BOT 10/8/15 Yearman Public Comments

Keith Yearman, Associate Professor of Geography. I’d like to address issues relating to program review. Let me preface this by stating faculty fully believe in improving the quality of our programs. However, this ICCB-mandated activity is being misused as an administrative whip.

You’ll have administrators tell you we must do program review for both the ICCB and Higher Learning Commission. Program review comes from the ICCB’s Administrative Rules, Section 1501.303d. To throw HLC in this conversation is a red herring.

Program review has led to countless frustrating meetings between Academic Affairs and faculty. To quote a colleague about program review meetings under then-Associate Vice President Galisaith, “My supervisor told me to be ready to get yelled at…she had gone through several program review meetings already and EVERYBODY had gotten yelled at.” My understanding is some of last year’s meetings were only slightly better.

The ICCB lays out the minimum program review criteria as need, cost and quality. What should be a one-or-two hour process for most disciplines has been turned into a lengthy, painful process at College of DuPage. ICCB mandates the college use a short form for each discipline. We do not get the ICCB-mandated form from Academic Affairs, instead getting a lengthy form of their own design. Lengthy reports are also written, now by the already overburdened associate deans..

I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with ICCB to see what the college actually sent downstate, and what ICCB actually did with our work. The lengthy reports and long forms don’t even go downstate. Academic Affairs writes a few bullet points on the ICCB-required form and sends that to ICCB.  Why not let us work off the required ICCB form from the get-go?

It really seems like the ICCB isn’t even reviewing this work. I asked ICCB for any review notes from COD’s submissions. “No single staff person has been responsible for reviewing a single college’s program review report….College specific information is not typically included in the statewide summary. Therefore, there are no ‘reviewer notes’ on individual college program review submissions.”

Reviews have been rejected by Academic Affairs in the past, claiming they were likely to be kicked back by the ICCB. I also asked ICCB for any program reviews, from any college, they had rejected. They replied, “Neither the Board nor staff “reject” submissions. Program Review submissions do not require approval or official action by the Board…the quality of a college’s program review submission is typically addressed during the Recognition Review by staff from ICCB and the college.”

I received a copy of the ICCB 2012 recognition review of College of DuPage. As far as I can tell, nothing from Academic Program Review was addressed.

How many hours have we spent working on reports the ICCB requires, but apparently does not read, and will not reject? How much time was spent reworking reports just based on an administrator’s power trip, not what the ICCB needs or wants? It’s time to refine this process.