there’s no obstacle that a business faces that there’s not someone who has a job to help them overcome that. The problem is historically, we’ve lacked a good way to connect business owners to the right resources in a timely fashion, so when I came here I made it my priority to make as many connections as I could with organizations. That turned into a product: the Lane Business Link portal. It’s a searchable database for businesses to find an organization to help them with their questions or provide support. 

Q: How has that changed in the past year? 

A: Once COVID came, then, everything had to change. Businesses were struggling and wanting to learn about these new programs that were coming out. We are the primary resource for information about stimulus programs for businesses. We have a direct relationship with the Small Business Administration (SBA), so they expect that we’ll be the experts. I present to businesses about stimulus programs. I continued with that through the fall and then there were new factors: wildfires, social unrest and new stimulus programs from the State and County. It was our job to make sense of all that and get that information out to business. I am proud of the number of business owners we’ve helped.

We’ve also changed how we do business as a team. We moved to telephone or video advising and adapted in positive ways that will serve us well in the future even when this is over. We’ve learned new skills to allow us to reach more business owners and reach into rural Lane County and do our job better for more business owners. 

Q: Have you had to alter how you approach your role?

A: It’s certainly changed. I can’t say that it’s harder. I think in many cases it’s easier to reach people because everyone is so accessible through video. We’ve become comfortable with that.  Our work has become more efficient, and in some ways, more effective. However, nothing replaces in-person meetings to establish rapport and a relationship, but we can’t do that now and we’re making the most of the situation. 

Q: Is there a demand for SBDC services right now? How is the SBDC helping businesses in our community during the pandemic?

A:  This is our Olympics. In the history of the SBDC, which turns 41 nationwide this year, there has never been or will be a time that SBDC has been more important. We are small business owners’ connection to federal stimulus and strategies for resilience. Whether it’s a 1099 contractor or a business with up to 500 employees, we’re the first contact about these programs. We saw an extraordinary increase for requests for advising and information in 2020. The recorded impact only represents a third of the total impact we created in helping businesses figure out how to access these resources. We are and we continue to be more necessary than at any point in our history. 

Q: What do you think other LCC employees may not realize – or be surprised by – about the SBDC and its services?

A: I think a lot of people — a lot of businesses and the public don’t know the breadth of our programming. Even now, what people do know us for now is that we provide information and guidance regarding these stimulus packages, but our core work is free and confidential advising for business owners at any stage from beginning to exit. We talk to them about whatever they want to talk about to help them grow. We offer specialized services with statewide teams for those who want to enter global trade.  We have a capital access team to help them apply for funding. We have ongoing classes, including a brand new course that started in January: a microenterprise course developed in response to a grant at the city of Eugene to help those interested in launching new businesses. Then, at the same time, at the other end of the spectrum, we offer Small Business Management. It’s a three-year cohort model that businesses have been praising for 38 years. We have a lot to be proud of. We also know we have a lot of opportunity to get even better. 

Q: Any personal practices you’ve started during the pandemic? 

A: I have had to get good at Zoom and I took that a step forward to implement an actual green screen and software that allows me to do more sophisticated video recordings. I do a lot of video recording. We are using this as an opportunity to get good at delivering online training. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to when we can use the term: post-pandemic? 

A: I miss my team. I enjoy being in the downtown center. Because they’ve made changes to the center, they’ve moved our offices from the third to the first floor, so we have a lot of unpacking to do. That doesn’t particularly excite me, but it will be fun to be back in the office and meet new people since the city offices will be located there. It will be celebratory to go into a live meeting with people again. It will be a fun time when we can do that again. I’m looking forward to that human connection. Some things won’t go back to normal, my team of advisors will likely stick to virtual advising and do face-to-face when needed, but now, we have a different option and we have new tools to make good on our commitment to serve more of Lane County, like our rural areas in Oakridge, Cottage Grove, and Florence.


A Few Minutes With … Lori Brenden

Portrait of Lori Brenden

Lori Brenden

Work-Life at Lane: Lori began working at Lane in June 1991 as a work-study student in the Financial Aid Office. She was hired as a full-time employee in 1993 as she continued her studies at the University of Oregon, where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree in anthropology. As a UO student, she took a course in HTML coding and development and at the time, did not know just how much it would shape her future at Lane. Lori helped create a great deal of the content for Lane’s first website and continued working on the site as webmaster after a transfer to computer services/IT, providing support and ensuring our website stays relevant, accurate, and helpful for our students and community. She continued in that position for 22 years before the web team was moved to Marketing where she continues in the same role. 

Personal Look: Lori and her husband enjoy camping and fishing and a few years ago purchased a fifth-wheel travel trailer that has enabled them to safely enjoy the scenic outdoors during the pandemics. Her husband retired a few years ago and they’re both looking forward to Lori’s retirement at the end of 2022, so they can travel more and enjoy retirement together. 

Q: Tell us a bit about your role at Lane. What’s an average day like, is there an average day?
A: Because of where we are in the redesign of the website, there isn’t an average day. The part of the current website that will be included in the new website has been frozen and all updates come through me. So each day I take care of any updates as they come in. Then, I continue the work to review, reformat, and organize the pages that have been migrated into the new temporary site while learning how to do all that in the newer version of Drupal that the new site is in. 

Q: How has working remotely impacted your work and/or the way you do your work? 
A: I have been telecommuting quite a bit for years so other than not seeing anyone in person at all, nothing has changed.

Q: You’re currently working on our web redesign. What can we expect when that work is done? 
A: The biggest change most people will notice is that right from the front page, it will be immediately apparent that everything, from the design to the content to the organization of pages is designed with a focus on prospective students. You can follow along on our blog at blogs.lanecc.edu/webteam. We’ll be posting some previews there in the coming months.

Q: How has going remote changed any thoughts or practices on how we approach our web design and content?
A: It’s made it more clear that there have to be things in place for not going to campus to accomplish pretty much everything. Meeting with people, turning in forms, conducting business with the college — anything that was done with a paper form had to be rethought. We were already focused on mobile-first for our web content display to make sure it was easier for a lot of people to do what they needed to do from wherever. What we worked on for the first couple of weeks was migrating paper forms to web forms so that business could be done digitally and on getting information online as departments figured out doing a lot of things with zoom. 

Q: What do you think other LCC employees may not realize — or be surprised by  — about the role of our web team? 

A: We coordinate vacations and other time off, so that someone is available 24/7 to make changes to the site, if needed, including in the event of an emergency or a closure. And, not only do we maintain the current website, we maintain old versions in an archive site, so you can see how things have changed, including looking at the homepage from the earliest years we have in the archive.

Q: What are you most looking forward to when we can use the term: post-pandemic?

A: Seeing people in person. Many milestones have passed by without gathering to be together to celebrate, mourn, encourage, and just be together. 


A Few Minutes With … Glenda Izumi

Photo of Glenda Izumi

Glenda Izumi

Current position: Success Coach since September 2019

Work Life Before Lane: Glenda is a lifelong educator and prior to joining Lane was the site administrator for an adult education program that served more than 12,000 students in southern California. She holds a Ph.D. in human development. 

Prior Work at Lane: Glenda has worked at Lane for nearly seven years and previously was an adjunct faculty member for ABSE and ESL. She also has assisted with qualitative data analysis work in support of student success.

Personal Look: Her second grandchild (a granddaughter) was born recently. She has three adult children and a 3-year-old grandson. “I’m a happy mom and grandma.” She plans to retire at the end of December.

Q: What interested you in your current position? 

A: It was my dream job to be able to work one-on-one with students. That was my sole purpose to help them. When you teach, you’re helping them, but you have multiple students. As a coach, i feel like I can interact more and find out really how I can help and share the resources. A lot of them don’t know what’s available at Lane. Lane is crazy full of opportunities for them and the community. 

Q: Tell us about your role as a success coach. What is it and do students find you … or do you find students? 

A: Prior to this year, I was more involved with counselors and students who needed help meeting Academic Progress Standards. I’d be a liaison between the counselors and students. If they were having academic challenges. I’d set up appointments for them to meet with the counselor and help them navigate resources and identify solutions. My role has evolved since we’re not putting students on alert now while we’re in our remote environment. Now, I’m working primarily with First Year Experience students and providing support as they navigate the Moodle course. I still get referrals from Early Outreach, tutors, retention counselors and financial aid as I have built up rapports with them and am eager to help our students.

Q: Have you had to alter how you approach your job as a success coach during the pandemic? If so, how? 

A: We’re now working largely through email and I think a lot of our students aren’t used to communicating or focusing on email. So, when I learned I could request a phone, I decided to get one. I love having it because going back and forth on email with a student, it takes a little longer because they don’t always immediately respond like some of us to email. Sometimes, it could take a few days or longer to get their issue resolved just by email. Before, students also would come to our office. There’s something to be said by talking to someone face to face. You can tell by their body language if they’re anxious or nervous and through email, you can’t tell. Phone is tricky, too. I miss that authentic way of communicating. We have to adapt to that. Like everyone else, we need to be more patient. The empathy is certainly still there. I feel for them. This is tough. Also, just being in the same workspace is helpful. Cheryl (Shaw) and I worked well together and with the part-time coaches. If there was a student that had an issue that we didn’t know how to deal with it, we had the other coaches there and we could bounce ideas off each other. Or, I could walk over and bring in a counselor. Now, I have to text or email them and it’s a slower process. I’m afraid that we may lose some students in the process. I think younger people want immediate results or immediate solutions and that’s hard. We’re all doing the best we can. I also miss the camaraderie and support of counselors and success coaches. 

Q: Are you receiving questions that you didn’t hear/read prior to the pandemic? If so, what are some of them? 

A: Yes. Some of the things I hear: I’m fine but my teacher has no idea what’ he’s doing (technology-wise). My friends and I decided we’re just going to be patient with him. That’s not very often, but it just goes to show that everyone, regardless of one’s role, is struggling with this new normal. We have students who have Internet access challenges. I refer them to the SHeD. I just had a student who was having problems learning chemistry remotely, so I referred them to the tutoring center. Most of the students we’d see are new students, or those that are not necessarily resourceful. In the past, we were able to walk them to resources. Now, if it’s through email, you have to send them a link or a screenshot. It’s hard to have a warm hand-off remotely.

Now, students face new challenges staying at home with parents, grandparents, and/or children 24/7 while juggling work and school. The vast majority of students I communicate with are first year students.  So, in addition to dealing with the new role of being a college student, many are suddenly thrown into working full-time as well, helping their parents with childcare, or even being caregivers for family members at home.  This all on top of adjusting to remote learning and using technology in newly discovered ways.

Q: What do you think employees may not realize about the needs of our students who reach out for success coach support? 

A: In the beginning, when I started this job, I was surprised myself because just because they’re younger and know social media does not mean that they check their email and know how to check for links. We can’t assume that they know how. Emails are seen as an archaic form of communication to many students, so LCC needs to acknowledge that students are not necessarily email savvy. Even just navigating Moodle, they’re not aware of all the possibilities or how to access all the information in a shell.. Also, that they have amazing struggles. We need to acknowledge that. I think we need to just know that if it’s hard for us, it has to be hard for these students, especially first time students who may or may not be supporting families, or even their parents during this time. 

Q: Have you started any new work practices to help you better adapt to our remote work environment?

A: I have a white board that I glued onto my back door because there’s a lot of new information that I want in front of me: changes in CRNs and due dates. There are some adaptations I’ve had to make because the FYE has a few different expectations. I set up an office space. I originally would work in my kitchen, but found that it was not as effective. I moved things around and I have a work space now and I actually “go” to work. I have coffee in the kitchen and then I go into my work space room. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to when we can use the term: post-pandemic? 

A: Being face to face with students and colleagues. Absolutely. Being able to walk students to where they need to go and introduce them. Laugh with people. 

Q: Since you are retiring, what will you miss most about Lane and your work? 

A: I hope that I’ll be able to help continue to serve, help people. I think I will. I’ll miss that. Selfishly, hopefully, people will give me feedback. That makes my day when students do that. When we had furlough days in summer, I volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels, it was so great. People were so appreciative. I didn’t know what to expect, they were so kind. I may continue that. I need to figure out next steps. The idea of retirement is still new to me. Hopefully, I’ll find something. I have an immigrant Zoom group that I started with my ABSE/ESL students. When I was teaching we’d meet every other week, and now we do a (Zoom) book club. Most of them were students at Lane and from Iran, China, Taiwan, South America, Hungary. Hopefully, i’ll be able to devote more time to that. 

A Few Minutes With … Doug Ford

Photo of Doug Ford

Doug Ford

Current position: Fabrication and Welding Faculty  

Work Life Before Lane: Spent earlier career in kitchens and was a chef when he decided to change careers. He was a student in LCC’s welding/fabrication program and is a certified welding inspector and certified welding educator through the American Welding Society, the organization that sets the global standards for structural steel and piping. 

Prior Work at Lane: In 2015, joined college as an aide/instructional specialist in the welding and fabrication program and has been a full-time faculty member since 2018-19.

Abstract painting by Doug Ford.

Personal Look: During the pandemic, Doug has spent more time on his art. He’s an abstract painter and enjoys painting with acrylics to explore colors and forms. 



Q: How did you get into welding/fabrication and what drew you to becoming an instructor?

A: I needed to change what I was doing for my life. There’s not a lot of upward mobility or insurance working in the restaurant industry. It’s great money and stable money and pre-COVID, there was always a job and the ability to travel. But, I was ready to settle down and that meant focusing on my education and going back to school. The reason welding? It’s working with your hands and it seems silly but it kind of seems like wizardry because you have electricity that you’re using to fuse metal together. It’s like magic really. It’s fusion. You take two pieces of metal and make them one piece and you can’t tell the difference. It drew it to me, electricity, the heat, the fire, the flames. All the different facets of welding. There are so many different genres you can get into. Everything is welded unless it’s made with wood. It’s like the magical glue that holds the world together and I was interested in being a part of that. 

Q: Welding. Fabrication. What’s the difference? 

A: Welding is fusing two pieces of metal together. Fabrication is being able to read a blueprint and create something. You could become a parts welder and never see the final product. A fabrication welder would be able to read the blueprint and understand it. It’s like learning another language. When I teach blueprint reading, I let students know that it is a new language of symbol and numbers. Fabrication is learning a different language of symbology to read from a blueprint. A welder would weld parts of the box. The fabricator would build the box.

Q: Have you had to alter how you approach your job/instruction as a welding and fabrication instructor during the pandemic?  If so, how? 

A: We had to make it happen. I used some of the big hitters in the industry’s  training videos. The training videos have benefited the student because there is a lot of trial and error and hand eye coordination with welding. The traditional way is: let’s get in a welding booth and go for it. This way, I can pause the video and let them see a weld-pool close up. With a weld pool or puddle,  you’re noticing 15 to 20 things at the same time, and with the video I can hit pause and blow it up on the screen and point out details that might be missed otherwise. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of it and really helps get into a student’s head so they can see what the puddle is.   

As far as transition to hybrid style and teaching online, it is propelling us into a new way of teaching that wouldn’t have existed otherwise, at least not for a while. It’s worked out really well. I see the students coming and being further along sooner with this hybrid style of teaching, rather than the traditional style of teaching, because I’m able to pinpoint what I’m talking about on the screen.

Q: What do you mean by pool and puddle? 

A:  The weld puddle is the small area of molten metal that is present for a just a second while the electrode is directly over the spot being welded. Once you take the welding arc off of it, there’s a brief amount of time when the pool is liquid. We’re dealing with a lot of unseen forces, magnetism, gravity and it could start to droop on you. If it’s not hot enough the toes of the weld aren’t welding in. There quite a few things they need to consider: the right angle, the right travel speed, right parameters on the machine. I need to be sure that they can see that weld puddle correctly. I can’t see through the eyes of the pupil, but I can see what they did because it’s frozen in the weld pool. You can read the welds. I can tell if a student was holding their breath, the angle they were using, I can tell what they did each step. 

Q: How have students adapted to the hybrid model?

A: The practice of welding, it’s almost impossible to teach online, but you can get the basics online. How to position yourself, wear all your clothes correctly, set your shade (different shade numbers for lenses). Some people haven’t had much hand-eye coordination, so we’re doing training techniques that we wouldn’t have used otherwise. We wrote out COVID protocols early on and ordered PPE, printed out signs for the floor and were able to reopen the last three weeks of spring term and all summer and now, fall. The nature of the welding booths, they’re already sectioned off and each has its own ventilation system. You’re not breathing in anyone else’s air and the booths are already six feet apart. We were already 90 percent there to be able to bring students safely back into the space. 

Q: Is there a demand for welding/fabrication jobs during the pandemic? 

A: We’re continuing to grow our committee advisory through this pandemic. Most of the fabrication shops in this region are still rolling. We added four new folks to our advisory group. We just met with a boat fabrication company that needs people. There’s a steel fabricator on Mohawk and they’re just crushing it and growing exponentially. There will also be needs in the community related to rebuilding after the wildfires. We can place everyone of our students locally who finish this year and next year. I don’t have any concerns about that at all. There’s also the boomers who will be retiring, so it’s an in-demand trade. If they want to travel, it’s even more money. 

Q: What do you think other LCC employees may not realize about the needs of our students during this time? 

A: Kindness. Courtesy. Just understanding that our students right now are under a whole lot of pressure and they may not always understand where that pressure comes from. They don’t have a lot of experiences. They grew up in the cell phone era. There are these anxieties that we need to have compassion with. Caring, kindness and compassion. That’s what I try to do without degrading their instruction. Flexibility when ushering this new era of technology and instruction. 

Q: Have you started any new work or general practices to help you better adapt to our remote work environment? 

A: Yes, because I can’t get as close or do as many demonstrations or go back and forth and be in the booth with the student. I’m focusing more on terminology and articulating what I teach. So that when we talk to each other they understand exactly what I want rather than me showing them what I want. I’ve also had to train myself. I really got on the ball with training myself to become more efficient and run online classes. Half of my students when I started were more adept then me at computers. In a way, it creates a bond, when one of your students tells you: ‘you know you can save time if you do it this way.’ I’m learning from them, too. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to when we can use the term: post-pandemic? 

A: (Laughs) There’s not going to be a post-pandemic. Our department didn’t miss a whole lot, but I really miss being able to be more hands on and getting into the booth with the students and work with them a bit more closely. I’m looking forward to more hands-on mentorship. 

A Few Minutes With … Dawn Barth

Photo of Dawn Barth

Dawn Barth

Spend a few minutes this week learning more about Dawn Barth and the work she does to keep our campus and greater community safe. 

Current position: Interim Manager of Risk and Environmental Health and Safety Programs and COVID-19 Compliance Officer 

Work life before Lane: Holds a master’s degree in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation and worked as a rehabilitation specialist. 

Prior work at Lane: Began as an hourly employee in November 2007 as a data entry clerk assisting with conversion of credit lines to electronic recordkeeping and eventually, landed in a health and safety specialist position in 2004-05. That position evolved over the years and now includes her current position. 

Personal look: Dawn’s husband works at OSU and they have four children: a daughter, who is an LCC grad; a son, who is a current LCC student; a son who lives in Salem: and a son who is a first grader. She also has her own photography business and enjoys portrait and sports photography.

Q: What interested you in your current position?

A: The position has evolved a lot. I think that’s what’s most interesting. It’s always changing because what I work with in risk management is never the same thing. You’re planning and then something different comes up, like a pandemic or wildfires. One of the most interesting workshops I’ve attended was in Florida about hurricane response and preparedness and what they’ve learned. They have to be prepared every year. Even though we don’t have hurricanes here, there’s so much we can learn and apply from people who are preparing for similar responses to a disaster.

Q: What does a risk manager do when there’s not a pandemic?

A: The risk manager’s job is to evaluate programs and processes on campus to make sure we’re doing the best we can to work and learn safely. My goal is to be proactive rather than reactive. I want to try to identify potential problems and fix them before we have an accident or an injury. I work with the safety committee and emergency planning team to identify those items. Sometimes I do have to react. If we have property damage or if someone wrecks a (college-owned) car, I am the liaison with the insurance company to get claims processed and investigated. Since December, that has included workers’ compensation, as well as property and students.

Q: How have you had to alter how you approach and do your job in the remote work environment?

A: It’s a little bit different and it’s looking at things differently. When you’re in this little bubble of our campus, you look at how to keep this safe but now, I’m looking at how we keep safe at a bigger level. With the pandemic we can’t just look at our campus. We have to look at what we are doing to contribute to the overall health and wellness of Lane County. Also, in addition to risk manager, I’ve been appointed by President Hamilton as the COVID Compliance Officer. There’s where a lot of my time is going. In that role, my job is to ensure compliance with what the reopening committee puts in place. Any department that has submitted a reopening plan, I’ve had to go in and inspect those plans and make sure plans are safe for employees and students. I’m also LCC’s liaison for Lane County Public Health anytime there is an exposure with one of our students or employees. I also work with other agencies including officials from Eugene City, UO, the hospitals and Public Health to determine the threat level. Right now, COVID Compliance is at least 95 percent of what I do day to day.

Q: What are some ways that risk management and planning directly impact our campus(employees/students/community)?

A: It’s important that we are proactive in what we’re doing. I like to know about things before they become a problem because I can’t be everywhere all the time. If someone sees something: stairs crumbling for instance, I need to follow up on that and get that repaired. We do have routine building inspections, but something could happen after an inspection that we need to know about. Risk management takes all of us because anybody could see something is a concern and bring it to my attention. That is how we work together to be part of a solution.

Q: What do you think people may not realize about your role/risk management on campus?

A: Not everyone realizes the resources they have available to them about educating themselves on safety. People are surprised when they find out about the Safe Colleges online software. You have access to that full library of training all the time. It doesn’t have to be assigned to you. It doesn’t cost us anything extra. There are some great topics on there: first aid, CPR, AED use. When we’re all at home more, wouldn’t it be great to know or refresh your CPR and first aid skills or learn how to use a fire extinguisher. Some of these are less than 10-minute videos and that training is at your fingertips. It’s helpful for you not just at work. We want you to feel safer at home because that affects your work life now more than ever. To find the Safe Colleges, type in the Lane website: lanecc.edu/SafeLane. You’ll find a whole list of resources.

Q: As you talk about the work you do, there’s passion in your voice. Where does that passion come from?

A: I’ve always been one to want to know more. I will say the world looks a lot different to me since I started doing risk management. I notice people on roofs without safety equipment and notice a lot of other things I don’t think I’d notice before. For instance, I was out at the coast at a glass blowing place and they made people wear safety glasses, but they let people wear flip flops. It was unreal that they didn’t make people wear actual shoes. When you’re in it day to day, that’s the stuff that jumps out at you and it drives my family crazy. They say: ‘Mom, only you!’ But, I see what happens when you don’t take precautions and I see the value when you do.

Q: Have you started any new work practices to help you better adapt to our remote work environment?

A: Other than becoming a zoom expert and finding better angles and appropriate backgrounds, not really. (Laughs)

Q: What are you most looking forward to when we can use the term: post-pandemic?

A: It’s going to be nice to be with people again. For a lot of years in my position, I was a department of one. It was just me. I had a boss, but there was really no one else that did anything else that had to do with what I did. When good things happened, I didn’t have anybody I could celebrate with. When they added workers’ comp to my position late last year, I moved to HR, so I’m now part of a work team, and it’s been nice to have that camaraderie. In this remote world, we’re missing out on that camaraderie or that feeling of accomplishment and being able to do things together. I was just feeling that and then, we went remote. I will enjoy being able to walk down the hall and say something funny or have watercooler talk and just to be able to share with people and get to know people outside of work.

A Few Minutes With …

Welcome to a new Lane Blog, “A Few Minutes With …” — a short Q&A feature to help employees meet or reconnect with colleagues and learn how different roles on campus help fulfill our institutional mission. During these remote work times, the blog will also provide an opportunity to share how colleagues are adapting in our remote campus environment and to share ideas and resources. 

New employee Q&A features launched late fall 2020 and will be shared on Tuesdays during the regular term.

Spring Term 2021

Fall Term 2020



It’s fall, y’all!

I hope everyone’s fall term term is off to a good start. One of my new (academic) year resolutions is to check in here more regularly and continue to engage Aspiring Leaders at Lane.

Weekly update

On Friday, Oct. 12, the college will honor its founding president, Dr. Dale P. Parnell by renaming the Center building in his honor. Parnell had the vision for community college while principal of Springfield High School and served as Lane’s president from 1965 to 1968 and went on to hold state- and national-level positions to advance access to public education. 

The dedication ceremony of the Dr. Dale P. Parnell Center for Learning and Student Success is planned for noon, Friday, Oct. 12 on the plaza in front of the building. Parnell’s children and other family members are expected to be in attendance. Copies of the book, “The Parnell Years,” will also be available.

Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!: Community College Trivia Edition 

Q: Who was responsible for the creation and development of what we know now as the associate degree?

A: Dr. Dale P. Parnell. Parnell served as the president of what is now the American Association of Community Colleges (part of the title that noted “junior colleges” has since been removed) from 1981-1991 and was instrumental in advancing community college policy, including the creation of the associate degree and strengthening community colleges as economic drivers and responsive to workforce development needs.

Q: When is Lane Community College’s “birthday”?

A: Oct. 19. On Oct. 19, 1964, voters approved the creation of Lane Community College in a special election.

Want to know more about the college? Visit the archives in person, or online at: https://www.lanecc.edu/archives


Thanks to all employees who were a part of making Fall In-service a great success by sharing your expertise during the breakout sessions. Aspiring Leaders alumni made up the majority of presenters with six of the 2017-18 cohort among them.

Weekly challenge

This one is a repeat, but it’s pretty simple: read The Lane Weekly. It’s an easy way to receive information about what’s going on, not only on campus, but in our community. In next week’s edition you should find information about a community forum on suicide prevention and the opportunity to support a Lane faculty member in a community theatre production.

Have something to share in The Lane Weekly? Submit online at: https://www.lanecc.edu/mpr/lane-weekly-submission-form

Already read The Lane Weekly? Then, here’s a challenge for you: subscribe to The Titan Times, the student newsletter, and stay up-to-date on the weekly need-to-know info for students. Use that information to remind them of deadlines and opportunities to get engaged. Through The Titan Times, you’ll also learn more about the wealth of student clubs on campus in the “Spotlight” feature.

Want to share an upcoming event/opportunity or student deadline info? Send to: TitanTimes@lanecc.edu


Let’s commence!

Commencement is Saturday on our campus and 3,000 revelers are expected to celebrate the Class of 2018 during the ceremony in Bristow Square.

This week, you’ll be able to watch Bristow Square transform into the staging area for the ceremony that starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Thanks to the Aspiring Leaders of past and present who have stepped up to help out with this year’s commencement — whether it’s the event itself or a willingness to help support a graduate with the cost of a cap and gown. More than 20 people: managers, faculty, classified, part-time, full-time, timesheet and even a board member offered to help students cover costs of a cap and gown. (So far, one student will now participate in graduation because the cap and gown was made available.) Even more employees help to make the event a celebration for our graduates. Faculty and staff will participate in the procession, as well as provide support at the event. (There are still opportunities to help out Saturday. Let me know if you have the time/interest: sillsm@lanecc.edu.)

This year’s commencement features two keynote speakers, who will no doubt inspire the class of 2018:

  • Guest Keynote: U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
  • Student Keynote: Michael Weed

ASLCC President Wilgen Brown will provide the student welcome, while faculty will be represented by Aliscia Niles (ABSE instructor).


We’ll also have a special guest, who will be the recipient of our new Alumni Achievement Award. This year’s recipient got his start in our cooperative education department and is now helping to shape the future of education in our state. (That’s the only big hint I’ll give until Joan’s press release goes out.)

In all, it’s an impressive lineup that features the fulfillment of our mission: students’ success. That success takes the stage, literally, Saturday. Thanks for all you to every day to support that success.

Let the week of celebration commence.

Weekly challenge: engagement

Find a graduating student and congratulate them for their hard work. Maybe, even engage them in more conversation: What are their plans after Saturday? How was their experience at Lane? What do they hope other students get to experience here? If you learn something that could help improve students’ experience at Lane, kindly pass it on to the Lane employee who would benefit most from knowing it. If you’re not sure who the right person is or how to kindly share this information, you can pass it on to me and I’ll see that it gets to the right ears/eyes. 



Employee engagement

Every Tuesday, the what’s what on campus is sent to your inbox.

But, I hear that folks don’t read the Lane Weekly. (And, I realize even fewer will read this!) 

The Lane Weekly is our employee newsletter and an easy way to stay engaged with what’s going on around campus — and score a new-to-you UO vest. Don’t know what I’m talking about? You missed out! Other than serving as a quirky electronic bulletin board for folks looking to unload used furniture or find housing for rent, the Lane Weekly is a way to connect with events and accolades. It’s our very own news feed.

For instance, did you know that …

  • Kerry Levett received the Oregon Women in Higher Education’s “She Flies With Her Own Wings” Service Award at the group’s conference last month. Congratulations, Kerry! 
  • U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley will be on campus for a town hall meeting from 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21 in the CML.
  • You can give your feedback about the campus master plan now through March 14. Learn more here: https://goo.gl/forms/ROG5wL1tC23kGSAP2

Got a submission? There’s a nifty form that you can fill out: https://www.lanecc.edu/mpr/lane-weekly-submission-form

For those who are adamant non-readers of the Lane Weekly, what other ways do you think that employees could become more engaged in what’s going on around campus and celebrate the accomplishments of our co-workers? Let us know by leaving a comment or email me directly at: sillsm@lanecc.edu.

Weekly challenge

Here’s an easy one this week: Read the Lane Weekly!

Quick update

Weekly update

Rob Johnstone, a national researcher on the guided pathways movement, was on campus Monday, Feb. 5. His keynote and small group sessions with faculty and staff were well-attended. Surveys to participants for their feedback on the sessions will go out later this week. Here’s a copy of the guided pathways implementation graphic Rob shared during the presentation and breakout sessions from the American Association of Community Colleges.

On Friday, Feb. 9, the current cohort has its seminar and we’ll hear firsthand from students about their experiences at Lane. The session also features an overview of the results of the Employee Experience Survey by Sarah Lushia, chair of the Diversity Council. All Lane employees were invited to participate in the survey to provide their feedback on their experiences at Lane.

Upcoming sessions include topics of: governance and Lane’s history; library resources, facilities and sustainable practices and leading through change. 

Please contact me if you haven’t filled out a survey about your Aspiring Leaders experience and would like to participate: sillsm@lanecc.edu. (I’ll send you a copy of the link and you can respond anonymously.)

Weekly challenge

The challenge this week: what kind of trainings would you like to see on campus? Let me know. Email: sillsm@lanecc.edu.