Cheryl Aschenbach, left, is presented with a recognition of her leadership, both at Lassen Community College and throughout the state of California. Presenting the award is LCC instructors Lisa Garnier, middle and Carrie Nyman, right. Photo by Jake Hibbitts

Aschenbach receives leadership award

Serving 15 years in Lassen Community College’s Academic Senate and 11 years as its president, Cheryl Aschenbach’s leadership will clearly be missed following her recent election as the Secretary of State for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.

Aschenbach was recognized by Disabled Student Programs and Services instructor Carrie Nyman, and work experience instructor Lisa Garnier, who both tearfully spoke of Aschenbach’s impact on their experience at the college as well as their lives.

“Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week for the National Education Association, and May 8 was California Teachers Appreciation Day,” said Nyman at the college’s May 14 board of trustees meeting. “May 22, which is coming up is Red for Ed Day. It’s a day of action. The day teachers raise their voices together for our students, for our schools and for ourselves as educators.”

Nyman continued, saying the faculty wished to recognize one of its great teachers: Aschenbach.

Nyman began choking up during her descriptions of Aschenbach as one who has strengthened their local academic senate, and “has been the voice of the faculty for all community colleges statewide. Developing state policies, academics and professional matters.”

The college’s boardroom broke into applause and tears as Aschenbach made her way to the podium to embrace her colleagues and accept the award.

After wiping away tears, Nyman finished by saying, “We cannot wait to see her leadership in her newly elected position as Secretary of State for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges.”

Aschenbach gave her last academic senate report to the trustees shortly after accepting her award and said, “The folks who are on the ground and have the most contact with students aren’t often in this room with us. Those are our faculty and classified professionals.”

Aschenbach shared something she brought up years ago when first in the position of academic senate president, and at another point in her career, “And that’s administration evaluation. As a faculty member, I have a 360-degree evaluation for the most part. I’m evaluated by my supervisor, a couple of my peers and the students who are taking my classes, and yet we’re unique in this faculty in we’re the only one’s who are evaluated in that way.”

Aschenbach told the trustees and attendees that she had asked before for the possibility of allowing input into the evaluations of the college’s administration and president. She foresaw potential positives for allowing “additional perceptions on how the job that they’re doing is working for the college.”

“I’ve always sought to work collaboratively with students and faculty and staff, first and foremost in everything that I did,” said Aschenbach. She began to choke up again, saying, “And that has always guided the work that I do.”