The Academic Senate voted 17 to 14 last month not to certify the final draft of the Accreditation Self-Evaluation Report after Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairó refused to sign the document because he said it was improperly created.
In a recent email sent to faculty, Cairó outlined many reasons for not signing the document.
“The process that was established by the PCC administration to produce an accurate document was a failure,” Cairó said. “The Senate did not have adequate time to review, revise, or submit changes to produce a document that is reflective of the reality at PCC since our last accreditation report.”
However, many faculty members disagreed since a draft of the self-evaluation was made public to the campus community in mid-September, which gave the Academic Senate nearly three months to look over the document for revisions.
“…The letter claims that the Senate only had three days to vet the hard copy of the document, when, in reality, an electronic copy of the final draft had been available for weeks,” wrote Accreditation Coordinator and Priorities & Planning (P&P) committee co-chair Stephanie Fleming in an email. “I am extremely disappointed because this process took place over a two-year period, allowed for widespread participation, appropriately addresses the positive and negative aspects of the college, and involved faculty input.”
In his email, Cairó seems to hold P&P responsible for the Academic Senate having little input in the final draft of the report, arguing that once P&P had gave its final approval, it would not be able to accept any changes to the document.
“From the beginning, the document was scheduled to go through P&P (ASC), and then to the Academic Senate. Because no changes were to be made once the document was approved by P&P, this process did not afford for Senate input, in itself a violation of shared governance,” said Cairó.
Early last fall, several senators took a two-day retreat with the focus of reviewing and revising the draft, and according to P&P committee co-chair, Matthew Jordan, most of the feedback from the Academic Senate was incorporated in the document.
The objective of an accreditation report is to authenticate how well a college is meeting Accreditation Standards and with the 22 faculty members who worked on drafting the Self Evaluation in Fall 2013 and Spring 2014, the report is required to be an un-biased look at the campus climate.
As for report content, Cairo said the Senate felt that it “was lacking in data, evidence, and appropriate links to evidence; it also included summaries of information that were biased and misrepresentations of events since the last accreditation visit.”
In a response to the statement, Jordan said the report “contains over 700 external pieces of evidence in addition to the data charts and tables embedded in the narrative.”“I am thankful for the contributions of the students, classified staff, faculty members, and managers who worked tirelessly in producing this high quality document,” he wrote.
The Senate felt much of the content in the report was unclear and inaccurately stated, and some important issues were neglected entirely.
The Academy of Professional Learning (APL), formed by faculty members with the desire to bring professional learning to faculty, staff, and managers at all levels, sent a mass email to all faculty and staff members in response to Cairó’s email.
“These statements are untrue and call into question the intentions of the faculty who have coordinated this project…We have too much pride in our work to risk that happening,” said APL in its email.
APL provided much evidence showing communication with the Senate, including a video, emails and minutes.
“We have successfully communicated and collaborated with the Classified Senate and groups of faculty, but have been ignored by the Academic Senate Executive Board Members, giving us the impression that they are unsupportive of this faculty-led initiative,” said APL.
With this process going on two years now, both Fleming and Jordan remain hopeful and look forward to the March visit from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
“I sincerely hope that we can continue to move forward in a collegial manner and that we find better ways to work with one another, despite our differences so that we can focus on how to successfully serve our students,” Fleming wrote.
The external evaluation site visit from the ACCJC and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges will be conducted in early March.