Author Archives: BOT Blogger

VP McGrath’s Comments to the Board of Trustees | May 10, 2018

Tonight we congratulate the COD students who will walk across the stage next Friday night to receive their diplomas. It is an important ritual and we are proud of them and the work represented by the conferral of degrees.

We also want to congratulate all COD retirees; we celebrate their service and we will miss these valued education professionals. And of course, we welcome our new faculty hires and we are proud of our outstanding faculty colleagues as well as the professors who are being promoted tonight.

It’s been a busy year at our school, and teachers and students at COD continue to absorb significant changes—from various reorganizations of people and space, to the lifting of COD’s HLC probation and how we must prepare for our next site visit, to changes in federal law and policies that impact many of our students. Many of these changes have been a long time in the making; some are welcome, and some are not. So it is important in an education environment to value and build into the change process a period of evaluation; to ask the question, did these changes accomplish what we hoped? How can these concepts be improved or corrected? Enacting change without methodically evaluating its impact can create questions and doubt, and cultivate resistance to the next big idea—even if it’s a good one.

As we move into the next academic year, it will be important for faculty and administration to work more collaboratively on establishing the priorities for our college and our students. As we revisit the Strategic Long Range Plan and the Facilities Master Plan, we must do so through processes that are inclusive and that tolerate and then integrate dissenting views in order to reach rigorously vetted conclusions. And it means relying on experienced education professionals to evaluate the outcomes of those plans, and cultivate an institutional openness to re-evaluate and change based on an honest assessment of what is right for our students, for real students, overall.

President Jarman’s comments to the Board of Trustees | May 10, 2018

The term gallops at an ever-increasing frenzy to its conclusion as we look forward to Commencement just one week away; and even the weather has finally deigned to acknowledge the appropriate season, lending an of colorful and much-admired splendor to our campus.

It is a season of celebration and in the packet tonight I find much to celebrate. Of course, I am biased. Under item 6, Outstanding Faculty are being recognized. Congratulations to all of them for their outstanding service. A note on Tom Carter – Outstanding College-wide faculty member from physics. One generally first encounters Tom by his voice. I heard him before I met him, back in 2003 in my first division meeting. As loud and as forceful as may his advocacy be, he is as humble and unassuming in all other regards, and has lent his tireless hand to many significant STEM initiatives. It has been my personal pleasure to have worked with Tom on some of these projects, and he is always one to enjoy a really good argument with. Totally well-deserved is this recognition.

Then, under 8.q we have seven faculty members being recommended for promotion to the E range, which marks the pinnacle of professional development for our members at College of DuPage. Congratulations to them as well.

It has been a year of substantial achievement for our college as we have faced down previous challenges and embrace new ones. You will hear later about the Pathways initiative. That noun entered my consciousness about one year ago. I don’t want to detract from the presentation but I can assure you that we are fully engaged in the process and committed to working collaboratively and constructively as it moves forward.

We learned recently of the move of many of the areas of administration into the BEEM building across the street. The objective here was to increase space for instruction in the BIC that research has shown is in demand (don’t we all know it). I would like to take this opportunity to commend our Cabinet members for taking the initiative in this selfless move, along with Mr. Schmiedl who no doubt has contributed to the logistics of this not-insignificant effort.

See you next Friday I hope.

President Jarman’s comments to the Board of Trustees | April 19, 2018

It was a particular honor and privilege to attend the event Wednesday morning to celebrate the Innovation DuPage initiative along with so many members of our community partners from all walks in attendance. This new business incubator provides tangible evidence of the restored union between the village (my village actually) and our college that was so needlessly and unnecessarily sundered years back.

From the paper dresses to the music to the flower arrangements all done by students, along with the galaxy of initiatives shared in the presentations, it made me proud to be a part of this college. I look forward to our members contributing their skills towards, and hopefully benefiting from, the entrepreneurial adventures soon to begin downtown.

Not wishing to pre-empt Trustee Bennett’s report on the academic committee, but you will hear about the first report due to be submitted to HLC. From our side, we are very satisfied with the outcome, and I think it represents a model for collaborative work on a challenging issue across different constituencies to meet a common goal. Now we can look forward to addressing the weightier issues surrounding assessment that we have made reference to in previous presentations to this board.

Co-curricular activities are among those items cited by HLC for evidence of assessment. Our colleagues in Student Life can provide qualitative and quantitative evidence that involvement in co-curricular activities promotes retention and success. Which brings me to item 11.f in the consent agenda: BTE Agreement Renewal and Funding. You heard my advocacy for BTE in the past. You have seen the financial targets hit but I wanted to highlight the student engagement data: 450-500 students directly engaged in BTE each season, 52 students working on BTE productions, and other items besides.

BTE provides the kinds of co-curricular activities that sets COD apart from the norm. We heard Dr. Rondeau proclaim Wednesday that the MAC is a center for great art. Rightly so. Both for the community at large and our students within, let us continue and expand that tradition.

Thank you.

BOT Academic Committee Meeting Mar 13, 2018

Meeting called to order with most members present. Minutes approved, with one abstention.


Ensure that the HLC final document is completed and submitted by due date, May 15, 2018.


Jim Benté, VP Planning & Institutional Effectiveness:  Report

  • Overview of the Active Course File / Syllabi audit.
  • The deadline for submission of an interim report is May 15, 2018.
  • Provided the following report on Active Course File / Syllabi adherence
  • Active Course File Learning Objective / Syllabi inconsistency rate was 25% at the time of the HLC onsite visit. The most recent rate is 4%.
  • The sample size of the audit was 232 individual syllabi taken from a total of 2200. Description of audit:
    • Full time faculty: 83 syllabi, representing 36% of all syllabi audited
    • Part time faculty: 149 syllabi, representing 57% of all syllabi audited
    • Face to face courses: 83%
    • Online: 15%
    • Hybrid: 2%
    • Non-compliance: 1 (.5%) FT faculty and 8 PT (3.5%) faculty syllabi did not align with course learning objectives.

VP Bente noted that while the compliance rate was not perfect, he is pleased with the improvement.  He stated that the improvement will make a “strong story” for the HLC report.

  • VP Bente is creating a draft of the report using document provided by faculty and Academic Affairs.
  • The HLC did not recommend or mandate a report format, but will address the issues noted in the HLC report.
  • Discussed some of the source materials to be included in the report, such as emails between faculty and deans regarding course learning outcomes, and committee minutes from the VPAA, HLC Response Planning Team, BOT Academic Committee and Faculty Senate. Evidence submitted could be 200 pages.
  • Draft report is planned to be complete by April 1 which will allow time for revisions by the May 15 due date.

Chair Bennett:

  • Asked if information table will be included in the report. Bente – Yes.
  • Ensure that the committee’s minutes note that the College did not receive from the HLC specific instructions on the report format, or any criteria of what results would be acceptable or unacceptable.
  • Noted that the HLC survey sample size was “very limited,” and should stress in the College’s response that the survey size was increased to about 10% of all courses offered.
  • Goal is to have draft report completed by April first, which will tie in to the April BOT meeting schedule
  • Bente noted that Dr. Stewart’s report will be added to the HLC report.

 Dr. Donna Stewart, Interim VP Academic Affairs:  Report

  • VP Stewart reported that she was generally pleased with the outcome of the Active Course File/ Syllabi audit, and was pleased with the progress in faculty ensuring that course syllabi match learning outcomes as stated in active course files. She stated that she would have liked to have 100% compliance. She also complemented faculty on work well done.
  • HLC Committee will continue their work– Professor Shanon Toler will continue to serve as Chair of the Committee and will work with Dr. Stewart to draft the response that will be included in the final report to the HLC.
  • Stated that the HLC report and audit will help identify areas in which the College can improve.
  • Will explore the creation of training opportunities – not just as a means to respond to HLC-related issues, but as a way to benefit faculty and staff, and gave the example of providing training to help improve syllabi creation. Will look for ways to improve communication, including communicating expectations.
  • Plans to use the experience with the HLC as not just a way to ensure compliance, but to look at issues in a larger way, and to identify opportunities to improve how we educate our students.
  • Will have conversations with CODFA and CODAA. Seeks to learn how academic affairs can partner with faculty to advance progress.
  • Plans to look at technology-related solutions for assisting faculty with creating syllabi that comply with HLC requirements.
  • Will consider the possibility of continue random sampling/audit of syllabi – will look at benefits of this practice versus the investment. Does it get us where the College wants to be?
  • Looking at best practices

Chair Bennett:  Requested that points made in Dr. Stewart’s report be included in the final HLC report.

Update: Student/Program Assessment in preparation for HLC site visit to be conducted prior to September 2019

Dr. Richard Jarman, Professor and President Faculty Senate:  Report

  • Concerns regarding HLC 3a, are resolved.
  • HLC 4.b – will be addressed in 2019.
  • Senate recently approved Curriculum Guide and General Education Outcomes. Faculty will vote on Wednesday.  New curriculum process will be implemented for future revision or new curriculum, presuming it’s approved by faculty.
  • General Education Outcomes: Implementing process of reviewing courses by each discipline, and review any deficiencies in courses as identified in the HLC report.
  • Assessment of co-curricular activities: Student life and Career Services reps gave a presentation on student clubs, such as New Student Orientation.
  • Orientation Leader program – examples of activities where data is collected. Assessment is being done, but must be made apparent to the auditors.
  • Career services – assessment taking place as well.
  • Data suggests that engagement in clubs and activities support student learning, growth and retention.

President Rondeau, comments:

  • Thanked Richard Jarman for leadership and work done
  • Noted that VPAA Donna Stewart and VP Dowling identified the idea of a creating a Provost position – which will create strong links between Academic and Student Affairs.
  • Relayed a conversation with a student who stated that when students are involved in co-curricular activities they become better students.  Tangible results of the College meeting HLC issues.

Trustee Bernstein:  Will the College have any analytics to identify correlation between student involvement in co-curricular activities and improvement in student performance?

VP Bente:  Analysis can be made regarding correlation – can pull data out of system and do a regression analysis, and will not be a significant task.

Pres Rondeau: Some student engagement will be constrained by family, economic situations within a student’s life.  But reiterated that the College needs to be doing what we need to do and meet the College’s and the HLC’s expectations.

VP Dowling to Trustee Bernstein:  Pathways committee is interested in connection between what happens outside the classroom, and retention rates.  Faculty and student affairs staff attending a summit – what technology is available that can help analyze data of student success and co-curricular activities

George Beck:  Noted that assessments are ongoing.  What types of information/data are we trying to pull?  What steps are being taken to see development between co-curricular activities and other areas?

Prof Jarman:  Retention reports are collected, from such groups as NSO, Living Leadership program – data is there that can track student retention.  Quantitative and qualitative data is available.

VP Dowling added that students who participate in NSO are doing better in the classroom and have higher retention rates.  Students who participate in the Pre-enrollment Summer Program, and are mandated to meet with a counselor or adviser are also doing better in the classroom and have higher retention rates.  Building an assessment database, visiting with faculty during the summer are helping improve these rates, and are expanding the Pre-enrollment Summer Program.

Dr. Stewart:  Feedback from HLC – what are the goals of co-curricular activities as it relates to student success?  How do we know that we’re achieving these goals?

Trustee Bernstein: By the nature of who they are, would students who attend NSO already do well?  Are their difficulties with determining cause and effect?

VP Dowling:  Clearly students who attend NSO are more motivated.  Would they do better in class?  Not sure.  But students who come to orientation and are interested would probably do better.

VP Stewart:  cited research that NSO and first year- type programs do contribute to student success.

Prof Baunbach-Caplan:  Noted that she works with pathways to engineering students.  Most transfer students surveyed stated that the mandatory phone meeting with U of I advisors and orientation sessions were helpful.

Prof Jarman:  Noted that through the academic reorganization including the creation of the Provost position, in the future the committee will meet with representatives from Student Life and Career Services, and anticipate that these meetings will be beneficial.

INFORMATION: 2018-19 Faculty Hiring Update

Dr. Donna Stewart, Interim VP Academic Affairs:  Report

Follow-up to last December’s status report – at that point, searches were just starting.  Faculty returned from break, and began review of candidates.

Currently, the searches are at varying stages. A couple searches are still open. Most searches are well underway, a few are lagging.  One search has a very small pool of applicants.  One recent resignation of an Accounting Faculty – the President authorized a one year temporary full time faculty appointment.

Implemented enhancements to processes.  All job postings used a common template.  All search committee members went through common training.  Used common interview questions that addressed institutional needs.  Search committees crafted questions that addressed needs specific to the discipline.  Committees used a rubric to summarize and review candidates.

Once process is finished, the names of three candidates are put forward to the VPAA.  The names of the candidates will be unranked.  Included in the submission will be a summary of the candidates’ strengths and developmental opportunities for each candidate.  VPAA will confer with the Dean and meet with 1 or possibly 2 candidates if necessary.  VPAA will forward a recommendation to the President.  An offer will be made subject to the BOT’s approval.  Interviewing using Zoom if candidate is out of town.

Chair Bennett:  Stated he wants to make sure the minutes reflect the process.  Reponse to Prof. Hazard’s question at last meeting:  The BOT Chair has provided the VPAA office with a report format, with a series of questions and statements that the VPAA will provide to the board with each recommendation.

VP Stewart:  Will review the format, was not certain that they had a prescriptive format for the candidates, but rather the expectation that a number of issues be addressed in the interviewing process.

Chair Bennett:  It was his understanding that the BOT wanted all questions to be answered to avoid a repetition of the turn of events that took place in the last hiring cycle.

VP Stewart:  Will review that expectation.

Prof Jarman – Noted that Meteorology will interview 7 candidates, and Chemistry will review 6 candidates.

Prof Hazard to VP Stewart – Will you pass along recommendations as they come in or will they be compiled first and then sent?

Stewart:  Will forward as they come in.


Dr. Donna Stewart, Interim VP Academic Affairs: Report

VP Stewart: Discussed recommendation for new degree in Dance Studio Production and Instruction.  Course was reviewed by DCC and CCC.  Dean Boone crafted the Form 20 ICCB proposal.  The document was shared with the Committee – any questions?

Chair Bennett:  Read catalog description. Noted that there were 40 dance studios consulted, and packet referenced correspondence.

Dean Boone:  Relied on a Google search to identify businesses.  The degree was authored and managed by an adjunct instructor in Dance.  She interviewed dance studio and production company owners to determine what they would like to see in a degree, and found that they need help with production and support, and managing an organization.

Chair Bennett: Proposal notes annual enrollment projections – 20, 28, 35, respectively, over the next 3 years.  What was the basis for the projections?

Dean Boone:  Based on current enrollment, and some small growth because we put a degree in process.  Will not likely be a huge program.

Chair Bennett: Who led the charge to initiate the program proposal?

Dean Boone: – Adjunct faculty member Donna Douglas and Connie Canady Howard, served as full time faculty sponsor.

Chair Bennett: Program will provide dance studios with sufficient staff to help run studios?  Dean Boone: That’s correct.  Internships and employing graduates where studios sees fit.

Prof Jarman:  Faculty staffing – In second year, will there be 8 faculty and will all be adjunct?  Is it experimental?  At what time will they get a full-time faculty in program?

Dean Boone: We did have a FT faculty member teaching Dance, but there was not enough enrollment to support the position.  If enrollment is strong, we could then hire an FT – but probably not in the next 2-3 years.

Prof Baunbach-Caplan:  Is there compensation for duties outside teaching?

Dean Boone: Yes, compensated Donna Douglas for work related to creating the degree. We could assign an adjunct to do work required that is outside of the classroom.  The other option would be to combine Dance program with another discipline, but that would necessitate a conversation with CODFA members.

Chair Bennett: Motion to approve the program?  Jarmin and Hazard made motions.

Roll Called – Unanimously approved, motion passed.

UPDATE: Revised Procedure 25-76, Assignment of Credit Hours

-Jim Benté, VP Planning & Institutional Effectiveness: Report

Updates board policy 25-76 received BOT approval.  However, no administrative procedure in place.  HLC thought it beneficial to put procedure into place.  Procedure 25-76 was authored.

The three major components of the Procedures are:  Course hours delineated by course type; Delivery Mode; Faculty can maintain adherence to procedure through College Curriculum Committee.  Procedure 25-76 passed through Instruction and Shared Governance, unanimously passed.  Public comment for 30 days.  Will be included in the HLC report.

Chair Bennett: Notes that the administrative procedures conform to federal government and HLC rules.

VP Bente: stated that this was an information item for the committee.


  • Pathways Steering Committee Update – Academic Affairs/Student Affairs
  • Academic Advising Committee Update – Academic Affairs/Student Affairs

Chair Bennett: Will review Draft Report next meeting.  BOT next meeting is April 19th.  Will hope to have the Draft Report ready for that meeting.

4:07 Motion to adjourn

Motion approved, meeting adjourned.





President Jarman’s comments to the Board of Trustees | Mar 15, 2018

I wanted to acknowledge the good news recently received about Standard & Poor’s upgrading the College of DuPage bond rating from “AA” to “AA+” and affirmed its rating outlook of “stable” on the College’s outstanding general obligation bonds. It is a notable achievement in an era, particularly in Illinois, where few institutions of higher learning can only dream of having even one A letter beside their name.

While an argument might be sustained that the visitation of probation that prompted the down-grading really had nothing to do with the actual financial health of COD, it is gratifying nonetheless to see its return up the ladder. Though I am moved to point out that what provoked the ire of the HLC in those days did not include non-compliant syllabi. On the latter, I think you will hear at some point this evening some encouraging news re the audit.

But I will stick to a financial theme as I note item 8 in tonight’s agenda, APPROVAL: Tuition and Fees Effective Fall 2018 Term.

As the information supplied in the packet demonstrates, COD has had an exemplary record in its tuition rate since 2015 (how many colleges can boast of a negative increase in these challenging times?). During this era, COD moved from the top of the table to below midpoint. However, at some point, as the cost curve inches inexorably up, increasing revenue becomes inevitable. The modest $1 seems entirely reasonable.

What makes this proposed increase more palatable is the evolution of the board’s attitude towards the reserve fund. No longer is it referred to as the “rainy day” fund for rains that will never come (at least in recent memory), and no longer is it treated as something sacrosanct. We note a logical rationalization of the allocations and a willingness to put part of it to productive use.

I would only advocate that, as the plan to generate revenues evolves, the burden fall not only on the fee payers but equally on the community that benefits from our services and even beyond in any creative ways possible.

VP McGrath’s Comments to the Board of Trustees | Mar 15, 2018

Good evening. Tonight we congratulate our colleagues whose retirements are listed in the packet, and we recognize the creativity and productivity of our colleagues whose sabbaticals are listed for approval. It is the culmination of a rigorous and collaborative process, and it is part of what makes COD a great incubator for teaching and learning.

Great teaching and learning requires careful budgeting, of course, and we respect the process behind the proposed $1 increase in student tuition for Fall 2018. But parallel to such necessary increases, we encourage stakeholders at the College to examine and champion initiatives that could help students manage the cost of college, including an institutional effort to engage with and support the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and a deliberate strategy to address and resolve the chronic and systematic under-funding of higher education in our state over the course of several decades. These efforts, in concert, might send the message that we are working on every front, as a College, to address costs for students with imagination and foresight. COD offers an important public good within our district, and a global point of view would focus on sustainable and effective public policies around resources for that public good.

President Jarman’s comments to the Board of Trustees | Feb 15, 2018

Good evening. Just a few brief comments. Item 7.a under resignations, I wanted to acknowledge our colleague’s Gary Roby resignation this coming May. Gary has been here too few years but in that time has made considerable contributions to the chemistry discipline and the college in general. He has been recognized as outstanding divisional faculty member.

Further, under item 8.o retirements, I wanted to acknowledge the contributions of three faculty members, David Ficht and Bea Jaynes in mathematics and Robert Nichols in Computer Information. Collectively, they have contributed over 53 years’ service.

I also note the impending retirement of one Charles (Chuck) Currier at the end of June. Chuck is the longest serving senior administrator in the Cabinet and I could say we go back a long way. I wanted to acknowledge Chuck’s service to the college in all things computational. He has always been someone willing to have a conversation to discuss issues.

Under item 6, I am looking forward to the presentation on progress in mathematics being given by Professor Hill. Good to see in-depth work by faculty presented to the Board. While this work was and is intensively faculty-driven, I would like to recognize the administrative leadership of the math and natural sciences division in this project.

VP McGrath’s Comments to the Board of Trustees | Feb 15, 2018

Good evening. Tonight we congratulate our colleagues whose retirements are listed in tonight’s packet. We also support the hard work of our faculty, administrators, and staff throughout the college (some of whom are presenting tonight) to improve our programs and plan for our probation-free future.

But we also grieve yet another school massacre in Florida yesterday. Words fail as we contemplate the violence perpetrated on educators and students in Parkland. Schools should be safe, but in America too often they aren’t.

On April 20th, a National Day of Action for Safe Schools will take place throughout the country, calling on Americans to march and compel action from legislators that improves the safety and security of students, via common sense gun control legislation, improving student access to mental health resources in our schools and prioritizing curriculum that develops student interpersonal communication skills. Students, education professionals, school boards, and community members must raise our voices and work against murder by guns in our schools.

Pres Jarman’s Comments to the BOT | Jan 18, 2018

Good evening and a somewhat belated Happy New Year.

One year ago the college welcomed 22 newly tenured faculty members at the January 19th board meeting. One year on, it is gratifying to see under Item 8.A in the consent agenda that our President recommends that 26 faculty members be granted tenure.

One year ago we were anticipating and discussing a number of changes and additions at COD: the reorganization of academic affairs into six divisions, the concomitant creation of several new discipline chairs, the expectation of new faces on the board of trustees in the April election. And of course the lingering uncertainty regarding HLC.

All these things came to pass and the uncertainty around HLC was mercifully vanquished. It would be appropriate to acknowledge the contribution of the Accreditation Task Force that earlier today was recognized with an I AM COD award. Congratulations to them – well deserved. Now the conversation has evolved into how do we respond to the demands that HLC has made of us when it withdrew the yoke. I see that as a lot healthier and more productive discussion, and one that we spent some of our Inservice day addressing. On that note, it was gratifying to see Trustees Fenne and Walker in attendance, and thank you for your commitment to our work.

On the one hand, the need to undertake activities and file reports to fulfill these HLC obligations could be seen as a massive inconvenience and drudgery; but on the other, that obligation encourages us to take a deeper and more authentic embrace of the kinds of assessment and analysis around curriculum, educational outcomes and program review that can only improve our work and the quality of education at COD. As we think about, reflect on, and respond to the likes of the Noel Levitz and CCSSE surveys, this can only be a good thing. Hopefully, next month we will have opportunity to share some of that work with you in more detail.

VP McGrath’s comments to the Board of Trustees | Jan 18, 2018

Good Evening and happy new year. We are glad to return for a new semester and we look forward to the start of classes and seeing our students on Monday. It is already turning into a busy semester, but we are optimistic that our work matters and that our expertise is respected and utilized for educational work, in all of its variety, at the College of DuPage.

We are glad to see our third-year colleagues recommended for tenure tonight. And we recognize our colleagues whose retirements are listed in the Board packet as well.

In retrospect, 2017 was a significant year of change at our school; the coming calendar year promises even more change. We hope, of course, that change is progress, and progress in the right direction. As scholars and educators, we are aware of how important it is to allow for time after intense change and learning to absorb what has come to pass. It is also essential to pause, reflect, and evaluate, especially in order to understand and ensure that we agree we’re on the right track in so many ways. As teachers, we know that a timeline is a good organizational tool, but it can be hypothetical, and if the material isn’t mastered, it’s usually necessary to regroup and allow more time for study.

Our wish this year is that organizational change is made through dialogue, deliberate collaboration, and honest conversation about real students, as they are, in all of their variety at our school. As we’ve learned over and over in the past several years, complicated problems require complicated solutions. So here’s to complexity in 2018.