Highline president's chief of staff to retire

By Faith Elder - Staff Reporter



One of Dr. Patti Rosendahl's favorite parts of working at Highline is hearing students' stories, a joy she will miss when she retires at the end of Spring Quarter.

 "I love the individual success stories, anything about students getting scholarships or winning awards," Dr. Rosendahl said, sitting in the president's office. She beams, glad to listen to any story.

Dr. Rosendahl came to Highline in 2007 as executive assistant to the president after working in higher administration in the community college system and the University of Washington. 

For Dr. Rosendahl, it was a natural choice. 

"It was a perfect continuation of what I'd done," she said.

After being promoted and serving as chief of staff in the office of the president, Dr. Rosendahl is planning for retirement. 

"I'm leaving in late May, early June," Dr. Rosendahl said. "We'll see what happens."

As chief of staff, Dr. Rosendahl is responsible for supporting the president and acting as liaison between the administration and the Board of Trustees. 

Dr. Rosendahl said the key to the job is flexibility. 

"The office usually has shifting priorities," she said

Dr. Rosendahl's smile wavered when talking about the lows in her career.

 "Working through the budget cuts of 2008-2009 was a difficult time," she said. "It required the loss of some staff members through lay-offs, which weighed heavily on the administrative staff at that time."

But while this experience carries a heavy weight, Dr. Rosendahl chooses to see the silver lining. 

"I have been most fortunate to work with such dedicated and thoughtful administrative staff and faculty," she said.

For Dr. Rosendahl, the choice to retire now came down to the change in administration and needing more time to conduct research. 

"The new president will want to choose who supports them," she said, acknowledging Highline's continuing presidential search.

In 2017, Dr. Rosendahl was granted her doctorate in development studies from Nelson Mandela University in South Africa, a degree she intends to use during new qualitative research studies. "Retirement gives me the freedom to pursue other projects," Dr. Rosendahl said. "I just can't give any details yet."

Beyond future studies, Dr. Rosendahl's retirement plans include resting and seeing more of the country. "I want to get up and read the paper entirely, from beginning to end," said Dr. Rosendahl. "My husband and I also hope to do more traveling in the national parks."

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