The college’s academic reorganization plan has encountered strong opposition from some faculty who believe the administration is unilaterally appointing new dean positions without input from shared governance groups.

An open forum for the academic school dean candidates was held on Wednesday, where members of the public could listen to their goals as possible heads of the new schools. However, members of the faculty were confused as to how the candidates were selected.

Robert Bell, senior vice president of student learning services, explained the forum would give the faculty more input in the selection process for the deans and more responsibility in terms of the new academic school model.

“It gives people a chance to hear the person [up for the position],” he wrote in an email. “The goal of reorganization is to establish a model in which the faculty within each School assume a lead role in the formation of decisions that are of direct importance to faculty. The input of faculty will be central to the final selection of the School Deans.”

But according to a letter written by Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairo, faculty was not given a chance to be involved in the selection process.

“Their selection has not been an open and transparent procedure; in fact we have no idea how these candidates were selected,” Cairo said. “These positions are to all appearances new positions with new responsibilities. We do not understand why the normal hiring process (PCC Policy 6300) is not being followed.”

According to Policy 6300, a set of procedures must be followed in selecting an in-house candidate to an appointed position. However, the governing board has the final say in hiring.

Bell explained that the forum was simply an informal way for the public to hear what the candidates had to say, and a formal hiring process may still go into place.

Joseph Futtner, interim dean of visual arts and media studies, thought the reorganization was long anticipated and that shared governance groups were mistaken in their belief that they had more power in the decision-making process.

“There are certain underlying approaches to decisions,” Futtner said. “If you look at the policy, [reorganization] is part of the administrative decision. People should treat the process with the respect and gravity it needs.”

The forum candidates include Jim Arnwine, current dean of performing and communication arts for the School of Visual Media and Performing Arts, David Douglass, current dean of natural sciences for the School of Science and Mathematics, Salomon Davila, current dean of career and technical education for the School of Career and Technical Education, Barbara Freund, current dean of health sciences for the School of Allied Health Services, and Amy Ulmer, current dean of English for the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Davila thought the forum would help keep communication more open between the deans and faculty.

“I think this is very important part of this campus to hear us out so we have our moment to share our thoughts with every one of you,” he said.

2 Replies to “Academic reorganization process met with strong opposition”

  1. Appointed, annointed Uber-Deans may be capable. They may be fine specimens of administrative where-with-all. Let’s hope that, as Bell puts it: “a formal hiring process may still go into place.” He does not seem to sure about that little detail. Perhaps they will pull the Excalibur sword from the Stone to prove their worth as true-born heirs? Heaven forbid the college follow its own hiring policies.

  2. October 23, 2013

    Dr. Robert H. Bell
    Sr. VP/Assistant Superintendent
    Academic & Student Affairs

    Dear Dr. Bell:

    The Executive Officers of the Academic Senate would like to state our objections and concerns regarding the public forum introducing the candidates for the five School Dean positions.

    These positions are to all appearances new positions with new responsibilities. We do not understand why the normal hiring process (PCC Policy 6300) is not being followed.

    We appreciate that faculty are invited to hear these candidates explain their qualifications, to submit specific questions that they wish the candidates to answer, and to give their anonymous input to each candidate’s presentations. It is our opinion, however, that this process does not provide for meaningful faculty input.

    You write in your email that “input of faculty will be central to the final selection,” but faculty had no say in the selection of these candidates and have been presented with only one candidate for each position. Faculty were not even part of the process that established the selection criteria for these leadership positions. Their selection has not been an open and transparent procedure; in fact we have no idea how these candidates were selected.

    How is faculty input from the forum to be used in this final selection process? Are we to register positive or negative positions by a vote of those present at the forum? If candidates receive a negative assessment, how would other candidates be chosen?

    This process seems to be yet another poorly thought out policy requiring extensive patchwork after the fact. It is our opinion that this forum is a meaningless charade intended to give the appearance of faculty input and that it is an abrogation of shared governance.

    We would like to remind you that at the Academic Senate meeting of 15 April 2012, you explained to the Senate that the School Dean positions would be advertised, candidates recruited and chosen, only after a “full vetted process.” It is our position that inviting faculty to assess these presentations suggests neither a transparent hiring selection process nor serious regard for the input of faculty in this process.

    In the spirit of collegiality, we ask that this process be halted and begin again with complete Faculty and Classified staff inclusion.

    Eduardo A. Cairo, President, Academic Senate Earlie Douglas, Vice President, Academic Senate
    Patricia Rose, Secretary, Academic Senate Daniel J. Haley, Treasurer, Academic Senate

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.