I have been spending some time going through our draft responses to the accreditation standards and eligibility requirements in our Institutional Self Evaluation Report (ISER). My first thought after reading the draft ISER responses was how lucky I am to work with intelligent and committed colleagues. I know that once the ISER is released for general constituent review, everyone will be pleased with the honest, transparent, and high quality work of Dr. George Potamianos, Dr. Peter Blakemore, Dr. Angelina Hill, and the members of the Accreditation Oversight Committee (AOC) and the Standard Committees.
I was also reminded about how far we’ve come in the last 10 years as a college community. We’ve worked together over the past several years to address accreditation sanctions/recommendations and become more fiscally stable. I don’t think we could have survived these two significant challenges without the willingness and commitment of our faculty, staff, managers, and administrators to work together in an open, honest, and selfless partnership. I can honestly say that we’re a much better District than we were ten years ago.
I know that we’re going to have our operational struggles and philosophical differences. That is ok. We’re a modern educational institution facing difficult problems. However, I believe we all are committed to moving the college forward to serve our community and our students.
The draft response to Standard 4: Leadership and Governance Integrity struck a particularly important chord with me given our accreditation history and the determined effort we put into fashioning a governance structure and process that is characterized by collaboration, openness and genuine respect for the thoughts and opinions of others. I was reminded that leading an institution of higher education is a team sport.
Something that Trustee Emad said during a Board meeting several years ago rang true. It is important that all members of the team—whether they’re a Board member, a faculty member, a student, or a member of the staff, management and administration—understand the roles that each of us play in leading the institution.
The Board has seven primary roles: Represent the public interest, establish policies that define the institutional mission and set prudent, ethical, and legal standards for college operations, appoint and evaluate the President/Superintendent, delegate power and authority to the President/Superintendent to effectively lead the District, assure fiscal health and stability, monitor institutional performance and educational quality, and promote the Mission of the District. Our Board has worked hard to remember that the District is theirs to oversee, not to manage and, equally as important, not to cross the line and involve themselves in micro-managing the District.
Our system of governance makes it a responsibility of the faculty to share with the administration the day-to-day governance of the college. The Academic Senate is the body empowered by law to have its say on all matters touching on what CR academics do, and what we need to do in the future if CR is to thrive. As such, it is critically important that the faculty remain fully engaged and remain steadfast in their commitment to make our institution better for our students and community.
Several faculty and staff have told me recently that they would like nothing better than to have a sanction free reaffirmation of accreditation at the conclusion of our self-evaluation process. I share that goal. Our mutual history shows us that we can overcome a lot of obstacles if we work together. As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”