Henry Ford College President
Russell A. Kavalhuna, J.D.

The College's sixth president, Mr. Kavalhuna is leading the way in creating affordable access to excellent higher education for all students. His mission is to promote an HFC education as a gateway to the middle class, and a gem in the Midwest.

Presidential Communications: Looking to the Future Together

September 2018

Dear Colleagues,

I will communicate with you periodically about important College matters through letters, HFC employee news, my upcoming website, and other useful channels. This is my first letter about our upcoming plans, and I invite your input and participation in those plans.

During my listening tour, many of you have asked about plans for our future. I am not ready to deliver long-term plans because I have more listening to accomplish. But I can offer some guidance on what I see as our guiding mission. Hearing from you, I can report that we all agree that student success should be our focus. Student success can be difficult to define, but we should aim to help students be successful during their time here and in their lives after they graduate, transfer, or move into the workforce. I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on this (or anything else) at any time. Please send your comments to my office at OfficeOfThePresident@hfcc.edu.

Here are some updates on our College.

Strategy and Information Divisional Reorganization

If you attended the State of the College event (there is a recap in This Week @ HFC), you know how I feel about Becky Chadwick leaving HFC. She has represented the best of us, and we will have an opportunity to officially bid farewell to Becky today at 2:00 p.m. in the Rosenau Rooms.

As a leader, one of my obligations – and opportunities – is to view change through a strategic lens. That means considering multiple angles and perspectives to make the best decisions for the College’s future. With Becky’s departure, I have consulted with the Cabinet and other colleagues, as well as Becky herself, and I have decided that we need to adjust the Division of Strategy and Information (S&I).

Over time, S&I grew by adding responsibilities and areas that were not necessarily aligned in the best possible way. The division was formerly Information, Marketing and Effectiveness. Before that, it was Institutional Research and Reporting, and also Research, Planning Effectiveness, and Grants. As responsibilities grew and evolved, the division was renamed Strategy and Information several years ago. Becky has led the division for 18 years with grace, intelligence, diplomacy, and drive, and she has led us to acknowledge that now is a good time for a new structure.

There are countless ways to organize a College administration, and we are following best practices and considering institutional needs and expertise as we make our decisions. For the foreseeable future, Strategy and Information will look like this, effective September 17:

  1. Information Technology Services (ITS) will become part of the division of Financial, Facilities, and Auxiliary Services, reporting to Vice President John Satkowski.

  2. Marketing and Communications will become part of the division of Student Affairs, reporting to Vice President Daniel Herbst.

  3. Institutional Research, Planning, and Accreditation will report to Interim Vice President Lori Gonko, who will move into Becky Chadwick’s office on the 4th floor of the ASCC in mid-September. Lori and a team of colleagues will also lead the 2018 HFC Millage Renewal effort (for the informational campaign), which represents 5% of the College’s annual operating budget. Jennifer Chapman will continue to serve as special assistant to the Interim Vice President.

My thanks, in advance, to all of you for supporting and advancing the work of your colleagues across both campuses through collaboration and shared purpose.

Office of Grants Management

In 2016, a Continuous Process Improvement team at HFC spent several months working on the issue of Grants Management. A PDF of their report is online. That process included research, benchmarking, and strategic thinking. It set the stage for a change we have decided to implement.

As a future-driven College, we need to investigate all viable opportunities to fund our academics and innovations. Grant funding is an often-overlooked option, though HFC has achieved notable successes in the past decade in obtaining grant funds from proposals submitted to federal and state sources. In the future, we will also be considering private grant sources for projects that could be appropriately supported by foundations or other philanthropic entities.

With the goal of encouraging and generating a growing number of successful grant applications, we have decided to locate a new Office of Grants Management in the Division of Institutional Advancement, under the direction of Vice President Reginald Best.

With the help of deans, faculty, and other colleagues, Reginald will review the findings and recommendations of the CPI team, as well as relevant updated information and College grant successes from the past two years. This will allow him to determine the best composition and scope of work for the new Grants office. You will hear more about this as the office takes shape. Please send any thoughts or suggestions to Reginald at arbest1@hfcc.edu.

A Culture of Connection and Civility

In my State of the College address, I said there is nothing that can hold us back but ourselves. There are so many great people working here, with so much creativity and passion and determination, that I believe we can do anything that we are willing to work toward.

We must do this work together.

I have been encouraged by the energy and attitude I have seen from so many of you in my first months as president. Let’s extend that same positive energy toward our entire College community.

I want to share with you a statement that is adapted from one of our sister institutions, and I believe it is relevant to each one of us. It offers a way to create a positive culture that encourages respect and honor, no matter how strongly we agree or disagree about any particular issue:

To bring out the best in one another, we strive to promote a healthy culture for teaching, learning, and all forms of work. It is a culture of connection.

We value every member of our community, and we believe that a civil and considerate environment is essential to the well-being of faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

We aspire to treat each other well, through practicing and supporting constructive attitudes and behaviors, such as:

Choose kindness. Always treat each other with consideration and respect, whether in person, on the phone, over email, on social media, or any other form of communication. Your tone often matters as much as your words.

Think the best. Assume everyone is trying to do the right thing. Put yourself in another person's shoes, even in difficult situations. Be flexible and patient.

Act in a supportive way. Encourage each other. Acknowledge other people’s contributions, and lend a hand when others need help. Be inclusive, welcoming, and appreciative of differences.

Practice forgiveness. Even with our best efforts, we are fallible and error-prone. When someone offends or hurts you, take time to respectfully discuss this with the person. Have those courageous conversations. Choose to have a forgiving attitude. If you offend or hurt someone, apologize and work to make things right.

–– Adapted from the University of Michigan Statement on Civility

I realize that treating each other with respect will not solve all of our problems. But I am convinced that a culture of civility and inclusion is necessary for institutional greatness. Please help me grow a culture that focuses on the future together. You have my support and appreciation for everything you do for Henry Ford College. I have met many of you during my listening tour and my many walks through our buildings. If you see me in the future, please stop me and introduce yourself. You are my teammates, and I want to hear about your work and life. I truly look forward to working with you to make our College a launching point, a welcoming home, and a proud destination for all the various communities we serve.

Russ Kavalhuna
President, Henry Ford College