College Council -- September 20, 2013

Quick Jump to Sections: Accreditation Follow-up Report + Visit, College Council Charge, Collegewide Reorg, Facilities + Technology Update, Proposed Policy 4B3 Distance Education, Other, Next Meeting.

Accreditation Follow-up Report + Visit

The first hour of College Council was going over the college responses to the accreditation commission ACCJC's college recommendations. There are eight recommendations the college is responsible for and four recommendations for the district office/structure. The final version of the follow-up report that gives the college and district responses to the recommendations is currently posted in the InsideBC portal under the Employee tab (look in the "Quick Links" box, in the top left corner of that box). After the follow-up report is approved by the Board of Trustees, it will be posted on the public accreditation site for the whole world to see. The accreditation follow-up steering team headed by Bonnie Suderman developed a short summary of the follow-up report with key talking points bulleted called the "Bluff Notes on the Bakersfield College Follow-up Report" with the same yellow cover design of the cliff notes series. Every employee on campus is expected to be familiar with the contents of the "bluff notes", so read through it. The accreditation follow-up visiting team will be on campus October 28th or 29th.

It was noted that the annual program review, program assessment, and curriculum still need to be integrated. We're not there yet, but we're getting there. Also, "programs" for accreditation purposes are those things that have an assessment. Finally, note the difference in professional development between "efficiency" (which measures the number of workshops) vs. "effectiveness" (which measures the impact of the workshop on an attendee's work).

College Council Charge

The new charge of College Council is: "College Council is a collegial, consultative, and oversight body designed to serve the good of the College.  The Council facilitates timely, factual, and clear communication between constituents and the President. It provides recommendations to the President on collegewide matters. The Council oversees implementation of the Strategic Plan and ensures the institution uses ongoing and systematic planning and evaluation to refine its key processes and improve student learning." The new charge makes clear the oversight role that College Council has taken on this past year or so.

Collegewide Reorganization

Here's the Re-Org Task Force charge that was shared with College Council.

Guiding Principle: Create an administrative structure that promotes the values, mission and stratetic focus of the College in the 21st century.

Deliverable: A document that presents three options for the administrative structure of Bakersfield College with pros and cons for each option along with the budgetary impact. The research that informs these options will include historical administrative structures at BC, structures from other campuses, and internal conversations with the campus community.

Who: College Council is the sponsor of the work. Three members from College Council chair the work that will be completed by a taskforce with appointments from the Academic Senate, Classified Union, and the Student Government Association. An external facilitator will support the work.

Taskforce: 1) Chairs: Pam Boyles, Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Jennifer Marden. 2) Classified reps: Bernadette Martinez; Heather Skibinski, Public Safety Officer Felix Ramirez and Connie Gonzalez (MESA Director). 3) Faculty reps: TBD (probably include some or all of the College Council faculty reps). 4) Management: TBD. 5) Students: TBD (need to get names from Student Government Association)

When: September 23 - November 6

Scope: Administrative Structure of the College. This is NOT a re-organization that is initiated to downsize the college for a reduction in force.

Here are my notes from the discussion. The re-org is not leading to layoffs of faculty and classified and (as far as I know) administration. The taskforce is an opportunity to shape our future and it will be focussed on the instructional and administrative services (finance + facilities) areas, not Student Services. The Student Services re-org is pretty much finished and positions are being advertised. The Student Services had to happen sooner because of many long-standing vacancies and stop-gap measures that had been extended long past their expiration date. Student Services positions posted on the KCCD HR website include Director of Outreach Services (that will have major focus on the high schools); Assistant Director in Admissions and Records who will focus on the records archives (e.g., transcripts storage and evaluation) part of the office; and the Dean of Student Development and Success.

TheVice-President of Finance and Administrative Services is another position posted due to a vacancy in the current post. After LaMont Schiers left, Sean James filled in that position temporarily and he is now back at the district office. The position for the head of finance and administrative services needed to be upgraded to vice-president level (with pay increase) from the original executive-director level due to a) the fact that Cerro Coso and Porterville have their finance/administrative head at the vice-president level and b) the large scale and complexity of administrative operations at BC which accounts for 2/3rds of the district and c) pools of applicants for the original executive director level posting were poor.

The task force will therefore be working with some things already in place: the Student Services area already set and vice-presidents for the other two areas of instruction and administrative services. As noted in my previous report, our main budget analyst, Auxiliary Services Manager in Administrative Services Laura Lorigo will serve on the taskforce to provide the fiscal impacts of the various reorg options. Still investigating on who the facilitator will be.

Facilities + Technology Update

Todd Coston and Jim Coggins shared the goals of the ISIT Committee and Facilities Committee. Their PowerPoint presentation of the goals for the two committees is posted on the College Council website as a PDF (select the links to bring up the presentation posted in the September 20, 2013 meeting section).

Proposed Policy 4B3 Distance Education

First some background on where this proposed policy came from. The policy arose out of discussions between the vice-presidents at the colleges and then the Chancellor's Cabinet in Fall 2012. My belief is that the need to develop this policy was due to state and federal agencies doing a more careful scrutiny of all distance education programs across the country arising from past abuses of online education at so-called diploma-mill type of scams and questionable for-profit universities who seek to fraudently extract federal student aid dollars. Because it is so much easier for students to hide or commit fraud in online courses than in face-to-face courses, the state and federal agencies are wanting to be sure that the quality and rigor of online education equals that of face-to-face education and that the online students taking the assessments are really who they say they are. This is the same sort of pressure that led to the BC distance education program adopting the non-participation language in the BC catalog (currently, in just the "Extended Learning Attendance and Non-Participation Policy" section on page 23, ahem!). The policy was then brought to the District Consultative Council. Porterville College tweaked the language some more and our ISIT Committee offered further changes at its May meeting. Here's the proposed language coming out of the May ISIT meeting (you can view the strikeout (tracking changes) version here):

4B3 The faculty member teaching an online or hybrid course shall:
1. Respond to student questions, emails, and other communications within 48 hours, non-instructional days and leave days excepted;

2. Regularly (at least twice a week) initiate contact with students in the online classroom through the posting of class announcements and/or assignments;

3. Monitor student-to-student interaction in classroom activities requiring interaction;

4. Integrate regular assessment of student comprehension and learning.

5. Select and incorporate some combination of the following student authentication strategies to verify or authenticate that the student who registers in the course is the same student who participates in and completes the course and receives the academic credit:

a. Use proctors for tests and require id’s
b. Use a plagiarism detection tool to prevent plagiarism
c. Become familiar with students’ individual writing styles by requiring a variety of writing tasks, such as discussion forums, paragraph-length answers on exams, and formal research papers.
d. Require specific research paper topics for which the instructor knows the secondary sources thoroughly
e. Employ a lock-down browser system with some Java Script Security tool, to prevent students from exiting the exam and surfing the web for answers
f. Modify assessment artifacts between semesters
g. Design test questions to be randomly drawn from banks of questions and shuffled so that each student gets a different set of questions
h. Design tests to be open-book but with a limited amount of time to complete
i. Require forced completion on exams so student cannot re-enter a test.
j. Set a short window for testing completion, i.e., one or two days to take an exam rather than a week
k. Create a unique password for each exam

6. Provide information to students regarding items 1-5 above on the class syllabus.

7. The faculty member teaching an online or hybrid course shall include all syllabus information as described in the CCA contract within the district’s adopted course management system and likewise shall conduct all discussion forums, wikis, and other student-to-student class interactivity entirely within this course management system. In the event the district’s adopted course management system is down, the instructor may use other avenues of interacting with students while the course management system is down.

The Academic Senate expressed concerns about the policy at their September 18th meeting, particularly item 5's list of things to do. The list is not a list of everything every online instructor must do to ensure the person at the other end of the computer is actually the student who registered for the course and that the student is not cheating. The list is intended to be a list of options an instructor has to choose from to authenticate the student's credentials and prevent cheating ("select and incorporate some combination of the following"). Does the language leave open the possibility of using another tool or technique to prevent cheating? Should we list other ways to prevent cheating in an online course? Can we simplify the language of item 5 to make it clear that the list of options is just that---a list of options? What other things need to be changed in the proposed policy. Let me know as I have been appointed the BC point man for this particular proposal.

Other Reports

Next meeting

Next College Council meeting will be October 4, 2013.

Go to new BC College Council website -- old College Council website (until everything's moved)

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Last updated: September 21, 2013

Document author: Nick Strobel