A Day With a Trustee- Marsha Suggs-Smith

Priscille Diwa, Staff Writer

She dressed in mom jeans, comfortable sneakers, a comfortable purple long-sleeve, and a cute crossover. She looked like she could be anyone’s mom. In fact, she is—but at Montgomery College, she has a respectable title. Marsha Suggs-Smith, a Chairwoman to the Board of Trustees, participated in Trustee Information Day.

Every year, 13 members of the Board visit each campus to observe how students, faculty, and staff experience Montgomery College. In previous years, a couple of Board members would go on each campus to talk to faculty and staff to see how their experiences are working at Montgomery College. This year, however, they tried something different. They decided to shadow students so they could see first-hand how students spend their day at Montgomery College. They followed students in their classes, clubs, sports, and even during their study hours. Each Board members were paired up with a student to shadow. Mrs. Suggs-Smith was lucky enough to be paired up with me.

Her goal was to learn from me—what I do, what I am involved with, how I spend my time, etc. However, I learned from her and what her role is as much as she learned from me.

Our day started off going to the cafeteria to work as a Peer Navigator. She experienced first-hand what a Peer Navigator does, which is walking up to students and asking if they need help with financial aid, counseling, tutoring, etc. For us that day, there was not a large crowd for me to help out, so we had a chat about her role and what she does at the college.

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Montgomery College. They are responsible for college budgeting, planning, and important decision making such as establishing salaries, and tenure of the president and faculty.

One significant action I’ve seen as a result of the Board of Trustees is the availability of the shuttles. Just in seven years ago, students did not have access to the shuttles that run every 30 minutes. When new equipment, buildings, and food services become available on campus, it’s credited to the Board of Trustees. The new science building that opened up on Rockville campus was in planning for more than a decade and is now in use by hundreds of students to take classes, study, or to just have some down time. The Board of Trustees works behind the screen to ensure the student success of Montgomery College.