Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

College of DuPage Board District #502 (4 year term) {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

  • Christine Fenne (N)

  • Tasco Triantafillos (N)

  • Dan Markwell (N)

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

What do you see as the mission of a community college?

In light of the college's negative publicity over the past few years, what system of regular and transparent evaluations of the president and senior management team will you put into place?

How would you try to engage and gain students from the outlying areas of the district?

What experience do you have at vetting/understanding a public budget?

What is your five-year vision of the college?

The mission of a community college is to enrich and educate the residents who work and live around the college. A community that supports an educational center like the College of DuPage is better for it because of the employment opportunities at the college, the employment opportunities and increased revenues for the local businesses who support the college, the increased job prospects for students who complete their education at the college and become skilled employees -- all of this completes a cycle of success for a better community. The needs of college students and the community are central to all that the College of DuPage does.
The role of the Board of Trustees includes the initial hiring of the President, as well as evaluating the President on an annual basis. There are Board policies in place which require the President to evaluate the Vice Presidents and other Administrators annually and to document those evaluations. The Board may request to review these evaluations as well.

In my experience as manager of a small business for over 10 years, I have hired, trained, motivated and evaluated countless employees. With evaluations, I have found that they work best as a discussion of a "SWOT" analysis. That means understanding your Strengths and how to implement them, improving Weak areas, Opportunities for growth and overcoming Threats to your success. It's been seven months since new President, Dr. Ann Rondeau, started at College of DuPage. I look forward to working with her to restore COD's reputation as the premier educational and cultural center in DuPage County.
College of DuPage, District 502, serves a very large geographical area including parts of Will and Cook County. I think the college could best serve outlying areas by partnering with the high schools, business community and industry leaders in those areas where the college can meet a demand. Through analyzing survey data, we can find out what student interests are and what employers need for skilled workers. This way the college can impact the community in a positive economic way.

Increasing the course offerings online would be another way to extend academic programs to any area. COD should consider partnering with libraries as well as park and school districts to expand college classrooms. I want to ensure that there are relevant academic courses in manufacturing, healthcare and technology.
Although this is my first election, as president of the Wheaton Public Library Board, I have experience implementing public policy and balanced budgets. I am have been a member of the library's finance committee for 5 years. The Wheaton Library is not a taxing body, but we work with a city-funded budget.

As a manager of a small business, I am well aware of the importance of cash flow, and I understand income statements and balance sheets. Budgets need to be developed with the current and projected revenue in mind. COD should not spend money that it does not have. I am committed to providing taxpayers with strong oversight, more transparency and fiscal responsibility. I want to ensure that the College's capital budget includes replacement funds for buildings, inventory and technology so that when repairs or maintenance is required, there is money earmarked and available to fix them.
Restore and maintain COD accreditation with Higher Learning Commission Currently COD is on probation for accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. My five year vision of the college includes exceeding that accreditation requirement and making sure all certification programs are at the highest level.

Implement the 19 recommendations of the State Auditor's report Through the audit, it was determined that many of the college's policies and procedures were not documented and some were not followed. I believe that the college needs to implement these 19 recommendations and consider student success with future policies and procedures.

Keep tuition affordable I believe the college should keep tuition and property taxes affordable without impairing the quality of education and other services. The college should identify areas of savings, other revenue sources, grow student enrollment and encourage alumni giving.

Expand educational opportunities I believe the college should develop academic courses in alignment with the current and emerging skill needs of local businesses and employers. The college should promote faculty and student success stories to the community as examples of the great higher education instruction received at COD.

Develop business and community partnerships I believe the college can increase its exposure and partnerships by utilizing existing facilities in District 502 municipalities for the delivery of college programs and services. The college should promote their resources to the entire community, like the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Library Learning Center.

Enhance communication with the COD faculty and staff I believe COD should create effective communications with students, faculty, staff and the entire community, District 502. COD should be a community college that encourages student learning with faculty who collaborate and share best practices of teaching across disciplines.
To serve its community with providing the best quality in higher education and values, while every student has an opportunity to an affordable education and an incredible experience to learn.
As a Trustee, I will have the opportunity to work with 6 other instrumental board members. I will have the opportunity to bring new ideas and work as team with a common goal of improving our community college. The Board has prioritized the evaluation process of current policies to ensure the appropriate transparency and accountability procedures are included. I look forward in taking part and provide input in these discussions.

The Board has made the salary numbers more transparent and restricted severance packages. The Board just had an open discussion on all of its senior administrators on February 9, and discussed the terms of the contracts, and published the full contracts and salaries before voting on them, including better specifying grounds for termination. I would continue this process to improve accountability.
This is a common question asked, and with construction season approaching it could become even more frustrating for those looking at enhancing their skills or pursuing a higher education degree or certification. I truly believe that Technology could and should play a larger role for the delivery of content and courses. Student's should have an option of either taking a course at a local center near their homes or work, or taking an online course. The technology is available we just need to implement and make it available at larger scale than previously.

Also, COD and Elmhurst College just agreed to a program where students at COD can transfer seamlessly to Elmhurst. Dr. Rondeau has expressed she is looking to find better ways to partner with Elmhurst College; this should be encouraged to maximize the resources and opportunities of both institutions, which are so important to Elmhurst.
Good question, there are some similarities to a private sector budget compared to a public sector budget. However, my experience in both will help as a Trustee. As a Board of Education Member in Addison School District 4, and a Budget Committee member, I have a very good understanding on the need to consider the decisions requested to be made, and the impact to the community and tax payers.
5 years is a long time and a lot of good could be done in that amount of time. I think our focus should be to continue to establish committees that makes the appropriate recommendations to the board on policies, buildings and grounds, student tuition costs, community feedback, improving our student and teacher experiences, and ensuring we continue to maintain our college's accreditation. Since I am a technologist at heart I will be looking at all technology related initiatives and programs.
I believe the mission of a community college is to educate people on how to be productive members of society through both instruction and extracurricular engagement with the community. A community college should offer a local, affordable option for graduating high schoolers, adults looking to change careers and everything in between. It should also be open and inviting to the public, allowing community members and students to work together. A community college should be more than just a gateway to other institutions but an outlet for growth and public service in and of itself.
Unfortunately, I don't believe there is a simple or easy answer to this. However, I would collaborate with the COD Faculty Association, the taxpayers and the student body in order to find what was lacking in accountability during the Breuder years and try to create a system that would prevent future misconduct and abuse of taxpayer money. I think the best way for the public to have a regular and transparent evaluation of the president and senior management would be to attend the meetings of the Board of Trustees and its committee
I think a shuttle between the main COD campus and the Glen Ellyn or Wheaton train station could be a very helpful service for students, making it easier for some students to make the commute. However, I think the college would need to do some surveys to find what the demand for a shuttle would be, before making a decision on whether to offer shuttle service. I would also like to participate in some public forums with different areas of the district to gauge interest in the college and find the reasons why potential students are not enrolling in COD so that we can focus on addressing those issues.
While I lack experience vetting public budgets, I have a vested interest in COD's budget and how it is spent. I believe we need to split the burden fairly between taxpayers and students, and ensure that the money we raise is spent efficiently in order to ensure that the students at COD receive a high-quality education. I believe we also need to look at how we manage our reserve funds, and make sure we have the highest interest rates available as a supplement to our tax and tuition incomes.
My five-year vision would be to expand access and inclusion between the north end of the main campus to the rest of the buildings, as well as halting the trend of negative enrollment and filling more of our classrooms with students. I would also like to see the college achieve an equal balance of funding between taxpayers, tuition and state funding; however until a state budget is approved the burden lays almost entirely upon tuition and tax levies, so for the first year or more we will have to focus on keeping expenses low, while boosting enrollment to balance the budget until the state budget situation is remedied. I think we will also have to take a serious look at the teaching staff at COD over the next five years. Sixty percent of all classes are taught by adjunct professors, who are seriously underpaid for the amount of work they do, and the service they render to our students and our community. logo


All statements and videos are posted directly by the candidate, unedited by the League of Women Voters and do not express the views of the League. The League never supports or opposes candidates or political parties.