College of DuPage faculty: Much still to do; let's work together
After listening to faculty members' recommendations for moving the school forward, College of DuPage trustees Thursday night agreed to have similar, ongoing conversations to take a closer look at how to implement some of their suggestions.
The COD Faculty Association and the COD Adjunct Association made their presentations in response to the Higher Learning Commission's decision to place the Glen Ellyn-based school on two years' probation.
Faculty Association President Glenn Hansen said instructors want to focus on the future, but he took time to detail what led them to take a historic vote of no confidence in former President Robert Breuder in fall 2014.
"If we're going to move forward, evaluation is key. And I'm not just talking about the evaluation of personnel. We must evaluate what we have done up to this point in time and what brought us to this point in time. We must examine why we're at this point," he said. "We cannot simply say it was one person and all is good now."
Hansen said officials have made progress and improvements in recent months, but there are still relationships that need to be repaired and issues that need to be tackled.
Faculty suggestions to start addressing the learning commission's concerns include creating a clear separation between continuing education and traditional degree programs, addressing grievances from the faculty with integrity and fairness, improving the way administrators are evaluated, and changing the structure of the college's leadership.
There also were requests for more accountability and action, along with improved communication, and involving all stakeholders in the college's decision-making processes.
"I hope we continue to have this dialogue because it is a model of shared governance," recently appointed Trustee David Olsen said. "I think this collaborative tone is something we really need to set."
One way the board plans to do that is by receiving monthly reports from the newly formed accreditation task force, which held its first meeting Friday morning. Olsen suggested faculty and student leaders give periodic updates to the board as well.
Trustee Frank Napolitano said he felt communication and collaboration were important themes in the presentations and in response. He encouraged his fellow trustees, faculty members and students to attend committee meetings because "all of these things are kind of moving parts that are connected."
Vice Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi said she would like to address concerns that were raised about creating a distinct line between board responsibilities and the duties of the administration, among other issues. She said it was "wonderful to hear many faculty voices talking about where they want to be."