Vice presidential candidate makes her pitch to campus

By Izzy Anderson - Staff Reporter

To Dr. Mahalaxmi Gita Bangera, Highline's vice president of academic affairs would be a perfect fit.

Dr. Bangera had a chance to meet students, staff and faculty at a forum Tuesday, and talked about why hiring her on would be beneficial, for herself and for Highline.

After her speech, an open Q&A discussion took place as well.

More than 100 students, staff and faculty attended. Every seat was taken, and dozens of people were lined up against the walls.

Dr. Jeff Wagnitz is the current vice president of academic affairs, a position he has been in for a decade. In this time, Dr. Wagnitz also served as interim president during the search for Highline's president last year.

Once a new vice president is selected, Dr. Wagnitz will retire from full-time positions at Highline.

Dr. Bangera is currently the Dean of the Research, Innovation, Service and Experiential Learning Institute at Bellevue College.

She earned her bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Bombay, another master's degree in Biological Science from Carnegie-Mellon University, and worked for a doctorate from Washington State University.

She has been involved in higher education and private industry for more than two decades. Dr. Bangera has also spent time as an acting co-president and as an interim vice president.

Right off the bat, Dr. Bangera made it clear that she looked to earn trust, not be given it.

"If I am lucky enough to be in this position, I do know I have to come in and earn your trust," she said. "I [also] know … leadership is not a 9-to-5 job."

One major point she brought up regarding improvements to campus, was the need to encourage partnership between programs, to better the college and bounce ideas back and forth. 

"I think the collaboration between academic affairs and student affairs to really support the whole student, is vital," Dr. Bangera said.

And regarding starting and continuing new projects, Dr. Bangera explained how she is well-equipped for the task.

She brought up what she referred to as the firefly affect.

"Innovation, innovation, innovation, then it disappears," she said.

Dr. Bangera said that she knows how to start, see through, and successfully finish projects, that many times would otherwise fall to the wayside. 

"I have experience doing that," she said.

Part of this is by making sure all objectives of the project are covered, everyone has a voice on said project, and a clear agenda is present. "Every time we do a project, you [need to] ask 'should we build this?', 'why are we doing this?'," Dr. Bangera said. "We need to say who's at the table, who's not at the table."

And while Highline is doing a good job at this, it's important to always look for improvement, she said.

"You're already doing this in a great way, how can we take it up to the next level?" She asked.

Several questions were asked during the open forum portion, such as how the institution could help evening students get their Associate's degree in 2 years, what supporting the ABE/GED/ESL program better could look like, and what could be done about staff and faculty often not being paid a reasonable amount.

"I lost one of my administration people to Fred Meyers, I think it's a darn shame that Fred Meyers can pay more than I can when she is doing great work," said one faculty member.

After this statement, the room applauded. 

Dr. Bangera explained how not being able to afford to pay great workers more is an unfortunate and ongoing problem, that often can't be fixed without the support from Legislature and other higher ups. 

For now, the best thing to do would be relocating funds to try and place them where they matter most, she said.

"We have to look at how we can allocate resources … how do we use our resources to give the best impact," she said.

When asked by another faculty member why she chose to try for a Highline position instead of any other colleges, Dr. Bangera said that she felt like she belonged here.

"I've been visiting Highline for about a year and … I felt a sort of coming home feeling in this institution," she said. "Just seeing how things function here, I feel like this place is where I can do the next bit of work in my career."

Another topic brought up, was how she would go about helping encourage students towards their academic or career goals.

 "One thing in my experience that works to keep students engaged … is actually connecting the students to the career goal right from day one," Dr. Bangera. 

To do this, institutions need to bring help to the students, not make the student sought out guidance, she said.

"We have to bring it to the student, we cannot tell the student to go find it," Dr. Bangera said.

If given the position, Dr. Bangera made clear that she would approach the position with the knowledge that she won't always get everything right.

"One thing I can tell you for sure, is I will make mistakes," she said. "I will [also] stand up and own up to it, and ask you for help to move forward."

It's important to approach a position with that understanding, she said.

Overall, Dr. Bangera is looking forward to the possibility of bringing everything she has to the table. 

"I would love to be the vice president of academic affairs," she said. "To work with all of you, to make that happen."

Vice presidential candidate makes her pitch to campus

To Dr. Mahalaxmi Gita Bangera, Highline's vice president of academic affairs w...

Raises help Highline stay on even playing field

State employees are in line for a pay raise after the Legislature passed a bie...

Vet. Services hopes for more space, resources

Most students wouldn't know it by the campus website or even signs around camp...

Fitness techniques and concerns are old news

Highline Physical Education Instructor Tim Vagen said that one of the main poi...

Bringing to light what refugees go through

People come to America for a variety of reasons and their status is not all th...

Dick's may be saved by light rail change

The threat to wipe out Lowe's Hardware and Dick's Drive-In across Pacific High...

Student Election continues

Voting for either candidate in the upcoming election can occur online between midnight on May 15 until 11:59 p.m. on May 16. You can vote at elections. You can also vote in person as well. Polling booths will be set up at the library entrance, Building 6 entry plaza, and at the Student Union in Building 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Election results will be post- ed on Friday at noon in Center for Leadership and Service.

Prepare for graduation

Graduating students are en- couraged to attend Grad Fair where they can accomplish many of the tasks needed to prepare for Commencement. At the Grad Fair, students can purchase commencement regalia, pick up cap & gown orders from online orders, join the Alumni Association, check in for Commencement, visit a cap decorating station, buy a class ring, get professional graduation photos taken, and celebrate with fellow graduating classmates. You can join the celebration at Building 8, 1st floor, Mt. Constance/Olympus on May 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Memorial Day Celebration

To celebrate Memorial Day, Veterans Services has arranged for the American Veterans bugler to play as a wreath is laid at the Veterans Memorial Plaza. Following the honor, Lourdes E. 'Alfie' Alvarado-Ramos, cur- rent president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs will give a speech inside Building 2. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be provided to everyone that attends. This event will take place in the Veterans Memorial Plaza & Building 2 on May 23 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Spring College Transfer Fair

If you are planning to transfer to a 4 year college or university in the future, be sure to attend this free college fair. Located in Building 8 first floor, come visit with admissions representatives from approximately 30 4 year colleges and universities. The fair is the perfect place to explore colleges and new options. Learn about the transfer process and deadlines, admissions requirements, scholarships, majors offered and more. This event will take place on May 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. can now do so. Running start and international students not eligible.

Drop-In Refugee Simulation Event

Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) will facilitate a simulation event called "Passages." Passages is an educational tool designed by the United Nations organization to create a better understanding of the problems that refugees encounter during their plight. The simulation takes about 15 minutes to complete. This will take place on May 15 from noon till 2 p.m. in Building 29,room116.

Money raised for scholarships at Gala

Scholarships are only a half-step

Doom, Assassin's Creed, Skull and Bones, and more

T-Bird tennis finishes second in NWACs

Buses were once only for the wealthy

Dr. Mosby answers student questions and concerns

Abortion: Whose Choice?

PNB celebrates Balanchine's legacy

Smith gets 100th strikeout at end

Fitness techniques and concerns are old news

Summer Job Fair shines light on opportunities

Mental health is no laughing matter

Sonic returns, Xbox update, EA expands...

Golfers head to Dupont

Bringing to light what refugees go through

Students gather for food, friends and horror

The man who changed the war

'Mortal Kombat' returns with new installment

Highline tennis caps off successful road trip

Dick's may be saved by light rail change