Letter to the Editor:

Recently, Ms. Donna Shank concluded her appointment to the Kansas Board of Regents, having served two consecutive terms of appointment. During her eight years as a member of the Regents she twice served as chair and represented western Kansas’ interests while keeping a strong perspective of the statewide interest in higher education at the forefront of her decisions and recommendations. Donna provided quality leadership and exhibited a non-partisan approach to her role, having been appointed by Gov. Bill Graves and re-appointed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Her leadership was evident as the Board hired four new university presidents during her tenure, three of which were hired while she served as chair of the Board.

Donna provided strong advocacy for system accountability and effectiveness, and spearheaded processes which led to effective implementation of legislation requiring university and college performance accountability. Additionally, she advocated for keeping student tuition at an affordable level for Kansas residents. Her analysis of issues, ability to ask thorough questions, and effective communications with legislators at the local, state, and national level were evident in the decisions and initiatives that have been realized in the colleges and universities in Kansas.

As president of Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, it has been my pleasure to work with someone from our community serving on the Board of Regents and to observe her passion for student access and success. Donna provided a keen insight to the Board regarding issues facing rural communities, and also sought to insure that adult education programs were effectively provided to our residents.

On behalf of SCCC/ATS I extend our appreciation to Donna as she completes eight years of leadership and service to Kansas. It is especially gratifying to see one of our alumni attain the level of responsibility and impact for which she has been recognized. She has served southwest Kansas well and her leadership will have an enduring impact on our communities.

Duane M. Dunn, Ed.D.