College Council -- January 18, 2013

Quick Jump to Sections: Strategic Focus Document, Accreditation, BCATT, Student Services Re-org, Budget, Next Meeting.

Strategic Focus Document

Kate Pluta and Jennifer Marden worked over the winter break to pull together many of the various documents, reports, plans, etc. to develop the Strategic Focus Document that our new college president, Sonya Christian, used in her presentation on the Friday before semester start. The document is now posted on the College Council website. The document shows how all of the parts of campus (programs, departments, etc.) will be working to improve student success. What is new about Strategic Focus Document is that is brings together the college strategic plan, the accreditation actionable improvement plans, the educational master plan, the summary of the Annual Program Reviews, the program viability criteria, the budget decision-making criteria, the Decision-Making Document, and the collegewide committee reports into a single place to show how they all fit together. If you want the big picture of how the various pieces fit together, study the Strategic Focus Document.

The sections of the document are:

College Council will need to take a more active role in looking at how to embed accreditation into our college processes; not have ASC do it for us. College Council and Faculty Chairs and Directors Council (FCDC) will need to increase our "data sensibility"---look at all of the metrics and data sources and figure out how we engage with the data. The college is data-rich but knowledge-poor. President Christian will work on getting us and other campus groups to engage more meaningfully with the data we have.

Accreditation

The college president and vice-president have received a preliminary report of the accreditation recommendations but they couldn't share it with us because it is confidential. There are no big surprises in it and seems to fit pretty much with what the accreditation visiting team gave us in their exit interview. The formal report from the accrediting agency (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges) will be public and should be received by the end of January or early February. There is a meeting scheduled with the collegewide committee co-chairs and the Accreditation Steering Committee on January 29th to discuss the Strategic Focus and the accreditation recommendations, so Sonya Christian is certainly expecting the formal report by then.

Bakersfield College Administrative Transition Team (BCATT)

The two new deans for the STEM area and the CTE area were announced the week or two weeks prior to semester start and at the Opening Day meeting: Liz Rozell will head the STEM area and Leah Carter will head the CTE area. The new administrative team had a retreat the first week of January and each of them created a work plan to guide their work for the next 12 to 18 months. BCATT and College Council will work together to figure out how we will restructure ourselves to meet the long-term goals of higher quality, progression, and completion: improving the quality of instruction and student services so that students progress through their sequence of courses faster (less repeats and false starts) and complete their studies here (get a degree or certificate and/or transfer). Recall from my April report, that the college presidents will be evaluated in large part on the student achievement data in the Accountability Reporting for the Community Colleges (ARCC) reports (click on the "Student Outcomes" tab and then set #5 ARCC reports).

Student Services Reorganization

Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg shared the current organization chart with us and then gave us an overview of some of the changes that will be happening in the Student Services area starting July 1. First of all, changes I see between this new org chart and the one I shared with you from the May 4th College Council meeting are:

Changes coming July 1 will be the removal of the Dean of Student position to be replaced by two director positions: one for the director of the Student Health Center and campus responsibilities for mental health and another director for Student Activities (including clubs). Still to be worked out will be the management position for student conduct and student complaints. I don't know what Dean of Students Joyce Coleman will be doing after July 1st.

Budget

Governor Brown released his budget proposal last week and Sonya Christian shared the summary prepared by Tom Burke of the effects of the governor's budget on the California Community College system (select the link to view the PDF). Couple of things to note: the $196.7 million of increased apportionment funding is just a partial fill-back of past cuts totaling at least $575 million; and a phase-in of funding based on completion rates instead of census date enrollment. Drops in funding because not using enrollment rates for funding are intended to be made up by increased funding for the Student Success and Support Program. Now that funding will be based on completion rates, we will need to be especially mindful of the temptation for lowering academic rigor and grade inflation in order to improve completion rates. The future of our state economy depends on producing students who can critically think and are adaptable to changing economic environments.

The physical infrastructure (water, gas, chillers, etc.) is dangerously under-maintained and needs to be upgraded. Measure G (SRID) bond money will be used to upgrade the physical infrastructure but with over $200 million in needed repairs/upgrades and Measure G money nearing its end we will need a local bond to pay for it. We also need to be mindful that upgrading our computer/network infrastructure so that BC can continue to provide learning in a digital campus of the 21st century. The biggest unknown, of course, is whether the community will recognize the need and be willing to make the fiscal sacrifices to support the college so that the college can support the community's economic future through a trained, skilled work force. The college will also work with the Foundation on a donation campaign to help with the over $200 million in needed repairs/upgrades.

Next meeting

Next College Council meeting will be February 1st at 8:30 AM.

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Last updated: January 28, 2013 (updated link to Strategic Focus Document)

Document author: Nick Strobel