Name: Ned Graham
Position you are running for: Cowley College Board of Trustees
Family members (e.g. spouse, children, grandchildren): Wife, Claire Graham; son, Eric Graham; daughter-in-law, Julie Graham; their children, John Graham and Mitchell Graham; son, Stuart Graham; daughter-in-law, Kelley Graham; their sons, Noah and Gareth Graham
How long have you lived in Cowley County?
Lifetime, except for two years in Garden City
Have you served on any boards previously?
Board of Directors, Winfield Community Theatre
Why did you choose to run for this position?
I felt like there wasn’t enough representation on the Board from northern Cowley. I felt it needed to have a balance among Cowley County taxpayers.
What do you think of the plans for the new Sumner County campus and how its construction will be financed?
I think its great! What started that ball rolling was the generosity of the Short family and its donation of nearly $10 million dollars in prime land. Then Sumner County voted in an addition to its sales tax levy to pay for the building costs and some operating costs. We are the envy of most of the community colleges in Kansas.
Cowley College had a slight increase in enrollment this fall after years of decline. What would you like to see done to try to continue this increase in future semesters?
I believe that if we keep doing what we are doing now and the economy remains steady, we will continue to grow and be able to remain as a solution to the educational requirements of our students, both in proximity and affordability.
What input would you like to have on the college’s new master plan and what sorts of stakeholders should be part of that process? How much of the current master plan, which is less than five years old, should be retained as part of the new plan?
The Master Plan is still in place. What will happen now will be strategic planning that will keep us in line with current situations and economic conditions. This will allow us to adjust to changes and still stay within the boundaries of the long-term goals.
There currently is a vacant trustee position available that will be filled by the other trustees after this election. How do you think this replacement should proceed?
See my answer to the next question
In general, do you think it is appropriate to leave a trustee position vacant for an indefinite period of time, or should the board of trustees adopt some sort of time limit or deadline to fill future vacancies?
I don’t feel that filling a vacant position should be rushed just to fill the chair. We should carefully research the best person who is willing and able to do the job.
If the college were to add one curriculum or program of study, what would you like it to be?
We need to continue to focus on programs that will allow students to slide seamlessly into either finishing at a four-year school or immediately join the work force at jobs that will provide a good living for them and their families.
The college begins competing in wrestling this year. Are there any other sports you would like to see Cowley participate in, and if so, how would you propose to finance them?
Wrestling was a great addition to our athletic program. We need to be careful to add sports that draw students and that do not become a financial drain at the expense of academics.
What is your opinion of the job done so far by Cowley College President Dennis Rittle and his administrative staff? What changes, if any, would you like to see in their approach and/or the college’s direction?
Our search to find a new president is probably our finest hour to date. When Dr. Rittle came, our enrollment and morale was at a dangerously low point. He has in place a great administrative staff, is hiring great teachers and is a wonderful worker in the community. I just hope we can keep him.
Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you or why you are seeking this position?
I have found in my first term that every single person on the Board is hard-working and dedicated to the advancement of Cowley College. This discovery has prompted me to wish to remain for another term.
This information was provided by Ned Graham, current (elected) member of and candidate for the Cowley College Board of Trustees.