Serious faculty concerns about the plan to realign the college’s 12 teaching divisions were aired at the Academic Senate meeting on Oct. 24.

   Discussion of the restructuring was not overwhelmingly negative but showed a consensus among faculty that the process is being rushed without much of their input.

“With very few exceptions, most people don’t like the idea of this realignment,” said Dan Haley, senate secretary. “They don’t like the idea of losing their dean and for that reason I think the Academic Senate should entertain the notion that they either oppose this realignment or, at the very least, delay the deadlines.”

PCC President Mark Rocha, who in a September address revealed the realignment plan, responded in an e-mail.

“I do believe that a school is about teachers and students, not administrators,” he said. “The purpose of realignment is to return to the faculty the management of their own programs and the guidance of their own students.”

But other instructors voiced opinions at the Senate meeting that echoed Haley’s statement.

Yolanda McKay, a representative of the Visual Arts and Media Studies Division, was one.

“[The feeling I get from the people I’ve talked to] is that they could be open to change,” she said. McKay added that despite this, faculty in her division felt excluded from the process and that it was being rushed.

In his e-mail, Rocha said, the proposal is not being rushed.

“While there is no deadline for the realignment, the facts are that the realignment process and consultation has been going on for over a year,” he said.

 Bob Miller, vice president of educational services and Dustin Hanvey, Academic Senate vice president, explained why they believed the change was occurring.

“There has been a lot of discussion here about purpose and rationale,” Hanvey said, about why realignment was being planned.

“As far as I understand it, a major reason why the Board [of Trustees] and Rocha want to do this is because assessment on this campus is not being done.”

Hanvey went on to cite statistics that show that assessments are more effective when they are “faculty-driven,” which would explain the need for faculty chairs.

In its current state, Hanvey said, assessments are “administration-driven” because of its utilization of deans.

Miller confirmed Hanvey’s point, and added that faculty chairs will work “much more closely” with instructors and students to reach their student assessment goals as there could be as many as 25 chairs.

Miller said a case statement was presented at a College Council Planning and Priorities Standing Committee meeting on Oct. 17 outlining all of his points, and said it could be made available to members of the Academic Senate.

Academic Senate President Ed Martinez distributed the statement to faculty in an e-mail on Oct. 25.

Though the concerns voiced were mostly subdued, one point of contention arose when Miller contradicted what Rocha said in the State of the College Address in September.

“I think it’s important to note that this is not about budget,” Miller said at the Oct. 24 meeting.

“In all of these discussions, there has not been anything about whether we would save money or spend more money by doing this.

It’s about how we can improve the students’ success as we go forward.”

After his comment, Haley and McKay both disagreed with Miller.

“When Dr. Rocha addressed the entire campus in the Creveling Lounge he said one of the issues was ‘cost effectiveness’ for realignment, so budget is on the table,” Haley said.

“I feel like we’ve been told from the very beginning when we were debating [the new vice president appointments] that it was about budget,” McKay said. “

We kept being reassured that in the long run this is going to be less administration and this is going to save us money in administrative [costs].”

Rocha also mentioned cost effectiveness in his e-mail.

“We all agree that there are not enough funds for faculty, students and sections,” he said.

“Realignment is about planning and priorities so that we can become more cost effective over time and shift more funds out of administration and into teaching and learning.”

According to Miller, a model of the new realigned divisions’ structure will be discussed at the campus dialogue sessions and, in an effort to be transparent, will allow individuals to respond to the model and offer feedback.

The Planning and Priorities Committee will host two or more Town Hall meetings in November and December with exact dates to be determined, Miller said in an e-mail.

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