Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Welcome to the new KNPR.org!

If you have questions, feedback, or encounter issues as you explore, please fill out our Feedback Form.

Elmer Porter

Elmer Porter
Elmer Porter
/

Name

Elmer Porter

Occupation

School District Technology Director

Political Office

Nevada Board of Regents - District 8

Political Affiliation

Republican

How would you describe yourself to voters?

Education is the most valuable product we have for providing a stable, vibrant, healthy community, state, and country. For the past 38 years, I have worked and served in various educational positions throughout Nevada as a teacher, school district technology Director, coach and athletic director. I have served on numerous Nevada state technology and education committees, county housing boards, and recreation/tourism boards. I was appointed by Governor Gibbons to serve on the Nevada Broadband Taskforce which initiated statewide wireless and fiber optic connections to several schools, school districts and colleges throughout Nevada. Over the past several years I have been a volunteer fireman and Lions Club member. The university and college system needs to target specific programs to the needs of each community it represents and find ways to retain graduates within the boundaries of Nevada. Each university, college, and community college should have specific goals to achieve and work to obtain them in the best interest of the students and stakeholders. As a member of the Board of Regents, I will help develop and articulate the vision and mission of the university and college system while developing policies in the best interest of the students, instructors, staff, and communities. I will support the roles of existing NSHE institutions while protecting the needs of the students, faculty, and staff. I believe the present atmosphere surrounding NSHE, along with the current temperament of the Board of Regents, and changes within postsecondary perspectives need new leadership. I have worked closely with NSHE programs and personnel to connect educational facilities utilizing the latest technology. I have devoted my adult life to serve Nevada, particularly Nevada's youth.

What do you see as the top issues in this campaign?

Some of the issues facing the Board of Regents and NSHE at this time is continued growing education expectations and shrinking budgets. We should involve all stakeholders, inside and outside the university and college system to establish a shared vision, goals, and investment. Establishing buy-in from stakeholders is critical to the success of initiatives, and the Board of Regents and administrators must ensure both organization alignment and stakeholder involvement is present to be successful. The Board of Regents must also regain a solid reputation of working on behalf of the students, faculty, staff, community, and stakeholders. The reputation of the Board of Regents has been tarnished somewhat over the past several years, due to the relationship with administration and the board. Nevada needs to elect leaders who have vision, purpose, advocate, along with a dedicated Board of Regents that fully understands the current mission and future capabilities of the region each school represents. NSHE institutions need to have a shared vision and strategy to achieve a sustainable business model that places the students success at the center of it all. Another issue facing NSHE institutions in the near term is the consolidation of smaller colleges with the larger universities. We need to explore shared programs but retain the purpose and identity of the smaller colleges and communities which they represent. Also, NSHE should seek more community and business partnerships to help fund and sustain programs. Another issue which is confronting NSHE institutions is dealing with the impact of the pandemic in which many students have either left the system or are remote learning. NSHE institutions need to develop a plan for the challenge of more remote learning possibilities without sacrificing the quality of education.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the state’s colleges and universities?

I believe the biggest challenges facing the state's colleges and universities are 1) funding, 2) high cost of education, 3) student enrollment, and 4) instructor/staff retention. The college and university system needs to pursue more funding opportunities in the areas of federal and state funding allocations and community/business collaboration initiatives, while ensuring the financial spending monies are targeted to programs with proper forethought and fairness. To help reduce the cost of education, the board should explore ways to shorten the length of specific degree programs while retaining educational quality throughout the system. Encourage more teacher internships in degree programs as we do with the trade programs. For example, it should not take 4-5 years for a student seeking an education degree to teach math. This would also help relieve the teacher shortage situation within Nevada. Competency-based education has long been inconsistent in higher education. The university and college system should work together to clearly define standards and measurements when awarding credit for work experience. This will help students graduate faster. Increase student enrollment while providing high quality educational programs to entice students to attend Nevada institutions, both at the 4 year degree level and trade levels. Explore more incentives for Nevada high school students to pursue their education in Nevada higher education institutions. Both employee recruitment and retention are important to the growth and success of NSHE. However, there is no point in recruiting new faculty and staff if we can't keep the current ones. The board should support higher salaries and wages for NSHE employees which include longevity incentives to help retain professors, instructors, and staff. Instructors should have step and column increases in line with the increasing cost of living. Department heads and administration should must communicate frequently with staff and build positive working relationships.

In late 2021, former Chancellor Melody Rose filed a hostile workplace complaint alleging sexual discrimination and that some regents were undermining her. An investigation could not substantiate the sexual harassment, but it did note possible ethics violations. It also noted factionalism and tensions among board members. How would you, as a Regent, work to ease tensions on the board?

All members of the Board of Regents need to work together and understand the main mission to which they were elected to serve. As a board member, I will provide the leadership that focuses on the vision and purpose that the board represents and support the values of each member and all administration and staff. Even though different ideas and thoughts can be made by individuals, each should be treated with dignity and respect. All members of the board, including NSHE administrators should have a shared sense of mission and purpose and we need to continue and develop a culture that encourages innovation, and collaboration. Be a good role model for the board. Encourage decisions be based on several factors including data, science, and self-awareness instead of personal and political bias.

What should the board look for in a new Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor?

The Chancellor must possess strong leadership skills. 1) Possesses a thorough understanding of and appreciation for the NSHE system and the academic institutions. Understand its distinct culture of shared governance, research and service mission. 2) A leader with passion and the ability to effectively communicate the value of the NSHE system while inspiring stakeholders and committed to sustaining excellence. 3) Innovator who can articulate a strategic vision of NSHE's future and whose credibility with university constituents facilitates strategic planning and sound decision making. 4) Understand the social, political, economic, and legal context of Nevada and be an effective advocate for NSHE practices and policies with the Governor, the legislature, and the public. 5) A shared sense of mission and culture that encourages innovation and collaboration. 6) Management and executive experience, understanding of budgets, and the skills to manage and allocate resources effectively. Experience leading institutions through economic challenges and conditions of fiscal constraint. 7) Advocate and support for the students, faculty, and staff throughout the NSHE system. I also believe that the Board of Regents should consider hiring the next chancellor from within the NSHE system. We have many competent people who have worked within NSHE who know the system, policies, structure, and have a viable interest in Nevada and the communities they represent. This, I believe, will provide more success retaining the next chancellor for an extended period of time.