CASPER, Wyo — Susan D. Miller, a 24 year veteran on the Casper College Board of Trustees, told Oil City News in an email that her respect for the everyday work of the college president, faculty, administration and staff has only grown since her first term.
“It is not easy to work in an environment where resources are continually shrinking,” she said, adding that the college has been reducing costs and spending for several years in a row. She said “there isn’t really much low-hanging fruit anymore” as far cutting the college’s budget is concerned.
“The college has already taken a 10% revenue cut this year,” Miller said. “I am concerned that we will see another 5% to 10% cut in the near future. With less state aid, I fear students will be carrying more of the burden of the cost of their education at our community colleges.”
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“Going forward, Casper College may need to start cutting programs, staff, or other essential parts of Casper College if state funds continue to decline.”
But Miller said whatever cuts come down the line, “We must preserve our ability to teach students….All other items, beyond specifically educating students, are things we consider in reducing costs.”
Nevertheless, opportunities always present themselves, Miller said.
“The world is always changing and we need to educate students for life’s variables. If we teach students how to learn, they will always be able to change as the world changes around them.”
The following are Miller’s responses to themes and questions (presented in bold) presented by Oil City News to all board candidates:
What will students need to succeed in the future job market?
Casper College will continue to offer accreditation in programs such as welding, nursing, computers etc so our students are ready to be employable in the current job market. We also offer the first two-plus years of a four-year program for students who are looking to transfer to a four-year school. To succeed, students also need to learn basic skills such as communication, writing, math, and computer literacy which are incorporated into all of our programs.
What role do the Humanities play equipping students for the future?
“The Humanities are very important. With all the stresses in the world today, it is important to be able to find some enjoyment in life. The Humanities help us to find pleasure in everyday things, to forget our troubles for a while and to see beauty in the world.”
Can the college preserve both the Humanities and vocational instruction?
“The college can certainly offer both the humanities and vocational instruction. Both are important and necessary in educating a well-rounded student.”
What do you think have been the board’s biggest successes over the last term?
“Some of the successes of which I am the most proud are: keeping and hiring quality faculty, increasing our number of students, and responding to the COVID crisis in such a way that we can continue to provide programs for students as they continue to seek their degrees.”
How are licensing costs and security issues impacting the recent upgrades to the IT infrastructure?
“Licensing costs are a very large part of our IT budget. The licensing fees to the college are increasing each year. Our IT department is creative and finds many new ways of supporting the IT needs at the college, but IT costs are something that are of great concern. Licensing and security of our IT infrastructure are things we track very closely.”