Christine Whittington: Communication, academic integrity, lifelong learning among priorities
Colorado Mountain College board candidate, District 6
- Occupation: Retired in 2018 after 40 years as an academic librarian and library director
- Hometown: born and raised in Elkhart, Indiana
- Years in Colorado: 5 1/2
- Family: husband, Stephen Whittington; son, Daniel, age 36; daughter, Quinn, age 25; two rescue dogs, two rescue cats and seven tarantulas (one a rescue)
- Civic involvement: Collegiate Peaks Forum Series board member, Leadville/Lake County Dog Park Committee board member and secretary, Planned Pethood Leadville, Leadville Film Commission board member and secretary; Friends of Lake County Public Library president, Leadville Legends Gunfighting Club member and scriptwriter (Boom Days skits), and Holy Family Parish lector.
I am pleased to announce my candidacy for Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees. My career in higher education as a faculty member, librarian and administrator as well as my dedication to affordable lifelong learning attest to my suitability for this position.
My higher education career began more than 40 years ago. I was reference librarian and head of the arts library at Penn State University, head of reference at the University of Maine, and library director at Greensboro College and at CMC Leadville (2014-2018). After retirement, I assisted students nationwide as a librarian for the AskAcademic chat reference service.
As a librarian, I taught thousands of students critical thinking and research skills. I taught credit courses and was an academic adviser, first year seminar director, teaching and learning coordinator and study abroad adviser.
As library director at CMC Leadville, I co-led several community education film series and held meet the author discussions that brought community members onto campus and reinforced CMC’s value. I was named Leadville campus staff member of the year after only 2 1/2 years in my position.
Priority No. 1: Communication
Communication and transparency are the highest priorities in achieving academic integrity. When I became library director at CMC Leadville, I continued the practice I had followed for decades at three other academic institutions. I met individually with as many constituents as possible, discussing what they did, what they loved about their positions, and how I could help them and their students. I attended faculty meetings and listened to the concerns of my colleagues. I participated in community events and learned as much as I could about my adopted hometown.
Communication works both ways. It is equally important to provide feedback and information to constituents about Board of Trustees activities on an ongoing basis.
Priority No. 2: Academic integrity
I am dedicated to academic freedom, freedom of speech and academic integrity as well as transparent participatory governance by faculty and staff. I support the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and was a founding member of the American Association of University Professors chapters at two colleges: Greensboro College and CMC. I am a member of the American Library Association’s Association of College and Research Libraries. My professional life grounded me in best practices for higher education, a commitment I brought to every position and will continue as a CMC trustee. All decisions must be founded on accepted best practices for higher education, whether it is faculty evaluation and promotion or management of libraries and information resources.
This oversight is also true of ensuring excellence for concurrent enrollment programs. Collaboration with the Lake County School District is essential. Students in concurrent enrollment programs are in fact college students, and we must ensure that their CMC education is consistent with best practices. As library director at CMC Leadville, I loved working with students in concurrent enrollment programs, in Upward Bound programs and as a mentor at the high school. The excitement and eagerness to learn among these students is contagious and benefits the entire campus
Priority No. 3: Lifelong learning
My vision for the CMC Leadville campus is that it retain and enhance its reputation as the intellectual center and source of lifelong learning in Lake County. CMC Leadville belongs to its community, including residential, commuting and concurrent enrollment students and community members who want to continue their intellectual and physical development
My philosophy of education is simple: Learn something every day. Students’ motivation to learn is sparked by mentors who encourage intellectual curiosity. As a first-generation college student, I treasure the advisers who taught me to be a college student and cherish my ongoing connections with my own students and advisees. Recruiting and retaining faculty and staff who are devoted to lifelong learning is essential.
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