LETTER: Vote for Elaine and Tom

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

As a lifelong resident of Cass County, I have seen the idea of a community college become a reality.  Southwestern Michigan College is a wonderful asset to our county, and it is hopefully the goal of all Cass County citizens to do what they can to maintain the integrity of this college.  Right now, with student population down and tuition at an all-time high (one of the highest for community colleges in Michigan) we might need to take a second look.

Many of the current trustees have been on the board for more than 30 years, with no term limitations, and all of them were first appointed to the board.  We now have the opportunity to add some “new blood” so to speak to this board by electing Elaine Foster and Tom Buszek. 

Elaine has a BS and MS in nursing, and a PhD in educational leadership and management.  She is currently a Dean of Nursing at American Sentinel University, with 27 years of employment at SMC as Dean of the School of Nursing & Human Services, and Dean of Academic Studies for arts and Sciences. I serve with Mrs. Foster on the Board of Directors of the Cass County Council on Aging, and I find her to be thoughtful, capable and caring of the community.

Tom Buszek is a retired Dean of Instruction for Business, Industrial Trades and Public Services at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, with 28 years of employment at SMC as faculty and Academic Dean. I have known Tom for many years, and he understands educational management, and also cares deeply about his community.

Both of these candidates can hit the ground running with their knowledge not just of educational leadership, but of SMC itself.  They are running for the SMC Board of Trustees because they want the college to continue to grow and prosper, with “accountability, transparency and equity” being the basis of what they want to see in the future at SMC.

If you think that new ideas, accountability and transparency are virtues a local college should embody, and if you would like to see the next trustee(s) elected, not appointed by the current board, then Elaine and Tom should have your vote.

Jim Beebe