Election Q&A: Collin College Board of Trustees for Place 8

Ahead of the May election, meet the two candidates running to serve on the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 8 seat. (Community Impact staff)
Ahead of the May election, meet the two candidates running to serve on the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 8 seat. (Community Impact staff)

Ahead of the May election, meet the two candidates running to serve on the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 8 seat. (Community Impact staff)

Learn more about the candidates running for the Collin College Board of Trustees Place 8 seat ahead of the May 1 election. Early voting is from April 19-27.


Editor's note: An asterisk (*) indicates the candidate is an incumbent.


DALLAS-FORT WORTH



Collin College Board of Trustees for Place 8










Misty Irby



Occupation: Governance and regulatory compliance manager


Contact: www.facebook.com/Misty4Collin




Why did you decide to run for the Collin College board of trustees?



MI: In 2015 I decided to become more civically engaged within my community. I saw the lack of diversity in leadership and a growing sense of apathy among my neighbors as a negative that needed to be challenged. I decided to run for the Collin College Board of Trustees because I believe education is the most effective factor in creating positive, sustainable change. As a self-professed lifelong learner, I was drawn to the opportunity to sit on this board to advocate for a solid education, healthy and safe learning environments and free speech.



How has your experience prepared you for board service?



MI: My educational journey has prepared me for a seat at the table of the board of trustees. After my last child graduated from high school, I returned to the classroom at the age of 45 to obtain my college degree. I graduated from Collin College in 2012. From there I attended UNT classes at the Collin Higher Education Center and earned my bachelor’s degree in 2014. While I was at Collin College, one of my history professors planted a seed that gave me the courage to apply for graduate school at Southern Methodist University. I earned my master’s degree from there in 2017. I understand and value the importance of education and the confidence that comes from being driven academically. I see this board position as a way to give back with my time and talents.



What do you think are the biggest issues facing Collin College today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



MI: The biggest issues Collin College is facing today is its public persona of stifling diversity of thought and a lackadaisical approach to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Collin College has been receiving negative press as of late. As a member of the board, my continual focus will be toward valuing the wide range of concerns expressed by the front-line workers, the professors. They have the best interest of the students at heart and are committed to providing an educational environment immersed in ethics and critical thinking, which should automatically qualify their voices to be heard, recognized, valued and appreciated.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



MI: I know firsthand the benefits that Collin College brings to our county. As a student, I appreciated the low cost of the classes and took advantage of the express courses offered. I am an advocate for the education offered at Collin College with friends and family. I look forward to being a voice for the community, students and faculty in maintaining Collin College's excellence and reflecting the diverse and growing population of Collin County.









Bob Collins*



Occupation: Adjunct professor of management, College of Business, Texas A&M University-Commerce






Why did you decide to run for the Collin College board of trustees?



BC: I have a passion for higher education in general and in Collin County specifically. I have served and contributed as we began the college and continue to be excited about what we are doing as we serve approximately 58,000 students.



How has your experience prepared you for board service?



BC: I am a founding member and have held the Place 8 position since the founding of the college in 1985. I have served as vice chair and chairman of the board and have served as chair of two of the three standing board committees. My education includes a Ph.D. in engineering and an MBA. I previously served on the Plano Planning & Zoning Commission and Plano City Council (Mayor Pro-Tem), Collin Central Appraisal District Board (founding member), Farmersville Economic Development and TIRZ Boards, and most recently the Collin County Economic Recovery Task Force. I currently am an adjunct professor of management for the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Previously I was a corporate officer for E-Systems Inc. (a Fortune 500 Company) headquartered in Dallas.



What do you think are the biggest issues facing Collin College today, and how do you plan to address them if elected?



BC: We have some great challenges ahead. Today, the population of Collin County is more than 1 million people. All forecasts indicate the population will grow to 2 million or greater in the not too distant future. State funding for community colleges has been on a steady decline for at least the last decade. Higher education in general is in a state of transition influenced by advances in technology, development of new delivery schemes, pressure to provide access to education, pressure to retain and graduate students while preparing them for success in the work place or in university programs or both, and a continually changing economic and work environment. Recruiting and retaining highly qualified faculty will be a continuing challenge as we grow. It will be essential for Collin to focus on our core values, make higher education accessible to every person in the county and strive for excellence. The positive side is Collin College is as well-positioned to address these challenges as any public institution in the country. Our tuition and tax rate are among the lowest in the state. (Typically, number 1 or 2) Maintaining our low tuition and keeping the tax rate low while addressing these challenges will be critical and at the same time exciting. I am excited about addressing them as a member of a visionary board.



What else do you want voters to know about you?



BC: During my tenure on the board, Collin College has grown to serve county residents and students with seven excellent facility locations around the county and two under construction. Our objective is to make higher education accessible to every person in the county. All our locations are connected through a college-developed and -owned wideband network that enables very reliable high-speed communications among our locations. I played a key role in defining and initiating our networking strategy. I have encouraged visionary thinking while serving on the college board and been fortunate to participate with boards that work that way. In 2019, I was honored to receive the Association of Community College Trustees “Trustee Leadership Award” for the Western Region of the U.S. My wife, Claude Ann, and I are longtime residents of Collin County and currently reside on our farm in Farmersville. I serve as a deacon in my church and am an adult Sunday School teacher.


By Valerie Wigglesworth
Valerie has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She is currently managing editor for DFW Metro for Community Impact Newspaper.