College president reflects on first year

Having the presidential role at a community college can be a daunting position, but Cosumnes River College President Edward Bush has made great strides of advancement in his first year.

The key to being a successful president of a college is being able to connect with students and staff to find what improvements need to be made to benefit both. It takes great communication skills and a tremendous desire to lead to fulfill the position.

“Being the president of any college or university is a very lofty feeling but you don’t see that with him,” said Extended Opportunity Programs and Services coordinator Kathy Degn.

Bush spent the first few months of the year adapting by listening to students and faculty. It was going to take a sense of knowing what the community excelled in and what could be improved based on their perspective.

“From looking at the data of student success and having those conversations with people, I began to formulate what I thought was the initial vision and my ideas for the college,” said Bush.

Within the last year, CRC banned smoking on campus completely, enacted the First Year Experience program, hired new faculty members and even received a $1.5 million grant from the state.

One of the biggest academic changes to the campus was the introduction of the First Year Experience program. Bush said he hopes tactics used in the program will help change the way the campus approaches student placement and assessments. The program uses high school transcripts to help determine a student’s ability to take college courses. This could help save a student’s time and money.

“I can’t take credit for all of these. If you’re at a college or institution where everyone isn’t on board and participating in their parts and even exceeding, then none of this could ever get done,” said Bush.

It is clear to those who meet Bush that he maintains a welcoming persona. It is very easy to assume a president of a college campus to be reserved and strict, yet Bush is very keen on keeping open communication on campus.

“He maintains an open-door policy and has actively listened to faculty concerns about the increase in workload over the past year,” said President of the Los Rios College Federation of Teachers and History professor Jason Newman. He is a visible presence on campus and will undoubtedly continue his record of success at CRC during his second year.”

A lot of work was put into Bush’s first year as president and a lot more work is going to be needed to continue the success in academic improvements. The goals he has set for the school are long term, sustainable practices that he hopes will change the way the campus conducts its approach to academics and business.

“I think he has presented himself as being a servant to the staff and students and he’s genuine about that,” said Degn. “This is a campus that is ready for change so anything new, people are receptive to that.”