Author Archives: BOT Blogger

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.

President Jarman’s comments to the Board of Trustees | Dec 14, 2017

As the curtain closes on another year, it is hard to avoid resorting to clichés of the kind I just used. So no more of those. It has been a busy year, and one with perhaps a few more challenges than I might have expected when it began lo these many months.

This evening you will hear a presentation on Pathways from Jane Smith. Pathways had entered my consciousness in early May. By October, Inservice was dedicated to it, and it had become a major conversation. I spoke then that CODFA leadership has encouraged our members to engage fully in this discussion. I can now tell you that the Faculty Senate has created nine research groups, that will involve a significant number of our members working with other constituencies in the college to examine many aspects of Pathways, with a view to providing recommendations as to how this initiative can move forward successfully. We were invited, even challenged, to participate, and we will. This work will be completed by the end of next term, and our plan is to tell you about it then.

You will also hear from Trustee Bennett in his report on the Board of Trustees Academic Committee about the work being done in regard to the HLC response. CODFA leadership contributed significantly in the report to this committee, which was concerned primarily with the syllabus compliance. We have committed to having syllabi for the spring semester posted by January 8th so that a preliminary audit of compliance can be completed prior to the official audit in February. I anticipate that the full board will be hearing more about our HLC activities in regards to assessment and outcomes in future months.

Nor have we been idle on the Noel Levitz front. A Senate task force has developed a set of questions that will guide its analysis of the data and requests for additional information as we attempt to probe the origins of the apparently problematic responses contained in that survey.

All this while we continue to teach our classes and engage in all the other normal activities of the faculty. I want to emphasize that we engage in these activities because, at the end of the day, we are dedicated to optimizing our students’ pathways to success.

VP McGrath’s comments to the Board of Trustees | Dec 14, 2017

This evening we congratulate our COD retirees; tonight’s list includes a former chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee and a former co-chair of bargaining. We thank them all for their service to our great public school and wish them the best.

It is the close of another semester, and we celebrate the accomplishments of our students. We also root for students who did not succeed in our classes, lamenting each piece of homework left incomplete, each paper or exam that misses the mark; despite the best efforts of a teacher, in the end, students are responsible for their own learning and individual agency within a given classroom. Education professionals create the conditions of possibility. Students bring to bear their own creativity, curiosity, motivation, values, ethics, and sense of reciprocity and mutuality. At its best, college education is a site for shared labor and respect for the distinct but collaborative roles between students and teachers. It is meaningful work all around.

It is hard to create the conditions of possibility for college students at a time when higher education is under siege in America. This month alone, Congress proposed taxing graduate student tuition waivers, and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act appears to include a redefinition of credit hours, the removal of student financial aid repayment benefits, and deregulation of online and for-profit providers. At a time when COD is working to repair its reputation and fulfill some fair but rigorous demands from its accrediting body, it feels like swimming against the rising tide.

At COD, we know all too well what it looks like when the worst thing happens, because it already did when we were placed on probation. Our work moving forward must continue to question: what did we learn from that, and how can we prevent it from happening again? The answer lies somewhere in the realm of collaboration and memory. And so we persist, in part because we believe in this project of public education and community good.

BOT Academic Committee Dec 11, 2017

Meeting called to order with most members present. Minutes approved.

Special Presentation on HLC Compliance

Presenter Richard Jarman

Progress on syllabus compliance and future plans. HLC concerned with consistency of teaching course objectives across sections and delivery modes.

  • intensive information campaign to faculty
  • preliminary audit of syllabi to see if they matched ACF outcomes; follow-up via Deans
  • postcard will be mailed to all faculty
  • early posting of syllabi with deadline Jan 8, rather than at the start of classes, to allow for review
  • pop-up message in Blackboard with reminders

This involves a cultural shift to internalizing these aspects of compliance.

Curriculum Process update. Task force of administration and faculty was charged with identifying needs for changes based on Academic Affairs reorganization. Improve consistency of curriculum procedures.

General Education Outcomes update. Reviewed 2009 set of Gen Ed outcomes, showed example of curriculum mapping for a general Chemistry class. Need to align our Gen Ed outcomes more clearly with degree requirements; make outcomes more achievable and less aspirational. A committee has been working on this. Preliminary draft of revised outcomes lists overarching Critical Thinking and Information Literacy, with five other areas that are associated with specific areas of curriculum.

HLC Criterion 4.b. we received feedback needing to how how assessment results are being used to improve curriculum. Currently laying plans for how this will be enacted.

Chair Bennett: asks questions about some of the logistics regarding the syllabus checking.

Trustee Bernstein: asks how to assess something like critical thinking. Toler responds and describes how Gen Ed artifacts were evaluated for critical thinking. Bernstein: what part of this process was missing for HLC? Stewart: closing the loop to use the data on the outcomes to improve curriculum. Bernstein: that makes it clear.

VP Dowling: complimented the postcard with info on syllabus compliance. Asked about whether Early Alert is included in the syllabus. Answer: no.

Pres Rondeau: suggests that Jarman’s presentation be made to the BOT, to show the depth of work being done by faculty. Bennett: will be reporting to the full BOT. Should we give a more detailed presentation? Rondeau: agenda is already set for this meeting, but at some time the board should be briefed on this work, for sake of broader community as well as trustees and faculty. Bennett: will raise this message with Chair Mazzochi. Bernstein: agrees that the BOT should be briefed. Jarman: would be pleased to present. Bennett: Is the committee in agreement? All agreed.

Status Report on Faculty Hiring for 2018-19

VP Stewart presenting. Describes chair and committee training and the timeline. Committees will have access to their pools beginning Jan 18.

Chair Bennett: refers to notes about replacement vs “new” positions (welding, interior design). BOT has adopted a new evaluation procedure regarding data to support new positions.

Prof Hazard: Last year the BOT did not approve two faculty hires. To my knowledge, there has never been an explanation. Would be helpful for hiring committees to know what the problem was, so they don’t make the same mistake again.

Chair Bennett: will take under advisement and discuss further with Stewart and Rondeau.

Review of Policy/Procedure on Assignment of Credit Hours

VP Bente presenting. New version of the policy has been available for comment; no new comments received. Expect to bring to BOT for adoption this week. New version is consistent with federal definition, applies across all sections and delivery modes.

Procedure will be to ensure that policy is uniformly applied. Policy addresses all the issues raised by the HLC. Procedure will go to Shared Governance in January and posted for internal review before it is adopted.

Chair Bennett: now we have a more comprehensive policy that conforms to federal definitions.

Committee Discussion

Chair Bennett opens to comments from the floor. No comments.

Next meeting has not been scheduled. Bennett and Millush will schedule in late Jan or early Feb 2018.



Nov 27 Meeting of the Academic Committee of the Board of Trustees

Called to order by Allan Bennett, BoT

Chuck Bernstein, Trustee, appointed as Vice Chair

Present: Donna Stewart, Bob Hazard, Cheryl Baunbach Caplin, P/T Counselor, CODAA    Earl Dowling VP Student Affairs, Sue Dreghorn, Secretary of CODAA, P/T English,  George Beck, VP SLC, Donna Stewart, Interim VP Academic Affairs, Jim Bente, Dr. Ann Rondeau, COD President.

Bennett:Here to discuss recommendations regarding academic activities. Particularly the HLC visit and accreditation. The masses have avoided this committee and there are no public comments. So we will move on to approve the Minutes of April 2017.

Dreghorn notes a typo that needs to be corrected. Seconded, approved by all but Bennet since he was not in attendance at that meeting and abstains from voting..

Review of Aug 17 2017 BoT Resolution of Committee Oversight.  Bennet notes that on Nov 22, 2017, the HLC changed COD status from Accredited on probation to Accredited, with certain conditions which we will talk about in a minute. The Resolution of Committee Oversight basically is a litany of several charges that were given to this committee. They are listed in the resolution. There are 10 charges given to this committee:

  1. Meeting every other month to receive status reports from Academic Affairs.

2) Insuring that by fall 2017 faculty and academic leadership have fully addressed and resolved the issue of lack of adherence between course outcomes on ACFS in all faculty syllabi regardless of delivery

3) Ensure by end of fall 2017 term the BOT policy 25-76 on assignment of how credit hours are assigned be reviewed and approved.  All course delivery formats.

4) Audit of Spring 2018 by March 15, to address lack of adherence of course outcomes as listed in ACFS. Must be resolved.

5) May 15, COD administration prepare and submit an interim monitoring report to the HLC showing adherence by all faculty in classes of all delivery types to BoT Policy 25-76.

6) by end of spring 2019 faculty and administration give evidence that  all Career and technical programs have assessment plans that assess program learning outcomes.

7) By Sept 2019 COD administration has submitted an interim monitoring report to the HLC that shows that all career and tech programs have assessment plancs regarding learning outcomes.

8) By Spring 2019 faculty and administration have set internal targets of performance for operational areas of the college and use data to measure success in those areas.

9) Dec 2019 COD administration submit an interim monitoring report to the HLC that shows that data and metrics inform decisions  and initiatives adopted by COD and that the internal targets have been met.

10) make any further recommendations to the BOT regarding these issues.

Bennet– this is an ambitious agenda that this committee must oversee this to make sure it is met.

NEXT ITEM: Policy 25-76  Assignment of credit hours. Jim Bente takes over.  Says there is policy and procedure and there is difference between the two. HLC  Crierion  is met with concern — federal compliance of assignment of credit hours.  The policy did not ultimately address all delivery formats of courses taught by the College and Federal compliance.  Updated policy revision — Bente notes that it indicates we will award credits in accordance with Federal standards.  Federal Credit hour is a federal definition– we are not writing our own, we are adopting the federal standard of  1 semester hour is  equivalent to 50 minutes.  This was not in the original policy. This will bring us into compliance.  This is a BOT policy. It is in the policy manual.  It is in the administrative manual.  The procedure is under review by Academic Affairs.  Addresses on-line, hybrid, internships. Will spell out specifically how credit hours are awarded for each of those.  The policy itself is sufficient to meet Criterion 3A and the federal definition. And then spelling it out will make it more robust and fully in compliance.

President Rondeau calls for Donna Stewart to comment. Stewart: There are a number of pieces in place. We can provide a detailed report at the December mtng of exact actions taken. We have done an internal informal audit. The majority of our courses this fall– any out of compliance have been addressed. Faculty were contacted. We are well situated for the Spring audit.  We have started the discussion for longer-term planning and discussion for vocational and tech, and career activities. We have a two year window for reporting back. We are working with faculty partners, have an HLC taskforce of a variety of faculty and staff addressing the plan for assessment related activities. We will provide and allow ourselves time to make the changes, implement them, report them. Student learning outcomes has a different timeline.

Rondeau; we are seeing trends on the issue of assessment. It is a broad term. It has lots of stuff in it. HLC is including assessment in its criterion for accreditation. The Committee will be asking us abou thist. We should be persistent about assessment. We are in complete collaboration with faculty for academic assessment (there is also financial, etc) but academic will be done in partnership with our faculty. Donna, I have pretty much covered what I’ve asked you to do.

Stewart agrees.

Bennet -asks for any other comments on policy 3A and the syllabi.

Dreghorn: Will syllabi need to have number of credit hours?

Bente- contract with student must be on it. Course descriptions and learner outcomes must be consistent across delivery mode and no matter who is teaching. The courses must be identical and the same. Learning Outcomes and course descriptions must be in there. Putting the number of credit hours on the syllabi is recommended.

Bennet: Moving on to #10, next meeting date..

Dowling– should we take a voice vote on that?

Bennet: That would be redundant. Any action by this committee would be redundant.

Next meeting — will be a meeting of more substance. I would like to see materials turned in no later than Monday to Maryann for distribution. I’d like a status report from the Office of Academic Affairs regarding HLC 3A and 4A in preparation for the interim report due May 2018. The HLC letter of Nov 14th points out the specific items that report must have

a) description of consistent process and practice that demonstrates adherence to course descriptions and learning outcomes.

2) consistent process and practice of course regardless of delivery

3) clear description of policy for awarding credit hours  Policy 25-76 policy which we just passed takes care of this.

Listening to this conversation makes me think we should have some discussion of  trends in assessment. Jim, do we need to get any kind of  discussion of 25-76?

Jim Bente– it is currently with Academic Affairs. Their revised policy will go to the full board for the December mtng.  The BOT mtng is the 14th but we are meeting on the 11th.  We should review that item on the 11th so that we can act in our advisory capacity to the BOT and have a recommendation in for the full BOT mtng.

Addresses Donna Stewart –should we have something about assessment.

Stewart:  We will have a report ready for what we have done and will be doing for planning on the varying parts of the HLC challenges regarding assessment. Is that what you are asking?

Bennett: Each 1000 mile journey must start with one step. Let’s focus on the interim report due May 2019. That will be the priority. Then we can get into other items.

Stewart: Yes, we will be prepared for the11th.

Bennet: any other items to be added for that Dec 11th mtng?

Bente: No.

Bennet: Full status report on the document we will be submitting. What about the audit?

Bente: I will be prepared to talk about the audit process and how we will proceed. The HLC wants clear evidence that we are in compliance. It will be produced by the audit.

Bennett: Yes, I’d like some additional info on that item

Stewart: Status report on the review of plans for assessment will come from the faculty team as well. The report will come from faculty and administration.

Rondeau: regarding the next set of items from the HLC to be met — it is encouraging to have the faculty and the administration to work together. It is something we are working closely with the faculty on that. They are the experts. We will be helpful to them as they make those efforts, but properly the faculty must be the leaders on that. The reporting process of the last two years should be continued. Asks Bernstein if he wants to comment on that as he has been on that committee. Bernstein declines.

Bennett: We will get into more meaty agenda items for the next meeting. This concludes our agenda for today’s meeting. Calls for the meeting to adjourn at 2:33 pm.

moved and seconded. Meeting adjourns.


CODFA Vice President McGrath’s Comments to the Board of Trustees, Oct 19, 2017

Two years ago faculty were horrified by the verdict of the HLC: probation for COD. It was a dark time and we are relieved probation has been lifted. Faculty did not cause the problems that lead to that determination; instead, we watched as the Board at that time played politics with our school.

Faculty are pleased and relieved that the efforts of the past months have resulted in a positive outcome and we are off probation.

Tonight it seems worth pointing out that the HLC response team was a very multidisciplinary group of education professionals. It included faculty and adminstrators; they used multiple methods and drew many people into the process to research facts and collaborate around their report and their decision. It was, in fact, a good model of collaboration between faculty and administration, and one we should look to as we are moving forward in taking on new challenges at COD, in the sense that while we continue to respond to HLC challenges, we have also spent time this semester exploring a Pathways theory for COD.

The Faculty Senate hopes to move forward with Pathways in partnership and collaboration with administration and staff at COD. We hope that leadership for this effort will emerge organically from the process of researching the needs of our students. The aim of the Pathways Theory is to create structures within which students find their way and thrive on the road to reaching their own goals.

With that value in mind, we do well to celebrate that COD is a comprehensive community college and we offer a comprehensive transfer-focused and transfer-driven curriculum that is side by side with our excellent offerings in vocational, technical, and career areas, and our size and scope is part of what makes COD a special place for students to go to school. That collaboration between the administration, staff and the faculty has to be based on understanding the equal importance of transfer curriculum alongside career and technical programs.

It is clear we all have a lot to learn and discuss.