Roll, Pledge, etc.
Agenda approved. Birt and McGuire vote no.
Joe Stahl, President of SLC. Has heard from students about the board meetings being held in this room. Set up disrupts the use of space by students. Recommends using SRC 2000 instead.
Keith Yearman, Prof of Geography. The Higher Learning Commission’s scathing report on this college pointed fingers in many directions. Yet the HLC should have also pointed fingers at itself as relates to COD. HLC Vice President Barbara Johnson has sat as COD’s liaison since at least 2007 – yet under her watch, complaint materials have disappeared, complaints were ignored, and the HLC made outrageous appointments of reviewers for this institution.
This must change.
What did the HLC know and when did they know it?
Let’s turn back to April 27, 2007. The HLC sent two reviewers to COD for a quality checkup. Page 18 of their report notes, “At the Open Forum during the Quality Checkup Visit, a student submitted a packet of materials concerning COD’s operations. The Team reviewed the materials and forwarded them to the Higher Learning Commission. The Commission will follow its complaint process in investigating the issue.”
Several people asked HLC about this complaint. We were told both packets of materials had been lost. Yes, there were actually two identical packets presented, and both were lost. The then-student even wrote, “I still have the voicemail from the guy saying he lost my paperwork.” What was in that paperwork? According to the then-student, issues relating to the foundation board, contracting, appointments – all the things so newsworthy these days. Maybe if HLC had done its job back then…
The 2014 HLC quality checkup noted some faculty discussed “an atmosphere of intimidation and fear presented by some senior management,” a “lack of co-governance,” and that senior management were aware of a “small group of faculty who were disgruntled.” So the reviewers ignored all the warnings and criticisms, dismissing the outspoken ones as nothing more than malcontents.
This year, HLC was publicly shamed and contradicted for glowing 2014 accreditation report, including front-page articles in the newspaper. So to “act tough” and investigate issues here, the HLC announced a three-person review team. To investigate issues with our president, who had just suffered a no-confidence vote and a series of spending scandals, the Higher Learning Commission appointed as a reviewer a college president who had his own spending scandal, and two votes of no confidence by two separate unions. After this appointment was called out in the newspapers, the embarassed HLC replaced that team member.
HLC seems to have a long track record of burying issues at COD. While federal prosecutor Erika Csicsila continues looking at issues on campus, I’d like to encourage her to take a look at the Higher Learning Commission, what they knew and when, and why they refused to act. And I encourage this board to demand a new liaison at HLC; current HLC Vice President Barbara Johnson has seemingly turned a blind eye for years.
Mark Misourowski. Attorney. McGuire and Mazzochi have both raised correct concerns about COD’s use of outside legal services. Recommends that COD move to using in-house counsel. Fraction of cost. Produce same high-caliber work product.
Dianne McGuire. Speak as citizen. General Counsel Elliott using COD for gain in his own political career.
Deanne Mazzochi. Refers to McGuire’s letter to Daily Herald. Responds to her comments. Has made
Glenn Hansen, Faculty Association President. Tonight, you will make a significant decision. You are establishing a committee that will advise and inform you about the academics at the College of DuPage. This is not just about courses; it’s about what we the faculty (full and part-time), administrators, staff, and students do here. The board meetings have always been dominated by discussions of finance. While that is important, it is that academics at College of DuPage that you are investing in. You are investing in the students. You are more than financial stewards. Finance and planning must support Academics; our educational mission and vision must lead and direct your decisions and planning.
This committee, which we support, is not one of regulation and decision-making. It is charged with providing all Trustees with the information needed to make informed decisions. When you approve degrees and certificates, should you not know more than the forms provided in the Board packet. Additionally, should you not be informed about all the great changes and efforts happening here everyday. You have budget, audit, and outreach committees, should there not be an Academic committee?
I would like to thank Trusttee Mazzochi for championing this committee and writing the original charter. I want to thank all Trustees for your patience as everyone worked through their concerns. Thank you, Chairman Hamilton for your efforts to move this forward. This a beginning, committees evolve over time as this committee and its charter will. I am confident that there are concerns remaining in all constituencies. To that I will suggest we trust each others intentions and move forward.
In the end, what this committee will do is put academics on the agenda and in the packet each month. Isn’t that a change for a brighter future?
Richard Jarman, Faculty Association VP. In my country of origin, it is traditional on this date to burn effigies of notorious villains to honor the legacy of one Guy Fawkes. I understand that the current prime minister was a victim in one community today – all in good fun of course. While in the past I might have felt the urge to pursue this extreme on occasion, we have entered a new era.
In that spirit, I know that the strategic long range plan advisory committee is now active and that some of you are involved, which is an entirely good thing. While the process is perhaps somewhat compromised by the current vacancy in the presidential suite, the process cannot wait for that seat to be occupied.
A desirable break from recent past history would see a change in emphasis from the recruitment of new students, and the unceasing quest to grow enrollment, to an increase in emphasis on maximizing the success of students already enrolled. We heard too long that appearances mean everything: the landscaping, the buildings, the shade of the blacktop in the car parks (Oh and there are faculty too). In a more cynical moment, I likened this strategy to that of a Las Vegas hotelier, who observed that he liked to show customers a good time and take all their money. Because wasn’t the student seen as a revenue generator in this model? And have them buy Premium Parking permits and so on.
I might sound heretical, but I wonder if enrollment growth as a priority or even an objective is really necessary for a healthy institution. Is it not possible to have a sustainable, stable operation at zero growth? Granted, opportunities to launch disruptive new programs to meet emerging community needs and opportunities should be taken, but is growth across the board a necessity? Undue pressure was applied to meet these artificial targets, with some concomitant undesirable consequences. (SLEA). Disciplines were shamed with red boxes in reports.
You have heard previously, and you will hear in the future, how the diversion of resources towards enrollment has diminished important services dedicated to student success. I am thinking particularly of counsellors and how their numbers have dwindled and their roles diminished. It is time to reverse this trend in the
rightful quest to make student success the priority at COD.
Debra Smith, Librarian. Good evening, I’m Debra Smith—a 502 resident, a frequent COD Student, and a Full time Faculty Librarian. To follow-up on Oct. 22nd remarks provided by Keith Yearman, I’m addressing how COD’s Faculty Counselors fulfill a unique role ultimately benefiting the entire Institution, especially students. I invite you to listen from my perspective….call it a “Librarian’s view from the trenches” …in regards to COD Faculty Counselors:
Our Faculty Counselors offer monthly student sessions on a variety of timely and relevant topics, but they also offer training sessions to fellow faculty and COD employees on how to better serve our special needs populations. For example, next week I look forward to attending a Counseling Faculty led “safe zone training” on building a safe, affirming and welcoming campus for members of the LGBTQ community.
Our Faculty Counselors act as a community resource, an essential “gatekeeper” connecting the COD community to essential services in our larger community. I am the moderator of the COD Employee Caregiver Support Group. Our caregivers sought local, elder-care/geriatric specialists that would accept clients with limited funds and offer support for families in caregiving crisis. Within hours of my reaching out to Faculty Counselors for help, they provided an extensive list of community organizations for our caregivers going so far as to highlight the organizations with sliding pay scales.
The belief that “academic advisors” or a “business model” inspired staffing plan could be implemented as an equal alternative to our current Faculty Counselors is horrifically wrong and catastrophically short-sighted. Once, while working at a Library reference desk, I was approached by a woman seeking scholarly resources. The resources weren’t for her (I learned she was the mother of a terminally ill, bed-ridden COD student) and honestly, SHE needed support and help much more than her ill daughter needed her to pick up resources for that online assignment. The woman was in crisis, overwhelmed, and self-admittedly suicidal. She broke down. I made a call. In a matter of minutes, a faculty counselor arrived and we found a small room for the two of them. They were in that room a very long time. I believe a counselor saved a life that day. I’ve made similar calls to counseling or to health services for medical situations (when we had one to call). This is just one incident…but imagine all the other times and all the other lives that these uniquely capable individuals have aided our students, our community members and our staff.
Faculty Counselors add a valuable, unique perspective to COD committees, to our classrooms, to every aspect of this Institution. Currently, they must do it ALL with only NINE Full time positions while counseling our over 29,000 students.
Please support the replenishment of our lost counselor positions and value those that remain. Save them because in saving our Faculty Counselors, we’ll be saving ourselves and so many, many students and community members. Thank you.
Karin Evans, Professor of English. I have been teaching here since 2003, more than 12 years, and my focus is in developmental writing. I work with many students who are not considered ready to enter the transfer-level college curriculum. These students often bring with them significant challenges.
These are the most likely students to give up and drop out, and the least likely students to attain degrees. They are also the students who stand to benefit the most from a college education.
They come to COD, where we promise them, in numerous direct and indirect ways, that we have the resources here that will enable them to succeed.
Do we? Are we cultivating our best resources for student success?
I am gravely concerned about the diminished role, as well as the diminished numbers, of COD’s full-time faculty counselors.
When I came to COD, there were 13 full-time faculty counselors whose presence was felt throughout the college. These colleagues taught classes in their own disciplines, made presentations, did liaison work with academic programs, worked on new initiatives. I have always invited counselors into my classes to give presentations and help my students with planning. Then when my students ran into difficulties, I referred, referred, referred. “Remember that nice counselor who came to your class? Here is her business card. Let’s call her right now, ok?”
Because of the challenges my developmental students face, I have worked with counselors a lot over the years. I have probably always asked for more than my fair share of their time, but lately I have become alarmed about their availability. As of last week, the number of counselors was down to 9 – we have lost five full-time faculty counselors, out of 13, due to unreplaced retirements. The remaining counselors are under pressure to stay in their offices to see students one-on-one. They are discouraged from giving presentations in classes and attending meetings. Their role has been stringently restricted and de-professionalized.
We need these people back, and we need them in force. We need their expertise and their commitment. We need the consistency of full-time colleagues, people who are invested in this college and will be here when we need them. Furthermore, we need full-time faculty counselors with the protection of tenure in these roles. Many of the issues the counselors deal with are fraught with complications, and professional best practices may conflict at times with administrative goals for enrollment and retention.
Just today, I walked a student over to Counseling. A quiet guy, the kind who sits in the back of the room, the kind who is hard to get to know. Today, in my office for a conference, he blurted out that his best friend, going back to preschool, recently committed suicide. He told me how sad he was, how he couldn’t focus on his schoolwork. I asked him if he had seen a counselor. He looked at me like I was nuts – but I made a phone call and in five minutes we were in a counselor’s office. Someone I know and trust from years of working side by side. She probably gave up her lunch.