Candidates for the Elgin Community College board of trustees discussed a range of topics during a forum Wednesday, including their ideas for the college's future.
Nadia Daley and Elías Palacios attended the midafternoon forum, as did the candidates slating themselves as "three for ECC," Art Sauceda, Risé Jones and incumbent Clare Ollayos. Daley and Sauceda are running against each other for a single 4-year position on the board while the rest of the candidates are running for two, 6-year seats. Angela Causey, the fourth person in the race for the longer term, could not attend.
Each candidate described a slightly different focus for the college's future at the forum. Daley would like to see a move toward sustainability programs, preparing students for environmental jobs and green technology.
"I have a green vision and I would like to see the college move into the 21st century to use the green industry to create revenue and help the students go into that industry because that is the future," Daley said.
Sauceda highlighted the need for the teaching staff to keep up with technology advancements when communicating and interacting with students.
"There's such a difference in how students grow up and their knowledge when they get here, compared to when I was in college," Sauceda said.
Jones said it's important for the college to be constantly evolving and staying relevant, but she said the people running the college today don't know what priorities will be in the future. She said voters should choose a candidate who is open to new information and who can use the many data sources available to adapt and form a new vision for the college. Jones argued during the forum that candidate was her.
Ollayos agrees with Daley in the need to examine green technologies. She also said a key role of trustees is to engage in long-range planning that is updated to reflect local realities.
"We have to look to be continually adaptable and not think that we've found our final answer," Ollayos said.
Palacios' focus is on leadership. He said the leadership structure at the college needs to become more horizontal, rather than vertical, encouraging participation from all stakeholders in the college district.
Palacios, Ollayos and Daley spoke in support of making ECC financially feasible to undocumented students based on a question from the audience, and Jones and Ollayos assured a small crowd that blended courses with online components may be a tool of the future, but massive online courses should not replace face-to-face interaction between students and teachers.
• To see all our coverage of the Elgin Community College board of trustees race, including candidate bios, go to dailyherald.com.